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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

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 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

Who Owns the Future?

May 7, 2013

who_owns_the_future

Author:
Jaron Lanier
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster (2013)

The Dazzling New Masterwork from the Prophet of Silicon Valley

Jaron Lanier is the bestselling author of You Are Not a Gadget, the father of virtual reality, and one of the most influential thinkers of our time. For decades, Lanier has drawn on his expertise and experience as a computer scientist, musician, and digital media pioneer to predict the revolutionary ways in which technology is transforming our culture.… 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

Immortality Wars (digital novel)

June 20, 2012

immortality_wars

Author:
Joe Tripician
Publisher:
Amazon Digital Services (2012)

What is it about the Singularity that causes such controversy and conflict? In an age where nanotechnology and stem cells could greatly extend human life, and where human-to-computer mind upload is discussed as casually as the latest iPad app, the Singularity may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Award-winning author and filmmaker Joe Tripician offers up a tantalizing, satric and cautionary tale of one… read more

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence

October 30, 2013

Hardwiring Happiness

Author:
Rick Hanson
Publisher:
Harmony (2013)

Why is it easier to ruminate over hurt feelings than it is to bask in the warmth of being appreciated?

Because your brain evolved to learn quickly from bad experiences but slowly from the good ones.

You can change this.

Hardwiring Happiness lays out a simple method that uses the hidden power of everyday experiences to build new neural structures full of happiness, love, confidence, and… read more

The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest

October 26, 2012

The Blue Zones

Author:
Dan Buettner
Publisher:
National Geographic (2010)

In this expanded paperback edition of his New York Times bestseller, longevity expert Dan Buettner draws on his research from extraordinarily long-lived communities—Blue Zones—around the globe to highlight the lifestyle, diet, outlook, and stress-coping practices that will add years to your life and life to your years.

A long healthy life is no accident. It begins with good genes, but it also depends on good habits. If you adopt the right… read more

Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration

March 28, 2013
Author:
Buzz Aldrin, Leonard David
Publisher:
National Geographic (2013)

In a new book from National Geographic, celebrated astronaut and bestselling author Buzz Aldrin boldly advocates continuing exploration of our solar system. In Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration by Buzz Aldrin and Leonard David, Aldrin lays out his goals for the space program and how he believes we can get humans to Mars by the 2030s, a vision shared by President Obama and one that is fortified by private… read more

The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better

June 29, 2011

The Great Stagnation book cover

Author:
Tyler Cowen
Publisher:
Dutton Adult (2011)

Amazon | Tyler Cowen’s The Great Stagnation, the eSpecial heard round the world that ignited a firestorm of debate and redefined the nature of our economic malaise, is now — at last — a book.

America has been through the biggest financial crisis since the great Depression, unemployment numbers are frightening, media wages have been flat since the 1970s, and it is common to expect that things will get… read more

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room

February 13, 2012

toobigtoknow

Author:
David Weinberger
Publisher:
Basic Books (2012)

Amazon | We used to know how to know. We got our answers from books or experts. We’d nail down the facts and move on. But in the Internet age, knowledge has moved onto networks. There’s more knowledge than ever, of course, but it’s different. Topics have no boundaries, and nobody agrees on anything.

Yet this is the greatest time in history to be a knowledge seeker…… read more

One Two Three . . . Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science

June 1, 2011

One Two Three Infinity book cover

Author:
George Gamow
Publisher:
Dover Publications (1988)

Goodreads | One of the world’s foremost nuclear physicists (celebrated for his theory of radioactive decay, among other accomplishments), George Gamow possesses the unique ability of making the world of science accessible to the general reader.

He brings that ability to bear in this delightful expedition through the problems, pleasures and puzzles of modern science. Among the topics scrutinized with the author’s celebrated good humor and pedagogical… read more

Cloud Atlas: A Novel

October 9, 2012

Cloud Atlas

Author:
David Mitchell
Publisher:
Random House Trade Paperbacks (2004)

Now a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant, and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer

A postmodern visionary who is also a master of styles of genres, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian lore of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Umberto Eco and Philip… read more

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