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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

Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever

May 1, 2010

fantastic voyage book

Author:
Ray Kurzweil
Publisher:
Rodale Books (2004)

Amazon | The idea behind Kurzweil and Grossman’s Fantastic Voyage is that if you can make it through the next 50 years, you might become immortal. How will that be possible? Through some rather science fictional steps, it turns out, including taking advantage of the latest in biotechnological breakthroughs and not-yet-invented nanotechnology.

Is all this longing for immortality driven by an obsession with youth or a fear of death?… 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

Almost Human: Making Robots Think

March 22, 2010

almost_human

Author:
Lee Gutkind
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2009)

American Library Assoc. | Creative nonfiction guru and seasoned immersion journalist Gutkind observes that just as computers changed the world in the 1990s, robots will “transform technology” in the future. To find out who is behind the growing robotic surge, Gutkind spent six years observing life at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, a “hypertechnological pressure cooker,” where work is frenzied, frustrating, “inspiring, compelling,” and addictive.

Gutkind presents vivid… read more

Breakpoint

February 12, 2010

breakpoint

Author:
Richard A. Clarke
Publisher:
G.P. Putnam's Sons (2007)

Penguin Group | In his fiction debut, The Scorpion’s Gate, Richard A. Clarke, former counterterrorism czar for Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, projected a world in 2010 in which the United States and China were competing politically and economically for a dwindling supply of increasingly expensive oil and gas.  That competition naturally took them to the Persian Gulf where the largest oil deposits remained, where the United States… read more

Simulation and its Discontents

January 18, 2010
Author:
Sherry Turkle
Publisher:
The MIT Press (2009)

Over the past twenty years, the technologies of simulation and visualization have changed our ways of looking at the world. In Simulation and Its Discontents, Sherry Turkle examines the now dominant medium of our working lives and finds that simulation has become its own sensibility. We hear it in Turkle’s description of architecture students who no longer design with a pencil, of science and engineering students who admit that… read more

Kinds of Minds: Toward an Understanding of Consciousness

January 18, 2010
Author:
Daniel Dennett
Publisher:
Basic Books (1997)

Publishers Weekly | Dennett (Darwin’s Dangerous Idea), director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, avers that language is the “slingshot” that has “launched [humans] far beyond all other earthly species in the power to look ahead and reflect.” In this brief study, some of which is drawn from notes for the author’s various lectures, and which returns him to some of the themes of his controversial… read more

Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century

January 18, 2010
Author:
Howard Bloom
Publisher:
Wiley (2001)

Publishers Weekly | Bloom’s debut, The Lucifer Principle (1997), sought the biological basis for human evil. Now Bloom is after even bigger game. While cyber-thinkers claim the Internet is bringing us toward some sort of worldwide mind, Bloom believes we’ve had one all along. Drawing on information theory, debates within evolutionary biology, and research psychology (among other disciplines), Bloom understands the development of life on Earth as a series… read more

From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time

January 18, 2010
Author:
Sean Carroll
Publisher:
Dutton Books (2010)

A rising star in theoretical physics offers his awesome vision of our universe and beyond, all beginning with a simple question: Why does time move forward? Time moves forward, not backward-everyone knows you can’t unscramble an egg. In the hands of one of today’s hottest young physicists, that simple fact of breakfast becomes a doorway to understanding the Big Bang, the universe, and other universes, too. In From Eternityread 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.

Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

September 28, 2009

Logicomix

Author:
Apostolos Doxiadis, Christos Papadimitriou
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA (2009)

Amazon | This exceptional graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert, and Kurt Gödel, and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein. But his most ambitious goal–to establish unshakable logical foundations of mathematics–continues to loom before him. Through love and hate, peace and war, Russell persists… read more

Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge

September 18, 2009
Author:
Damien Broderick
Publisher:
Atlas Books (2008)

Leading and up-and-coming scientists and science writers cast their minds one million years into the future to imagine the fate of the human and/or extraterrestrial galaxy.

This volume of fourteen new, specially commissioned essays by notable journalists and scholars such as Rudy Rucker, Jim Holt, and Gregory Benford presents a series of speculations on the most radical but well-grounded ideas they can conceive, projecting the universe as… read more

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence

September 8, 2009
Author:
Ray Kurzweil
Publisher:
Penguin Books (1999)

Amazon | How much do we humans enjoy our current status as the most intelligent beings on earth? Enough to try to stop our own inventions from surpassing us in smarts? If so, we’d better pull the plug right now, because if Ray Kurzweil is right we’ve only got until about 2020 before computers outpace the human brain in computational power.

Kurzweil, artificial intelligence expert and author… read more

The Age of Intelligent Machines

September 8, 2009

9780262610797-f30

Author:
Ray Kurzweil
Publisher:
The MIT Press (1992)

Amazon | In a work the Association of American Publishers named the Most Outstanding Computer Science Book of 1990, Kurzweil and 23 other contributors explore the history and potential of artificial intelligence. What is artificial intelligence? At its essence, it is another way of answering a central question that has been debated by scientists, philosophers, and theologians for thousands of years: How does the human brain — three… read more

TRANSCEND: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever

August 21, 2009

transcend_dust_jacket1

Author:
Ray Kurzweil
Publisher:
Rodale Press (2009)

In 2004, Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, M.D., published Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever. Their groundbreaking book marshaled thousands of scientific studies to make the case that new developments in medicine and technology will allow us to radically extend our life expectancies and slow down the aging process. Soon, our notion of what it means to be a 55-year-old will be as outdated as an eight-track tape… read more

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