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The Hydrogen Sonata

January 23, 2013
Author:
Iain M. Banks
Publisher:
Orbit (2012)

The New York Times bestselling Culture novel…
The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.

An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they’ve made the collective decision… 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

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era

May 29, 2013

AI and the end

Author:
James Barrat
Publisher:
Thomas Dunne Books (2013)

Artificial Intelligence helps choose what books you buy, what movies you see, and even who you date. It puts the “smart” in your smart phone, it has the run of your house, and soon it will drive your car. It makes most of the trades on Wall Street, and controls vital energy, water, and transportation infrastructure. But Artificial Intelligence can also threaten our existence.

Though primitive today, ‘intelligent’ computer… read more

The Book of Universes: Exploring the Limits of the Cosmos

July 6, 2011

Book of Universes cover

Author:
John D. Barrow
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2011)

Amazon | Einstein’s theory of general relativity opens the door to other universes, and weird universes at that: universes that allow time travel, universes where you can see the back of your head, universes that spin and bounce or multiply without limit. The Book of Universes gives us a stunning tour of these potential universes, introducing us along the way to the brilliant physicists and mathematicians who first revealed… read more

The New Cool: A Visionary Teacher, His FIRST Robotics Team, and the Ultimate Battle of Smarts

March 30, 2011

The New Cool book cover

Author:
Neal Bascomb
Publisher:
Crown (2011)

Amazon | That Monday afternoon, in high-school gyms across America, kids were battling for the only glory American culture seems to want to dispense to the young these days: sports glory. But at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California, in a gear-cluttered classroom, a different type of “cool” was brewing.  A physics teacher with a dream — the first public high-school teacher ever to win a MacArthur… read more

Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom

February 16, 2011

Composing a Further Life book cover

Author:
Mary Catherine Bateson
Publisher:
Knopf (2010)

Amazon | From the author of Composing a Life (first published in 1991 and still in print), an inspiring exploration of a new stage of the life cycle, “Adulthood II,” created by unprecedented levels of health, energy, time, and resources — of which we have barely begun to be fully conscious.

Mary Catherine Bateson sees aging today as an “improvisational art form calling for imagination and willingness to… read more

The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30)

February 21, 2014

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Author:
Mark Bauerlein
Publisher:
Tarcher (2008)

For decades, concern has been brewing about the dumbed-down popular culture of young people and the impact it has on their futures.

The dawn of the digital age once aroused our hopes: the Internet, e-mail, blogs, and interactive and ultra-realistic video games promised to yield a generation of sharper, more aware, and intellectually sophisticated children. The terms “information superhighway” and “knowledge economy” entered the lexicon, and we assumed… read more

The Eye of Moloch

June 12, 2013

The Eye of Moloch

Author:
Glenn Beck
Publisher:
Threshold Editions (2013)

THE LAST BATTLE FOR FREEDOM IS UNDER WAY…

By the end of Glenn Beck’s #1 bestselling political thriller The Overton Window, a young rebel named Molly Ross had torn aside the curtain to reveal a shadow war being waged for the future of America. In the six months since then, her fight for freedom hasn’t gone well. Marked as traitors and hunted by ruthless government-sanctioned mercenaries using the most… read more

Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To

April 24, 2012

Choke_Cover_Final

Author:
Sian Beilock
Publisher:
Free Press (2011)

Why do the smartest students often do poorly on standardized tests?

Why did you tank that interview or miss that golf swing when you should have had it in the bag?

Why do you mess up when it matters the most — and how can you perform your best instead?

It happens to all of us. You’ve prepared for days, weeks, even years for the big… read more

The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs

December 28, 2009

The Department of Mad Scientists

Author:
Michael Belfiore
Publisher:
Smithsonian (2009)

Wireless, prosthetic arms that are as nimble and light as the real thing; driverless robot cars that work their way through real traffic; a portable robotic emergency room with remote-controlled, mobile robotic surgeons; and scramjets able to race around the world in just a few hours  — these are among the DARPA projects profiled by journalist Michael Belfiore in his book, The Department of Mad Scientists.

Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything

January 18, 2011

Total Recall

Author:
Gordon Bell, Jim Gemmell
Publisher:
Dutton Adult (2009)

Amazon | The total recall revolution is inevitable. It will change what it means to be human. It has already begun. What if you could remember everything? Soon, if you choose, you will be able to conveniently and affordably record your whole life in minute detail. You would have Total Recall.

Authors Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell draw on experience from their MyLifeBits project at Microsoft Research… read more

Bowl of Heaven

October 3, 2012

Bowl of Heaven

Author:
Gregory Benford, Larry Niven
Publisher:
Tor Books (2012)

In this first collaboration by science fiction masters Larry Niven (Ringworld) and Gregory Benford (Timescape), the limits of wonder are redrawn once again as a human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure half-englobing a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths…and it’s on a direct path heading for the same… read more

Louder Than Words: The New Science of How the Mind Makes Meaning

January 29, 2013

Louder Than Words: The New Science of How the Mind Makes Meaning

Author:
Benjamin K. Bergen
Publisher:
Basic Books (2012)

Whether it’s brusque, convincing, fraught with emotion, or dripping with innuendo, language is fundamentally a tool for conveying meaning—a uniquely human magic trick in which you vibrate your vocal cords to make your innermost thoughts pop up in someone else’s mind. You can use it to talk about all sorts of things—from your new labradoodle puppy to the expansive gardens at Versailles, from Roger Federer’s backhand to things that… read more

Dark Ages II: When the Digital Data Die

June 17, 2011

Dark Ages 2 book cover

Author:
Bryan Bergeron
Publisher:
Pearson Education (2001)

The Book Depository | Today, most of the world’s data is stored in media and formats that are frighteningly ephemeral: Web sites and email stores that are here today and gone tomorrow; magnetic media that isn’t proven to last; document and e-book formats that quickly become obsolete. In Dark Ages II, Bryan Bergeron shows why our data is at far greater risk than we’ve ever imagined — and… 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

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