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David Brown

Pliny wrote of Babylon that "here the creator of the science of astronomy was". Excavations have shown this statement to be true. This book argues that the earliest attempts at the accurate prediction of celestial phenomena are indeed to be found in clay tablets dating to the 8th and 7th centuries BC from both Babylon and from Nineveh. The author carefully situates this astronomy within its cultural context, treating all available material from the relevant period, and also analysing the earlier astrological material and the later well-known ephemerides and related texts. A wholly new approach to cuneiform astral concerns emerges - one in which both celestial divination and the later astronomy are shown to be embedded in a prevailing philosophy dealing with the ideal nature of the early universe, and in which the dynamics of the celestial divination industry that surrounded the last Assyrian monarchs account for no less than the first recorded "scientific revolution". This work closely adheres to the original textual sources, and argues for the evolution on the basis of the needs of the ancient scholars and the internal logic of the divinatory and predictive systems employed. To this end, it offers, for the first time, a Mesopotamian contribution to the philosophy, and not only the history, of science.
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Aspasia Leledaki and David Brown

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This paper explores the transformation of a dualistic mind-body relationship as reported by participants in a recent qualitative study involving modern yoga and meditation practitioners. The stories of the practitioners focused strongly on transforming a body-self that was configured as a result of living a life in Western cultural contexts where philosophies of mind-body dualisms were taken to underpin daily practices. The practitioners described a well-trodden somatic pedagogical pathway towards liberation from domination that they called ‘physicalisation’. The paper illustrates physicalisation as cultivation of body-mind unity and de-identification before exploring the three dimensions of the practitioners' embodied spatiotemporal transformations that we have termed: empowerment, mustery and negating domination.

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Edited by David Boersema and Katy Gray Brown

This book is a collection of philosophical papers that explores theoretical and practical aspects and implications of nonviolence as a means of establishing peace. The papers range from spiritual and political dimensions of nonviolence to issues of justice and values and proposals for action and change.
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David Christian, Cynthia Stokes Brown and Craig Benjamin

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Dan Rubenstein, Jens Krause and David Brown

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In this study, we investigated the role of assessment time in group size discrimination and in particular the trade-off between the time cost involved in gathering information and the potential benefits derived from the acquired information. In a first experiment, we presented individual chub, Semotilus atromaculatus, with a choice between 4 vs 4 and 8 vs 8 conspecific stimulus fish. After release we recorded the time taken by test fish to make a choice between the two stimulus shoals in the presence and absence of a fright stimulus. Test fish significantly reduced their response time in the presence of a fright stimulus and larger shoals (8 vs 8) were more quickly approached than smaller ones (4 vs 4). In a control experiment, chub were given a choice between an empty cylinder and a shoal (of 4 or 8 fish). By subtracting the response time in the control treatment from that in the choice treatment, we estimated the time test fish spent choosing between stimulus shoals to be 24-55% of the overall response time. These results indicate that choosing between different groups is associated with a significant time cost. In a second experiment, we presented test fish with stimulus shoals that differed in size: 4 vs 5, 4 vs 6, 4 vs 7 and 4 vs 8, to investigate how the response time of fish and their ability to distinguish between shoals of different size were affected by the magnitude of the shoal size difference and the presence and absence of a fright stimulus. The ability to discriminate between shoals of different size increased with increasing shoal size difference whereas response time decreased. Both response time and discrimination ability were significantly reduced in the presence of a fright stimulus. The latter suggests that the benefits derived from group size discrimination were increasingly outweighed by the time costs of making group size assessments in the presence of potential danger; i.e. making fast assessments became relatively more important than making correct ones.

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Russell Millar, David Wharton and Ian Brown

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Panagrolaimus davidi is a free-living microbivore, associated with moss and algal patches in coastal regions around Ross Island, Antarctica. In laboratory experiments, temperature had a major influence on P. davidi life history parameters. The optimal temperature occurred between 25 and 30°C and the temperature at which population growth ceased was estimated at 6.8°C. Threshold temperatures for developmental processes were in the range 4.1°C (for egg incubation) to 7.6°C (for generation time). The life history strategy of P. davidi shows r-selected features and is more similar to temperate free-living nematodes than to other polar species, which show K-selected features. In the Antarctic, P. davidi is forced to remain dormant for long periods and growth occurs intermittently when conditions allow, suggesting A selection. The life history of P. davidi thus exhibits both A and r-selected features.