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Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information

May 18, 2011

Visual Complexity book cover

Author:
Manuel Lima
Publisher:
Princeton Architectural Press (2011)

Amazon | Our ability to generate information now far exceeds our capacity to understand it. Finding patterns and making meaningful connections inside complex data networks has emerged as one of the biggest challenges of the twenty-first century.

In recent years, designers, researchers, and scientists have begun employing an innovative mix of colors, symbols, graphics, algorithms, and interactivity to clarify, and often beautify, the clutter.

From… read more

How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like

July 6, 2011

How Pleasure Works book cover

Author:
Paul Bloom
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2011)

Amazon | “Engaging, evocative. . . . [Bloom] is a supple, clear writer, and his parade of counterintuitive claims about pleasure is beguiling.” — NPR

Why is an artistic masterpiece worth millions more than a convincing forgery? Pleasure works in mysterious ways, as Paul Bloom reveals in this investigation of what we desire and why. Drawing on a wealth of surprising studies, Bloom investigates pleasures noble and… read more

The Instant Physicist: An Illustrated Guide

October 5, 2011

instantphysicist

Author:
Richard A. Muller
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2010)

Amazon | Wine is radioactive? Organic foods have more poison in them than those grown with pesticides? Best-selling author Richard A. Muller enlightens us.

Richard A. Muller demonstrated in his recent bestseller, Physics for Future Presidents, that he has a unique talent for delivering the “aha” moment — making difficult topics accessible. In The Instant Physicist he shows his ability to entertain, too, by presenting the best of the scientific… read more

Theo Gray’s Mad Science: Experiments You Can do At Home – But Probably Shouldn’t

March 1, 2012

MadScience

Author:
Theodore Gray
Publisher:
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers (2011)

Amazon | In Mad Science, Theodore Gray launches a toy rocket using the energy released from an Oreo cookie, ignites a phosphorus sun by suspending half a gram of white phosphorus in a globe filled with pure oxygen and creates a homemade hot tub by adding 500 pounds of quicklime to water. These are just a few of the 54 experiments included in this astonishing book that demonstrates essential scientific principles… read more

Amped: A Novel

June 4, 2012

amped

Author:
Daniel H. Wilson
Publisher:
Doubleday (2012)

Technology makes them superhuman. But mere mortals want them kept in their place. The New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse creates a stunning, near-future world where technology and humanity clash in surprising ways. The result? The perfect summer blockbuster.

As he did in Robopocalypse, Daniel Wilson masterfully envisions a frightening near-future world. In Amped, people are implanted with a device that makes them capable of… read more

Lorenzo and His Parents

November 5, 2012

lorenzo2

Author:
Augusto Odone
Publisher:
Baraka (2012)

In 1984, six-year-old Lorenzo Odone was diagnosed with adrenoleukodystrophy — an incurable genetic disease which destroys the brains of young boys.

His parents, Augusto and Michaela, refused to give up hope and with great determination set out to research the disease and find a cure. Within only a couple of years they had discovered an oil which was able to halt the progress of the disease… read more

The Visioneers: How a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future

January 29, 2013

The Visioneers

Author:
W. Patrick McCray
Publisher:
Princeton University Press (2012)

In 1969, Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill began looking outward to space colonies as the new frontier for humanity’s expansion. A decade later, Eric Drexler, an MIT-trained engineer, turned his attention to the molecular world as the place where society’s future needs could be met using self-replicating nanoscale machines. These modern utopians predicted that their technologies could transform society as humans mastered the ability to create new worlds, undertook atomic-scale… read more

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science

July 9, 2013

Oxford Handbook

Author:
Eric Margolis, Richard Samuels, Stephen P. Stich
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA (2012)

The philosophy of cognitive science is concerned with fundamental philosophical and theoretical questions connected to the sciences of the mind. How does the brain give rise to conscious experience? Does speaking a language change how we think? Is a genuinely intelligent computer possible? What features of the mind are innate? Advances in cognitive science have given philosophers important tools for addressing these sorts of questions; and cognitive scientists have,… read more

The Turing Test: Verbal Behavior as the Hallmark of Intelligence

January 8, 2014

TheTuringTest

Author:
Stuart M. Shieber
Publisher:
A Bradford Book (2004)

The Turing Test is part of the vocabulary of popular culture — it has appeared in works ranging from the Broadway play “Breaking the Code” to the comic strip “Robotman.” The writings collected by Stuart Shieber for this book examine the profound philosophical issues surrounding the Turing Test as a criterion for intelligence.

Alan Turing’s idea, originally expressed in a 1950 paper titled “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” and… read more

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism

April 10, 2014

1137278463.01.S001.LXXXXXXX

Author:
Jeremy Rifkin
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan (2014)

In The Zero Marginal Cost Society, New York Times bestselling author Jeremy Rifkin describes how the emerging Internet of Things is speeding us to an era of nearly free goods and services, precipitating the meteoric rise of a global Collaborative Commons and the eclipse of capitalism.

Rifkin uncovers a paradox at the heart of capitalism that has propelled it to greatness but is now taking it to its… read more

Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines

April 9, 2009
Author:
Robert A. Freitas Jr., Ralph C. Merkle
Publisher:
Landes Bioscience (2004)

This book offers a general review of the voluminous theoretical and experimental literature pertaining to physical self-replicating systems and self-replication. The principal focus here is on self-replicating machine systems. Most importantly, we are concerned with kinematic self-replicating machines: systems in which actual physical objects, not mere patterns of information, undertake their own replication.

Following a brief burst of activity in the 1950s and 1980s, the field… read more

The Greatest Science Stories Never Told: 100 tales of invention and discovery to astonish, bewilder, and stupefy

April 3, 2010

the greatest science stories

Author:
Rick Beyer
Publisher:
Harper (2009)

Amazon | Rick Beyer is a lifelong history enthusiast and an award-winning documentary producer whose work for The History Channel® includes Godspeed to Jamestown, The Wright Challenge, and the Timelab 2000 series of history minutes.

100 tales of invention and discovery:

  • Meet the angry undertaker who gave us the push-button phone.
  • Discover how modesty led to the invention of the stethoscope.
  • Find out why

read more

More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement

July 16, 2010

More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement

Author:
Ramez Naam
Publisher:
Broadway (2005)

Amazon | Imagine a person severely disabled by a stroke who, with electrodes implanted in his brain, can type on a computer just by thinking of the letters. Or a man, blind for 20 years, driving a car around a parking lot via a camera hard-wired into his brain. Plots for science fiction? No, it’s already happened, according to future technologies expert Naam. In an excellent and comprehensive survey,… read more

An Optimist’s Tour of the Future

January 7, 2011

An Optimist's Tour of the Future book cover

Author:
Mark Stevenson
Publisher:
Profile (2011)

Amazon | Mark Stevenson has been to the future a few years ahead of the rest of us — and reckons it has a lot going for it. His voyage of discovery takes him to Oxford to meet Transhumanists (they intend to live forever), to Boston where he confronts a robot with mood swings, to an underwater cabinet meeting in the Indian Ocean, and Australia to question the… read more

Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality

February 23, 2011

virtually you

Author:
Elias Aboujaoude
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2011)

 

Amazon | A penetrating examination of the insidious effects of the Internet on our personalities — online and off. Whether sharing photos or following financial markets, many of us spend a shocking amount of time online. While the Internet can enhance well-being, Elias Aboujaoude has spent years treating patients whose lives have been profoundly disturbed by it.

Part of the danger lies in how the Internet allows us… read more

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