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Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind

July 16, 2010

Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind

Author:
Hans Moravec
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (2000)

Amazon | Here come the free-roaming robot vacuum cleaners, self-driving cars, robot chess champions, robots that fly and swim. If these machine intelligences already tooling around or on the drawing boards leave you blasé, consider this: Robotics pioneer Moravec predicts that if the present exponential growth rate of computing power continues, super-robots that perceive, intuit, adapt, think and even simulate feelings much like human beings will be buildable before… read more

Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel

October 13, 2010
Author:
Gary Shteyngart
Publisher:
Random House (2010)

Amazon | The author of two critically acclaimed novels, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook and Absurdistan, Gary Shteyngart has risen to the top of the fiction world. Now, in his hilarious and heartfelt new novel, he envisions a deliciously dark tale of America’s dysfunctional coming years — and the timeless and tender feelings that just might bring us back from the brink.

In a very near future — oh,… read more

The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World since 1700

May 2, 2011

The Changing Body

Author:
Roderick Floud, Robert W. Fogel, Bernard Harris
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press (2011)

Amazon | Humans have become much taller and heavier, and experience healthier and longer lives than ever before in human history. However it is only recently that historians, economists, human biologists and demographers have linked the changing size, shape and capability of the human body to economic and demographic change. This fascinating and groundbreaking book presents an accessible introduction to the field of anthropometric history, surveying the… read more

The Mind and the Machine: What It Means to Be Human and Why It Matters

June 17, 2011

The Mind and the Machine book cover

Author:
Matthew Dickerson
Publisher:
Brazos Press (2011)

Amazon | What does it mean to be human? Some naturalists believe that the human mind can be reduced to brain biology, suggesting that we are no more than complex biochemical machines. Computer scientist Matthew Dickerson critiques a physicalist/naturalist view of human persons and defends theistic accounts of human nature. He responds to the widespread assertion that human consciousness is nothing more than “software” that can one… read more

The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices: How the Digital Magicians of the MIT Media Lab Are Creating the Innovative Technologies That Will Transform Our Lives

August 4, 2011

Sorcerers and Their Apprentices book cover

Author:
Frank Moss
Publisher:
Crown Business (2011)

Amazon | If you’ve ever read a book on an e-reader, unleashed your inner rock star playing Guitar Hero, built a robot with LEGO Mindstorms, or ridden in a vehicle with child-safe air bags, then you’ve experienced first hand just a few of the astounding innovations that have come out of the Media Lab over the past 25 years. But that’s old hat for today’s researchers, who… read more

The Minerva Virus

January 4, 2012

minervavirus

Author:
Brian Shuster
Publisher:
Night Candy (2006)

Amazon | In the depths of the internet, a new form of life is unleashed. Silent and invisible, the only hint of its existence is an ordinary-seeming computer virus, which the human race regards as a mere nuisance. But this virus is unlike anything mankind has seen before . . . this virus can evolve! As it explodes across the internet, a new plague begins to take control… read more

Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To

April 24, 2012

Choke_Cover_Final

Author:
Sian Beilock
Publisher:
Free Press (2011)

Why do the smartest students often do poorly on standardized tests?

Why did you tank that interview or miss that golf swing when you should have had it in the bag?

Why do you mess up when it matters the most — and how can you perform your best instead?

It happens to all of us. You’ve prepared for days, weeks, even years for the big… read more

Acidexia

August 20, 2012

acidexia

Author:
Rachel Haywire
Publisher:
Everything-Permitted (2012)

Acidexia is an e-book of writings by Rachel Haywire that first appeared in her Acidexia online journal between 2001 and 2004.

At the turn of the millennium, an institutionalized “mentally ill” teenage girl is kicked out of her home to live life on the streets. She embarks upon an odyssey through underground subcultures and cyberspace while endlessly crisscrossing the country by bus and hitchhiking. Reinventing herself… read more

How the Mind Works

November 25, 2012

How the Mind Works

Author:
Steven Pinker
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2009)

“A model of scientific writing: erudite, witty, and clear.” —New York Review of Books

The Pulitzer Prize finalist and national bestseller How the Mind Works is a fascinating, provocative work exploring the mysteries of human thought and behavior. How do we see in three dimensions? How do we remember names and faces? How is it, indeed, that we ponder the nature of our own consciousness? Why do we fall in… read more

This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking

March 1, 2013

this will make you smarter

Author:
John Brockman
Publisher:
Harper Perennial (2012)

Edge.org presents brilliant, accessible, cutting-edge ideas to improve our decision-making skills and improve our cognitive toolkits, with contributions by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Richard Dawkins, Brian Eno, Steven Pinker, and more. Featuring a foreword by New York Times columnist David Brooks and edited by John Brockman, This Will Make You Smarter presents some of the best wisdom from today’s leading thinkers—to make better thinkers out of the leaders of tomorrow.

Kindle version alsoread more

The Universe in the Rearview Mirror: How Hidden Symmetries Shape Reality

August 13, 2013

book_the_universe_in_the_rearview_mirror

Author:
Dave Goldberg
Publisher:
Dutton Adult (2013)


A physicist speeds across space, time and everything in between showing that our elegant universe—from the Higgs boson to antimatter to the most massive group of galaxies—is shaped by hidden symmetries that have driven all our recent discoveries about the universe and all the ones to come.

Why is the sky dark at night? Is it possible to build a shrink-ray gun? If there is antimatter, can… read more

Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts

February 20, 2014

Consciousness and the Brain Cover

Author:
Stanislas Dehaene
Publisher:
Viking Adult (2014)

A breathtaking look at the new science that can track consciousness deep in the brain

How does our brain generate a conscious thought? And why does so much of our knowledge remain unconscious? Thanks to clever psychological and brain-imaging experiments, scientists are closer to cracking this mystery than ever before.

In this lively book, Stanislas Dehaene describes the pioneering work his lab and the labs of other… read more

The Universe in a Nutshell

April 9, 2009

universe-nutshell

Author:
Stephen William Hawking
Publisher:
Bantam (2001)

Professor Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science — the elusive “Theory of Everything” that lies at the heart of the cosmos. In this book he guides us on his search to uncover the secrets of the universe — from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality. In this exciting intellectual adventure he seeks “to combine Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and… read more

A Tear at the Edge of Creation: A Radical New Vision for Life in an Imperfect Universe

July 7, 2010

A Tear at the Edge of Creation cover

Author:
Marcelo Gleiser
Publisher:
Free Press (2010)

Amazon | For most of his career, physicist Gleiser (The Dancing Universe) was a “true believer in unification,” seeing in string theory a “more profound description of Nature” with “a higher level of mathematical symmetry.” He now rejects the search for a perfect theory as an improvable article of belief akin to monotheism. Explaining his turnaround, Gleiser points to the game-changing 1998 discovery that the universe is expanding at an… read more

Masterminds: Genius, DNA, and the Quest to Rewrite Life

July 16, 2010

Masterminds: Genius, DNA, and the Quest to Rewrite Life

Author:
David Ewing Duncan
Publisher:
Harper Perennial (2006)

Amazon | James Watson, J. Craig Venter, Francis Collins, Cynthia Kenyon . . . you may not know them, but you should. They are the masterminds of genetics and biotechnology who want you to live to be 150 years old, to regenerate your heart and brain, to create synthetic life. For better or worse, they are about to alter life on earth forever.

Award-winning journalist David Ewing Duncan… read more

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