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Imagined Worlds (Jerusalem-Harvard Lectures)

February 15, 2013

Imagined worlds

Author:
Freeman Dyson
Publisher:
Harvard University Press (1998)

Imagine a world where whole epochs will pass, cultures rise and fall, between a telephone call and the reply. Think of the human race multiplying 500-million fold, or evolving new, distinct species. Consider the technology of space colonization, computer-assisted reproduction, the “Martian potato.” One hundred years after H. G. Wells visited the future in The Time Machine, Freeman Dyson marshals his uncommon gifts as a scientist and storyteller to take… read more

Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto

September 7, 2012
Author:
Stewart Brand
Publisher:
Viking Adult (2009)

An icon of the environmental movement outlines a provocative approach for reclaiming our planet

According to Stewart Brand, a lifelong environmentalist who sees everything in terms of solvable design problems, three profound transformations are under way on Earth right now. Climate change is real and is pushing us toward managing the planet as a whole. Urbanization-half the world’s population now lives in cities, and eighty percent… read more

Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death

June 14, 2013

Erasing death

Author:
Sam Parnia, Josh Young
Publisher:
Harper Collins (2013)

Harper Collins | Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death reveals that death is not a moment in time. Death, rather, is a process that can be interrupted well after it has begun. Innovative techniques have proven to be effective in revitalizing both the body and mind, but they are only employed in approximately half of the hospitals throughout the United States and Europe.… read more

The Soar Cognitive Architecture

June 6, 2012

soar_cognitive_architecture

Author:
John E. Laird
Publisher:
MIT Press (2012)

In development for thirty years, Soar is a general cognitive architecture that integrates knowledge-intensive reasoning, reactive execution, hierarchical reasoning, planning, and learning from experience, with the goal of creating a general computational system that has the same cognitive abilities as humans. In contrast, most AI systems are designed to solve only one type of problem, such as playing chess, searching the Internet, or scheduling aircraft departures. Soar is both… read more

As the Future Catches You: How Genomics & Other Forces Are Changing Your Life, Work, Health & Wealth

November 6, 2012

As the Future Catches You

Author:
Juan Enriquez
Publisher:
Crown Business (2005)

If you think the world has changed dramatically in the last five years, you haven’t seen anything yet.

You will never look at the world in the same way after reading As the Future Catches You. Juan Enriquez puts you face to face with unprecedented political, ethical, economic, and financial issues, dramatically demonstrating the cascading impact of the genetic, digital, and knowledge revolutions on all our lives.

Genetics… read more

My Brief History

September 20, 2013

Hawking_My_Brief_History

Author:
Stephen Hawking
Publisher:
Bantam (2013)

Stephen Hawking has dazzled readers worldwide with a string of bestsellers exploring the mysteries of the universe. Now, for the first time, perhaps the most brilliant cosmologist of our age turns his gaze inward for a revealing look at his own life and intellectual evolution.

My Brief History recounts Stephen Hawking’s improbable journey, from his postwar London boyhood to his years of international acclaim and celebrity. Lavishly illustrated with… read more

The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease

January 13, 2014

the-story-of-the-human-body-cover

Author:
Daniel Lieberman
Publisher:
Pantheon (2013)

In this landmark book of popular science, Daniel E. Lieberman — chair of the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a leader in the field — gives us a lucid and engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years, even as it shows how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and advancements in the modern… read more

Hallucinations

October 26, 2012

Hallucinations

Author:
Oliver Sacks
Publisher:
Knopf (2012)

Have you ever seen something that wasn’t really there? Heard someone call your name in an empty house? Sensed someone following you and turned around to find nothing?

Hallucinations don’t belong wholly to the insane. Much more commonly, they are linked to sensory deprivation, intoxication, illness, or injury. People with migraines may see shimmering arcs of light or tiny, Lilliputian figures of animals and people. People with failing… read more

Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell

October 28, 2012

wetwarebray

Author:
Dennis Bray
Publisher:
Yale University Press (2011)

How does a single-cell creature, such as an amoeba, lead such a sophisticated life? How does it hunt living prey, respond to lights, sounds, and smells, and display complex sequences of movements without the benefit of a nervous system? This book offers a startling and original answer.

In clear, jargon-free language, Dennis Bray taps the findings of the new discipline of systems biology to show that the internal… read more

Universe

March 25, 2013
Author:
Martin Rees
Publisher:
DK ADULT; Rev Upd edition (2012)

From the fiery mass of the Sun’s core to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Universe takes you on the ultimate guided tour of the cosmos. Full of stunning out-of-this world images reflecting recent advances in space imagery, you’ll go on a journey from our solar system all the way to the farthest limits of space.

With information on the nature of the universe,… read more

Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are

December 5, 2011

Connectome-Seung-Sebastian-9780547508184

Author:
Sebastian Seung
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2012)

Amazon | The bold and thrilling quest to finally understand the brain — and along with it our mental afflictions, from depression to autism — by a rising star in neuroscience.

Sebastian Seung, a dynamic young professor at MIT, is at the forefront of a revolution in neuroscience. He believes that our identity lies not in our genes, but in the connections between our brain cells… read more

Homo Evolutis

November 6, 2012

Homo Evolutis

Author:
Juan Enriquez
Publisher:
TED Books (2011)

There have been at least 25 prototype humans. We are but one more model, and there is no evidence evolution has stopped. So unless you think Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern are the be all and end all of creation, and it just does not get any better, then one has to ask what is next? Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans, two of the world’s most eminent science authors,… read more

Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life

September 23, 2013

venter_life_speed_light_book

Author:
J. Craig Venter
Publisher:
Viking Adult (2013)

The renowned scientist and author of A Life Decoded examines the creation of life in the new field of synthetic genomics.

In 2010, scientists led by J. Craig Venter became the first to successfully create “synthetic life”— putting humankind at the threshold of the most important and exciting phase of biological research, one that will enable us to actually write the genetic code for designing new species to help… read more

We Are Our Brains: A Neurobiography of the Brain, from the Womb to Alzheimer’s

January 13, 2014

We Are Our Brains cover.

Author:
D. F. Swaab, Jane Hedley-Prole
Publisher:
Spiegel & Grau (2014)

A vivid account of what makes us human.

Based groundbreaking new research, We Are Our Brains is a sweeping biography of the human brain, from infancy to adulthood to old age. Renowned neuroscientist D. F. Swaab takes us on a guided tour of the intricate inner workings that determine our potential, our limitations, and our desires, with each chapter serving as an eye-opening window on a different stage of brain… read more

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

January 3, 2012

abundance

Author:
Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler
Publisher:
Free Press (2012)

Amazon | Providing abundance is humanity’s grandest challenge — this is a book about how we rise to meet it. We will soon be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp. This bold, contrarian view, backed up by exhaustive research, introduces our near-term future, where exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces… read more

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