A History of Plants in Fifty Fossils

An illustrated history of plants presented through the stories of 50 key fossil discoveries This is the lively, fully illustrated story of plant life on Earth as revealed through some of the most significant fossil discoveries ever made. Beginning with the origins of plant life in the sea, where photosynthesis first evolved in bacteria, the book traces the evolution of land plants, ferns, conifers and their relatives, and flowering plants. Each fossil is depicted with stunning full-color photography alongside narrative from paleobotanist Paul Kenrick explaining its significance and revealing the story behind its discovery. Interspersed throughout the book are contextual "snapshots" of landscapes and environments at various periods of geological time, focusing on plants and plant-animal interactions. A History of Plants in Fifty Fossils is perfect for anyone interested in plants, fossils, and the stories they tell us about life on Earth.

How to Invent Everything

An NPR Best Book of 2018 "How to Invent Everything is such a cool book. It's essential reading for anyone who needs to duplicate an industrial civilization quickly." --Randall Munroe, xkcd creator and New York Times-bestselling author of What If? The only book you need if you're going back in time What would you do if a time machine hurled you thousands of years into the past. . . and then broke? How would you survive? Could you improve on humanity's original timeline? And how hard would it be to domesticate a giant wombat? With this book as your guide, you'll survive--and thrive--in any period in Earth's history. Bestselling author and time-travel enthusiast Ryan North shows you how to invent all the modern conveniences we take for granted--from first principles. This illustrated manual contains all the science, engineering, art, philosophy, facts, and figures required for even the most clueless time traveler to build a civilization from the ground up. Deeply researched, irreverent, and significantly more fun than being eaten by a saber-toothed tiger, How to Invent Everything will make you smarter, more competent, and completely prepared to become the most important and influential person ever. You're about to make history. . . better.


We spray them, pluck them, and bury them under mulch; and we curse their resilience when they spring back into place. To most of us, weeds are a nuisance, not worth the dirt they are growing in. But the fact is weeds are a plant just like any other, and it is only we who designate them as a weed or not, as a plant we will dote over or one we will tear out of the earth with abandon. And as Nina Edwards shows in this history, that designation is constantly changing. Balancing popular history with botanical science, she tells the story of the lowly, but proud, weed. As Edwards shows, the idea of the weed is a slippery one, constantly changing under different needs, fashions, and contexts. In a tightly controlled field of corn, a scarlet poppy is a bright red intruder, but in other parts of the world it is an important cultural symbol, a potent and lucrative pharmaceutical source, or simply a beautiful, lakeside ornament. What we consider a pest—Aristolochia Rotunda, or “fat hen”—was, in Neolithic times, a staple crop, its seeds an important source of nutrition. Sprinkled with personal anecdotes and loads of useful information, Weeds sketches history after history of the fashions and attitudes that have shaped our gardens, showing us that it is just as important what we keep out of them as what we put in, and that just because we despise one species does not mean that there haven’t been others whose very lives have depended on it.

The History of the Garden in Fifty Tools

Every tool has a tale to tell. The garden shed shelters some improbable stories, from the Mayan and Mediterranean clay pot makers to the tale of the tailor, trimming the uniforms of English Redcoats, who invented the lawn mower; from the manic evolution of the seventeenth-century Dutch bulb planter to the plant container that created a movable orchard at Versailles; from the back story of Henry David Thoreau's favorite hoe to Gertrude Jekyll's homemade daisy digger...'A History of the Garden in Fifty Tools' is a historical, horticultural journey, told through fifty pieces of garden gear, which also provides some useful and curious insights into their care and preservation.

Chocolate as Medicine

The Mesoamerican population who lived near the indigenous cultivation sites of the "Chocolate Tree" (Theobromo cacao) had a multitude of documented applications of chocolate as medicine, ranging from alleviating fatigue to preventing heart ailments to treating snakebite. Until recently, these applications have received little sound scientific scrutiny. Rather, it has been the reputed health claims stemming from Europe and the United States which have attracted considerable biomedical attention. This book, for the first time, describes the centuries-long quest to uncover chocolate's potential health benefits. The authors explore variations in the types of evidence used to support chocolate's use as medicine as well as note the ongoing tension over categorizing chocolate as food or medicine, and more recently, as functional food or nutraceutical. The authors, Wilson an historian of science and medicine, and Hurst an analytical chemist in the chocolate industry, bring their collective insights to bear upon the development of ideas and practices surrounding the use of chocolate as medicine. Chocolate's use in this manner is explored first among the Mesoamerican peoples, then as it is transported to Europe, and back into Colonial North America. The authors then focus upon more recent bioscience experimental undertakings which have been aimed to ascertain both long-standing and novel suggestions as to chocolate's efficacy as a medicinal and a nutritional substance. Chocolate/s reputation as the most craved food boosts this book's appeal to food and biomedical scientists, cacao researchers, ethnobotanists, historians, folklorists, and healers of all types as well as to the general reading audience.

Ancestral Diets and Nutrition

Ancestral Diets and Nutrition supplies dietary advice based on the study of prehuman and human populations worldwide over the last two million years. This thorough, accessible book uses prehistory and history as a laboratory for testing the health effects of various foods. It examines all food groups by drawing evidence from skeletons and their teeth, middens, and coprolites along with written records where they exist to determine peoples’ health and diet. Fully illustrated and grounded in extensive research, this book enhances knowledge about diet, nutrition, and health. It appeals to practitioners in medicine, nutrition, anthropology, biology, chemistry, economics, and history, and those seeking a clear explanation of what humans have eaten across the ages and what we should eat now. Features: Sixteen chapters examine fat, sweeteners, grains, roots and tubers, fruits, vegetables, and animal and plant sources of protein. Integrates information about diet, nutrition, and health from ancient, medieval, modern and current sources, drawing from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Provides comprehensive coverage based on the study of several hundred sources and the provision of over 2,000 footnotes. Presents practical information to help shape readers’ next meal through recommendations of what to eat and what to avoid.

The Handy Science Answer Book

Informative, easy-to-use guide to everyday science questions, concepts and fundamentals celebrates its twenty-fifth year and over one million copies sold! Science is everywhere, and it affects everything! DNA and CRISPR. Artificial sweeteners. Sea level changes caused by melting glaciers. Gravitational waves. Bees in a colony. The human body. Microplastics. The largest active volcano. Designer dog breeds. Molecules. The length of the Grand Canyon. Viruses and retroviruses. The weight of a cloud. Forces, motion, energy, and inertia. It can often seem complex and complicated, but it need not be so difficult to understand. The thoroughly updated and completely revised fifth edition of The Handy Science Answer Book makes science and its impact on the world fun and easy to understand. Clear, concise, and straightforward, this informative primer covers hundreds of intriguing topics, from the basics of math, physics, and chemistry to the discoveries being made about the human body, stars, outer space, rivers, mountains, and our entire planet. It covers plants, animals, computers, planes, trains, and cars. This friendly resource answers more than 1,600 of the most frequently asked, most interesting, and most unusual science questions, including ... When was a symbol for the concept of zero first used? How large is a google? Why do golf balls have dimples? What is a chemical bond? What is a light-year? What was the grand finale of the Cassini mission? How many exoplanets have been discovered? Where is the deepest cave in the United States? How long is the Grand Canyon? What is the difference between weather and climate? What causes a red tide? What is cell cloning and how is it used in scientific research? How did humans evolve? Do pine trees keep their needles forever? What is the most abundant group of organisms? How do insects survive the winter in cold climates? Which animals drink seawater? Why do geese fly in formation? What is FrogWatch? Why do cats’ eyes shine in the dark? Which industries release the most toxic chemicals? What causes most wildfires in the United States? Which woman received the Nobel Prize in two different fields (two different years)? What is the difference between science and technology? For anyone wanting to know how the universe, Earth, plants, animals, and human beings work and fit into our world, this informative book also includes a helpful bibliography, and an extensive index, adding to its usefulness. It will help anyone’s science questions!

Commodifying Cannabis

This study examines the cultural history of cannabis and its various uses in the Atlantic world over the past two centuries. The author analyzes the Orientalist mindset that colored Western reception of the plant in the nineteenth century and the cultural associations that informed public perception and policy in the twentieth century.