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Biopunk: DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life

April 25, 2011

biopunk

Author:
Marcus Wohlsen
Publisher:
Current Hardcover (2011)

The most disruptive force on the planet resides in DNA. Biotech companies and academic researchers are just beginning to unlock the potential of piecing together life from scratch.

Champions of synthetic biology believe that turning genetic code into Lego-like blocks to build never-before-seen organisms could solve the thorniest challenges in medicine, energy, and environmental protection.

But as the hackers who cracked open the potential of the personal… read more

The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life

April 21, 2011

The Belief Instinct book cover

Author:
Jesse Bering
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2011)

Amazon | The surprising psychology behind why we believe in God, the supernatural, and the afterlife.

Why is belief so hard to shake? Despite our best attempts to embrace rational thought and reject superstition, we often find ourselves appealing to unseen forces that guide our destiny, wondering who might be watching us as we go about our lives, and imagining what might come after death.… read more

Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrödinger’s Cat: Scenes from the Living Laboratory

April 21, 2011

Pavlov's Dogs book cover

Author:
Rom Harré
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (2009)

Amazon | From the sheep, dog, and cockerel that were sent aloft in Montgolfier’s balloon to test the air over Paris, to the famous clone Dolly the Sheep and the Darwinian finches of the Galapagos, Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrödinger’s Cat offers a fascinating and enlightening look at the use of plants and animals — including humans — in scientific experiments. Rom Harré provides a fresh and fascinating perspective on research,… read more

Atlas Shrugged

April 21, 2011

Atlas Shrugged

Author:
Ayn Rand
Publisher:
Plume (1999)

Amazon | Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was Ayn Rand’s greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatizes her unique philosophy through an intellectual mystery story that integrates ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics, and sex.

Set in a near-future U.S.A. whose economy is collapsing as a result of the mysterious disappearance of leading innovators and industrialists, this novel presents an astounding panorama… read more

Landscape of the Mind: Human Evolution and the Archaeology of Thought

April 21, 2011

Landscape of the Mind book cover

Author:
John F. Hoffecker
Publisher:
Columbia University Press (2011)

Amazon | John F. Hoffecker explores the origin and growth of the mind, drawing on information from the human fossil record, archaeology, and history. Hoffecker argues that, as an indirect result of bipedal locomotion, early humans developed a feedback relationship among their hands, brains, and tools, evolving the capacity to externalize thoughts in the form of shaped stone objects. When anatomically modern humans evolved a parallel capacity to… read more

Self-Organization in Biological Systems

April 20, 2011

Self-Organization in Biological Systems book cover

Author:
Scott Camazine, Jean-Louis Deneubourg, Nigel R. Franks
Publisher:
Princeton University Press (2003)

Amazon | The synchronized flashing of fireflies at night. The spiraling patterns of an aggregating slime mold. The anastomosing network of army-ant trails. The coordinated movements of a school of fish. Researchers are finding in such patterns — phenomena that have fascinated naturalists for centuries — a fertile new approach to understanding biological systems: the study of self-organization. This book, a primer on self-organization in biological systems for students and… read more

Collider: The Search for the World’s Smallest Particles

April 6, 2011

Collider book cover

Author:
Paul Halpern
Publisher:
Wiley (2010)

Amazon | An accessible look at the hottest topic in physics and the experiments that will transform our understanding of the universe

The biggest news in science today is the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle-smasher, and the anticipation of finally discovering the Higgs boson particle. But what is the Higgs boson and why is it often referred to as the God Particle?… read more

The Quantum Thief

April 6, 2011

The Quantum Thief book cover

Author:
Hannu Rajaniemi
Publisher:
Tor Books (2011)

Amazon | Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist, and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy — from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of Mars. Now he’s confined inside the Dilemma Prison, where every day he has to get up and kill himself before… read more

Unlocking the Gates: How and Why Leading Universities Are Opening Up Access to Their Courses

April 4, 2011

Unlocking the Gates book cover

Author:
Taylor Walsh
Publisher:
Princeton University Press (2010)

Amazon | Over the past decade, a small revolution has taken place at some of the world’s leading universities, as they have started to provide free access to undergraduate course materials — including syllabi, assignments, and lectures — to anyone with an Internet connection. Yale offers high-quality audio and video recordings of a careful selection of popular lectures, MIT supplies digital materials for nearly all of its courses, Carnegie Mellon… read more

Time Loops and Space Twists: How God Created the Universe

April 4, 2011

Time Loops and Space Twists book cover

Author:
Fred Alan Wolf
Publisher:
Hierophant Publishing (2011)

Amazon | In his most important book since Taking the Quantum Leap, Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D., explains how our understanding of time, space, and matter have changed in just the last few years, and how with these new ideas we have a glimpse into the “mind of God.”

Making comparisons to Hindu Vedic and Judeo-Christian cosmology, Dr. Wolf explains how the universal command of the Deity “Let there be… read more

Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth

April 4, 2011

Deep Future book cover

Author:
Curt Stager
Publisher:
Thomas Dunne Books (2011)

Amazon | A bold, far-reaching look at how our actions will decide the planet’s future for millennia to come.

Imagine a planet where North American and Eurasian navies are squaring off over shipping lanes through an acidified, ice-free Arctic. Centuries later, their northern descendants retreat southward as the recovering sea freezes over again. And later still, future nations plan how to avert an approaching Ice Age… by… read more

Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers

April 4, 2011

Be Different book cover

Author:
John Elder Robison
Publisher:
Crown Archetype (2011)

Amazon | “I believe those of us with Asperger’s are here for a reason, and we have much to offer. This book will help you bring out those gifts.”

In his bestselling memoir, Look Me in the Eye, John Elder Robison described growing up with Asperger’s syndrome at a time when the diagnosis didn’t exist. He was intelligent but socially isolated; his talents won him jobs with… 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

Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Are Next to Worthless, and You Can Do Better

April 4, 2011

Future Babble book cover

Author:
Dan Gardner
Publisher:
Dutton Adult (2011)

Amazon | An award-winning journalist uses landmark research to debunk the whole expert prediction industry, and explores the psychology of our obsession with future history.

In 2008, experts predicted gas would hit $20 a gallon; it peaked at $4.10. In 1967, they said the USSR would be the world’s fastest-growing economy by 2000; by 2000, the USSR no longer existed. In 1908, it was pronounced that… read more

The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study

March 30, 2011

The Longevity Project book cover

Author:
Howard S. Friedman, Leslie R. Martin
Publisher:
Hudson Street Press (2011)

Amazon | This landmark study — which Dr. Andrew Weil calls “a remarkable achievement with surprising conclusions” — upends the advice we have been told about how to live to a healthy old age.

We have been told that the key to longevity involves obsessing over what we eat, how much we stress, and how fast we run. Based on the most extensive study of longevity ever conducted, Theread more

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