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The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier

April 9, 2009
Author:
Howard Rheingold
Publisher:
MIT Press (2000)

Howard Rheingold has been called the First Citizen of the Internet. In this book he tours the “virtual community” of online networking. He describes a community that is as real and as much a mixed bag as any physical community—one where people talk, argue, seek information, organize politically, fall in love, and dupe others.

At the same time that he tells moving stories about people who have received… read more

Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet

April 9, 2009

sherry_book

Author:
Sherry Turkle
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster (1997)

Life on the Screen is a book not about computers, but about people and how computers are causing us to reevaluate our identities in the age of the Internet. We are using life on the screen to engage in new ways of thinking about evolution, relationships, politics, sex, and the self. Life on the Screen traces a set of boundary negotiations, telling the story of the changing impact of… read more

Centauri Dreams: Imagining and Planning Interstellar Exploration

April 9, 2009

centauri dreams

Author:
Paul Gilster
Publisher:
Springer (2004)

Why, today, would anyone undertake a plan to launch a spacecraft some 30 years in the future, and on a journey that would take some 40 years to complete? Paul Gilster investigates the science, and the spirit, of the NASA and JPL researchers who are actually at work on just such a project.  — Science Daily

Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies — and What It Means to Be Human

April 9, 2009
Author:
Joel Garreau
Publisher:
Doubleday (2005)

Washington Post reporter Garreau takes readers on a cross-country trip into the future as he interviews scientists and other thinkers grappling with the implications of our newfound—and, to some, frightening—knowledge of the genome. Highlighting what he calls “the Curve”—the rate of exponential change in technology—Garreau (Edge City: Life on the New Frontier) breaks the central part of his book into four scenarios. In “Heaven,” genetic engineering will… read more

The Extreme Future: The Top Trends That Will Reshape the World in the Next 20 Years

April 9, 2009
Author:
James Canton
Publisher:
Plume (2007)

In the post-9/11 world every forecasting book that came before 9/11 is obsolete. Our world is constantly buffeted by new and dramatic change that we can’t fully grasp. The changes come in extremes: faster, bigger, more illuminating and more devastating than ever before. And all of these changes are tame compared to what is coming in the Extreme Future.

Dr. Canton breaks new ground in boldly… read more

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

April 9, 2009
Author:
Ray Kurzweil

At the onset of the twenty-first century, humanity stands on the verge of the most transforming and the most thrilling period in its history. It will be an era in which the very nature of what it means to be human will be both enriched and challenged, as our species breaks the shackles of its genetic legacy and achieves inconceivable heights of intelligence, material progress, and longevity.

For over… read more

A Brief History of Time

April 9, 2009
Author:
Stephen William Hawking
Publisher:
Bantam (1998)

Published in 1988, A Brief History of Time, was a landmark volume in science writing and in world-wide acclaim and popularity, with more than 9 million copies in print globally. The original edition was on the cutting edge of what was then known about the origins and nature of the universe. But the ensuing years have seen extraordinary advances in the technology of observing both the micro- and the macrocosmic… read more

A Briefer History of Time

April 9, 2009

Briefer History of Time cover

Author:
Stephen William Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow
Publisher:
Bantam, 2008

Stephen Hawking’s worldwide bestseller, A Brief History of Time, remains one of the landmark volumes in scientific writing of our time. But for years readers have asked for a more accessible formulation of its key concepts—the nature of space and time, the role of God in creation, and the history and future of the universe.

Professor Hawking’s response is this new work that will guide nonscientists everywhere in… read more

The Universe in a Nutshell

April 9, 2009

universe-nutshell

Author:
Stephen William Hawking
Publisher:
Bantam (2001)

Professor Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science — the elusive “Theory of Everything” that lies at the heart of the cosmos. In this book he guides us on his search to uncover the secrets of the universe — from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality. In this exciting intellectual adventure he seeks “to combine Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and… read more

Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body

April 9, 2009
Author:
Neil Shubin
Publisher:
Pantheon Books (2006)

Why do we look the way we do? What does the human hand have in common with the wing of a fly? Are breasts, sweat glands, and scales connected in some way? To better understand the inner workings of our bodies and to trace the origins of many of today’s most common diseases, we have to turn to unexpected sources: worms, flies, and even fish.

Neil… read more

Nanofuture: What’s Next For Nanotechnology

April 9, 2009

nanofuture whats next

Author:
J. Storrs Hall
Publisher:
Prometheus Books (2005)

Hall writes that nanotechnology “involves building machines whose parts are of molecular size, but more importantly, of atomic precision … more »….” He foresees nanotechnology progressing through five stages of development, stage one being our current ability to image objects at an atomic scale with a limited ability to manipulate them, and stage five being the ability of miniature robots to reproduce and learn from experience.

A fellow… read more

The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

April 9, 2009

In his first book since the bestselling Fermat’s Enigma, Simon Singh offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing the dramatic effects codes have had on wars, nations, and individual lives. From Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code, to the Navajo Code Talkers who helped the Allies win World War II, to the incredible (and incredibly simple) logisitical breakthrough that made Internet… 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

Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation

April 9, 2009

Nanosystems book cover

Author:
K. Eric Drexler
Publisher:
Wiley (1992)

Devices enormously smaller than before will remodel engineering, chemistry, medicine, and computer technology. How can we understand machines that are so small? Nanosystems covers it all: power and strength, friction and wear, thermal noise and quantum uncertainty. This is the book for starting the next century of engineering.” — Marvin Minsky MIT.

Science magazine calls Eric Drexler “Mr. Nanotechnology.” For years, Drexler has stirred controversy by… read more

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

April 9, 2009
Author:
Oliver Sacks
Publisher:
Knopf (2007)

Music can move us to the heights or depths of emotion. It can persuade us to buy something, or remind us of our first date. It can lift us out of depression when nothing else can. It can get us dancing to its beat. But the power of music goes much, much further. Indeed, music occupies more areas of our brain than language does—humans are a musical… read more

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