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I Am a Strange Loop

May 4, 2011

I am a Strange Loop book cover

Author:
Douglas R. Hofstadter
Publisher:
Basic Books (2008)

Amazon | Can thought arise out of matter? Can self, soul, consciousness, “I” arise out of mere matter? If it cannot, then how can you or I be here?

I Am a Strange Loop argues that the key to understanding selves and consciousness is the “strange loop” — a special kind of abstract feedback loop inhabiting our brains. The most central and complex symbol in your brain is… read more

The Inner Pulse: Unlocking the Secret Code of Sickness and Health

May 4, 2011

The Inner Pulse book cover

Author:
Marc Siegel
Publisher:
Wiley (2011)

Amazon | Many doctors overlook the seemingly inexplicable tragedies and recoveries that happen in hospitals every day, opting to view them simply as aberrations from the medical norm. In this book, Dr. Marc Siegel draws from his decades of experience treating patients and explores the sometimes miraculous effects that the spirit and emotion can have on disease and healing. The inner pulse is the essence that links the… read more

Futurecast: How Superpowers, Populations, and Globalization Will Change the Way You Live and Work

May 4, 2011

Futurecast book cover

Author:
Robert J. Shapiro
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press (2008)

Amazon | What will life be like in America, Europe, Japan or China in the year 2020?

As everyone’s lives across the world are become increasingly interconnected by globalization and new technologies quicken the pace of everything, the answer to that question depends on the fate and paths of the world’s major nations. In Futurecast, Robert Shapiro, former U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce and Chairman/Co-founder of Sonecon,… 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

The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World since 1700

May 2, 2011

The Changing Body

Author:
Roderick Floud, Robert W. Fogel, Bernard Harris
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press (2011)

Amazon | Humans have become much taller and heavier, and experience healthier and longer lives than ever before in human history. However it is only recently that historians, economists, human biologists and demographers have linked the changing size, shape and capability of the human body to economic and demographic change. This fascinating and groundbreaking book presents an accessible introduction to the field of anthropometric history, surveying the… read more

SuperCooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to Succeed

May 2, 2011

Supercooperators

Author:
Martin Nowak, Roger Highfield
Publisher:
Free Press (2011)

Amazon | Evolution is often presented as a strictly competitive endeavor. This point of view has had serious implications for the way we see the mechanics of both science and culture. But scientists have long wondered how societies could have evolved without some measure of cooperation. And if there was cooperation involved, how could it have arisen from nature “red in tooth and claw”?

Martin Nowak,… read more

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

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