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Designing Culture: The Technological Imagination at Work

July 6, 2011

Designing Culture book cover

Author:
Anne Balsamo
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books (2011)

Amazon | The renowned cultural theorist and media designer Anne Balsamo maintains that technology and culture are inseparable; those who engage in technological innovation are designing the cultures of the future. Designing Culture is a call for taking culture seriously in the design and development of innovative technologies.

Balsamo contends that the wellspring of technological innovation is the technological imagination, a quality of mind that enables people… read more

Wicked Problems – Social Messes: Decision Support Modelling with Morphological Analysis

September 1, 2011

wickedproblems

Author:
Tom Ritchey
Publisher:
Springer (2011)

Amazon | This is the first dedicated book to be published on computer-aided General Morphological Analysis (GMA) as a non-quantified modelling method. It presents the history and theory of GMA and describes how it is used to develop interactive, non-quantified inference models. Eleven case studies are presented out of more than 100 projects carried out since 1995, illustrating how GMA has been employed for structuring complex policy… read more

Rule 34

July 6, 2011

Rule 34 book cover

Author:
Charles Stross
Publisher:
Ace Hardcover (2011)

Publisher’s Weekly | Hugo winner Stross blends plausible near-future SF and crime in this brisk sequel to 2007′s Halting State. In the mid-2020s, the police monitor the Internet full-time to prevent crime. In Edinburgh, this job falls to DI Liz Kavanaugh’s Rule 34 Squad (whose name refers to the Internet truism that “if it exists, there’s porn about it”). Kavanaugh views the position as a demotion, but she… read more

The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must

March 15, 2013

The Case for Mars

Author:
Robert Zubrin, Richard Wagner
Publisher:
Free Press (2011)

Since the beginning of human history, Mars has been an alluring dream—the stuff of legends, gods, and mystery. The planet most like ours, it has still been thought impossible to reach, let alone explore and inhabit. But all that changed when leading space exploration authority Robert Zubrin crafted a daring new blueprint, Mars Direct. When it was first published in 1996, The Case for Mars became an instant classic, lauded widely… read more

How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival

June 17, 2011

How the Hippies Saved Physics book cover

Author:
David Kaiser
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2011)

Amazon | The surprising story of eccentric young scientists who stood up to convention — and changed the face of modern physics.

Today, quantum information theory is among the most exciting scientific frontiers, attracting billions of dollars in funding and thousands of talented researchers. But as MIT physicist and historian David Kaiser reveals, this cutting-edge field has a surprisingly psychedelic past. How the Hippies Saved Physics introduces us to… read more

How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like

July 6, 2011

How Pleasure Works book cover

Author:
Paul Bloom
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2011)

Amazon | “Engaging, evocative. . . . [Bloom] is a supple, clear writer, and his parade of counterintuitive claims about pleasure is beguiling.” — NPR

Why is an artistic masterpiece worth millions more than a convincing forgery? Pleasure works in mysterious ways, as Paul Bloom reveals in this investigation of what we desire and why. Drawing on a wealth of surprising studies, Bloom investigates pleasures noble and… read more

The Book of Universes: Exploring the Limits of the Cosmos

July 6, 2011

Book of Universes cover

Author:
John D. Barrow
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2011)

Amazon | Einstein’s theory of general relativity opens the door to other universes, and weird universes at that: universes that allow time travel, universes where you can see the back of your head, universes that spin and bounce or multiply without limit. The Book of Universes gives us a stunning tour of these potential universes, introducing us along the way to the brilliant physicists and mathematicians who first revealed… read more

Stones of Significance

October 26, 2012

stonessignificancecover

Author:
David Brin
Publisher:
Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (2011)

Heard of the “singularity”? A time of transition that some perceive just ahead of us, when our skill and knowledge and immense computing power transform us into… well… godlike beings? An immense topic! But from a writer’s perspective, it presents a problem. One can write stories leading up to the singularity, about all the problems. (Little things like rebellious AI.) But how do you write a tale set AFTER… read more

The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better

June 29, 2011

The Great Stagnation book cover

Author:
Tyler Cowen
Publisher:
Dutton Adult (2011)

Amazon | Tyler Cowen’s The Great Stagnation, the eSpecial heard round the world that ignited a firestorm of debate and redefined the nature of our economic malaise, is now — at last — a book.

America has been through the biggest financial crisis since the great Depression, unemployment numbers are frightening, media wages have been flat since the 1970s, and it is common to expect that things will get… read more

You Are Not Your Brain: The Four-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life

June 16, 2011

You Are Not Your Brain book cover

Author:
Jeffrey M. Schwartz, Rebecca Gladding
Publisher:
Avery (2011)

Amazon | Two neuroscience experts explain how their 4-Step Method can help break destructive thoughts and actions and change bad habits for good.

A leading neuroplasticity researcher and the coauthor of the groundbreaking books Brain Lock and The Mind and the Brain, Jeffrey M. Schwartz has spent his career studying the structure and neuronal firing patterns of the human brain. He pioneered the first mindfulness-based treatment program for… read more

Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future — and Locked Us In

June 30, 2011

Always On book cover

Author:
Brian X. Chen
Publisher:
Da Capo Press (2011)

Amazon | Even Steve Jobs didn’t know what he had on his hands when he announced the original iPhone as a combination of a mere “three revolutionary products” — an iPod, a cell phone, and a keyboard-less handheld computer. Once Apple introduced the App Store and opened it up to outside developers, however, the iPhone became capable of serving a rapidly growing number of functions — now more than… read more

Robopocalypse: A Novel

June 2, 2011

Robopocalypse book cover

Author:
Daniel H. Wilson
Publisher:
Doubleday (2011)

Amazon | They are in your house. They are in your car. They are in the skies…Now they’re coming for you.

In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online… 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

First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began

June 7, 2011

First Life book cover

Author:
David Deamer
Publisher:
University of California Press (2011)

Amazon | This pathbreaking book explores how life can begin, taking us from cosmic clouds of stardust, to volcanoes on Earth, to the modern chemistry laboratory. Seeking to understand life’s connection to the stars, David Deamer introduces astrobiology, a new scientific discipline that studies the origin and evolution of life on Earth and relates it to the birth and death of stars, planet formation, interfaces between minerals,… read more

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes: Harnessing Our Power to Change the World

July 6, 2011

The Seven Spiritual Laws book cover

Author:
Deepak Chopra
Publisher:
HarperOne (2011)

Amazon | Given the volatile state of the world, it is no coincidence that superheroes have captured our imagination like never before. Everywhere you look, superheroes have broken free from their comic book pages and become a dynamic aspect of the culture at large. Superheroes are imbued with magical powers that challenge the laws of space and time, offering us a vision of a world that can change.… read more

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