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The Gene: An Intimate History (by Siddhartha Mukherjee)

The Gene: An Intimate History

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From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Emperor of All Maladies—a magnificent history of the gene and a response to the defining question of the future: What becomes of being human when we learn to “read” and “write” our own genetic information?

The extraordinary Siddhartha Mukherjee has a written a biography of the gene as deft, brilliant, and illuminating as his extraordinarily successful biography of cancer. Weaving science, social history, and personal narrative to tell us the story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Mukherjee animates the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices.

Throughout the narrative, the story of Mukherjee’s own family—with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness—cuts like a bright, red line, reminding us of the many questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. In superb prose and with an instinct for the dramatic scene, he describes the centuries of research and experimentation—from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Morgan to Crick, Watson and Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary twenty-first century innovators who mapped the human genome.

As The New Yorker said of The Emperor of All Maladies, “It’s hard to think of many books for a general audience that have rendered any area of modern science and technology with such intelligence, accessibility, and compassion…An extraordinary achievement.” Riveting, revelatory, and magisterial history of a scientific idea coming to life, and an essential preparation for the moral complexity introduced by our ability to create or “write” the human genome, The Gene is a must-read for everyone concerned about the definition and future of humanity. This is the most crucial science of our time, intimately explained by a master.

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Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions (by Brian Christian &
Tom Griffiths)

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

~ Tom Griffiths (author) More about this product
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A fascinating exploration of how insights from computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives, helping to solve common decision-making problems and illuminate the workings of the human mind

All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such issues for decades. And the solutions they've found have much to teach us.

In a dazzlingly interdisciplinary work, acclaimed author Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths show how the algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions. They explain how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others. From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one's inbox to understanding the workings of memory, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.

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Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World

~ Alex Tapscott (author) More about this product
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The technology likely to have the greatest impact on the future of the world economy has arrived, and it’s not self-driving cars, solar energy, or artificial intelligence.

It’s called the blockchain.

 
The first generation of the digital revolution brought us the Internet of information. The second genera­tion—powered by blockchain technology—is bringing us the Internet of value: a new, distributed platform that can help us reshape the world of business and transform the old order of human affairs for the better.
 
Blockchain is the ingeniously simple, revolution­ary protocol that allows transactions to be simul­taneously anonymous and secure by maintaining a tamperproof public ledger of value. Though it’s the technology that drives bitcoin and other digital cur­rencies, the underlying framework has the potential to go far beyond these and record virtually everything of value to humankind, from birth and death certifi­cates to insurance claims and even votes.
 
Why should you care? Maybe you’re a music lover who wants artists to make a living off their art. Or a consumer who wants to know where that hamburger meat really came from. Perhaps you’re an immigrant who’s sick of paying big fees to send money home to loved ones. Or an entrepreneur looking for a new platform to build a business.
 
And those examples are barely the tip of the ice­berg. This technology is public, encrypted, and readily available for anyone to use. It’s already seeing wide­spread adoption in a number of areas. For example, forty-two (and counting) of the world’s biggest finan­cial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Credit Suisse, have formed a consortium to investigate the blockchain for speedier and more secure transactions.

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A World From Dust: How the Periodic Table Shaped Life (by Ben McFarland)

A World From Dust: How the Periodic Table Shaped Life

~ Ben McFarland (author) More about this product
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A World From Dust describes how a set of chemical rules combined with the principles of evolution in order to create an environment in which life as we know it could unfold. Beginning with simple mathematics, these predictable rules led to the advent of the planet itself, as well as cells, organs and organelles, ecosystems, and increasingly complex life forms. McFarland provides an accessible discussion of a geological history as well, describing how the inorganic matter on Earth underwent chemical reactions with air and water, allowing for life to emerge from the world's first rocks. He traces the history of life all the way to modern neuroscience, and shows how the bioelectric signals that make up the human brain were formed. Most popular science books on the topic present either the physics of how the universe formed, or the biology of how complex life came about; this book's approach would be novel in that it condenses in an engaging way the chemistry that links the two fields. This book is an accessible and multidisciplinary look at how life on our planet came to be, and how it continues to develop and change even today.

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The Genius of Birds (by Jennifer Ackerman)

The Genius of Birds

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Birds are astonishingly intelligent creatures. In fact, according to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence.  Like humans, many birds have enormous brains relative to their size. Although small, bird brains are packed with neurons that allow them to punch well above their weight.

In The Genius of Birds, acclaimed author Jennifer Ackerman explores the newly discovered brilliance of birds and how it came about. As she travels around the world to the most cutting-edge frontiers of research— the distant laboratories of Barbados and New Caledonia, the great tit communities of the United Kingdom and the bowerbird habitats of Australia, the ravaged mid-Atlantic coast after Hurricane Sandy and the warming mountains of central Virginia and the western states—Ackerman not only tells the story of the recently uncovered genius of birds but also delves deeply into the latest findings about the bird brain itself that are revolutionizing our view of what it means to be intelligent.

Consider, as Ackerman does, the Clark’s nutcracker, a bird that can hide as many as 30,000 seeds over dozens of square miles and remember where it put them several months later; the mockingbirds and thrashers, species that can store 200 to 2,000 different songs in a brain a thousand times smaller than ours; the well-known pigeon, which knows where it’s going, even thousands of miles from familiar territory; and the New Caledonian crow, an impressive bird that makes its own tools.

But beyond highlighting how birds use their unique genius in technical ways, Ackerman points out the impressive social smarts of birds. They deceive and manipulate. They eavesdrop. They display a strong sense of fairness. They give gifts. They play keep-away and tug-of-war. They tease. They share. They cultivate social networks. They vie for status. They kiss to console one another. They teach their young. They blackmail their parents. They alert one another to danger. They summon witnesses to the death of a peer. They may even grieve.

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Evolution: Taxonomies of cognition

Evolution: Taxonomies of cognition | CxBooks | Scoop.it

In Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, ethologist Frans de Waal celebrates the evolution of intelligence in nature. His is an entertaining account of how octopuses escape from jars by unscrewing the lids and rooks drop pebbles into a tube to access floating rewards. Natural selection, he argues, shapes cognitive abilities in the same way as it shapes traits such as wing length. As animals' challenges and habitats differ, so do their cognitive abilities. This idea, which he calls evolutionary cognition, has gained traction in psychology and biology in the past few decades.

 

Evolution: Taxonomies of cognition
• Joan B. Silk
Nature 532, 176 (14 April 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/532176a

 

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals are?
Frans de Waal W. W. Norton: 2016.

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Creating Language: Integrating Evolution, Acquisition, and Processing by Morten H. Christiansen and Nick Chater

Creating Language: Integrating Evolution, Acquisition, and Processing (MIT Press)

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Language is a hallmark of the human species; the flexibility and unbounded expressivity of our linguistic abilities is unique in the biological world. In this book, Morten Christiansen and Nick Chater argue that to understand this astonishing phenomenon, we must consider how language is created: moment by moment, in the generation and understanding of individual utterances; year by year, as new language learners acquire language skills; and generation by generation, as languages change, split, and fuse through the processes of cultural evolution. Christiansen and Chater propose a revolutionary new framework for understanding the evolution, acquisition, and processing of language, offering an integrated theory of how language creation is intertwined across these multiple timescales.

 

http://amzn.to/1VVASYA 

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Designing Beauty: The Art of Cellular Automata: Andrew Adamatzky, Genaro J. Martínez

This fascinating, colourful  book offers in-depth insights and first-hand working experiences in the production of art works, using simple computational models with rich morphological behaviour, at the edge of mathematics, computer science, physics and biology. It organically combines ground breaking scientific discoveries in the theory of computation and complex systems with artistic representations of the research results. In this appealing book mathematicians, computer scientists, physicists, and engineers brought together marvelous and esoteric patterns generated by cellular automata, which are arrays of simple machines with complex behavior. Configurations produced by cellular automata  uncover  mechanics of dynamic patterns formation, their propagation and interaction in natural systems: heart pacemaker, bacterial membrane proteins, chemical rectors, water permeation in soil, compressed gas, cell division, population dynamics, reaction-diffusion media and self-organisation.
The book inspires artists to take on cellular automata as a tool of creativity and it persuades scientists to convert their research results into the works of art.

The book is lavishly illustrated with visually attractive examples, presented in a lively and easily accessible manner.

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The social gene

Genetic research has moved rapidly since the publication of Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene 40 years ago. In the intervening years, we have come to realize that many of the most interesting and important phenomena in human biology are not caused by any single gene. Citing a wealth of recent research that explores the ways genes work together to produce complex biological processes, Itai Yanai and Martin Lercher argue that it is time to embrace a new, more holistic, metaphor in their book, The Society of Genes.

 

The social gene
Joseph Swift
Science  25 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6280, pp. 1403
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaf5297

 

The Society of Genes Itai Yanai and Martin Lercher Harvard University Press, 2016. 294 pp

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The Value of Systems and Complexity Sciences for Healthcare (by Joachim P. Sturmberg)

This visionary reframing of health and healthcare uses a complexity science approach to building healthcare systems that are accessible, effective, and prepared for change and challenges. Its holistic map for understanding the human organism emphasizes the interconnectedness of the individual’s physical, psychological, cognitive, and sociocultural functioning. Applications of this approach are described in primary, specialist, and emergency care and at the organizational and policy levels, from translating findings to practice, to problem solving and evaluation. In this model, the differences between disease and illness and treating illness and restoring health are not mere wordplay, but instead are robust concepts reflecting real-world issues and their solutions. Topics covered include:


• Coping with complexity and uncertainty: insights from studying epidemiology in family medicine 
• Anticipation in complex systems: potential implications for improving safety and quality in healthcare 
• Monitoring variability and complexity at the bedside 
• Viewing mental health through the lens of complexity science 
• Ethical complexities in systems healthcare: what care and for whom? 
• The value of systems and complexity thinking to enable change in adaptive healthcare organizations supported by informatics 
• If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the theory: implications for health system reform

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Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation (by Timothy J. Jorgensen)

Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation

~ Timothy J. Jorgensen (author) More about this product
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More than ever before, radiation is a part of our modern daily lives. We own radiation-emitting phones, regularly get diagnostic x-rays, such as mammograms, and submit to full-body security scans at airports. We worry and debate about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the safety of nuclear power plants. But how much do we really know about radiation? And what are its actual dangers? An accessible blend of narrative history and science, Strange Glow describes mankind's extraordinary, thorny relationship with radiation, including the hard-won lessons of how radiation helps and harms our health. Timothy Jorgensen explores how our knowledge of and experiences with radiation in the last century can lead us to smarter personal decisions about radiation exposures today.

Jorgensen introduces key figures in the story of radiation--from Wilhelm Roentgen, the discoverer of x-rays, and pioneering radioactivity researchers Marie and Pierre Curie, to Thomas Edison and the victims of the recent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Tracing the most important events in the evolution of radiation, Jorgensen explains exactly what radiation is, how it produces certain health consequences, and how we can protect ourselves from harm. He also considers a range of practical scenarios such as the risks of radon in our basements, radiation levels in the fish we eat, questions about cell-phone use, and radiation's link to cancer. Jorgensen empowers us to make informed choices while offering a clearer understanding of broader societal issues.

Investigating radiation's benefits and risks, Strange Glow takes a remarkable look at how, for better or worse, radiation has transformed our society.

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The preschool paradox

The Little Prince opens with a 6-year-old narrator who proudly drew a boa constrictor that had swallowed an elephant. Disheartened that adults think his masterpiece is a picture of a hat, he quips, “Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves.”
In her new book, The Importance of Being Little, Erika Christakis comes to the same conclusion. Her “preschool paradox” suggests a misalignment between what we offer young children and what they really need. If children have “limitless capacity to learn in all environments,” she writes, “why should we settle for unimaginative goals … like being able to identify triangles and squares, or recalling the names of colors and seasons?”

 

The preschool paradox
Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Roberta Michnick Golinkof
The Importance of Being Little What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups Erika Christakis Viking, 2016. 400 pp.

Science  11 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6278, pp. 1158
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaf1173

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The Perfect Bet: How Science and Math Are Taking the Luck Out of Gambling (by Adam Kucharski)

The Perfect Bet: How Science and Math Are Taking the Luck Out of Gambling

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There is one thing about gambling that everyone knows: the house always wins. Lotteries are set up to guarantee profits, to the state. A craps game is a sure thing, but only if you own the table. Sometimes, however, everyone is wrong. After all, the reason that casinos ban card counters is that counting cards works. Indeed, for the past 500 years, gamblers—led by mathematicians and scientists—have been trying to figure out how to turn the tables on the house and pull the rug out from under Lady Luck.

In The Perfect Bet, mathematician and award-winning writer Adam Kucharski tells the astonishing story of how the experts have done it, revolutionizing mathematics and science in the process. From Galileo to Alan Turing, betting has been scientists’ playground for ideas: dice games in sixteenth-century bars gave birth to the theory of probability, and poker to game theory (mathematician John von Neumann wanted to improve his game) and to much of artificial intelligence. Kucharski gives us a collection of rogues, geniuses, and mavericks who are equally at home in a casino in Monte Carlo as investigating how to build an atomic bomb for the Manhattan Project. They include the mathematician who flipped a coin 25,000 times to see if it was fair; the college kids who gamed the Massachusetts lottery to yield millions of dollars in profit; and the horse-betting syndicates of Hong Kong’s Happy Valley, who turned a wager on ponies into a multi-billion-dollar industry.

With mathematical rigor and narrative flair,  Adam Kucharski reveals the tangled history of betting and science. The house can seem unbeatable. In this book, Kucharski shows us just why it isn’t. Even better, he shows us how the search for the perfect bet has been crucial for the scientific pursuit of a better world 

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Life: The Leading Edge of Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Anthropology, and Environmental Science

Life: The Leading Edge of Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Anthropology, and Environmental Science

~ John Brockman (author) More about this product
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The newest addition to John Brockman’s Edge.org series explores life itself, bringing together the world’s leading biologists, geneticists, and evolutionary theorists—including Richard Dawkins, Edward O. Wilson, J. Craig Venter, and Freeman Dyson.

Scientists’ understanding of life is progressing more rapidly than at any point in human history, from the extraordinary decoding of DNA to the controversial emergence of biotechnology. Featuring pioneering biologists, geneticists, physicists, and science writers, Life explains just how far we’ve come—and takes a brilliantly educated guess at where we’re heading.
Richard Dawkins and J. Craig Venter compare genes to digital information, and sketch the frontiers of genomic research.

Edward O. Wilson reveals what ants can teach us about building a superorganism—and, in turn, about how cells build an organism. Elsewhere, David Haig reports new findings on how mothers and fathers individually influence the human genome, while Kary Mullis covers cutting edge treatments for dangerous viruses. And there’s much more in this fascinating volume.

We may never have all the answers. But the thinkers collected in Life are asking questions that will keep us dreaming for generations.

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Complex Motions and Chaos in Nonlinear Systems

This book brings together 12 chapters on a new stream of research examining complex phenomena in nonlinear systems―including engineering, physics, and social science. Complex Motions and Chaos in Nonlinear Systems provides readers a particular vantage of the nature and nonlinear phenomena in nonlinear dynamics that can develop the corresponding mathematical theory and apply nonlinear design to practical engineering as well as the study of other complex phenomena including those investigated within social science.

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Boundaries of a Complex World (by Andrei Ludu)

The central theme of this book is the extent to which the structure of the free dynamical boundaries of a system controls the evolution of the system as a whole. Applying three orthogonal types of thinking - mathematical, constructivist and morphological, it illustrates these concepts using applications to selected problems from the social and life sciences, as well as economics.

 In a broader context, it introduces and reviews some modern mathematical approaches to the science of complex systems. Standard modeling approaches (based on non-linear differential equations, dynamic systems, graph theory, cellular automata, stochastic processes, or information theory) are suitable for studying local problems. However they cannot simultaneously take into account all the different facets and phenomena of a complex system, and new approaches are required to solve the challenging problem of correlations between phenomena at different levels and hierarchies, their self-organization and memory-evolutive aspects, the growth of additional structures and are ultimately required to explain why and how such complex systems can display both robustness and flexibility.

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Systems Neuroscience in Depression (by Thomas Frodl)

Systems Neuroscience in Depression

~ Thomas Frodl (author) More about this product
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Systems Neuroscience in Depression provides a comprehensive overview of the normal and depressed brain processes as studied from a systems neuroscience perspective. Systems neuroscience uses a wide variety of approaches to study how networks of neurons form the bases of higher brain function. A broad overview is discussed starting with a background from neurodevelopment and neural understanding as well as novel treatment approaches for depression. This book covers basic developmental aspects and depressive psychopathology, as well as the basic scientific background from animal models and experimental research. Current advances in systems neuroscience are highlighted in studies from child and adolescent psychiatry. Integrated approaches are presented with regards to genetics, neuroimaging and neuroinflammation as well as neuroendocrinology. The field of systems and network neuroscience is evolving rapidly and this book provides a greatly needed resource for researchers and practitioners in systems neuroscience and psychiatry.

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The Ancient Origins of Consciousness: How the Brain Created Experience (by Todd E. Feinberg & Jon M. Mallatt)

How is consciousness created? When did it first appear on Earth, and how did it evolve? What constitutes consciousness, and which animals can be said to be sentient? In this book, Todd Feinberg and Jon Mallatt draw on recent scientific findings to answer these questions -- and to tackle the most fundamental question about the nature of consciousness: how does the material brain create subjective experience?

After assembling a list of the biological and neurobiological features that seem responsible for consciousness, and considering the fossil record of evolution, Feinberg and Mallatt argue that consciousness appeared much earlier in evolutionary history than is commonly assumed. About 520 to 560 million years ago, they explain, the great "Cambrian explosion" of animal diversity produced the first complex brains, which were accompanied by the first appearance of consciousness; simple reflexive behaviors evolved into a unified inner world of subjective experiences. From this they deduce that all vertebrates are and have always been conscious -- not just humans and other mammals, but also every fish, reptile, amphibian, and bird. Considering invertebrates, they find that arthropods (including insects and probably crustaceans) and cephalopods (including the octopus) meet many of the criteria for consciousness. The obvious and conventional wisdom--shattering implication is that consciousness evolved simultaneously but independently in the first vertebrates and possibly arthropods more than half a billion years ago. Combining evolutionary, neurobiological, and philosophical approaches allows Feinberg and Mallatt to offer an original solution to the "hard problem" of consciousness.

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Dynamical Systems on Networks

Dynamical Systems on Networks | CxBooks | Scoop.it

When studying a dynamical process, one is concerned with its behavior as a function of time, space, and its parameters. There are numerous studies that examine how many people are infected by a biological contagion and whether it persists from one season to another, whether and to what extent interacting oscillators synchronize, whether a meme on the internet becomes viral or not, and more. These studies all have something in common: the dynamics are occurring on a set of discrete entities (the nodes in a network) that are connected to each other via edges in some nontrivial way. This leads to the natural question of how such underlying nontrivial connectivity affects dynamical processes. This is one of the most important questions in network science, and it is the core question that we consider in our tutorial.

 

Dynamical Systems on Networks
A Tutorial
Authors: Mason A. Porter, James P. Gleeson
ISBN: 978-3-319-26640-4 (Print) 978-3-319-26641-1

http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-26641-1 

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The Origin and Nature of Life on Earth: The Emergence of the Fourth Geosphere: Eric Smith, Harold J. Morowitz

Uniting the conceptual foundations of the physical sciences and biology, this groundbreaking multidisciplinary book explores the origin of life as a planetary process. Combining geology, geochemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, evolution and statistical physics to create an inclusive picture of the living state, the authors develop the argument that the emergence of life was a necessary cascade of non-equilibrium phase transitions that opened new channels for chemical energy flow on Earth. This full colour and logically structured book introduces the main areas of significance and provides a well-ordered and accessible introduction to multiple literatures outside the confines of disciplinary specializations, as well as including an extensive bibliography to provide context and further reading. For researchers, professionals entering the field or specialists looking for a coherent overview, this text brings together diverse perspectives to form a unified picture of the origin of life and the ongoing organization of the biosphere.

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The multifaceted impact of Ada Lovelace in the digital age

Ada Lovelace (1815–1852), the Victorian-era mathematician daughter of the Romantic poet Lord Byron, is famous for her work with Charles Babbage on the Analytic Engine and is widely celebrated as the first computer programmer. Her work has been recognized over the years, and even though the bearing of her contribution has often been questioned, she has always been acknowledged as a pioneering figure by the Computer Science community. Recently she has been chosen as a symbol of the achievements of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Ada was worldwide celebrated on December 10th 2015, on the occasion of her 200th birthday, with workshops, meetings, and publications. In particular, ACM contributed with a book: an interdisciplinary collection of papers inspired by Ada's life, work, and legacy. The book covers Ada's collaboration with Babbage, her position in the Victorian and steampunk literature, her representation in contemporary art and comics, and her increasing relevance in promoting women in science and technology.
I here review the book, focusing in particular on Ada's visionary ideas of software, on her relation with Alan Turing and the inception of Artificial Intelligence.

 

Robin Hammerman, Andrew L. Russell (Eds.), Ada's Legacy: Cultures of Computing from the Victorian to the Digital Age, Association for Computing Machinery and Morgan & Claypool, New York, NY, USA, 2015.

The multifaceted impact of Ada Lovelace in the digital age
Luigia Carlucci Aiello

Artificial Intelligence
Volume 235, June 2016, Pages 58–62

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.artint.2016.02.003

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Rethinking Thought: Inside the Minds of Creative Scientists and Artists: Laura Otis

Rethinking Thought takes readers into the minds of 30 creative thinkers to show how greatly the experience of thought can vary. It is dedicated to anyone who has ever been told, "You're not thinking!", because his or her way of thinking differs so much from a spouse's, employer's, or teacher's. The book focuses on individual experiences with visual mental images and verbal language that are used in planning, problem-solving, reflecting, remembering, and forging new ideas. It approaches the question of what thinking is by analyzing variations in the way thinking feels.

Written by neuroscientist-turned-literary scholar Laura Otis, Rethinking Thought juxtaposes creative thinkers' insights with recent neuroscientific discoveries about visual mental imagery, verbal language, and thought. Presenting the results of new, interview-based research, it offers verbal portraits of novelist Salman Rushdie, engineer Temple Grandin, American Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, and Nobel prize-winning biologist Elizabeth Blackburn. It also depicts the unique mental worlds of two award-winning painters, a flamenco dancer, a game designer, a cartoonist, a lawyer-novelist, a theoretical physicist, and a creator of multi-agent software. Treating scientists and artists with equal respect, it creates a dialogue in which neuroscientific findings and the introspections of creative thinkers engage each other as equal partners.

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The Seven Pillars of Statistical Wisdom (by Stephen M. Stigler)

The Seven Pillars of Statistical Wisdom

~ Stephen M. Stigler (author) More about this product
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What gives statistics its unity as a science? Stephen Stigler sets forth the seven foundational ideas of statistics―a scientific discipline related to but distinct from mathematics and computer science.

Even the most basic idea - aggregation, exemplified by averaging - is counterintuitive. It allows one to gain information by discarding information, namely, the individuality of the observations. Stigler’s second pillar, information measurement, challenges the importance of “big data” by noting that observations are not all equally important: the amount of information in a data set is often proportional to only the square root of the number of observations, not the absolute number. The third idea is likelihood, the calibration of inferences with the use of probability. Intercomparison is the principle that statistical comparisons do not need to be made with respect to an external standard. The fifth pillar is regression, both a paradox (tall parents on average produce shorter children; tall children on average have shorter parents) and the basis of inference, including Bayesian inference and causal reasoning. The sixth concept captures the importance of experimental design―for example, by recognizing the gains to be had from a combinatorial approach with rigorous randomization. The seventh idea is the residual: the notion that a complicated phenomenon can be simplified by subtracting the effect of known causes, leaving a residual phenomenon that can be explained more easily.

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Simple universal models capture all classical spin physics

Spin models are used in many studies of complex systems because they exhibit rich macroscopic behavior despite their microscopic simplicity. Here, we prove that all the physics of every classical spin model is reproduced in the low-energy sector of certain “universal models,” with at most polynomial overhead. This holds for classical models with discrete or continuous degrees of freedom. We prove necessary and sufficient conditions for a spin model to be universal and show that one of the simplest and most widely studied spin models, the two-dimensional Ising model with fields, is universal. Our results may facilitate physical simulations of Hamiltonians with complex interactions.

 

Simple universal models capture all classical spin physics
Gemma De las Cuevas, Toby S. Cubitt

Science  11 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6278, pp. 1180-1183
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aab3326

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Sherri L. McLendon's curator insight, March 18, 10:06 AM
Reminds me of Goethe's "Elective Affinities,: i.e. results may facilitate physical s(t)imulations... with complex interactives - sometimes a whole new spin has always seemed to be universal. LOL
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Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life (by Edward O. Wilson)

Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life

~ Edward O. Wilson (author) More about this product
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In order to stave off the mass extinction of species, including our own, we must move swiftly to preserve the biodiversity of our planet, says Edward O. Wilson in his most impassioned book to date. Half-Earth argues that the situation facing us is too large to be solved piecemeal and proposes a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: dedicate fully half the surface of the Earth to nature.

If we are to undertake such an ambitious endeavor, we first must understand just what the biosphere is, why it's essential to our survival, and the manifold threats now facing it. In doing so, Wilson describes how our species, in only a mere blink of geological time, became the architects and rulers of this epoch and outlines the consequences of this that will affect all of life, both ours and the natural world, far into the future.

Half-Earth provides an enormously moving and naturalistic portrait of just what is being lost when we clip "twigs and eventually whole braches of life's family tree." In elegiac prose, Wilson documents the many ongoing extinctions that are imminent, paying tribute to creatures great and small, not the least of them the two Sumatran rhinos whom he encounters in captivity. Uniquely, Half-Earth considers not only the large animals and star species of plants but also the millions of invertebrate animals and microorganisms that, despite being overlooked, form the foundations of Earth's ecosystems.

In stinging language, he avers that the biosphere does not belong to us and addresses many fallacious notions such as the idea that ongoing extinctions can be balanced out by the introduction of alien species into new ecosystems or that extinct species might be brought back through cloning. This includes a critique of the "anthropocenists," a fashionable collection of revisionist environmentalists who believe that the human species alone can be saved through engineering and technology.

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