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Positioning Synthetic Biology to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century: Summary Report of a Six Academies Symposium Series (2013)

August 15, 2013

positioni;ng_synthetic_biology

Author:
Stephanie Joyce, Anne-Marie Mazza, Steven Kendall
Publisher:
National Research Council (2013)

Synthetic biology — unlike any research discipline that precedes it — has the potential to bypass the less predictable process of evolution to usher in a new and dynamic way of working with living systems.

Ultimately, synthetic biologists hope to design and build engineered biological systems with capabilities that do not exist in natural systems — capabilities that may ultimately be used for applications in manufacturing, food production, and… read more

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation

November 11, 2013

Average is Over

Author:
Tyler Cowen
Publisher:
Dutton Adult (2013)

Widely acclaimed as one of the world’s most influential economists, Tyler Cowen returns with his groundbreaking follow-up to the New York Times bestseller The Great Stagnation.

The widening gap between rich and poor means dealing with one big, uncomfortable truth: If you’re not at the top, you’re at the bottom.

The global labor market is changing radically thanks to growth at the high end — and the low. About three… read more

The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet

April 18, 2013

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Author:
Ramez Naam
Publisher:
UPNE (2013)

“Brilliant” — Ray Kurzweil

“This book contains a plan – probably the only plan – to save the world.” — Steven Pinker

Climate change. Finite fossil fuels. Fresh water depletion. Rising commodity prices. Ocean acidification. Overpopulation. Deforestation. Feeding the world’s billions.

We’re beset by an array of natural resource and environmental challenges. They pose a tremendous risk to human prosperity, to world peace, and to the planet… read more

Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect

July 9, 2013

Social Why Our brains are wired to connect

Author:
Matthew D. Lieberman
Publisher:
Crown (2013)

We are profoundly social creatures – more than we know.

In Social, renowned psychologist Matthew Lieberman explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience revealing that our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental, more basic, than our need for food or shelter.  Because of this, our brain uses its spare time to learn about the social world – other people and our relation to them. It is… read more

The Hanson-Yudkowsky AI-Foom Debate

September 11, 2013

the hanson_yudkowsky

Author:
Robin Hanson, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Publisher:
Machine Intelligence Research Institute (2013)

In late 2008, economist Robin Hanson and AI theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky conducted an online debate about the future of artificial intelligence, and in particular about whether generally intelligent AIs will be able to improve their own capabilities very quickly (a.k.a. “foom”). The original debate took place in a long series of blog posts, which are collected here. This book also includes a transcript of a 2011 in-person debate between… read more

The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good

July 19, 2011

The Compass of Pleasure book cover

Author:
David J. Linden
Publisher:
Viking Adult (2011)

Amazon | A leading brain scientist’s look at the neurobiology of pleasure-and how pleasures can become addictions.

Whether eating, taking drugs, engaging in sex, or doing good deeds, the pursuit of pleasure is a central drive of the human animal. In The Compass of Pleasure Johns Hopkins neuroscientist David J. Linden explains how pleasure affects us at the most fundamental level: in our brain.

As he… read more

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

April 7, 2014

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Author:
Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace
Publisher:
Random House (2014)

From Ed Catmull, co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios, comes an incisive book about creativity in business—sure to appeal to readers of Daniel Pink, Tom Peters, and Chip and Dan Heath.

Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve… read more

Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution

November 30, 2010

infinitereality

Author:
Jim Blascovich, Jeremy Bailenson
Publisher:
William Morrow (2011)

Harper Collins | How far off is the science in the film Avatar? Do our brains know where “reality” ends and “virtual” begins? Where is technology leading us? Two leading authorities in the field of virtual reality answer these questions and more as they examine the possibilities and potential of emerging digital technologies to free our minds and change our understanding of what it means to be… read more

Are We Getting Smarter?: Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century

October 29, 2012

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Author:
James R. Flynn
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press (2012)

The ‘Flynn effect’ is a surprising finding, identified by James R. Flynn, that IQ test scores have significantly increased from one generation to the next over the past century. Flynn now brings us an exciting new book which aims to make sense of this rise in IQ scores and considers what this tells us about our intelligence, our minds and society. Are We Getting Smarter? features fascinating new material… read more

Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live

August 21, 2013

Paleofantasy

Author:
Marlene Zuk
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2013)

An exposé of pseudoscientific myths about our evolutionary past and how we should live today.

We evolved to eat berries rather than bagels, to live in mud huts rather than condos, to sprint barefoot rather than play football—or did we? Are our bodies and brains truly at odds with modern life? Although it may seem as though we have barely had time to shed our hunter-gatherer legacy, biologist… read more

Starmus: 50 Years of Man in Space

September 8, 2014

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Author:
Garik Israelian
Publisher:
Carlton Books Ltd (2014)

Starmus is an incredible series of talks, articles and recollections that celebrate the human exploration of space. It is the result of the Starmus meeting in 2011, where legendary Russian and American pioneers of the space age met up for the first time to share the moments that electrified the human race. The next Starmus meeting is in September 2014. An all-star cast of international celebrities have joined forces in… read more

@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex

December 18, 2014

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Author:
Shane Harris
Publisher:
Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2014)

A surprising, page-turning account of how the wars of the future are already being fought today
The United States military currently views cyberspace as the “fifth domain” of warfare (alongside land, air, sea, and space), and the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, and the CIA all field teams of hackers who can, and do, launch computer virus strikes against enemy targets. In fact, as @WAR shows, U.S. hackers were crucial… read more

The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change

June 18, 2013

The Future_Six Drivers of Global Change

Author:
Al Gore
Publisher:
Random House (2013)

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From the former vice president and #1 New York Times bestselling author comes An Inconvenient Truth for everything—a frank and clear-eyed assessment of six critical drivers of global change in the decades to come.

Ours is a time of revolutionary change that has no precedent in history. With the same passion he brought to the challenge of climate change, and with his decades of experience on the front… read more

Happy-People-Pills For All

September 5, 2013

happy people pills for all

Author:
Mark Walker
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell (2013)

Happy-People-Pills for All explores current theories of happiness while demonstrating the need to develop advanced pharmacological agents for the enhancement of our capacity for happiness and well-being.

  • Presents the first detailed exploration of the enhancement of happiness
  • A controversial yet rigorous argument that demonstrates the moral imperative for the development and mass distribution of ‘happy-pills’, to promote the wellbeing of the individual and society
  • Brings together

read more

The Big Book of Hacks: 264 Amazing DIY Tech Projects

October 1, 2013

The Big Book of Hacks

Author:
Doug Cantor
Publisher:
Weldon Owen (2012)

Fire up your soldering iron, charge up that drill, and get ready to hack! From a tiny theremin to a watermelon keg, from an automatic cat feeder to a glowing mousepad, the ingenious and hilarious projects in The Big Book of Hacks are perfect for aspiring makers. And it’s all brought to you by the DIY masters at Popular Science magazine.

Four comprehensive chapters help you create megafun games and toys for… read more

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