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Cosmos & Culture: Cultural Evolution in a Cosmic Context

October 21, 2010
Publisher:
NASA (2010)

Amazon | During the last 50 years, coincident with the Space Age, cosmic evolution has been recognized as the master narrative of the universe, history writ large. Cosmic evolution includes physical, biological, and cultural evolution, and of these the latter is by far the most rapid.

In this volume, authors with diverse backgrounds in science, history, anthropology, and more, consider culture in the context of the cosmos. How… read more

The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google

February 3, 2011

bigswitchcover

Author:
Nicholas G. Carr
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2008)

Amazon | An eye-opening look at the new computer revolution and the coming transformation of our economy, society, and culture. A hundred years ago, companies stopped producing their own power with steam engines and generators and plugged into the newly built electric grid. The cheap power pumped out by electric utilities not only changed how businesses operated but also brought the modern world into existence. Today a… 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

Shifting Borderlines: How Science Fiction Is Becoming Science

June 17, 2011

Shifting Borderlines

Author:
Hammad Azzam
Publisher:
CreateSpace (2010)

Amazon | The enabler of the quantum evolutionary leaps of our times is the rapid progression of science and the proliferation of scientific fields tackling very specialized subjects like bioinformatics, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology. Science is growing fast and unabated. Wars, economic downturns, and all other detrimental events have little effect on the expansion of science. What started with few fields (mathematics, chemistry, biology) has mushroomed into… read more

Affective Computing

August 11, 2011

Affective Computing book cover

Author:
Rosalind W. Picard
Publisher:
The MIT Press (2000)

Amazon | The latest scientific findings indicate that emotions play an essential role in decision making, perception, learning, and more — that is, they influence the very mechanisms of rational thinking. Not only too much, but too little emotion can impair decision making. According to Rosalind Picard, if we want computers to be genuinely intelligent and to interact naturally with us, we must give computers the ability to… read more

Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age

January 4, 2012

delete

Author:
Viktor Mayer-Schonberger
Publisher:
Princeton University Press (2009)

Amazon | Delete looks at the surprising phenomenon of perfect remembering in the digital age, and reveals why we must reintroduce our capacity to forget. Digital technology empowers us as never before, yet it has unforeseen consequences as well. Potentially humiliating content on Facebook is enshrined in cyberspace for future employers to see. Google remembers everything we’ve searched for and when. The digital realm remembers what is sometimes better forgotten, and… read more

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

mars_and_the_mind_of_man

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

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

does-aging-stop

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

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