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Beyond the Brain: How Body and Environment Shape Animal and Human Minds (by Louise Barrett)

Beyond the Brain: How Body and Environment Shape Animal and Human Minds (by Louise Barrett) | CxBooks | Scoop.it

When a chimpanzee stockpiles rocks as weapons or when a frog sends out mating calls, we might easily assume these animals know their own motivations--that they use the same psychological mechanisms that we do. But as Beyond the Brain indicates, this is a dangerous assumption because animals have different evolutionary trajectories, ecological niches, and physical attributes. How do these differences influence animal thinking and behavior? Removing our human-centered spectacles, Louise Barrett investigates the mind and brain and offers an alternative approach for understanding animal and human cognition. Drawing on examples from animal behavior, comparative psychology, robotics, artificial life, developmental psychology, and cognitive science, Barrett provides remarkable new insights into how animals and humans depend on their bodies and environment--not just their brains--to behave intelligently.

Barrett begins with an overview of human cognitive adaptations and how these color our views of other species, brains, and minds. Considering when it is worth having a big brain--or indeed having a brain at all--she investigates exactly what brains are good at. Showing that the brain's evolutionary function guides action in the world, she looks at how physical structure contributes to cognitive processes, and she demonstrates how these processes employ materials and resources in specific environments.

Arguing that thinking and behavior constitute a property of the whole organism, not just the brain, Beyond the Brain illustrates how the body, brain, and cognition are tied to the wider world.

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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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Rust: The Longest War (by Jonathan Waldman)

Rust: The Longest War

~ Jonathan Waldman (author) More about this product
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It has been called “the great destroyer” and “the evil.” The Pentagon refers to it as “the pervasive menace.” It destroys cars, fells bridges, sinks ships, sparks house fires, and nearly brought down the Statue of Liberty. Rust costs America more than $400 billion per year—more than all other natural disasters combined.

This book is a fresh and often funny account of an overlooked engineering endeavor that is as compelling as it is grand, illuminating a hidden phenomenon that shapes the modern world. Rust affects everything from the design of our currency to the composition of our tap water, and it will determine the legacy we leave on this planet. This exploration of corrosion, and the incredible lengths we go to fight it, is narrative nonfiction at its very best—a fascinating and important subject, delivered with energy and wit.

 

 

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Network Literacy: Essential Concepts and Core Ideas

Network Literacy: Essential Concepts and Core Ideas | CxBooks | Scoop.it

Network science is a significant pathway into understanding many kinds of Big Data. Since its inceptions during the late 20th century it has been increasing its relevance to people's everyday life. Networks can help us to make sense of this increasingly complex world, making it a useful literacy for people living in the 21st century.


https://sites.google.com/a/binghamton.edu/netscied/teaching-learning/network-concepts 

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Love the simplicity of this!

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The Developing Genome: An Introduction to Behavioral Epigenetics (by David S. Moore)

The Developing Genome: An Introduction to Behavioral Epigenetics

~ David S. Moore (author) More about this product
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Why do we grow up to look, act, and feel as we do? Through most of the twentieth century, scientists and laypeople answered this question by referring to two factors alone: our experiences and our genes. But recent discoveries about how genes work have revealed a new way to understand the developmental origins of our characteristics. These discoveries have emerged from the new science of behavioral epigenetics--and just as the whole world has now heard of DNA, "epigenetics" will be a household word in the near future.

Behavioral epigenetics is important because it explains how our experiences get under our skin and influence the activity of our genes. Because of breakthroughs in this field, we now know that the genes we're born with don't determine if we'll end up easily stressed, likely to fall ill with cancer, or possessed of a powerful intellect. Instead, what matters is what our genes do. And because research in behavioral epigenetics has shown that our experiences influence how our genes function, this work has changed how scientists think about nature, nurture, and human development. Diets, environmental toxins, parenting styles, and other environmental factors all influence genetic activity through epigenetic mechanisms; this discovery has the potential to alter how doctors treat diseases, and to change how mental health professionals treat conditions from schizophrenia to post-traumatic stress disorder. These advances could also force a reworking of the theory of evolution that dominated twentieth-century biology, and even change how we think about human nature itself.

In spite of the importance of this research, behavioral epigenetics is still relatively unknown to non-biologists. The Developing Genome is an introduction to this exciting new discipline; it will allow readers without a background in biology to learn about this work and its revolutionary implications.

 

 

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Disaster Theory: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Concepts and Causes (by David Etkin)

Disaster Theory: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Concepts and Causes

~ David Etkin (author) More about this product
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Disaster Theory: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Concepts and Causes offers the theoretical background needed to understand what disasters are and why they occur. Drawing on related disciplines, including sociology, risk theory, and seminal research on disasters and emergency management, Disaster Theory clearly lays out the conceptual framework of the emerging field of disaster studies. Tailored to the needs of advanced undergraduates and graduate students, this unique text also provides an ideal capstone for students who have already been introduced to the fundamentals of emergency management. Disaster Theory emphasizes the application of critical thinking in understanding disasters and their causes by synthesizing a wide range of information on theory and practice, including input from leading scholars in the field.

  • Offers the first cohesive depiction of disaster theory
  • Incorporates material from leading thinkers in the field, as well as student exercises and critical thinking questions, making this a rich resource for advanced courses
  • Written from an international perspective and includes case studies of disasters and hazards from around the world for comparing the leading models of emergency response
  • Challenges the reader to think critically about important questions in disaster management from various points of view

 

 

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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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Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation are Changing Life on Earth (by Juan Enriquez & Steve Gullans)

Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation are Changing Life on Earth

~ Steve Gullans (author) More about this product
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Why are rates of conditions like autism, asthma, obesity, and allergies exploding at an unprecedented pace? Why are humans living longer, getting smarter, and having far fewer kids? How might your lifestyle affect your unborn children and grandchildren? If Darwin were alive today, how would he explain this new world? Could our progeny eventually become a different species—or several?


In Evolving Ourselves, futurist Juan Enriquez and scientist Steve Gullans conduct a sweeping tour of how humans are changing the course of evolution—sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. For example:

  • Globally, rates of obesity in humans nearly doubled between 1980 and 2014. What’s more, there’s evidence that other species, from pasture-fed horses to lab animals to house cats, are also getting fatter.
  • As reported by U.S. government agencies, the rate of autism rose by 131 percent from 2001 to 2010, an increase that cannot be attributed simply to increases in diagnosis rates.
  • Three hundred years ago, almost no one with a serious nut allergy lived long enough to reproduce. Today, despite an environment in which food allergies have increased by 50 percent in just over a decade, 17 million Americans who suffer from food allergies survive, thrive, and pass their genes and behaviors on to the next generation.
  • In the pre-Twinkie era, early humans had quite healthy mouths. As we began cooking, bathing, and using antibiotics, the bacteria in our bodies changed dramatically and became far less diverse. Today the consequences are evident not only in our teeth but throughout our bodies and minds.

 

 

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Seeing the forest for the trees

We now live in a world obsessed with data, in which paper and pencil have been traded for code and algorithms. As a result, we often spend less time getting a feel for problems we are tackling than we would have 35 years ago. It was therefore very refreshing to read a book that encourages the reader to do just that.
The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering acts as a step-by-step guide that enables the reader to tackle fundamental scientific problems through simple back-of-the-envelope calculations. The main objective of the book is not to promote a thorough understanding of an underlying theory or to allow us to come to an exact solution but rather to encourage us to use our instincts and knowledge of the fundamental concepts to come to an approximate and reasonable solution. “Approximate first, and worry later,” says the book's author, Sanjoy Mahajan. “Otherwise you never start, and you can never learn that the approximations would have been accurate enough—if only you had gathered the courage to make them.”


Seeing the forest for the trees
Sybil Derrible
Review of "The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering: Mastering Complexity", by Sanjoy Mahajan, MIT Press, 2014. 408 pp.

Science 27 March 2015:
Vol. 347 no. 6229 p. 1426
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaa5153 ;

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Fundamentals of Complex Networks: Models, Structures and Dynamics (by Guanrong Chen et al.)

Fundamentals of Complex Networks: Models, Structures and Dynamics

~ Xiang Li (author) More about this product
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Complex networks such as the Internet, transportation networks, power grids, biological neural networks, and scientific cooperation networks of all kinds provide challenges for future technological development.

• The first systematic presentation of dynamical evolving networks, with many up-to-date applications and homework projects to enhance study
• Complex networks are becoming an increasingly important area of research
• Presented in a logical, constructive style, from basic through to complex, examining algorithms, through to construct networks and research challenges of the future

 

 

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Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World (by Bruce Schneier)

Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World

~ Bruce Schneier (author) More about this product
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Your cell phone provider tracks your location and knows who’s with you. Your online and in-store purchasing patterns are recorded, and reveal if you're unemployed, sick, or pregnant. Your e-mails and texts expose your intimate and casual friends. Google knows what you’re thinking because it saves your private searches. Facebook can determine your sexual orientation without you ever mentioning it.

The powers that surveil us do more than simply store this information. Corporations use surveillance to manipulate not only the news articles and advertisements we each see, but also the prices we’re offered. Governments use surveillance to discriminate, censor, chill free speech, and put people in danger worldwide. And both sides share this information with each other or, even worse, lose it to cybercriminals in huge data breaches.

Much of this is voluntary: we cooperate with corporate surveillance because it promises us convenience, and we submit to government surveillance because it promises us protection. The result is a mass surveillance society of our own making. But have we given up more than we’ve gained? In Data and Goliath, security expert Bruce Schneier offers another path, one that values both security and privacy.

 

 

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