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Discuss: February Book Club Picks

Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life by David Quammen

 

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David Quammen explains how recent discoveries in molecular biology can change our understanding of evolution and life’s history, with powerful implications for human health and even our own human nature. Perhaps the most startling discovery to come out of this new field is horizontal gene transfer (HGT). We now know that roughly eight percent of the human genome arrived not through traditional inheritance from directly ancestral forms, but sideways by viral infection—a type of HGT.

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The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet by Henry Fountain

 

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The Great Quake is a riveting narrative about the biggest earthquake in North American recorded history — the 1964 Alaska earthquake that demolished the city of Valdez and swept away the island village of Chenega — and the geologist who hunted for clues to explain how and why it took place.

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Gödel’s Proof by Ernest NagelJames Newman, and edited by Douglas R. Hofstadter

 

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Ernest Nagel and James Newman provide a readable and accessible explanation to both scholars and non-specialists of the main ideas and broad implications of Gödel’s discovery, as published in Gödel’s paper “On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Related Systems.” It offers every educated person with a taste for logic and philosophy the chance to understand a previously difficult and inaccessible subject.

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