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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

Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe

February 22, 2011

Biocentrism Cover Image

Author:
Robert Lanza, Bob Berman
Publisher:
BenBella Books (2010)

Amazon | Robert Lanza is one of the most respected scientists in the world — a U.S. News & World Report cover story called him a “genius” and a “renegade thinker,” even likening him to Einstein. Lanza has teamed with Bob Berman, the most widely read astronomer in the world, to produce Biocentrism, a revolutionary new view of the universe.

Every now and then a simple yet… read more

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

July 27, 2010

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

Author:
Matt Ridley
Publisher:
Harper (2010)

Amazon | Ideas have sex, in Ridley’s schema; they follow a process of natural selection of their own, and as long as they continue to do so, there is reason to retire apocalyptic pessimism about the future of our species. Erstwhile zoologist, conservationist, and journalist, Ridley (The Red Queen) posits that as long as civilization engages in exchange and specialization, we will be able to reinvent ourselves and responsibly… read more

The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: “On Robustness and Fragility”

November 26, 2012

The Black Swan

Author:
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Publisher:
Random House Trade Paperbacks (2010)

A black swan is an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable yet causes massive consequences. In this groundbreaking and prophetic book, Taleb shows in a playful way that Black Swan events explain almost everything about our world, and yet we—especially the experts—are blind to them. In this second edition, Taleb has added a new essay, On Robustness and Fragility, which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black… read more

Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do

July 7, 2010

Bursts cover

Author:
Albert-Laszlo Barabasi
Publisher:
Dutton Adult (2010)

Amazon | Can we scientifically predict our future? Scientists and pseudoscientists have been pursuing this mystery for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years. But now, amazing new research is revealing that patterns in human behavior, previously thought to be purely random, follow predictable laws.

Albert-László Barabási, already the world’s preeminent researcher on the science of networks, describes his work on this profound mystery in Bursts, a stunningly original investigation… read more

Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It

August 4, 2011

Cyber War book cover

Author:
Richard A. Clarke, Robert K. Knake
Publisher:
Ecco (2010)

Amazon | Richard A. Clarke warned America once before about the havoc terrorism would wreak on our national security — and he was right. Now he warns us of another threat, silent but equally dangerous. Cyber War is a powerful book about technology, government, and military strategy; about criminals, spies, soldiers, and hackers. This is the first book about the war of the future — cyber war — and a convincing argument… read more

New Model Army

July 18, 2012

New-Model-Army

Author:
Adam Roberts
Publisher:
Gollancz (2010)

A nightmarish vision of future war from a literary master of SF.

Adam Roberts’ new novel is a terrifying vision of a near future war—a civil war that tears the UK apart as new technologies allow the worlds first truly democratic army to take on the British army and wrest control from the powers that be.

Taking advances in modern communication and the new eagerness for power… read more

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