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The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos (by Leonard Mlodinow)

The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos

~ Leonard Mlodinow (author) More about this product
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Leonard Mlodinow takes us on a passionate and inspiring tour through the exciting history of human progress and the key events in the development of science. In the process, he presents a fascinating new look at the unique characteristics of our species and our society that helped propel us from stone tools to written language and through the birth of chemistry, biology, and modern physics to today’s technological world.
 
Along the way he explores the cultural conditions that influenced scientific thought through the ages and the colorful personalities of some of the great philosophers, scientists, and thinkers: Galileo, who preferred painting and poetry to medicine and dropped out of university; Isaac Newton, who stuck needlelike bodkins into his eyes to better understand changes in light and color; and Antoine Lavoisier, who drank nothing but milk for two weeks to examine its effects on his body. Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, and many lesser-known but equally brilliant minds also populate these pages, each of their stories showing how much of human achievement can be attributed to the stubborn pursuit of simple questions (why? how?), bravely asked.
 
The Upright Thinkers is a book for science lovers and for anyone interested in creative thinking and in our ongoing quest to understand our world. At once deeply informed, accessible, and infused with the author’s trademark wit, this insightful work is a stunning tribute to humanity’s intellectual curiosity.

 

 

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Introduction to Nonlinear Oscillations (by Vladimir I. Nekorkin)

Introduction to Nonlinear Oscillations

~ Vladimir I. Nekorkin (author) More about this product
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A systematic outline of the basic theory of oscillations, combining several tools in a single textbook. The author explains fundamental ideas and methods, while equally aiming to teach students the techniques of solving specific (practical) or more complex problems. Following an introduction to fundamental notions and concepts of modern nonlinear dynamics, the text goes on to set out the basics of stability theory, as well as bifurcation theory in one and two-dimensional cases. Foundations of asymptotic methods and the theory of relaxation oscillations are presented, with much attention paid to a method of mappings and its applications. With each chapter including exercises and solutions, including computer problems, this book can be used in courses on oscillation theory for physics and engineering students. It also serves as a good reference for students and scientists in computational neuroscience.

 

 

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Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future (by Martin Ford)

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future

~ Martin Ford (author) More about this product
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What are the jobs of the future? How many will there be? And who will have them? We might imagine—and hope—that today’s industrial revolution will unfold like the last: even as some jobs are eliminated, more will be created to deal with the new innovations of a new era. In Rise of the Robots, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford argues that this is absolutely not the case. As technology continues to accelerate and machines begin taking care of themselves, fewer people will be necessary. Artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making “good jobs” obsolete: many paralegals, journalists, office workers, and even computer programmers are poised to be replaced by robots and smart software. As progress continues, blue and white collar jobs alike will evaporate, squeezing working- and middle-class families ever further. At the same time, households are under assault from exploding costs, especially from the two major industries—education and health care—that, so far, have not been transformed by information technology. The result could well be massive unemployment and inequality as well as the implosion of the consumer economy itself.

In Rise of the Robots, Ford details what machine intelligence and robotics can accomplish, and implores employers, scholars, and policy makers alike to face the implications. The past solutions to technological disruption, especially more training and education, aren’t going to work, and we must decide, now, whether the future will see broad-based prosperity or catastrophic levels of inequality and economic insecurity. Rise of the Robots is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what accelerating technology means for their own economic prospects—not to mention those of their children—as well as for society as a whole.

 

 

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Trees of the Brain, Roots of the Mind (by Giorgio A. Ascoli)

Trees of the Brain, Roots of the Mind

~ Giorgio A. Ascoli (author) More about this product
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The human brain is often described as the most complex object in the universe. Tens of billions of nerve cells-tiny tree-like structures -- make up a massive network with enormous computational power. In this book, Giorgio Ascoli reveals another aspect of the human brain: the stunning beauty of its cellular form. Doing so, he makes a provocative claim about the mind-brain relationship.

If each nerve cell enlarged a thousandfold looks like a tree, then a small region of the nervous system at the same magnified scale resembles a gigantic, fantastic forest. This structural majesty -- illustrated throughout the book with extraordinary color images -- hides the secrets behind the genesis of our mental states. Ascoli proposes that some of the most intriguing mysteries of the mind can be solved using the basic architectural principles of the brain. After an overview of the scientific and philosophical foundations of his argument, Ascoli links mental states with patterns of electrical activity in nerve cells, presents an emerging minority opinion of how the brain learns from experience, and unveils a radically new hypothesis of the mechanism determining what is learned, what isn't, and why. Finally, considering these notions in the context of the cosmic diversity within and among brains, Ascoli offers a new perspective on the roots of individuality and humanity.

 

 

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Making 20th Century Science: How Theories Became Knowledge (by Stephen G. Brush)

Making 20th Century Science: How Theories Became Knowledge

~ Stephen G. Brush (author) More about this product
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Historically, the scientific method has been said to require proposing a theory, making a prediction of something not already known, testing the prediction, and giving up the theory (or substantially changing it) if it fails the test. A theory that leads to several successful predictions is more likely to be accepted than one that only explains what is already known but not understood. This process is widely treated as the conventional method of achieving scientific progress, and was used throughout the twentieth century as the standard route to discovery and experimentation.
But does science really work this way? In Making 20th Century Science, Stephen G. Brush discusses this question, as it relates to the development of science throughout the last century. Answering this question requires both a philosophically and historically scientific approach, and Brush blends the two in order to take a close look at how scientific methodology has developed. Several cases from the history of modern physical and biological science are examined, including Mendeleev's Periodic Law, Kekule's structure for benzene, the light-quantum hypothesis, quantum mechanics, chromosome theory, and natural selection. In general it is found that theories are accepted for a combination of successful predictions and better explanations of old facts.
Making 20th Century Science is a large-scale historical look at the implementation of the scientific method, and how scientific theories come to be accepted.

 

 

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Quantum Adaptivity in Biology: From Genetics to Cognition (by Masanari Asano et al.)

Quantum Adaptivity in Biology: From Genetics to Cognition

~ Ichiro Yamato (author) More about this product
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This book examines information processing performed by bio-systems at all scales: from genomes, cells and proteins to cognitive and even social systems. It introduces a theoretical/conceptual principle based on quantum information and non-Kolmogorov probability theory to explain information processing phenomena in biology as a whole.

The book begins with an introduction followed by two chapters devoted to fundamentals, one covering classical and quantum probability, which also contains a brief introduction to quantum formalism, and another on an information approach to molecular biology, genetics and epigenetics. It then goes on to examine adaptive dynamics, including applications to biology, and non-Kolmogorov probability theory.

Next, the book discusses the possibility to apply the quantum formalism to model biological evolution, especially at the cellular level: genetic and epigenetic evolutions. It also presents a model of the epigenetic cellular evolution based on the mathematical formalism of open quantum systems. The last two chapters of the book explore foundational problems of quantum mechanics and demonstrate the power of usage of positive operator valued measures (POVMs) in biological science.

 

 

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Data visualization: Mapping the topical space

Data visualization: Mapping the topical space | CxBooks | Scoop.it

In Atlas of Knowledge, Börner gives guidance on how to 'map' — make visualizations of statistical, temporal, geospatial, topical and network data to aid intelligent decision-making by scientists, economists and policy-makers. One standout example is the beautiful 2011 'Design vs Emergence: Visualization of Knowledge Orders' by Alkim Almila Akdag Salah and her colleagues, which compares Wikipedia's category structure with the Universal Decimal Classification system. The book as a whole is an impressive, visually captivating resource, although ultimately it is more a tour inviting comparison and inspiration than a step-by-step manual.


Data visualization: Mapping the topical space
Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard
Nature 520, 292–293 (16 April 2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/520292a ;

Complexity Digest's insight:

See also http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/atlas-knowledge 

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Invisible: The Dangerous Allure of the Unseen (by Philip Ball)

Invisible: The Dangerous Allure of the Unseen

~ Philip Ball (author) More about this product
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If offered the chance—by cloak, spell, or superpower—to be invisible, who wouldn’t want to give it a try? We are drawn to the idea of stealthy voyeurism and the ability to conceal our own acts, but as desirable as it may seem, invisibility is also dangerous. It is not just an optical phenomenon, but a condition full of ethical questions. As esteemed science writer Philip Ball reveals in this book, the story of invisibility is not so much a matter of how it might be achieved but of why we want it and what we would do with it.

In this lively look at a timeless idea, Ball provides the first comprehensive history of our fascination with the unseen. This sweeping narrative moves from medieval spell books to the latest nanotechnology, from fairy tales to telecommunications, from camouflage to ghosts to the dawn of nuclear physics and the discovery of dark energy.  Along the way, Invisible tells little-known stories about medieval priests who blamed their misdeeds on spirits; the Cock Lane ghost, which intrigued both Samuel Johnson and Charles Dickens; the attempts by Victorian scientist William Crookes to detect psychic forces using tiny windmills; novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s belief that he was unseen when in his dressing gown; and military efforts to enlist magicians to hide tanks and ships during WWII.  Bringing in such voices as Plato and Shakespeare, Ball provides not only a scientific history but a cultural one—showing how our simultaneous desire for and suspicion of the invisible has fueled invention and the imagination for centuries.

In this unusual and clever book, Ball shows that our fantasies about being unseen—and seeing the unseen—reveal surprising truths about who we are.

 

 

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Nonlinear Physics of Ecosystems (by Ehud Meron)

Nonlinear Physics of Ecosystems

~ Ehud Meron (author) More about this product
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Nonlinear Physics of Ecosystems introduces the concepts and tools of pattern formation theory and demonstrates their utility in ecological research using problems from spatial ecology. Written in language understandable to both physicists and ecologists in most parts, the book reveals the mechanisms of pattern formation and pattern dynamics. It also explores the implications of these mechanisms in important ecological problems.

The first part of the book gives an overview of pattern formation and spatial ecology, showing how these disparate research fields are strongly related to one another. The next part presents an advanced account of pattern formation theory. The final part describes applications of pattern formation theory to ecological problems, including self-organized vegetation patchiness, desertification, and biodiversity in changing environments.

Focusing on the emerging interface between spatial ecology and pattern formation, this book shows how pattern formation methods address a variety of ecological problems using water-limited ecosystems as a case study. Readers with basic knowledge of linear algebra and ordinary differential equations will develop a general understanding of pattern formation theory while more advanced readers who are familiar with partial differential equations will appreciate the descriptions of analytical tools used to study pattern formation and dynamics.

 

 

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Scientific instrumentation: The aided eye

Scientific instrumentation: The aided eye | CxBooks | Scoop.it

In the seventeenth century, scientists learnt how to see, discovering the astronomically large and the invisibly small. Both the telescope and the microscope had been invented, independently, by the first decades of the century, and Europe's intelligentsia were astonished, amused and unnerved by what was revealed.
In Eye of the Beholder, historian Laura Snyder describes the insights derived from the microscope by Dutch cloth merchant Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, who, using self-made microscopes with a resolution as fine as one micrometre, found teeming life in drops of rainwater. In Galileo's Telescope, historians of science Massimo Bucciantini, Michele Camerota and Franco Giudice offer a new account of how Galileo Galilei introduced the world to the telescope's power to unravel the heavens. They track the genesis and influence of Galileo's 1610 booklet Sidereus nuncius (Starry messenger). Both of these detailed studies show how sensational it was to discover worlds not perceivable to the naked eye.
Snyder also explores the parallels between the interests of Leeuwenhoek and those of the artist Johannes Vermeer. Both men of Delft, they put lenses to work for different purposes — Leeuwenhoek to satisfy an insatiable curiosity, Vermeer to extend his ability to perceive and record the world, for example with a camera obscura. Did they share knowledge as acquaintances, even friends? Leeuwenhoek was executor of Vermeer's estate; although this may have been the civic duty of an eminent merchant, Snyder points out that the few other times Leeuwenhoek took such a role, he had links with the deceased.


Scientific instrumentation: The aided eye
• Philip Ball
Nature 520, 156 (09 April 2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/520156a ;

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Scientific Babel: How Science Was Done Before and After Global English (by Michael D. Gordin)

Scientific Babel: How Science Was Done Before and After Global English

~ Michael D. Gordin (author) More about this product
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English is the language of science today. No matter which languages you know, if you want your work seen, studied, and cited, you need to publish in English. But that hasn’t always been the case. Though there was a time when Latin dominated the field, for centuries science has been a polyglot enterprise, conducted in a number of languages whose importance waxed and waned over time—until the rise of English in the twentieth century.
 
So how did we get from there to here? How did French, German, Latin, Russian, and even Esperanto give way to English? And what can we reconstruct of the experience of doing science in the polyglot past? With Scientific Babel, Michael D. Gordin resurrects that lost world, in part through an ingenious mechanism: the pages of his highly readable narrative account teem with footnotes—not offering background information, but presenting quoted material in its original language. The result is stunning: as we read about the rise and fall of languages, driven by politics, war, economics, and institutions, we actually see it happen in the ever-changing web of multilingual examples. The history of science, and of English as its dominant language, comes to life, and brings with it a new understanding not only of the frictions generated by a scientific community that spoke in many often mutually unintelligible voices, but also of the possibilities of the polyglot, and the losses that the dominance of English entails.

 

 

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Radium and the Secret of Life (by Luis A. Campos)

Radium and the Secret of Life

~ Luis A. Campos (author) More about this product
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Before the hydrogen bomb indelibly associated radioactivity with death, many chemists, physicians, botanists, and geneticists believed that radium might hold the secret to life. Physicists and chemists early on described the wondrous new element in lifelike terms such as "decay" and "half-life," and made frequent references to the "natural selection" and "evolution" of the elements. Meanwhile, biologists of the period used radium in experiments aimed at elucidating some of the most basic phenomena of life, including metabolism and mutation.

From the creation of half-living microbes in the test tube to charting the earliest histories of genetic engineering, Radium and the Secret of Life highlights previously unknown interconnections between the history of the early radioactive sciences and the sciences of heredity. Equating the transmutation of radium with the biological transmutation of living species, biologists saw in metabolism and mutation properties that reminded them of the new element. These initially provocative metaphoric links between radium and life proved remarkably productive and ultimately led to key biological insights into the origin of life, the nature of heredity, and the structure of the gene. Radium and the Secret of Life recovers a forgotten history of the connections between radioactivity and the life sciences that existed long before the dawn of molecular biology.

 

 

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Why More Is Different: Philosophical Issues in Condensed Matter Physics and Complex Systems (edited by Brigitte Falkenburg & Margaret Morrison)

The physics of condensed matter, in contrast to quantum physics or cosmology, is not traditionally associated with deep philosophical questions. However, as science - largely thanks to more powerful computers - becomes capable of analysing and modelling ever more complex many-body systems, basic questions of philosophical relevance arise. Questions about the emergence of structure, the nature of cooperative behaviour, the implications of the second law, the quantum-classical transition and many other issues. This book is a collection of essays by leading physicists and philosophers. Each investigates one or more of these issues, making use of examples from modern condensed matter research. Physicists and philosophers alike will find surprising and stimulating ideas in these pages.

 

 

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Rain: A Natural and Cultural History (by Cynthia Barnett)

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History

~ Cynthia Barnett (author) More about this product
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Cynthia Barnett's Rain begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. It weaves together science—the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of frog and fish rains—with the human story of our ambition to control rain, from ancient rain dances to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straitjacket the Mississippi River. It offers a glimpse of our "founding forecaster," Thomas Jefferson, who measured every drizzle long before modern meteorology. Two centuries later, rainy skies would help inspire Morrissey’s mopes and Kurt Cobain’s grunge. Rain is also a travelogue, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat, and to India, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume.

Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; mocking rain with irrigated agriculture and cities built in floodplains; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. As climate change upends rainfall patterns and unleashes increasingly severe storms and drought, Barnett shows rain to be a unifying force in a fractured world.

 

 

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The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor (by Mark Schatzker)

The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor

~ Mark Schatzker (author) More about this product
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In The Dorito Effect, Mark Schatzker shows us how our approach to the nation’s number one public health crisis has gotten it wrong. The epidemics of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are not tied to the overabundance of fat or carbs or any other specific nutrient. Instead, we have been led astray by the growing divide between flavor—the tastes we crave—and the underlying nutrition.

Since the late 1940s, we have been slowly leeching flavor out of the food we grow. Those perfectly round, red tomatoes that grace our supermarket aisles today are mostly water, and the big breasted chickens on our dinner plates grow three times faster than they used to, leaving them dry and tasteless. Simultaneously, we have taken great leaps forward in technology, allowing us to produce in the lab the very flavors that are being lost on the farm. Thanks to this largely invisible epidemic, seemingly healthy food is becoming more like junk food: highly craveable but nutritionally empty. We have unknowingly interfered with an ancient chemical language—flavor—that evolved to guide our nutrition, not destroy it.

With in-depth historical and scientific research, The Dorito Effect casts the food crisis in a fascinating new light, weaving an enthralling tale of how we got to this point and where we are headed. We’ve been telling ourselves that our addiction to flavor is the problem, but it is actually the solution. We are on the cusp of a new revolution in agriculture that will allow us to eat healthier and live longer by enjoying flavor the way nature intended.

 

 

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The Wandering Mind: What the Brain Does When You're Not Looking (by Michael C. Corballis)

The Wandering Mind: What the Brain Does When You're Not Looking

~ Michael C. Corballis (author) More about this product
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If we’ve done our job well—and, let’s be honest, if we're lucky—you’ll read to the end of this description. Most likely, however, you won’t. Somewhere in the middle of the next paragraph, your mind will wander off. Minds wander. That’s just how it is.
 
That may be bad news for me, but is it bad news for people in general? Does the fact that as much as fifty percent of our waking hours find us failing to focus on the task at hand represent a problem? Michael Corballis doesn’t think so, and with The Wandering Mind, he shows us why, rehabilitating woolgathering and revealing its incredibly useful effects. Drawing on the latest research from cognitive science and evolutionary biology, Corballis shows us how mind-wandering not only frees us from moment-to-moment drudgery, but also from the limitations of our immediate selves. Mind-wandering strengthens our imagination, fueling the flights of invention, storytelling, and empathy that underlie our shared humanity; furthermore, he explains, our tendency to wander back and forth through the timeline of our lives is fundamental to our very sense of ourselves as coherent, continuing personalities.

 

 

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Knowledge Machines: Digital Transformations of the Sciences and Humanities (by Eric T. Meyer & Ralph Schroeder)

Knowledge Machines: Digital Transformations of the Sciences and Humanities (Infrastructures)

~ Ralph Schroeder (author) More about this product
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In Knowledge Machines, Eric Meyer and Ralph Schroeder argue that digital technologies have fundamentally changed research practices in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Meyer and Schroeder show that digital tools and data, used collectively and in distributed mode -- which they term e-research -- have transformed not just the consumption of knowledge but also the production of knowledge. Digital technologies for research are reshaping how knowledge advances in disciplines that range from physics to literary analysis.

Meyer and Schroeder map the rise of digital research and offer case studies from many fields, including biomedicine, social science uses of the Web, astronomy, and large-scale textual analysis in the humanities. They consider such topics as the challenges of sharing research data and of big data approaches, disciplinary differences and new forms of interdisciplinary collaboration, the shifting boundaries between researchers and their publics, and the ways that digital tools promote openness in science.

This book considers the transformations of research from a number of perspectives, drawing especially on the sociology of science and technology and social informatics. It shows that the use of digital tools and data is not just a technical issue; it affects research practices, collaboration models, publishing choices, and even the kinds of research and research questions scholars choose to pursue. Knowledge Machines examines the nature and implications of these transformations for scholarly research.

 

 

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Einstein's Dice and Schrödinger's Cat: How Two Great Minds Battled Quantum Randomness to Create a Unified Theory of Physics (by Paul Halpern)

When the fuzzy indeterminacy of quantum mechanics overthrew the orderly world of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger were at the forefront of the revolution. Neither man was ever satisfied with the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics, however, and both rebelled against what they considered the most preposterous aspect of quantum mechanics: its randomness. Einstein famously quipped that God does not play dice with the universe, and Schrödinger constructed his famous fable of a cat that was neither alive nor dead not to explain quantum mechanics but to highlight the apparent absurdity of a theory gone wrong. But these two giants did more than just criticize: they fought back, seeking a Theory of Everything that would make the universe seem sensible again.

In Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat, physicist Paul Halpern tells the little-known story of how Einstein and Schrödinger searched, first as collaborators and then as competitors, for a theory that transcended quantum weirdness. This story of their quest—which ultimately failed—provides readers with new insights into the history of physics and the lives and work of two scientists whose obsessions drove its progress.

 

 

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Quantum Mind and Social Science: Unifying Physical and Social Ontology (by Alexander Wendt)

Quantum Mind and Social Science: Unifying Physical and Social Ontology

~ Alexander Wendt (author) More about this product
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There is an underlying assumption in the social sciences that consciousness and social life are ultimately classical physical/material phenomena. In this ground-breaking book, Alexander Wendt challenges this assumption by proposing that consciousness is, in fact, a macroscopic quantum mechanical phenomenon. In the first half of the book, Wendt justifies the insertion of quantum theory into social scientific debates, introduces social scientists to quantum theory and the philosophical controversy about its interpretation, and then defends the quantum consciousness hypothesis against the orthodox, classical approach to the mind-body problem. In the second half, he develops the implications of this metaphysical perspective for the nature of language and the agent-structure problem in social ontology. Wendt's argument is a revolutionary development which raises fundamental questions about the nature of social life and the work of those who study it.

 

 

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Thinking Ahead - Essays on Big Data, Digital Revolution, and Participatory Market Society

Thinking Ahead - Essays on Big Data, Digital Revolution, and Participatory Market Society | CxBooks | Scoop.it

The rapidly progressing digital revolution is now touching the foundations of the governance of societal structures. Humans are on the verge of evolving from consumers to prosumers, and old, entrenched theories – in particular sociological and economic ones – are falling prey to these rapid developments. The original assumptions on which they are based are being questioned. Each year we produce as much data as in the entire human history - can we possibly create a global crystal ball to predict our future and to optimally govern our world? Do we need wide-scale surveillance to understand and manage the increasingly complex systems we are constructing, or would bottom-up approaches such as self-regulating systems be a better solution to creating a more innovative, more successful, more resilient, and ultimately happier society? Working at the interface of complexity theory, quantitative sociology and Big Data-driven risk and knowledge management, the author advocates the establishment of new participatory systems in our digital society to enhance coordination, reduce conflict and, above all, reduce the “tragedies of the commons,” resulting from the methods now used in political, economic and management decision-making.


Thinking Ahead - Essays on Big Data, Digital Revolution, and Participatory Market Society
Authors: Dirk Helbing
ISBN: 978-3-319-15077-2 (Print) 978-3-319-15078-9 (Online)

http://www.pks.mpg.de/mpi-doc/sodyn/physicist-language/ 

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Work, Sex, and Power: The Forces that Shaped Our History (by Willie Thompson)

Determining the forces that have shaped our history is always a contentious matter. Seen through the work of authors from Jared Diamond to Eric Hobsbawm, people’s fascination with what drives the actions of the human race is inexhaustible. In Work, Sex and Power, Willie Thompson deploys decades of experience as a historian in order to re-establish a materialist narrative of the entire span of human history, drawing on a vast range of contemporary research. This book seeks to reach a much wider audience than his previous, more academic books. Purged of any jargon, this volume will be accessible to an audience who are relatively new to Marxism. It attempts to discuss and explain the foundations of social structures and themes that have recurred throughout the phases of global history in the interaction between humans and their environment. From communities of Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers to the machine-civilisation of recent centuries, Thompson takes us on a journey through the latest thinking in regard to long-term historical development.

 

 

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Nonlinear Dynamics of Financial Crises: How to Predict Discontinuous Decisions (by Ionut Purica)

When just a handful of economists predicted the 2008 financial crisis, people should wonder how so many well educated people with enormous datasets and computing power can be so wrong. In this short book Ionut Purica joins a growing number of economists who explore the failings of mainstream economics and propose solutions developed in other disciplines, such as sociology and evolutionary biology. While it might be premature to call for a revolution, Dr. Purica echoes John Maynard Keynes in believing that economic ideas are "dangerous for good or evil." In recent years evil seems to have had the upper hand. "Nonlinear Dynamics of Financial Crises" points to their ability to do good.

  • Makes complex economics ideas accessible by carefully explaining technical terms and minimizing mathematics and equations
  • Delivers easily-understood perspectives about the global economy by constructing broad assumptions and conclusions in the face of its infinitely complexity
  • Challenges received economic ideas by focusing on human behavior and the roles it plays in easily-observable recent trends and events

 

 

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The Ant Trap: Rebuilding the Foundations of the Social Sciences (by Brian Epstein)

We live in a world of crowds and corporations, artworks and artifacts, legislatures and languages, money and markets. These are all social objects - they are made, at least in part, by people and by communities. But what exactly are these things? How are they made, and what is the role of people in making them?

In The Ant Trap, Brian Epstein rewrites our understanding of the nature of the social world and the foundations of the social sciences. Epstein explains and challenges the three prevailing traditions about how the social world is made. One tradition takes the social world to be built out of people, much as traffic is built out of cars. A second tradition also takes people to be the building blocks of the social world, but focuses on thoughts and attitudes we have toward one another. And a third tradition takes the social world to be a collective projection onto the physical world. Epstein shows that these share critical flaws. Most fundamentally, all three traditions overestimate the role of people in building the social world: they are overly anthropocentric.

Epstein starts from scratch, bringing the resources of contemporary metaphysics to bear. In the place of traditional theories, he introduces a model based on a new distinction between the grounds and the anchors of social facts. Epstein illustrates the model with a study of the nature of law, and shows how to interpret the prevailing traditions about the social world. Then he turns to social groups, and to what it means for a group to take an action or have an intention. Contrary to the overwhelming consensus, these often depend on more than the actions and intentions of group members.

 

 

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Cool: How the Brain's Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World (by Steven Quartz & Anette Asp)

Cool: How the Brain's Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World

~ Anette Asp (author) More about this product
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If you have ever wondered why SUVs replaced minivans, how one rap song turned the cognac industry upside down, or what gives Levi's jeans their iconic allure, look no further-in Cool, Steven Quartz and Anette Asp finally explain the fascinating science behind unexpected trends and enduring successes.
We live in a world of conspicuous consumption, where the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, and the food we eat lead double lives: they don't merely satisfy our needs; they also communicate our values, identities, and aspirations. In Beverly Hills, tourists flock to the famous Rodeo Drive-not to shop, but simply to take photographs of themselves in front of luxury stores. And for one week in August, hundreds of thousands of HarleyDavidson fans from all over the world descend on the remote town of Sturgis, South Dakota, and engulf the otherwise sleepy hamlet in the deafening roar of motorcycle engines. Why do brands inspire such devotion?
Quartz and Asp bring together groundbreaking findings in neuroscience, economics, and evolutionary biology to present a new understanding of why we consume and how our concepts of what is "cool"-be it designer jeans, smartphones, or craft beer-help drive the global economy. The authors highlight the underlying neurological and cultural processes that contribute to our often unconscious decision making, explaining how we're able to navigate the supermarket on autopilot for certain items and yet arrive at the checkout counter with a basket full of products picked up on the spur of the moment. And they explore the opposite side of the consumer equation-the "choice architects" who design store interiors and the "coolhunters" who scour Berlin and Tokyo on the lookout for the latest trends. Through a novel combination of cultural and economic history and in-depth studies of the brain, Cool puts forth a provocative theory of consumerism that reveals the crucial missing links in an understanding of our spending habits: our brain's status-seeking "social calculator" and an instinct to rebel that fuels our dislike of being subordinated by others. Quartz and Asp show how these ancient motivations make us natural-born consumers and how they sparked the emergence of "cool consumption"in the middle of the twentieth century, creating new lifestyle choices and routes to happiness. Examining how cool was reshaped in the 1990s by a changing society and the Internet, they unpack the social motivations behind today's hip, ethical consumption, arguing that we should embrace, rather than deny, the power of consumerism.

 

 

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Simulation and Control of Chaotic Nonequilibrium Systems (by William Graham Hoover & Carol Griswold Hoover)

This book aims to provide a lively working knowledge of the thermodynamic control of microscopic simulations, while summarizing the historical development of the subject, along with some personal reminiscences. Many computational examples are described so that they are well-suited to learning by doing. The contents enhance the current understanding of the reversibility paradox and are accessible to advanced undergraduates and researchers in physics, computation, and irreversible thermodynamics.

 

 

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