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Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything

February 9, 2011

Final Jeopardy cover

Author:
Stephen Baker
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2011)

Amazon | What if there were a computer that could answer virtually any question? IBM engineers are developing such a machine, teaching it to compete on the quiz show ”Jeopardy!” In February 2011, it will face off in a nationally televised game against two of the game’s greatest all-time winners, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Final Jeopardy tells the riveting story behind the match.

Final Jeopardy carries readers on… read more

Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment

April 4, 2011

Power Up Your Brain book cover

Author:
David Perlmutter, Alberto Villoldo
Publisher:
Hay House (2011)

Amazon | The quest for enlightenment has occupied mankind for millennia. And from the depictions we’ve seen — monks sitting on meditation cushions, nuns kneeling in prayer, shamans communing with the universe — it seems that this elusive state is reserved for a chosen few. But now, neuroscientist David Perlmutter and medical anthropologist and shaman Alberto Villoldo have come together to explore the commonalities between their specialties with the aim… read more

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

March 7, 2012

9780393082104_SpaceChronicles_JKT.indd

Author:
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2012)

A thought-provoking and humorous collection on NASA and the future of space travel.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a rare breed of astrophysicist, one who can speak as easily and brilliantly with popular audiences as with professional scientists. Now that NASA has put human space flight effectively on hold — with a five- or possibly ten-year delay until the next launch of astronauts from U.S. soil — Tyson’s views… read more

Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization

June 4, 2012

immortalitybookcover

Author:
Stephen Cave
Publisher:
Crown (2012)

Amazon | A fascinating work of popular philosophy and history that both enlightens and entertains, Stephen Cave’s Immortality investigates whether it just might be possible to live forever and whether we should want to.  But it also makes a powerful argument, which is that it’s our very preoccupation with defying mortality that drives civilization.

Central to this book is the metaphor of a mountaintop where one can find the Immortals.  Since the… read more

Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology

October 3, 2012

Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology

Author:
Peter Lucas, Joe Ballay, Mickey McManus
Publisher:
Wiley (2012)

We are facing a future of unbounded complexity.  Whether that complexity is harnessed to build a world that is safe, pleasant, humane and profitable, or whether it causes us to careen off a cliff into an abyss of mind-numbing junk is an open question. The challenges and opportunities–technical, business, and human–that this technological sea change will bring are without precedent. Entire industries will be born and others will be… read more

The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

April 9, 2009

In his first book since the bestselling Fermat’s Enigma, Simon Singh offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing the dramatic effects codes have had on wars, nations, and individual lives. From Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code, to the Navajo Code Talkers who helped the Allies win World War II, to the incredible (and incredibly simple) logisitical breakthrough that made Internet… read more

Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever

May 1, 2010

fantastic voyage book

Author:
Ray Kurzweil
Publisher:
Rodale Books (2004)

Amazon | The idea behind Kurzweil and Grossman’s Fantastic Voyage is that if you can make it through the next 50 years, you might become immortal. How will that be possible? Through some rather science fictional steps, it turns out, including taking advantage of the latest in biotechnological breakthroughs and not-yet-invented nanotechnology.

Is all this longing for immortality driven by an obsession with youth or a fear of death?… read more

The Long Tomorrow: How Advances in Evolutionary Biology Can Help Us Postpone Aging

July 16, 2010

The Long Tomorrow: How Advances in Evolutionary Biology Can Help Us Postpone Aging

Author:
Michael R. Rose
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA (2005)

Amazon | Rose, an authority on gerontology, uses evolutionary biology to frame the problem of aging, contrasting the drive to reproduce in youth with the ability to survive into old age. In short, according to his research, the Victorians were right: sex is death. The evolutionary pressure of reproducing at an early age seems to have the side effect of causing early aging. Rose’s explanation of his theory is… read more

Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World

October 5, 2010

macrowikinomics-cover

Author:
Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams
Publisher:
Portfolio Hardcover (2010)

Amazon | In their 2007 bestseller, Wikinomics Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams showed the world how mass collaboration was changing the way businesses communicate, create value, and compete in the new global marketplace. Now, in the wake of the global financial crisis, the principles of wikinomics have become more powerful than ever.

Many of the institutions that have served us well for decades or centuries seem stuck… read more

Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything

January 18, 2011

Total Recall

Author:
Gordon Bell, Jim Gemmell
Publisher:
Dutton Adult (2009)

Amazon | The total recall revolution is inevitable. It will change what it means to be human. It has already begun. What if you could remember everything? Soon, if you choose, you will be able to conveniently and affordably record your whole life in minute detail. You would have Total Recall.

Authors Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell draw on experience from their MyLifeBits project at Microsoft Research… read more

How We Live and Why We Die: The Secret Lives of Cells

February 23, 2011

how we live why we die

Author:
Lewis Wolpert
Publisher:
Faber and Faber (2009)

Publishers Weekly | Wolpert, professor emeritus of biology at University College London (Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast), conceives bodies as complex societies of cells, with each individual cell and cell type fulfilling a very specific role. As Wolpert explains, cells are incredibly complicated, representing evolution in action. Indeed, Wolpert asserts, However clever one thinks cells are, they almost always turn out to exceed one’s expectations.

He provides basic… read more

The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life

April 21, 2011

The Belief Instinct book cover

Author:
Jesse Bering
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2011)

Amazon | The surprising psychology behind why we believe in God, the supernatural, and the afterlife.

Why is belief so hard to shake? Despite our best attempts to embrace rational thought and reject superstition, we often find ourselves appealing to unseen forces that guide our destiny, wondering who might be watching us as we go about our lives, and imagining what might come after death.… read more

Complexity: A Guided Tour

June 7, 2011

Complexity: A Guided Tour book cover

Author:
Melanie Mitchell
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (2009)

Amazon | What enables individually simple insects like ants to act with such precision and purpose as a group? How do trillions of individual neurons produce something as extraordinarily complex as consciousness? What is it that guides self-organizing structures like the immune system, the World Wide Web, the global economy, and the human genome? These are just a few of the fascinating and elusive questions that the… read more

Future Science: Essays from the Cutting Edge

July 22, 2011

Future Science book cover

Author:
Max Brockman
Publisher:
Vintage (2011)

Amazon | Editor Max Brockman introduces the work of some of today’s brightest and most innovative young scientists in this fascinating and exciting collection of writings that describe the very boundaries of our knowledge.

Future Science
features nineteen young scientists, most of whom are presenting their innovative work and ideas to a general audience for the first time. Featured in this collection are William McEwan, a… read more

The Physics of Consciousness: The Quantum Mind and the Meaning of Life

December 28, 2011

physics_of_consciousness

Author:
Evan Harris Walker
Publisher:
Basic Books (2000)

Amazon | For decades, neuroscientists, psychologists, and an army of brain researchers have been struggling, in vain, to explain the phenomenon of consciousness. Now there is a clear trail to the answer, and it leads through the dense jungle of quantum physics, Zen, and subjective experience, and arrives at an unexpected destination. In this tour-de-force of scientific investigation, Evan Harris Walker shows how the operation of bizarre… read more

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