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The New Normal: Great Opportunities in a Time of Great Risk

August 3, 2011

The New Normal book cover

Author:
Roger McNamee, David Diamond
Publisher:
Portfolio Hardcover (2004)

Amazon | Back in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, it was fairly easy to plan for a secure future. People picked a career, a spouse, and a place to live, and those basic decisions put them on a predictable course for the rest of their lives. Especially if they were lucky enough to land at a big corporation with great benefits and smart enough to buy stocks.… read more

Distrust That Particular Flavor

January 3, 2012

distrust

Author:
William Gibson
Publisher:
Putnam Adult (2012)

Amazon | William Gibson is known primarily as a novelist, with his work ranging from his groundbreaking first novel, Neuromancer, to his more recent contemporary bestsellers Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, and Zero History. During those nearly thirty years, though, Gibson has been sought out by widely varying publications for his insights into contemporary culture. Wired magazine sent him to Singapore to report on one of the world’s most buttoned-up states. The New York Timesread more

Alan Turing: Life and Legacy of a Great Thinker

April 9, 2012

alan-turing-life-legacy-great-thinker-christof-teuscher-hardcover-cover-art

Author:
Christof Teuscher
Publisher:
Springer (2006)

Amazon | Written by a distinguished cast of contributors, Alan Turing: Life and Legacy of a Great Thinker is the definitive collection of essays in commemoration of the 90th birthday of Alan Turing. This fascinating text covers the rich facets of his life, thoughts, and legacy, but also sheds some light on the future of computing science with a chapter contributed by visionary Ray Kurzweil, winner of the 1999 National Medal of… read more

Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves

August 17, 2012

regenesis-how-synthetic-biology-will-reinvent-nature-and-ourselves

Author:
George M. Church, Ed Regis
Publisher:
Basic Books (2012)

Nathan Myhrvold, Founder and CEO, Intellectual Ventures:
“A delightfully opinionated, visionary and controversial romp through synthetic biology, which is one of the most important technologies of our time.”

Eric Topol, Professor of Genomics, The Scripps Research Institute, and author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine:
“Literally reinventing nature could provide solutions to intractable problems with the energy supply, global warming, and human health. In Regenesis, George… read more

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language (P.S.)

November 25, 2012

Language Instinct

Author:
Steven Pinker
Publisher:
Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2007)

In this classic, the world’s expert on language and mind lucidly explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains… read more

The Learning Brain: Memory and Brain Development in Children

May 30, 2013

The Learning Brain_high-res

Author:
Torkel Klingberg
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA (2012)

Despite all our highly publicized efforts to improve our schools, the United States is still falling behind. We recently ranked 15th in the world in reading, math, and science. Clearly, more needs to be done. In The Learning Brain, Torkel Klingberg urges us to use the insights of neuroscience to improve the education of our children.

The key to improving education lies in understanding how the brain works: that… read more

50 Human Brain Ideas You Really Need to Know

August 12, 2013

50 ideas

Author:
Moheb Costandi
Publisher:
Quercus (2013)

Neuroscience is one of the most fascinating and complex areas of scientific research, with new advances being made every day. In 50 Human Brain Ideas You Really Need to Know, Mo Costandi condenses all we know about the brain and how it works into series of introductions to the most important concepts.

Outlining both long-standing theories — such as the function of neurons and synaptic transmission — and cutting-edge… read more

The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter than You Think

October 16, 2013

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Author:
Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods
Publisher:
Dutton Adult (2013)

Brian Hare, dog researcher, evolutionary anthropologist, and founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, and Vanessa Woods offer revolutionary new insights into dog intelligence and the interior lives of our smartest pets.

In the past decade, we have learned more about how dogs think than in the last century. Breakthroughs in cognitive science, pioneered by Brian Hare have proven dogs have a kind of genius for getting along… read more

Better than Human: The Promise and Perils of Enhancing Ourselves (Philosophy in Action)

February 10, 2014

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Author:
Allen E. Buchanan
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA (2011)

Is it right to use biomedical technologies to make us better than well or even perhaps better than human? Should we view our biology as fixed or should we try to improve on it? College students are already taking cognitive enhancement drugs. The U.S. army is already working to develop drugs and technologies to produce “super soldiers.” Scientists already know how to use genetic engineering techniques to enhance the… read more

How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

June 23, 2014

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Author:
Jordan Ellenberg
Publisher:
Penguin Press HC, The (2014)

The Freakonomics of matha math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands
The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in… read more

Human Enhancement

April 9, 2009
Author:
Nick Bostrom, Julian Savulescu
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (2009)

Amazon | To what extent should we use technology to try to make better human beings? Because of the remarkable advances in biomedical science, we must now find an answer to this question.

Human enhancement aims to increase human capacities above normal levels. Many forms of human enhancement are already in use.

Many students and academics take cognition enhancing drugs to get a competitive edge. Some top athletes… read more

Experimental Man: What One Man’s Body Reveals about His Future, Your Health, and Our Toxic World

July 13, 2010

Experimental Man: What One Man's Body Reveals about His Future, Your Health, and Our Toxic World

Author:
David Ewing Duncan
Publisher:
Wiley (2009)

Bestselling author David Ewing Duncan takes the ultimate high-tech medical exam, investigating the future impact of what’s hidden deep inside all of us

David Ewing Duncan takes “guinea pig” journalism to the cutting edge of science, building on award-winning articles he wrote for Wired and National Geographic, in which he was tested for hundreds of chemicals and genes associated with disease, emotions, and other traits. Expanding on these… read more

The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom?

July 16, 2010

The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom?

Author:
David Brin
Publisher:
Basic Books (1999)

Amazon | Science fiction writer Brin (The Uplift War) departs from technological fantasy to focus on the social and political ramifications of our information age.

While addressing the technology-vs.-privacy debate, he offers an informed overview of the issues and a useful historical account of how current policies evolved. Also beneficial are his descriptions of the different viewpoints on encryption software, online anonymity, the Clipper Chip and… read more

Humanity’s End: Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement

November 29, 2010

humanitysend

Author:
Nicholas Agar
Publisher:
The MIT Press (2010)

Amazon | Proposals to make us smarter than the greatest geniuses or to add thousands of years to our life spans seem fit only for the spam folder or trash can. And yet this is what contemporary advocates of radical enhancement offer in all seriousness. They present a variety of technologies and therapies that will expand our capacities far beyond what is currently possible for human beings.… read more

Robots, Androids and Animatrons: 12 Incredible Projects You Can Build

February 7, 2011

robotsandroids

Author:
John Iovine
Publisher:
McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics (2001)

In Robots, Androids and Animatrons: 12 Incredible Projects You Can Build, electronics expert John Iovine serves up easy-to-follow plans and step-by-step instructions for constructing your very own state-of-the-art working robot that will obey your orders, act as your surrogate and even do scores of tough chores. You’ll find everything you need to harness the latest robotics technologies — locomotion, sensing and control — to develop a high-tech robot,… read more

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