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Positioning Synthetic Biology to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century: Summary Report of a Six Academies Symposium Series (2013)

August 15, 2013

positioni;ng_synthetic_biology

Author:
Stephanie Joyce, Anne-Marie Mazza, Steven Kendall
Publisher:
National Research Council (2013)

Synthetic biology — unlike any research discipline that precedes it — has the potential to bypass the less predictable process of evolution to usher in a new and dynamic way of working with living systems.

Ultimately, synthetic biologists hope to design and build engineered biological systems with capabilities that do not exist in natural systems — capabilities that may ultimately be used for applications in manufacturing, food production, and… read more

Post Mortal Syndrome: A Science Fiction Novel

January 11, 2012

Post Mortal Syndrome cover

Author:
Damien Broderick, Barbara Lamar
Publisher:
Borgo Press (2011)

Amazon | Attorney Jill Shannon’s clients include Blick Pharmaceuticals, which is pursuing research into life-extending drugs.

Blick has reawakened the homicidal maniac Payback, whom they created twenty years earlier, to literally kill off the competition by targeting research scientists.

Jill’s boyfriend, Paul Gibson, one of the scientists, is forced to inject them with an intelligence booster. Suddenly they find themselves in the middle of a… read more

Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human

September 5, 2014

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Author:
David Roden
Publisher:
Routledge (2014)

We imagine posthumans as humans made superhumanly intelligent or resilient by future advances in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science. Many argue that these enhanced people might live better lives; others fear that tinkering with our nature will undermine our sense of our own humanity. Whoever is right, it is assumed that our technological successor will be an upgraded or degraded version of us: Human 2.0.

Posthuman Liferead more

Posthuman Personhood

July 9, 2013

Posthuman Personhood

Author:
Daryl J. Wennemann
Publisher:
University Press of America (2013)

Posthuman Personhood takes up the ethical challenge posed by Francis Fukuyama’s work, Our Posthuman Future. Daryl J. Wennemann argues that the traditional concept of personhood may be fruitfully applied to the ethical challenge we facein a posthuman age. He draws upon Wilfrid Sellars’ treatment of the concept of a person within “the manifest image of man in the world.” Sellars proposed that we develop a stereoscopic view of reality that includes… read more

Postsingular

May 17, 2011

Postsingular

Author:
Rudy Rucker
Publisher:
Tor Books (2009)

Booklist | Always willing and able to embrace sf’s trendiest themes, Rucker here takes on the volatile field of nanotechnology and the presumed inevitable “Singularity” of human and computer unification.

In a series of interrelated vignettes, he describes the calamity that befalls nanotech inventor Ond Lutter and his would-be benefactors when Ond unleashes a variety of self-replicating nanobots. In one episode, trillions of microscopic bots, dubbed… 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

Power, Madness and Immortality

April 12, 2009

power madness immortality

Author:
Mychilo Cline
Publisher:
University Village Press (2005)

There has been increasing interest in the potential social impact of new technologies, such as virtual reality (as may be seen in utopian literature, within the social sciences, and in popular culture). Mychilo S. Cline, in his book, Power, Madness, and Immortality: The Future of Virtual Reality, argues that virtual reality will lead to a number of important changes in human life and activity. He argues that:

*… read more

Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life

October 4, 2011

power-sex-suicide-mitochondria-meaning-life-nick-lane-paperback-cover-art

Author:
Nick Lane
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (2006)

Amazon | If it weren’t for mitochondria, scientists argue, we’d all still be single-celled bacteria. Indeed, these tiny structures inside our cells are important beyond imagining. Without mitochondria, we would have no cell suicide, no sculpting of embryonic shape, no sexes, no menopause, no aging.

In this fascinating and thought-provoking book, Nick Lane brings together the latest research in this exciting field to show how our… read more

Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die

March 14, 2013

Predictive Analytics

Author:
Eric Siegel, Thomas H. Davenport
Publisher:
Wiley (2013)

You have been predicted — by companies, governments, law enforcement, hospitals, and universities. Their computers say, “I knew you were going to do that!” These institutions are seizing upon the power to predict whether you’re going to click, buy, lie, or die.

Why? For good reason: predicting human behavior combats financial risk, fortifies healthcare, conquers spam, toughens crime fighting, and boosts sales.

How? Prediction is powered by… read more

Present at the Future: From Evolution to Nanotechnology, Candid and Controversial Conversations on Science and Nature

May 2, 2011

Present at the Future book cover

Author:
Ira Flatow
Publisher:
Harper Paperbacks (2008)

Amazon | Veteran NPR science reporter and award-winning radio and TV journalist Ira Flatow’s enthusiasm for all things scientific has made him a beloved on-air correspondent. For more than thirty-five years, Flatow has interviewed the top scientists and researchers on many NPR and PBS programs, including his popular Science Friday spot on Talk of the Nation. In Present at the Future, he shares the groundbreaking revelations from those conversations, including the latest… read more

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

March 15, 2013

Present Shock

Author:
Douglas Rushkoff
Publisher:
Current Hardcover (2013)

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, explains award-winning media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, but we don’t seem to have any time in which to live it. Instead we remain poised and frozen, overwhelmed by an always-on, live-streamed re­ality that our human bodies and minds can never truly in­habit. And our failure to do so has had wide-ranging effects on every aspect of our lives.

People… read more

Prey

March 16, 2011

Prey book cover

Author:
Michael Crichton
Publisher:
Harper (2008)

Amazon | In the Nevada desert, an experiment has gone horribly wrong. A cloud of nanoparticles — micro-robots — has escaped from the laboratory. This cloud is self-sustaining and self-reproducing. It is intelligent and learns from experience. For all practical purposes, it is alive.

It has been programmed as a predator. It is evolving swiftly, becoming more deadly with each passing hour.

Every attempt to destroy it has… read more

Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age

December 16, 2010

program-programmed

Author:
Douglas Rushkoff
Publisher:
OR Books (2010)

Amazon | Today’s leading media theorist offers everyone a practical yet mind-blowing guide to our digital world. The debate over whether the Net is good or bad for us fills the airwaves and the blogosphere. But for all the heat of claim and counter-claim, the argument is essentially beside the point: it’s here; it’s everywhere. The real question is, do we direct technology, or do we let… read more

Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming

January 31, 2013

Python for Kids

Author:
Jason R. Briggs
Publisher:
No Starch Press (2012)

For Kids Aged 10+ (And Their Parents)
The code in this book runs on almost anything: Windows, Mac, Linux, even an OLPC laptop or Raspberry Pi!

Python is a powerful, expressive programming language that’s easy to learn and fun to use! But books about learning to program in Python can be kind of dull, gray, and boring, and that’s no fun for anyone.

Python for Kids brings Python… read more

Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science (Great Discoveries)

August 24, 2011

quantumman

Author:
Lawrence M. Krauss
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2011)

Amazon | A gripping new scientific biography of the revered Nobel Prize–winning physicist (and curious character).

Perhaps the greatest physicist of the second half of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman changed the way we think about quantum mechanics, the most perplexing of all physical theories. Here Lawrence M. Krauss, himself a theoretical physicist and best-selling author, offers a unique scientific biography: a rollicking narrative coupled with clear… read more

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