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The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t

November 26, 2012

la-ca-nate-silver

Author:
Nate Silver
Publisher:
The Penguin Press HC (2012)

“Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise is The Soul of a New Machine for the 21st century.”
—Rachel Maddow, author of Drift

Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger—all by the time he was thirty.The New York Times now publishes FiveThirtyEight.com, where Silver is one of the nation’s most influential political forecasters.… read more

Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Are Next to Worthless, and You Can Do Better

April 4, 2011

Future Babble book cover

Author:
Dan Gardner
Publisher:
Dutton Adult (2011)

Amazon | An award-winning journalist uses landmark research to debunk the whole expert prediction industry, and explores the psychology of our obsession with future history.

In 2008, experts predicted gas would hit $20 a gallon; it peaked at $4.10. In 1967, they said the USSR would be the world’s fastest-growing economy by 2000; by 2000, the USSR no longer existed. In 1908, it was pronounced that… read more

Bankrupting Physics: How Today’s Top Scientists are Gambling Away Their Credibility

September 12, 2013

bankrupting-physics

Author:
Alexander Unzicker, Sheilla Jones
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan (2013)

The recently celebrated discovery of the Higgs boson has captivated the public’s imagination with the promise that it can explain the origins of everything in the universe. It’s no wonder that the media refers to it grandly as the “God particle.” Yet behind closed doors, physicists are admitting that there is much more to this story, and even years of gunning the Large Hadron Collider and herculean number crunching may… read more

The Hidden Alpha

February 19, 2013

thehiddenalpha

Author:
Alexander Popoff
Publisher:
Alexander Popoff (2013)

X Factors are unknown, emerging risks to human wellbeing, even survival. These risks might come from inner space (human cognitive and body enhancement, associated with genetic engineering, nanotechnologies, neural and cybernetic implants, etc.) and outer space (discovery and contact with extraterrestrial life and artificial intelligence).

That’s not preposterous science fiction mumbo jumbo of professor Farnsworth from Futurama but a serious discussion at the annual World Economic Forum in… read more

The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress

November 5, 2012

The World As It Is

Author:
Chris Hedges
Publisher:
Nation Books (2011)

Drawing on two decades of experience as a war correspondent and based on his numerous columns for Truthdig, Chris Hedges presents The World As It Is, a panorama of the American empire at home and abroad, from the coarsening effect of America’s War on Terror to the front lines in the Middle East and South Asia and the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Underlying his reportage is a constant… read more

2012 State of the Future

October 24, 2012

2012-stateofthefuture

Author:
Jerome C. Glenn, Theodore J. Gordon
Publisher:
The Millennium Project (2012)

The 2012 State of the Future is a concise, readable overview of the global situation, problems, solutions, and prospects for the future. It covers the global landscape with two-page overviews with regional considerations of 15 global challenges such as energy, food, science & technology, ethics, development, water, organized crime, health, decisionmaking, gender relations, demographics, war & peace, and others. These together with the executive summary are ideal… read more

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

November 27, 2012

The Better Angels of Our Nature

Author:
Steven Pinker
Publisher:
Penguin Books (2012)

A provocative history of violence—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Stuff of Thought and The Blank Slate

Believe it or not, today we may be living in the most peaceful moment in our species’ existence. In his gripping and controversial new work, New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows that despite the ceaseless news about war, crime, and terrorism, violence has actually been in decline over long stretches of history.… read more

The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent

October 3, 2012

The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent

Author:
Vivek Wadhwa
Publisher:
Wharton Digital Press (2012)

Many of the United States’ most innovative entrepreneurs have been immigrants, from Andrew Carnegie, Alexander Graham Bell, and Charles Pfizer to Sergey Brin, Vinod Khosla, and Elon Musk. Nearly half of Fortune 500 companies and one-quarter of all new small businesses were founded by immigrants, generating trillions of dollars annually, employing millions of workers, and helping establish the United States as the most entrepreneurial, technologically advanced society on earth.… read more

Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions

May 1, 2013

Nanomedical Device and Systems Design

Author:
Frank Boehm
Publisher:
CRC Press (2013)

This unique book addresses issues pertaining to nanomedical devices and systems design in terms of challenges, possibilities, and future vision. It examines what it takes to design, fabricate, and functionalize autonomous micron-scale, robotic medical devices (having nanometric-scale components) and what perceived hurdles must be overcome to foster their development and implementation. The book investigates device deployment and recovery strategies, as well as protocols for their safe and failsafe operation… read more

Biopunk: DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life

April 25, 2011

biopunk

Author:
Marcus Wohlsen
Publisher:
Current Hardcover (2011)

The most disruptive force on the planet resides in DNA. Biotech companies and academic researchers are just beginning to unlock the potential of piecing together life from scratch.

Champions of synthetic biology believe that turning genetic code into Lego-like blocks to build never-before-seen organisms could solve the thorniest challenges in medicine, energy, and environmental protection.

But as the hackers who cracked open the potential of the personal… read more

When Gadgets Betray Us: The Dark Side of Our Infatuation With New Technologies

May 6, 2011

When Gadgets Betray Us

Author:
Robert Vamosi
Publisher:
Basic Books (2011)

Amazon | Technology is evolving faster than we are. As our mobile phones, mp3 players, cars, and digital cameras become more and more complex, we understand less and less about how they actually work and what personal details these gadgets might reveal about us.

Robert Vamosi, an award-winning journalist and analyst who has been covering digital security issues for more than a decade, shows us the dark… 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

The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone)Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale

January 25, 2011

The Winter of Our Disconnect

Author:
Susan Maushart
Publisher:
Tarcher (2011)

Amazon | The wise and hilarious story of a family who discovered that having fewer tools to communicate with led them to actually communicate more.

When Susan Maushart first announced her intention to pull the plug on her family’s entire armory of electronic weaponry for six months — from the itsy-bitsiest iPod Shuffle to her son’s seriously souped-up gaming PC — her three kids didn’t blink an eye.… read more

Smart Machines: IBM’s Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing

October 18, 2013

Smart machines

Author:
John E. Kelly III, Steve Hamm
Publisher:
Columbia University Press (2013)

We are crossing a new frontier in the evolution of computing and entering the era of cognitive systems. The victory of IBM’s Watson on the television quiz show Jeopardy! revealed how scientists and engineers at IBM and elsewhere are pushing the boundaries of science and technology to create machines that sense, learn, reason, and interact with people in new ways to provide insight and advice.

In Smart Machines, John E. Kelly… read more

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

September 7, 2010

theshallows

Author:
Nicholas G. Carr
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2010)

Amazon | The best-selling author of The Big Switch returns with an explosive look at technology’s effect on the mind. “Is Google making us stupid?” When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the… read more

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