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Information A Very Short Introduction

Information  A Very Short Introduction Author Luciano Floridi
ISBN-10 9780199551378
Release 2010-02-25
Pages 130
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Luciano Floridi unpacks this fundamental concept - what information is, how it is measured, its value and meaning - cutting across the sciences and humanities, from DNA to the Internet, and the ethical issues related to privacy, copyright, and accessibility.



Deserts A Very Short Introduction

Deserts  A Very Short Introduction Author Nick Middleton
ISBN-10 9780199564309
Release 2009-11-26
Pages 135
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In this Very Short Introduction Nick Middleton tells the story of the desert, demonstrating its beautiful landscapes and remarkable climates. He challenges the common notion that they are dry and barren and uncovers fascinating life-forms, a rich biodiversity, and a long history of human habitation.



Risk A Very Short Introduction

Risk  A Very Short Introduction Author Baruch Fischhoff
ISBN-10 9780199576203
Release 2011-05-26
Pages 162
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Risks are everywhere. They come from many sources, including crime, diseases, accidents, terror, climate change, finance, and intimacy. They arise from our own acts and they are imposed on us. In this Very Short Introduction Fischhoff and Kadvany draw on both the sciences and humanities to show what all risks have in common. Do we care about losing money, health, reputation, or peace of mind? How much do we care about things happening now or in the future? To ourselves or to others? All risks require thinking hard about what matters to us before we make decisions about them based on past experience, scientific knowledge, and future uncertainties. Using conceptual frameworks such as decision theory and behavioural decision research, we examine the science and practice of creating measures of risk and look at how scientists apply probability by combining historical records, scientific theories, and expert judgement. Showing what science has learned about how people deal with risks, and applying these to diverse everyday examples, the authors demonstrate how we move from understanding a risk to making a choice in everyday life.



Viruses A Very Short Introduction

Viruses  A Very Short Introduction Author Dorothy H. Crawford
ISBN-10 9780199574858
Release 2011-07-28
Pages 156
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Discusses the discovery of viruses, analyzes the threat of viral infections, and considers ways to prevent the emergence of new and devastating viruses.



Metaphysics A Very Short Introduction

Metaphysics  A Very Short Introduction Author Stephen Mumford
ISBN-10 9780191640261
Release 2012-08-30
Pages 128
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Metaphysics is one of the traditional four main branches of philosophy, alongside ethics, logic and epistemology. It is also an area that continues to attract and hold a fascination for many people yet it is associated with being complex and abstract. For some it is associated with the mystical or religious. For others it is known through the metaphysical poets who talk of love and spirituality. This Very Short Introduction goes right to the heart of the matter, getting to the basic and most important questions of metaphysical thought in order to understand the theory: What are objects? Do colours and shapes have some form of existence? What is it for one thing to cause another rather than just being associated with it? What is possible? Does time pass? By using these questions to initiate thought about the basic issues around substance, properties, changes, causes, possibilities, time, personal identity, nothingness and emergentism, Stephen Mumford provides a clear and simple path through this analytical tradition at the core of philosophical thought. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.



Logic

Logic Author Graham Priest
ISBN-10 9780198811701
Release 2017-10-02
Pages 156
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Logic is often perceived as having little to do with the rest of philosophy, and even less to do with real life. In this lively and accessible introduction, Graham Priest shows how wrong this conception is. He explores the philosophical roots of the subject, explaining how modern formal logic deals with issues ranging from the existence of God and the reality of time to paradoxes of probability and decision theory. Along the way, the basics of formal logic are explained in simple, non-technical terms, showing that logic is a powerful and exciting part of modern philosophy. In this new edition Graham Priest expands his discussion to cover the subjects of algorithms and axioms, and proofs in mathematics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.



Learning

Learning Author Mark Haselgrove
ISBN-10 9780199688364
Release 2016-08
Pages 144
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What is learning? How does it take place? What happens when it goes wrong? The topic of learning has been central to the development of the science of psychology since its inception. Without learning there can be no memory, no language and no intelligence. Indeed it is rather difficult to imagine a part of psychology, or neuroscience, that learning does not touch upon. In this Very Short Introduction Mark Haselgrove describes learning from the perspective of associative theories of classical and instrumental conditioning, and considers why these are the dominant, and best described analyses of learning in contemporary psychology. Tracing the origins of these theories, he discusses the techniques used to study learning in both animals and humans, and considers the importance of learning for animal behaviour and survival. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.



Cryptography A Very Short Introduction

Cryptography  A Very Short Introduction Author Fred Piper
ISBN-10 9780192803153
Release 2002-05-30
Pages 142
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This Very Short Introduction provides a clear and informative introduction to the science of codebreaking, and its explosive impact on modern society. Taking the reader through the actual processes of developing codes and deciphering them, the book explains what algorithms do, how they are used, the risks associated with using them, and why governments should be concerned. Written in a fluid and lively style to appeal to the non-mathematical reader, this makes for fascinating reading.



Probability A Very Short Introduction

Probability  A Very Short Introduction Author John Haigh
ISBN-10 9780191636837
Release 2012-04-26
Pages 144
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Making good decisions under conditions of uncertainty - which is the norm - requires a sound appreciation of the way random chance works. As analysis and modelling of most aspects of the world, and all measurement, are necessarily imprecise and involve uncertainties of varying degrees, the understanding and management of probabilities is central to much work in the sciences and economics. In this Very Short Introduction, John Haigh introduces the ideas of probability and different philosophical approaches to probability, and gives a brief account of the history of development of probability theory, from Galileo and Pascal to Bayes, Laplace, Poisson, and Markov. He describes the basic probability distributions, and goes on to discuss a wide range of applications in science, economics, and a variety of other contexts such as games and betting. He concludes with an intriguing discussion of coincidences and some curious paradoxes. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.



Big Data a Very Short Introduction

Big Data  a Very Short Introduction Author Dawn E. Holmes
ISBN-10 9780198779575
Release 2017-10-23
Pages 152
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Since long before computers were even thought of, data has been collected and organized by diverse cultures across the world. Once access to the Internet became a reality for large swathes of the world's population, the amount of data generated each day became huge, and continues to grow exponentially. It includes all our uploaded documents, video, and photos, all our social media traffic, our online shopping, even the GPS data from our cars. "Big Data" represents a qualitative change, not simply a quantitative one. The term refers both to the new technologies involved, and to the way it can be used by business and government. Dawn E. Holmes uses a variety of case studies to explain how data is stored, analyzed, and exploited by a variety of bodies from big companies to organizations concerned with disease control. Big data is transforming the way businesses operate, and the way medical research can be carried out. At the same time, it raises important ethical issues; Holmes discusses cases such as the Snowden affair, data security, and domestic smart devices which can be hijacked by hackers. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.



Mathematics

Mathematics Author Timothy Gowers
ISBN-10 1402768974
Release 2010-01
Pages 180
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Mathematics is a subject we are all exposed to in our daily lives, but one that many of us fear. Timothy Gowers’s entertaining overview of the topic explains the differences between what we learn at school and advanced mathematics, and helps the math phobic emerge with a clearer understanding of such paradoxical-sounding concepts as “infinity,” “curved space,” and “imaginary numbers.” From basic ideas to philosophical queries to common sociological questions about the mathematical community, this book unravels the mysteries of space and numbers.



Economics A Very Short Introduction

Economics  A Very Short Introduction Author Partha Dasgupta
ISBN-10 0191578282
Release 2007-02-22
Pages 192
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Economics has the capacity to offer us deep insights into some of the most formidable problems of life, and offer solutions to them too. Combining a global approach with examples from everyday life, Partha Dasgupta describes the lives of two children who live very different lives in different parts of the world: in the Mid-West USA and in Ethiopia. He compares the obstacles facing them, and the processes that shape their lives, their families, and their futures. He shows how economics uncovers these processes, finds explanations for them, and how it forms policies and solutions. Along the way, Dasgupta provides an intelligent and accessible introduction to key economic factors and concepts such as individual choices, national policies, efficiency, equity, development, sustainability, dynamic equilibrium, property rights, markets, and public goods. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.



The History of Time A Very Short Introduction

The History of Time  A Very Short Introduction Author Leofranc Holford-Strevens
ISBN-10 9780191578007
Release 2005-08-11
Pages 160
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Why do we measure time in the way that we do? Why is a week seven days long? At what point did minutes and seconds come into being? Why are some calendars lunar and some solar? The organisation of time into hours, days, months and years seems immutable and universal, but is actually far more artificial than most people realise. The French Revolution resulted in a restructuring of the French calendar, and the Soviet Union experimented with five and then six-day weeks. Leofranc Holford-Strevens explores these questions using a range of fascinating examples from Ancient Rome and Julius Caesar's imposition of the Leap Year, to the 1920s' project for a fixed Easter. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.



The Computer A Very Short Introduction

The Computer  A Very Short Introduction Author Darrel Ince
ISBN-10 9780199586592
Release 2011-11-24
Pages 139
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Discusses the basic components of computers; how increasingly miniature parts have led to products, applications, and networks that solve problems; the issues that increased connectivity has produced; and some of the emerging technologies in the field.



Consciousness A Very Short Introduction

Consciousness  A Very Short Introduction Author Susan Blackmore
ISBN-10 9780192513724
Release 2017-09-14
Pages 152
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Consciousness, 'the last great mystery for science', remains a hot topic. How can a physical brain create our experience of the world? What creates our identity? Do we really have free will? Could consciousness itself be an illusion? Exciting new developments in brain science are continuing the debates on these issues, and the field has now expanded to include biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers. This controversial book clarifies the potentially confusing arguments, and the major theories, whilst also outlining the amazing pace of discoveries in neuroscience. Covering areas such as the construction of self in the brain, mechanisms of attention, the neural correlates of consciousness, and the physiology of altered states of consciousness, Susan Blackmore highlights our latest findings. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.



African History A Very Short Introduction

African History  A Very Short Introduction Author John Parker
ISBN-10 9780192802484
Release 2007-03-22
Pages 165
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This Very Short Introduction is essential reading for anyone interested in the African continent and the diversity of human history, as it looks at Africa's past and reflects on the changing ways it has been imagined and represented. Key themes such as the unity and diversity of African cultures, slavery, religion, colonial conquest and the importance of history in understanding contemporary Africa are illustrated with a range of fascinating historical examples, drawn from over 5 millennia across this vast continent.



History A Very Short Introduction

History  A Very Short Introduction Author John Arnold
ISBN-10 9780192853523
Release 2000-02-24
Pages 134
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Starting with an examination of how historians work, this "Very Short Introduction" aims to explore history in a general, pithy, and accessible manner, rather than to delve into specific periods.