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Science Books

August 29, 2009

Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?: Bodies, Behavior, And Brains - The Science Behind Sex, Love, & Attraction
Jena Pincott (2009)
ISBN: 0385342160

Bringing us great ecstasy one moment and leaving us wallowing in self-pity the next, the tempest known as love is a mysterious force. Now, in Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?, Jena Pincott, a former Random House senior editor with a background in biology, uses science to closely examine Cupid's hormone-tipped arrows. Using cutting-edge research in biology, neuroscience, cognitive science and evolutionary psychology, Pincott pulls back the covers to reveal some frank and honest findings regarding love and attraction (yes, size does matter, apparently). Is a lover more likely to get you pregnant than a husband? Did you know that it's possible for others to identify the nature of your sexual chemistry just by looking at your hands? And the next time you fall in love, keep in mind that your brain is identical to someone clinically insane. Pincott also notes, while we may not care to admit it, that we are constantly rating the attractiveness of others. Biology comes into play here, and women that are ovulating even look more attractive due to increased levels of estrogen. Intelligently written with an edge of sass, Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? offers a fascinating insight into the complex processes involved in love, instinct and sexual attraction. Whether this insight will help promote reason over the craziness of love is another matter entirely.

Flow: Nature's Patterns - A Tapestry In Three Parts
Philip Ball (2009)
ISBN: 0199237972

From flower petal arrangements to Jupiter's huge, swirling Great Spot, patterns constantly flow into existence everywhere. But from where do these patterns spring, and how are they formed? Award-winning science writer Philip Ball, a consultant editor for Nature, returns to again share his erudite observations on yet another intriguing scientific riddle: the inherent chaos within natural systems. Research shows that nature has a strong tendency toward the process of self-organization that results in the diverse patterns we frequently observe in nature. Flow, the second in a trilogy of books on patterns in nature, focuses on the seemingly ineffable rules that direct the weird science of chaotic behavior, from the shape of clouds to the eddies of water in a stream. Chaotic behavior is essential for these patterns to exist and for new ones to continually form, but how chaos breaks into a naturally flowing system is just as mysterious as its effects are beautiful. To help explain some of the nuances of chaotic behavior, Ball introduces the reader to the principles of symmetry breaking, where infinitesimally small fluctuations decide the future course of a system. While informed by solid science, Ball writes with the same sense of wonderment and enthusiasm as the many poets, artists and philosophers who have for centuries been inspired by the chaotic flow of nature.

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