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Mad Like Tesla: Underdog Inventors and their Relentless Pursuit of Clean Energy

October 4, 2011

madliketesla

Amazon | A search for the contemporary Nikola Tesla — considered a mad scientist by his society for predicting global warming more than 100 years ago — fuels this analysis of climate issues, which introduces thinkers and inventors who are working to find possible ways out of the energy crisis.

From Louis Michaud, a retired refinery engineer who claims we can harness the energy of man-made tornadoes, to… read more

Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe

February 24, 2012

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Author:
George Dyson
Publisher:
Pantheon (2012)

“It is possible to invent a single machine which can be used to compute any computable sequence,” twenty-four-year-old Alan Turing announced in 1936. In Turing’s Cathedral, George Dyson focuses on a small group of men and women, led by John von Neumann at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, who built one of the first computers to realize Alan Turing’s vision of a Universal Machine.… read more

Ultimate Zero and One: Computing at the Quantum Frontier

May 24, 2012

ultimatezeroandone

Author:
Colin P. Williams, Scott H. Clearwater
Publisher:
Springer (1999)

Amazon | As miniaturisation deepens, and nanotechnology and its machines become more prevalent in the real world, the need to consider using quantum mechanical concepts to perform various tasks in computation increases. Such tasks include: the teleporting of information, breaking heretofore “unbreakable” codes, communicating with messages that betray eavesdropping, and the generation of random numbers. This is the first book to apply quantum physics to the basic operations of a… read more

Homeland

January 16, 2013
Author:
Cory Doctorow
Publisher:
Tor Teen (2013)

In Cory Doctorow’s wildly successful Little Brother, young Marcus Yallow was arbitrarily detained and brutalized by the government in the wake of a terrorist attack on San Francisco—an experience that led him to become a leader of the whole movement of technologically clued-in teenagers, fighting back against the tyrannical security state.

A few years later, California’s economy collapses, but Marcus’s hacktivist past lands him a job as webmaster for a… read more

A Viral Affair: Surviving the Pandemic (The Juno Trilogy)

July 3, 2013

A Viral Affair V1c

Author:
Larry Kilham
Publisher:
Lawrence B. Kilham (2013)

When American Intelligence discovers that a mad dictator is planning a viral pandemic attack, they persuade the top U.S. computer scientist, Dr. Tom Renwick, to work with the lady AI supercomputer, Juno, to develop smart, human-like robots to combat the contagion. A mysterious stranger and a romance provide an unexpected twist.

A Viral Affair: Surviving the Pandemic is the second volume in the Juno Trilogy series of near… read more

Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture

December 27, 2013

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Author:
Erez Aiden, Jean-Baptiste Michel
Publisher:
Riverhead Hardcover (2013)

“One of the most exciting developments from the world of ideas in decades, presented with panache by two frighteningly brilliant, endearingly unpretentious, and endlessly creative young scientists.” — Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature

Our society has gone from writing snippets of information by hand to generating a vast flood of 1s and 0s that record almost every aspect of our lives: who we know,… read more

The Peripheral

March 31, 2014
Author:
William Gibson
Publisher:
Putnam Adult (2014)

William Gibson returns with his first novel since 2010’s New York Times–bestselling Zero History.

Where Flynne and her brother Burton live, jobs outside the drug business are rare. Fortunately, Burton has his veteran’s benefits, for neural damage he suffered from implants during his time in the USMC’s elite Haptic Recon force. Then one night Burton has to go out, but there’s a job he’s supposed to do—a job Flynne… read more

Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care

October 18, 2014

Unaccountable

Author:
Marty Makary
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Press (2014)

Dr. Marty Makary is co-developer of the life-saving checklist outlined in Atul Gawande’s bestselling The Checklist Manifesto. As a busy surgeon who has worked in many of the best hospitals in the nation, he can testify to the amazing power of modern medicine to cure. But he’s also been a witness to a medical culture that routinely leaves surgical sponges inside patients, amputates the wrong limbs, and overdoses children because… read more

FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop–From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication

April 9, 2009
Author:
Neil Gershenfeld
Publisher:
Basic Books (2007)

Personal fabrication (PF) is the ability to design and produce your own products in your own home, with a machine that combines consumer electronics and industrial tools. This book describes how personal fabricators are about to revolutionize the world just as personal computers did a generation ago.

Simulation and its Discontents

January 18, 2010
Author:
Sherry Turkle
Publisher:
The MIT Press (2009)

Over the past twenty years, the technologies of simulation and visualization have changed our ways of looking at the world. In Simulation and Its Discontents, Sherry Turkle examines the now dominant medium of our working lives and finds that simulation has become its own sensibility. We hear it in Turkle’s description of architecture students who no longer design with a pencil, of science and engineering students who admit that… read more

Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future

July 16, 2010

Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future

Author:
James Hughes
Publisher:
Unknown (2004)

Amazon | In the next fifty years, life spans will extend well beyond a century. Our senses and cognition will be enhanced. We will have greater control over our emotions and memory. Our bodies and brains will be surrounded by and merged with computer power. The limits of the human body will be transcended as technologies such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering converge and accelerate. With them,… read more

The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human

January 6, 2011

telltalebrain

Author:
V. S. Ramachandran
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2011)

Amazon | Drawing on strange and thought-provoking case studies, an eminent neurologist offers unprecedented insight into the evolution of the uniquely human brain, V. S. Ramachandran is at the forefront of his field — so much so that Richard Dawkins dubbed him the “Marco Polo of neuroscience.” Now, in a major new work, Ramachandran sets his sights on the mystery of human uniqueness. Taking us to the frontiers of… read more

Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating And Profiting from Technology

February 16, 2011

Open Innovation book cover

Author:
Henry William Chesbrough
Publisher:
Harvard Business Press (2005)

Publisher’s Weekly | The great corporate research departments at companies like Bell Labs, IBM and Xerox were once the motor of American industry. But that may be changing, according to this probing academic study of corporate technological innovation.

Chesbrough, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School, argues that the old “closed innovation” model — vertically integrated research and development departments that develop technology in-house for the sole… read more

Self-Organization in Biological Systems

April 20, 2011

Self-Organization in Biological Systems book cover

Author:
Scott Camazine, Jean-Louis Deneubourg, Nigel R. Franks
Publisher:
Princeton University Press (2003)

Amazon | The synchronized flashing of fireflies at night. The spiraling patterns of an aggregating slime mold. The anastomosing network of army-ant trails. The coordinated movements of a school of fish. Researchers are finding in such patterns — phenomena that have fascinated naturalists for centuries — a fertile new approach to understanding biological systems: the study of self-organization. This book, a primer on self-organization in biological systems for students and… read more

Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America

June 7, 2011

Made to Break cover image

Author:
Giles Slade
Publisher:
Harvard University Press (2007)

Amazon | If you’ve replaced a computer lately — or a cell phone, a camera, a television — chances are, the old one still worked. And chances are even greater that the latest model won’t last as long as the one it replaced. Welcome to the world of planned obsolescence — a business model, a way of life, and a uniquely American invention that this eye-opening book explores from its beginnings… read more

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