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Zero History

September 3, 2010

Zero History

Author:
William Gibson
Publisher:
Putnam Adult (2010)

Amazon | After a gig investigating “locative art” for the “overly wealthy and dangerously curious” Hubertus Bigend, founder of the trend-forecasting firm Blue Ant (Spook Country, 2007), Hollis Henry finds herself once again under Bigend’s employ. This time she is hired to discover the identity of the designer of a secret brand of clothing called Gabriel Hounds, whom Bigend hopes to enlist in his bid to get into the… read more

Humanity’s End: Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement

November 29, 2010

humanitysend

Author:
Nicholas Agar
Publisher:
The MIT Press (2010)

Amazon | Proposals to make us smarter than the greatest geniuses or to add thousands of years to our life spans seem fit only for the spam folder or trash can. And yet this is what contemporary advocates of radical enhancement offer in all seriousness. They present a variety of technologies and therapies that will expand our capacities far beyond what is currently possible for human beings.… read more

Mapping the Mind: Revised and Updated Edition

January 7, 2011

Mapping the Mind Book Cover

Author:
Rita Carter
Publisher:
University of California Press (2010)

Amazon | Today a brain scan reveals our thoughts and moods as clearly as an X-ray reveals our bones. We can actually observe a person’s brain registering a joke or experiencing a painful memory. In Mapping the Mind, award-winning journalist Rita Carter draws on the latest imaging technology and science to chart how human behavior and personality reflect the biological mechanisms behind thought and emotion. This acclaimed book,… read more

MegaMinds: How to Create and Invent in the Age of Google

July 16, 2013

MegaMinds

Author:
Larry Kilham
Publisher:
Lawrence B. Kilham (2010)

MegaMinds: How to Create and Invent in the Age of Google describes how people think creatively and how to use the computer clouds for more success. Steps and examples provide practical guidance for the reader’s projects. A number of people, industries, and development areas are discussed. Larry Kilham reviews the major thinkers such as da Vinci, Edison and Einstein and then moves on to the latest in computer-aided thinking.… read more

2010 State of the Future

July 15, 2010

2010 State of the Future

Author:
Jerome C. Glenn, Theodore J. Gordon
Publisher:
The Millenium Project (2010)

Millennium Project | This “report card on the future” distills the collective intelligence of over 2,700 leading scientists, futurists, scholars, and policy advisors who work for governments, corporations, non-governmental organizations, universities, and international organizations. The 2010 State of the Future comes in two parts: a 83-page print executive summary and an attached CD containing about 7,000 pages of research behind the print edition and the Millennium Project’s 14… read more

The Lifecycle of Software Objects

August 3, 2010

Lifecycle of Software Objects

Author:
Ted Chiang
Publisher:
Subterranean (2010)

Amazon | Is science fiction a literature of ideas, or of characters? Works that focus on the former often neglect the latter, and vice versa. It’s very difficult to examine complex abstractions and simultaneously articulate the mechanisms of fiction: most writers who attempt this balancing act end up throttling back on the ideas, or fail sideways into technical writing. So Chiang’s novella–the second piece he’s ever published that’s long… read more

Your Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings

January 12, 2012

yourbrainonfood

Author:
Gary Wenk
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (2010)

Amazon | Why is eating chocolate so pleasurable? Can the function of just one small group of chemicals really determine whether you are happy or sad? Does marijuana help to improve your memory in old age? Is it really best to drink coffee if you want to wake up and be alert? Why is a drug like PCP potentially lethal? Why does drinking alcohol make you drowsy? Do… read more

Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel

October 13, 2010
Author:
Gary Shteyngart
Publisher:
Random House (2010)

Amazon | The author of two critically acclaimed novels, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook and Absurdistan, Gary Shteyngart has risen to the top of the fiction world. Now, in his hilarious and heartfelt new novel, he envisions a deliciously dark tale of America’s dysfunctional coming years — and the timeless and tender feelings that just might bring us back from the brink.

In a very near future — oh,… read more

The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self

January 12, 2012

egotunnel

Author:
Thomas Metzinger
Publisher:
Basic Books (2010)

Amazon | This is a radical rethinking of the nature of consciousness. The Ego Tunnel, a major work from one of the brightest of the new generation of philosophers of mind, proposes a simple yet radical rethinking of the nature of consciousness and a fascinating and controversial exploration of what it implies. We’re used to thinking of the self’s relation to the world as a dyad — the… read more

A Cosmist Manifesto: Practical Philosophy for the Posthuman Age

July 22, 2010

A Cosmist Manifesto: Practical Philosophy for the Posthuman Age

Author:
Ben Goertzel
Publisher:
Humanity + (2010)

Amazon | The term Cosmism was introduced by Tsiolokovsky and other Russian Cosmists around 1900. Goertzel’s “Cosmist Manifesto” gives it new life and a new twist for the 21st century. Cosmism, as Goertzel presents it, is a practical philosophy for the posthuman era. Rooted in Western and Eastern philosophy as well as modern technology and science, it is a way of understanding ourselves and our universe that makes sense… read more

Long for This World: The Strange Science of Immortality

February 15, 2011

Long for This World cover

Author:
Jonathan Weiner
Publisher:
Ecco (2010)

Amazon | From the Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Jonathan Weiner comes a fast-paced and astonishing scientific adventure story: has the long-sought secret of eternal youth at last been found?

In recent years, the dream of eternal youth has started to look like more than just a dream. In the twentieth century alone, life expectancy increased by more than thirty years — almost as much time as humans have… read more

Absolutely Small: How Quantum Theory Explains Our Everyday World

October 21, 2010
Author:
Michael D. Fayer
Publisher:
AMACOM (2010)

Publishers Weekly | How a photon can be in two places at once is just one of the conundrums of quantum physics that Fayer (Elements of Quantum Mechanics) helps to unravel. The Stanford University Professor of Chemistry provides a roadmap for non-scientific readers who wish to understand the subject but lack advanced mathematical training.

Fayer’s belief that our everyday experiences “teach us to think in terms… read more

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

September 7, 2010

theshallows

Author:
Nicholas G. Carr
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2010)

Amazon | The best-selling author of The Big Switch returns with an explosive look at technology’s effect on the mind. “Is Google making us stupid?” When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the… read more

Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong

December 28, 2011

moral

Author:
Wendell Wallach, Colin Allen
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (2010)

Amazon | Computers are already approving financial transactions, controlling electrical supplies, and driving trains. Soon, service robots will be taking care of the elderly in their homes, and military robots will have their own targeting and firing protocols. Colin Allen and Wendell Wallach argue that as robots take on more and more responsibility, they must be programmed with moral decision-making abilities, for our own safety. Taking a fast… read more

The Extended Mind

September 12, 2011

extendedmind

Author:
Richard Menary
Publisher:
The MIT Press (2010)

Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin? In their famous 1998 paper “The Extended Mind,” philosophers Andy Clark and David Chalmers posed this question and answered it provocatively: cognitive processes “ain’t all in the head.” The environment has an active role in driving cognition; cognition is sometimes made up of neural, bodily, and environmental processes. Their argument excited a vigorous debate among… read more

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