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Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power

April 27, 2012

strategicvision

Author:
Zbigniew Brzezinski
Publisher:
Basic Books (2012)

Amazon | By 1991, following the disintegration first of the Soviet bloc and then of the Soviet Union itself, the United States was left standing tall as the only global super-power. Not only the 20th but even the 21st century seemed destined to be the American centuries. But that super-optimism did not last long. During the last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century,… read more

Mars and the Mind of Man

September 5, 2012

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Author:
Carl Sagan
Publisher:
Harper & Row (1973)

On November 12, 1971, the day before NASA’s Mariner 9 mission reached Mars and became the first spacecraft to orbit another planet, Caltech Planetary Science professor Bruce Murray summoned a formidable panel of thinkers to discuss the implications of the historic event. Murray himself was to join the great Carl Sagan and science fiction icons Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke in a conversation moderated by Newread more

Heart of the Comet

October 26, 2012

Heart of the Comet

Author:
David Brin, Gregory Benford
Publisher:
Lucky Bat Books (2012)

Gregory Benford and David Brin come together again to issue a new edition of their bold collaboration about our near human future in space, planting our boots . . . and staking our destiny . . . on becoming the People of the Comet. Prescient and scientifically accurate, Heart of the Comet is known as one of the great “hard sf” novels of the 1980s. First published in 1986, it tells… read more

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

November 26, 2012

steven_pinker_-_the_stuff_of_thought1 (1)

Author:
Steven Pinker
Publisher:
Penguin Books (2008)

This New York Times bestseller is an exciting and fearless investigation of language

Bestselling author Steven Pinker possesses that rare combination of scientific aptitude and verbal eloquence that enables him to provide lucid explanations of deep and powerful ideas. His previous books including the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Blank Slate have catapulted him into the limelight as one of today’s most important popular science writers. In The Stuff of Thought, Pinker presents a… read more

The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30)

February 21, 2014

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Author:
Mark Bauerlein
Publisher:
Tarcher (2008)

For decades, concern has been brewing about the dumbed-down popular culture of young people and the impact it has on their futures.

The dawn of the digital age once aroused our hopes: the Internet, e-mail, blogs, and interactive and ultra-realistic video games promised to yield a generation of sharper, more aware, and intellectually sophisticated children. The terms “information superhighway” and “knowledge economy” entered the lexicon, and we assumed… read more

Invisible: The Dangerous Allure of the Unseen

July 21, 2014

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Author:
Philip Ball
Publisher:
The Bodley Head (2014)

If you could be invisible, what would you do? The chances are that it would have something to do with power, wealth or sex. Perhaps all three.

But there’s no need to feel guilty. Impulses like these have always been at the heart of our fascination with invisibility: it points to realms beyond our senses, serves as a receptacle for fears and dreams, and hints at worlds where… read more

Carry On: Sound Advice from Schneier on Security

January 2, 2015

Carry On

Author:
Bruce Schneier
Publisher:
Wiley (2014)

Up-to-the-minute observations from a world-famous security expert

Bruce Schneier is known worldwide as the foremost authority and commentator on every security issue from cyber-terrorism to airport surveillance. This groundbreaking book features more than 160 commentaries on recent events including the Boston Marathon bombing, the NSA’s ubiquitous surveillance programs, Chinese cyber-attacks, the privacy of cloud computing, and how to hack the Papal election. Timely as an Internet news report and… read more

Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel

April 13, 2009

books

Author:
Michio Kaku
Publisher:
Doubleday (2009)

One hundred years ago, scientists would have said that lasers, televisions, and the atomic bomb were beyond the realm of physical possibility. Here, physicist Michio Kaku explores to what extent the technologies and devices of science fiction that are deemed equally impossible today might well become commonplace in the future. From teleportation to telekinesis, Kaku uses the world of science fiction to explore the fundamentals–and the limits–of the laws of… read more

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

July 14, 2010

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

Author:
Atul Gawande
Publisher:
Metropolitan Books (2009)

Amazon | That humblest of quality-control devices, the checklist, is the key to taming a high-tech economy, argues this stimulating manifesto. Harvard Medical School prof and New Yorker scribe Gawande (Complications) notes that the high-pressure complexities of modern professional occupations overwhelm even their best-trained practitioners; he argues that a disciplined adherence to essential procedures—by ticking them off a list—can prevent potentially fatal mistakes and corner cutting. He examines checklists… read more

Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

July 20, 2010

Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

Author:
V. S. Ramachandran, Sandra Blakeslee, Oliver Sacks
Publisher:
Harper Perennial (1999)

In these unsettling tales from a neuroscientist every bit as quirky as the more famous Oliver Sacks, Ramachandran sets out his beliefs that no matter how bizarre the case, empirical, strikingly simple testing can illuminate the ways brain circuitry establishes “self.” In a chatty, nearly avuncular style, he (along with his coauthor, a New York Times science writer) snatches territory from philosophers on how we think we know what… read more

Does Aging Stop?

December 16, 2010

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Author:
Laurence D. Mueller, Casandra L. Rauser, Michael R. Rose
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (2011)

Amazon | Does Aging Stop? reveals the most paradoxical finding of recent aging research: the cessation of demographic aging. The authors show that aging stops at the level of the individual organism, and explain why evolution allows this. The implications of this counter-intuitive conclusion are profound, and aging research now needs to accept three uncomfortable truths. First, aging is not a cumulative physiological process. Second, the fundamental… read more

Build Your Own Humanoid Robots: 6 Amazing and Affordable Projects

February 7, 2011

buildyourownhumanoidrobots

Author:
Karl Williams
Publisher:
McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics (2004)

This unique guide to sophisticated robotics projects brings humanoid robot construction home to the hobbyist. Written by a well-known figure in the robotics community, Build Your Own Humanoid Robots provides step-by-step directions for 6 exciting projects, each costing less than $300: Robotic Arm, Wrist, and Hand; Personal Computer Interface; Visual Basic Control Software; Voice Recognition Control; Expressive, Speaking Face; Bipedal Walking Robot. Together, these projects form the… read more

The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution

March 28, 2011

The Origins of Order book cover

Author:
Stuart Kauffman
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (1993)

Amazon | Stuart Kauffman here presents a brilliant new paradigm for evolutionary biology, one that extends the basic concepts of Darwinian evolution to accommodate recent findings and perspectives from the fields of biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics.

The book drives to the heart of the exciting debate on the origins of life and maintenance of order in complex biological systems. It focuses on the concept of… read more

A Planet of Viruses

May 11, 2011

A Planet of Viruses book cover

Author:
Carl Zimmer
Publisher:
University Of Chicago Press (2011)

Amazon | Viruses are the smallest living things known to science, and yet they hold the entire planet in their sway. We’re most familiar with the viruses that give us colds or the flu, but viruses also cause a vast range of other diseases, including one disorder that makes people sprout branch-like growths as if they were trees. Viruses have been a part of our lives for… read more

On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not

February 24, 2012

onbeingcertain

Author:
Robert Burton
Publisher:
St. Martin's Griffin (2009)

You recognize when you know something for certain, right? You “know” the sky is blue, or that the traffic light had turned green, or where you were on the morning of September 11, 2001 — you know these things, well, because you just do.

In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton shows that feeling certain — feeling that we know something — is a mental sensation, rather than evidence of… read more

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