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Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts

February 20, 2014

Consciousness and the Brain Cover

author |
Stanislas Dehaene
year published |
2014

A breathtaking look at the new science that can track consciousness deep in the brain

How does our brain generate a conscious thought? And why does so much of our knowledge remain unconscious? Thanks to clever psychological and brain-imaging experiments, scientists are closer to cracking this mystery than ever before.

In this lively book, Stanislas Dehaene describes the pioneering work his lab and the labs of other… read more

The Hidden Pattern: A Patternist Philosophy of Mind

December 27, 2014

HIDDEN PATTERN

author |
Ben Goertzel
year published |
2011

The Hidden Pattern presents a novel philosophy of mind, intended to form a coherent conceptual framework within which it is possible to understand the diverse aspects of mind and intelligence in a unified way. The central concept of the philosophy presented is the concept of “pattern”: minds and the world they live in and co-create are viewed as patterned systems of patterns, evolving over time, and various aspects of subjective… read more

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

April 13, 2009

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author |
Michio Kaku
year published |
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
year published |
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
year published |
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
year published |
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
year published |
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
year published |
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
year published |
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
year published |
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

The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind

January 18, 2008

The Emotion Machine

author |
Marvin Minsky
year published |
2007

In this mind-expanding book, scientific pioneer Marvin Minsky continues his groundbreaking research, offering a fascinating new model for how our minds work. He argues persuasively that emotions, intuitions, and feelings are not distinct things, but different ways of thinking.

By examining these different forms of mind activity, Minsky says, we can explain why our thought sometimes takes the form of carefully reasoned analysis and at other times turns… read more

Mechanisms of Memory, Second Edition

October 28, 2012

mechanismsofmemory3

author |
J. David Sweatt
year published |
2009

Many who work on the cellular and molecular processes of learning and memory are tempted to throw up their hands in frustration and conclude that the problem is insoluble. Human learning and memory is likely the most highly evolved and sophisticated biological process in existence. This book represents the first step at beginning to put together the complex puzzle of the molecular basis of memory. Sweatt creates a framework… read more

A.I. Apocalypse

September 12, 2013

hertling_ai_apocalypse

author |
William Hertling
year published |
2012

Leon Tsarev is a high school student set on getting into a great college program, until his uncle, a member of the Russian mob, coerces him into developing a new computer virus for the mob’s botnet – the slave army of computers they used to commit digital crimes.

The evolutionary virus Leon creates, based on biological principles, is successful — too successful. All the world’s computers are infected. Everything… read more

Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts

December 16, 2013

frankensteins_cat_book

author |
Emily Anthes
year published |
2013

One of Nature’s Summer Book Picks
One of Publishers Weekly’s Top Ten Spring 2013 Science Books

For centuries, we’ve toyed with our creature companions, breeding dogs that herd and hunt, housecats that look like tigers, and teacup pigs that fit snugly in our handbags. But what happens when we take animal alteration a step further, engineering a cat that glows green under ultraviolet light or cloning the beloved family Labrador?… read more

Extreme Planets: A Science Fiction Anthology of Alien Worlds

March 19, 2014

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author |
David Conyers, David Kernot, Jeff Harris
year published |
2014

Two decades ago astronomers confirmed the existence of planets orbiting stars other than our Sun. Today more than 800 such worlds have been identified, and scientists now estimate that at least 160 billion star-bound planets are to be found in the Milky Way Galaxy alone. But more surprising is just how diverse and bizarre those worlds are.

Extreme Planets is a science fiction anthology of stories set on… read more

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