Infinite Life

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Five billion years ago, this place was barely planet at all, more like a condensing cloud forming from debris that circled a fledgling star. Not a promising candidate, perhaps, for a place where eggs would one day evolve from out of the sea; be set by animals into soils, sands, canyons and mudflats; be dropped in nests wrapped in silk; hung in stick nests in trees, covered in crystallised shells or secured by placentas. And yet here we are. We owe eggs for our existence. For life on Earth today. Eggs are, quite probably, the single biggest ‘invention’ in the history of evolution. Finally, the epic story of their role in the story of life can be told.

Unveiling a captivating new outlook on Earth’s natural history, science writer and zoology correspondent Jules Howard retells our planet’s grand narrative from the perspective of the animal egg. Through lyrical prose, captivating storytelling and meticulous research, Howard offers a masterful narrative that challenges our perceptions and invites introspection about our place in the story of life.

BrilliANT

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A hilarious journey into the impressive micro-world of an ant colony — narrated by words that end in ‘ant’. With a quirky cleverness that brings to mind the genius work of Philip Bunting and Jon Klassen, this unique 16-word picture book journeys into the impressive micro-world of an ant colony. It is sparsely narrated by words that end in ‘ant,’ letting readers’ imaginations run wild along with the humorous hand-drawn illustrations. The life of a single ant is depicted from its birth to its (near!) death. It begins with the “expectant” Queen ant. The ant’s predetermined role is revealed as a soldier ant (“militant”). Our protagonists further travels in life align with more “ant” words, until it eventually wins the battle for a banana over a significantly larger foe and uses it to feed the entire colony, showing that this courageous character really is brilliANT! The end matter showcases a number of interesting facts about ants and their superhero qualities, while end papers continue the fun play-on-words. This minimalist picture book is the debut for Swazi-born, Sunshine Coast- based writer, Rosi Ngwenya. Illustrator Sandy Flett is best known for her line-illustration work in junior fiction series such as Juno Jones, Word Ninja and Edie’s Experiments. This is her debut picture book.

Infinite Life

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If you think of an egg, what do you see in your mind’s eye? A chicken egg, hardboiled? A slimy mass of frogspawn? Perhaps you see a human egg cell, prepared on a microscope slide in a laboratory?

Every egg there has ever been, is an emblem of survival. Yet the evolution of the animal egg is the dramatic subplot missing in many accounts of how life on Earth came to be. Quite simply, without this universal biological phenomenon, animals as we know them, including us, could not have evolved and flourished.
In Infinite Life, zoology correspondent Jules Howard takes the reader on a mind-bending journey from the churning coastlines of the Cambrian Period and Carboniferous coal forests, where insects were stirring, to the end of the age of dinosaurs when live-birthing mammals began their modern rise to power. Eggs would evolve from out of the sea; be set by animals into soils, sands, canyons and mudflats; be dropped in nests wrapped in silk; hung in stick nests in trees, covered in crystallised shells or secured by placentas.

Whether belonging to birds, insects, mammals or millipedes, animal eggs are objects that have been shaped by their ecology, forged by mass extinctions and honed by natural selection to near-perfection. Finally, the epic story of their role in the story of life can be told.

Beyond the Hype

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Do you remember the ‘Climategate’ email leak? Or the ‘Frankenfoods’- style headlines about the perils of GM foods? What about the time the government sacked its own science advisor for challenging drug laws?
We rely on the media to help us make sense of complicated scientific developments that could transform our world. Yet in the past, media coverage was often less fact than fiction, while scientists frequently either avoided engaging with the press or were actively prevented from doing so. The result? Media hype, political spin and misinformation from those with vested interests.
The Science Media Centre was set up by scientists to change this, encouraging openness and accuracy in science communication. Founding director Fiona Fox has had a front row seat at the major scientific media controversies of the past twenty years and takes us through each crisis, from Climategate to Covid, showing us what happened, how things have changed and why we still need to defend openness as a crucial principle.
With interest in public health at an all-time high, these gripping dispatches from the frontlines of science are essential reading for everyone.

The Tao of Cosmos

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Explores the interplay between ancient wisdom and modern cosmology

• Connects the philosophy of the I Ching with key recent advances in cosmology, such as the Big Bang theory, Roger Penrose’s cyclic conformal cosmology, and his and Stuart Hameroff’s cosmic quantum brain dynamics

• Explains the Taoist cosmology of Heaven-Humanity Oneness in the context of Teilhard de Chardin’s evolutionism, Thomas Berry’s cosmogenetic trinity, and Brian Swimme’s 12 cosmological powers

• Examines the holographic unity of Heaven, Earth, and Humankind at microcosmic, mesocosmic, and macrocosmic scales

Is the universe inert and empty, or is it some way responsive to consciousness? Breathing new life into a question that has perplexed philosophers since ancient times and scientists for the last century, physicist Zhen G. Ma, Ph.D., offers a quantitative “theory of everything” that beautifully integrates ancient I Ching philosophy, Eastern Taoism, modern cosmology, and the quantum brain dynamics of consciousness.

Sharing insights from his years of research on space physics and black-hole spacetime at institutions in China, Canada, and the US, complemented by studies in quantum brain dynamics and cosmological powers with Brian Swimme at the California Institute of Integral Studies, Dr. Ma explains how his integrated theory draws primarily on two key paradigms in the philosophy of cosmology and consciousness: Swimme’s cosmic creation story of the universe as a green dragon and Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff’s cosmic consciousness.

Extending these theories further, Dr. Ma shows how they harmonize not only with the ancient Eastern philosophy of Heaven-Humanity Oneness, but also with a holographic cosmic principle that connects the quantum-plasma brain with the universe and the Earth with Heaven. He then looks at this holographic unity in the cyclic process of birth, growth, decay, and death and shows how it resonates with Einstein-Friedmann’s cosmological dynamics and Hawking-Penrose’s quantum gravity model.

Demonstrating a quantitative paradigm of everything, Dr. Ma shows how humanity is inextricably and holistically blended into the cosmic fabric of the universe.

Zhen G. Ma, Ph.D., is a space and black-hole scientist who currently studies the intersection between cosmology and consciousness. His ongoing research involves quantum-plasma mechanisms of consciousness and investigations into the stages of a dying brain. He was a former associate research professor at the National Astronomical Observatory and the National Space Center at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing; a NSERC visiting fellow at Canada Space Agency; and a senior research scientist at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the United States for a NASA-JPL project. He is currently a visiting professor in Canada, living in Montreal.