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Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think (by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler)

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

~ Steven Kotler (author) More about this product
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We will soon be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp. This bold, contrarian view, backed up by exhaustive research, introduces our near-term future, where exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions. An antidote to pessimism by tech entrepreneur turned philanthropist, Peter H. Diamandis and award-winning science writer Steven Kotler. 

Since the dawn of humanity, a privileged few have lived in stark contrast to the hardscrabble majority. Conventional wisdom says this gap cannot be closed. But it is closing—fast. The authors document how four forces—exponential technologies, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, and the Rising Billion—are conspiring to solve our biggest problems. Abundance establishes hard targets for change and lays out a strategic roadmap for governments, industry and entrepreneurs, giving us plenty of reason for optimism.

Examining human need by category—water, food, energy, healthcare, education, freedom—Diamandis and Kotler introduce dozens of innovators making great strides in each area: Larry Page, Steven Hawking, Dean Kamen, Daniel Kahneman, Elon Musk, Bill Joy, Stewart Brand, Jeff Skoll, Ray Kurzweil, Ratan Tata, Craig Venter, among many, many others. 

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Social Dynamics (by Brian Skyrms)

Social Dynamics

~ Brian Skyrms (author) More about this product
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Brian Skyrms presents eighteen essays which apply adaptive dynamics (of cultural evolution and individual learning) to social theory. Altruism, spite, fairness, trust, division of labor, and signaling are treated from this perspective. Correlation is seen to be of fundamental importance. Interactions with neighbors in space, on static networks, and on co-evolving dynamics networks are investigated. Spontaneous emergence of social structure and of signaling systems are examined in the context of learning dynamics.

 

 

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Beyond Energy, Matter, Time and Space

Beyond Energy, Matter, Time and Space | CxBooks | Scoop.it
Humans might think we can figure out the ultimate mysteries, but there is no reason to believe that we have all the pieces necessary for a theory of everything.

Via Jorge Louçã
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Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness (by Joel Gold & Ian Gold)

Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness

~ Ian Gold (author) More about this product
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What if you woke up with the alarming suspicion that you were being watched?

One day in 2003, a patient unlike any other that Dr. Joel Gold had seen before was admitted to his unit at Bellevue Hospital. This man claimed he was being filmed constantly and that his life was being broadcast around the world like The Truman Show—the 1998 film depicting a man who is unknowingly living out his life as the star of a popular soap opera. Over the next few years, Dr. Gold saw a number of patients suffering from what he and his brother, Dr. Ian Gold, began calling the “Truman Show delusion,” launching them on a quest to understand the nature of this particular phenomenon, of delusions more generally, and of madness itself.

The current view of delusions is that they are the result of biology gone awry, of neurons in the brain misfiring. In contrast, the Golds argue that delusions are the result of the interaction between the brain and the social world. By exploring the major categories of delusion through fascinating case studies and marshaling the latest research in schizophrenia, the brothers reveal the role of culture and the social world in the development of psychosis—delusions in particular. Suspicious Minds presents a groundbreaking new vision of just how dramatically our surroundings can influence our brains.

 

 

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A Systems Theoretic Approach to Systems and Synthetic Biology I: Models and System Characterizations (edited by Vishwesh Kulkarni et al.)

The complexity of biological systems has intrigued scientists from many disciplines and has given birth to the highly influential field of systems biology wherein a wide array of mathematical techniques, such as flux balance analysis, and technology platforms, such as next generation sequencing, is used to understand, elucidate, and predict the functions of complex biological systems.  More recently, the field of synthetic biology, i.e., de novo engineering of biological systems, has emerged. Scientists from various fields are focusing on how to render this engineering process more predictable, reliable, scalable, affordable, and easy. 

Systems and control theory is a branch of engineering and applied sciences that rigorously deals with the complexities and uncertainties of interconnected systems with the objective of characterising fundamental systemic properties such as stability, robustness, communication capacity, and other performance metrics. Systems and control theory also strives to offer concepts and methods that facilitate the design of systems with rigorous guarantees on these properties. Over the last 100 years, it has made stellar theoretical and technological contributions in diverse fields such as aerospace, telecommunication, storage, automotive, power systems, and others. Can it have, or evolve to have, a similar impact in biology? The chapters in this book demonstrate that, indeed, systems and control theoretic concepts and techniques can have a significant impact in systems and synthetic biology. 

Volume I provides a panoramic view that illustrates the potential of such mathematical methods in systems and synthetic biology.  Recent advances in systems and synthetic biology have clearly demonstrated the benefits of a rigorous and systematic approach rooted in the principles of systems and control theory - not only does it lead to exciting insights and discoveries but it also reduces the inordinately lengthy trial-and-error process of wet-lab experimentation, thereby facilitating significant savings in human and financial resources.  In Volume I, some of the leading researchers in the field of systems and synthetic biology demonstrate how systems and control theoretic concepts and techniques can be useful, or should evolve to be useful, in order to understand how biological systems function. 

As the eminent computer scientist Donald Knuth put it, "biology easily has 500 years of exciting problems to work on". This edited book presents but a small fraction of those for the benefit of (1) systems and control theorists interested in molecular and cellular biology and (2) biologists interested in rigorous modelling, analysis and control of biological systems.

 

 

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Zoom: How Everything Moves: From Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees (by Bob Berman)

Zoom: How Everything Moves: From Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees

~ Bob Berman (author) More about this product
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From the speed of light to moving mountains--and everything in between--ZOOM explores how the universe and its objects move.

If you sit as still as you can in a quiet room, you might be able to convince yourself that nothing is moving. But air currents are still wafting around you. Blood rushes through your veins. The atoms in your chair jiggle furiously. In fact, the planet you are sitting on is whizzing through space thirty-five times faster than the speed of sound.

Natural motion dominates our lives and the intricate mechanics of the world around us. In ZOOM, Bob Berman explores how motion shapes every aspect of the universe, literally from the ground up. With an entertaining style and a gift for distilling the wondrous, Berman spans astronomy, geology, biology, meteorology, and the history of science, uncovering how clouds stay aloft, how the Earth's rotation curves a home run's flight, and why a mosquito's familiar whine resembles a telephone's dial tone.

 

 

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The Custom-Made Brain: Cerebral Plasticity, Regeneration, and Enhancement (by Jean-Didier Vincent & Pierre-Marie Lledo)

The Custom-Made Brain: Cerebral Plasticity, Regeneration, and Enhancement

~ Pierre-Marie Lledo (author) More about this product
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Two leading neuroscientists introduce the concepts of "cerebral plasticity" and the "regenerating brain," describing what we know now about the processes through which the brain constantly reconstructs itself and the potential benefits this knowledge could have in addressing concerns for neurological, cognitive, and emotional health.

The authors begin with a survey of the fundamental scientific developments that led to our current understanding of the regenerative mind, elucidating the breakthrough neurobiological studies that paved the way for our present understanding of the brain's plasticity and regenerative capabilities. They then discuss the application of these findings to such issues as depression, dyslexia, schizophrenia, and cognitive therapy, incorporating the latest technologies in neuroimaging, optogenetics, and nanotechnology. Their work shows the brain is anything but a static organ, ceasing to grow as human beings become adults. Rather, the brain is dynamic, evolving organically in relation to physical, cultural, historical, and affective stimuli, a plasticity that provides early hope to survivors of trauma and degenerative disorders.

 

 

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Complexity Science and World Affairs (by Walter C. Clemens Jr.)

Complexity Science and World Affairs (Suny Series, James N. Rosenau Series in Global Politics)

~ Walter C. Clemens Jr. (author) More about this product
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Applies complexity science to the study of international politics. Why did some countries transition peacefully from communist rule to political freedom and market economies, while others did not? Why did the United States enjoy a brief moment as the sole remaining superpower, and then lose power and influence across the board? What are the prospects for China, the main challenger to American hegemony? In Complexity Science and World Affairs, Walter C. Clemens Jr. demonstrates how the basic concepts of complexity science can broaden and deepen the insights gained by other approaches to the study of world affairs. He argues that societal fitness—the ability of a social system to cope with complex challenges and opportunities—hinges heavily on the values and way of life of each society, and serves to explain why some societies gain and others lose. Applying theory to several rich case studies, including political developments across post–Soviet Eurasia and the United States, Clemens shows that complexity science offers a powerful set of tools for advancing the study of international relations, comparative government, and, more broadly, the social sciences.

 

 

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Frontiers in Ecology Evolution and Complexity

Frontiers in Ecology Evolution and Complexity | CxBooks | Scoop.it

Advances in molecular biology, remote sensing, systems biology, bioinformatics, non-linear science, the physics of complex systems and other fields have rendered a great amount of data that remain to be integrated into models and theories that are capable of accounting for the complexity of ecological systems and the evolutionary dynamics of life. It is thus necessary to provide a solid basis to discuss and reflect on these and other challenges both at the local and global scales. This volume aims to delineate an integrative and interdisciplinary view that suggests new avenues in research and teaching, critically discusses the scope of the diverse methods in the study of complex systems, and points at key open questions. Finally, this book will provide students and specialists with a collection of high quality open access essays that will contribute to integrate Ecology, Evolution and Complexity in the context of basic research and in the field of Sustainability Sciences


Frontiers in Ecology, Evolution and Complexity
Editors: Mariana Benítez, Octavio Miramontes and Alfonso Valiente-Banuet
Prologue by Stuart A. Kauffman
http://scifunam.fisica.unam.mx/mir/copit/TS0012EN/TS0012EN.html 

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june holley's curator insight, July 9, 5:10 AM

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Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur (by Tom Lancaster & Stephen J. Blundell)

Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur

~ Stephen J. Blundell (author) More about this product
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Quantum field theory is arguably the most far-reaching and beautiful physical theory ever constructed, with aspects more stringently tested and verified to greater precision than any other theory in physics. Unfortunately, the subject has gained a notorious reputation for difficulty, with forbidding looking mathematics and a peculiar diagrammatic language described in an array of unforgiving, weighty textbooks aimed firmly at aspiring professionals. However, quantum field theory is too important, too beautiful, and too engaging to be restricted to the professionals. This book on quantum field theory is designed to be different. It is written by experimental physicists and aims to provide the interested amateur with a bridge from undergraduate physics to quantum field theory. The imagined reader is a gifted amateur, possessing a curious and adaptable mind, looking to be told an entertaining and intellectually stimulating story, but who will not feel patronised if a few mathematical niceties are spelled out in detail. Using numerous worked examples, diagrams, and careful physically motivated explanations, this book will smooth the path towards understanding the radically different and revolutionary view of the physical world that quantum field theory provides, and which all physicists should have the opportunity to experience.

 

 

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Cellular Automata in Image Processing and Geometry (Emergence, Complexity and Computation) (edited by Paul Rosin et al.)

The book presents findings, views and ideas on what exact problems of image processing, pattern recognition and generation can be efficiently solved by cellular automata architectures. This volume provides a convenient collection in this area, in which publications are otherwise widely scattered throughout the literature. The topics covered include image compression and resizing; skeletonization, erosion and dilation; convex hull computation, edge detection and segmentation; forgery detection and content based retrieval; and pattern generation.

The book advances the theory of image processing, pattern recognition and generation as well as the design of efficient algorithms and hardware for parallel image processing and analysis. It is aimed at computer scientists, software programmers, electronic engineers, mathematicians and physicists, and at everyone who studies or develops cellular automaton algorithms and tools for image processing and analysis, or develops novel architectures and implementations of massive parallel computing devices.

The book will provide attractive reading for a general audience because it has do-it-yourself appeal: all the computer experiments presented within it can be implemented with minimal knowledge of programming. The simplicity yet substantial functionality of the cellular automaton approach, and the transparency of the algorithms proposed, makes the text ideal supplementary reading for courses on image processing, parallel computing, automata theory and applications.

 

 

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Managing Complexity, Reducing Perplexity: Modeling Biological Systems (edited by Marcello Delitala & Giulia Ajmone Marsan)

This book is devoted to an overview of the status of the art in the study of complex systems, with particular focus on the analysis of systems pertaining to living matter. Both senior scientists and young researchers from diverse and prestigious institutions with a deliberately interdisciplinary cut were invited, in order to compare approaches and problems from different disciplines. The common aim of the contributions is to analyze the complexity of living systems by means of new mathematical paradigms that are more adherent to reality and which are able to generate both exploratory and predictive models that are capable of achieving a deeper insight into life science phenomena.

 

 

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Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaotic Phenomena: An Introduction (by Bhimsen K. Shivamoggi)

Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaotic Phenomena: An Introduction (Fluid Mechanics and Its Applications)

~ Bhimsen K. Shivamoggi (author) More about this product
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This book starts with a discussion of nonlinear ordinary differential equations, bifurcation theory and Hamiltonian dynamics. It then embarks on a systematic discussion of the traditional topics of modern nonlinear dynamics  -- integrable systems, Poincaré maps, chaos, fractals and strange attractors. The Baker’s transformation, the logistic map and Lorenz system are discussed in detail in view of their central place in the subject. There is a detailed discussion of solitons centered around the Korteweg-deVries equation in view of its central place in integrable systems. Then, there is a discussion of the Painlevé property of nonlinear differential equations which seems to provide a test of integrability. Finally, there is a detailed discussion of the application of fractals and multi-fractals to fully-developed turbulence -- a problem whose understanding has been considerably enriched by the application of the concepts and methods of modern nonlinear dynamics. On the application side, there is a special emphasis on some aspects of fluid dynamics and plasma physics reflecting the author’s involvement in these areas of physics. A few exercises have been provided that range from simple applications to occasional considerable extension of the theory. Finally, the list of references given at the end of the book contains primarily books and papers used in developing the lecture material this volume is based on. This second edition constitutes an extensive rewrite of the text involving refinement and enhancement of the clarity and precision, updating and amplification of several sections, addition of new material like theory of nonlinear differential equations, solitons, Lagrangian chaos in fluids, and critical phenomena perspectives on the fluid turbulence problem and many new exercises.

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Beautiful Game Theory: How Soccer Can Help Economics (by Ignacio Palacios-Huerta)

Beautiful Game Theory: How Soccer Can Help Economics

~ Ignacio Palacios-Huerta (author) More about this product
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A wealth of research in recent decades has seen the economic approach to human behavior extended over many areas previously considered to belong to sociology, political science, law, and other fields. Research has also shown that economics can provide insight into many aspects of sports, including soccer. Beautiful Game Theory is the first book that uses soccer to test economic theories and document novel human behavior.

In this brilliant and entertaining book, Ignacio Palacios-Huerta illuminates economics through the world's most popular sport. He offers unique and often startling insights into game theory and microeconomics, covering topics such as mixed strategies, discrimination, incentives, and human preferences. He also looks at finance, experimental economics, behavioral economics, and neuroeconomics. Soccer provides rich data sets and environments that shed light on universal economic principles in interesting and useful ways.

Essential reading for students, researchers, and sports enthusiasts, Beautiful Game Theory is the first book to show what soccer can do for economics.

 

 

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The Arrow Impossibility Theorem (by Eric Maskin et al.)

The Arrow Impossibility Theorem (Kenneth J. Arrow Lecture Series)

~ Amartya Sen (author) More about this product
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Kenneth J. Arrow's pathbreaking "impossibility theorem" was a watershed innovation in the history of welfare economics, voting theory, and collective choice, demonstrating that there is no voting rule that satisfies the four desirable axioms of decisiveness, consensus, nondictatorship, and independence.

In this book Eric Maskin and Amartya Sen explore the implications of Arrow's theorem. Sen considers its ongoing utility, exploring the theorem's value and limitations in relation to recent research on social reasoning, and Maskin discusses how to design a voting rule that gets us closer to the ideal -- given the impossibility of achieving the ideal. The volume also contains a contextual introduction by social choice scholar Prasanta K. Pattanaik and commentaries from Joseph E. Stiglitz and Kenneth J. Arrow himself, as well as essays by Maskin, Dasgupta, and Sen outlining the mathematical proof and framework behind their assertions.

 

 

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The Social Metabolism: A Socio-Ecological Theory of Historical Change (by Manuel González de Molina & Víctor M. Toledo)

The Social Metabolism: A Socio-Ecological Theory of Historical Change (Environmental History)

~ Víctor M. Toledo (author) More about this product
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Today, the most notable feature of the modern world is the growing concern for the future, since human society is immersed in a “giant, uncontrolled experiment” (McNeill, 2000), which it has caused, where natural and social processes are connected in an unprecedented way, generating new unpredictable and surprising dynamics and synergies that are threatening the human species, planetary equilibrium and the whole of life itself. Faced with the above situation, science as a whole is compelled to look back in order to learn from the past (lessons), and to adopt a rigorous historical perspective that will provide a thorough understanding of current situations from a socio-ecological perspective, capable of orchestrating interdisciplinary research into relations between society and nature.

Over this last decade, the concept of social metabolism has gained prestige as a theoretical instrument for the required analysis, to such an extent that there are now dozens of researchers, hundreds of articles and several books that have adopted and use this concept. However, there is a great deal of variety in terms of definitions and interpretations, as well as different methodologies around this concept, which prevents the consolidation of a unified field of new knowledge. The fundamental aim of the book is to conduct a review of the past and present usage of the concept of social metabolism, its origins and history, as well as the main currents or schools that exist around this concept. At the same time, the reviews and discussions included are used by the authors as starting points to draw conclusions and propose a theory of socio-ecological transformations.      

The theoretical and methodological innovations of this book include: a. the rigorous definition of a basic model for the process of social metabolism;

b. the distinction of two types of metabolic processes: tangible and intangible;

c. detailed discussion regarding the concept of nature appropriation;

d. analysis of the social metabolism at different scales (spatial dimension);

e. historical analysis of the social metabolism (temporal dimension and socio-ecological change);

f. overcoming the merely “systemic” or “cybernetic” nature of approaches, giving protagonism to collective action; and consequence and explanation of the above:

g. integration of an ethical and political dimension to the theory.

 

 

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A Systems Theoretic Approach to Systems and Synthetic Biology II: Analysis and Design of Cellular Systems (edited by Vishwesh Kulkarni at al.)

Volume II contains chapters contributed by leading researchers in the field of systems and synthetic biology that concern modeling physiological processes and bottom-up constructions of scalable biological systems.  The modeling problems include characterisation and synthesis of memory, understanding how homoeostasis is maintained in the face of shocks and relatively gradual perturbations, understanding the functioning and robustness of biological clocks such as those at the core of circadian rhythms, and understanding how the cell cycles can be regulated, among others. Some of the bottom-up construction problems investigated in Volume II are as follows: How should biomacromolecules, platforms, and scalable architectures be chosen and synthesised in order to build programmable de novo biological systems? What are the types of constrained optimisation problems encountered in this process and how can these be solved efficiently?

 

 

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Complexity: A Very Short Introduction (by John H. Holland)

The importance of complexity is well-captured by Hawking's comment: "Complexity is the science of the 21st century". From the movement of flocks of birds to the Internet, environmental sustainability, and market regulation, the study and understanding of complex non-linear systems has become highly influential over the last 30 years.

In this Very Short Introduction, one of the leading figures in the field, John Holland, introduces the key elements and conceptual framework of complexity. From complex physical systems such as fluid flow and the difficulties of predicting weather, to complex adaptive systems such as the highly diverse and interdependent ecosystems of rainforests, he combines simple, well-known examples -- Adam Smith's pin factory, Darwin's comet orchid, and Simon's 'watchmaker' -- with an account of
the approaches, involving agents and urn models, taken by complexity theory.

 

 

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Tom Cockburn's curator insight, July 16, 12:34 AM

Very good overrview

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The Butterfly Defect: How Globalization Creates Systemic Risks, and What to Do about It (by Ian Goldin & Mike Mariathasan)

The Butterfly Defect: How Globalization Creates Systemic Risks, and What to Do about It

~ Mike Mariathasan (author) More about this product
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Global hyperconnectivity and increased system integration have led to vast benefits, including worldwide growth in incomes, education, innovation, and technology. But rapid globalization has also created concerns because the repercussions of local events now cascade over national borders and the fallout of financial meltdowns and environmental disasters affects everyone. The Butterfly Defect addresses the widening gap between systemic risks and their effective management. It shows how the new dynamics of turbo-charged globalization has the potential and power to destabilize our societies. Drawing on the latest insights from a wide variety of disciplines, Ian Goldin and Mike Mariathasan provide practical guidance for how governments, businesses, and individuals can better manage risk in our contemporary world.

Goldin and Mariathasan assert that the current complexities of globalization will not be sustainable as surprises become more frequent and have widespread impacts. The recent financial crisis exemplifies the new form of systemic risk that will characterize the coming decades, and the authors provide the first framework for understanding how such risk will function in the twenty-first century. Goldin and Mariathasan demonstrate that systemic risk issues are now endemic everywhere--in supply chains, pandemics, infrastructure, ecology and climate change, economics, and politics. Unless we are better able to address these concerns, they will lead to greater protectionism, xenophobia, nationalism, and, inevitably, deglobalization, rising conflict, and slower growth.

 

 

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Complexity in Economics: Cutting Edge Research (edited by Marisa Faggini & Anna Parziale)

Complexity in Economics: Cutting Edge Research (New Economic Windows)

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In this book, leading experts discuss innovative components of complexity theory and chaos theory in economics.

The underlying perspective is that investigations of economic phenomena should view these phenomena not as deterministic, predictable and mechanistic but rather as process dependent, organic and always evolving.

The aim is to highlight the exciting potential of this approach in economics and its ability to overcome the limitations of past research and offer important new insights. The book offers a stimulating mix of theory, examples and policy.

By casting light on a variety of topics in the field, it will provide an ideal platform for researchers wishing to deepen their understanding and identify areas for further investigation.

 

 

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Artificial Life 14

Artificial Life 14 | CxBooks | Scoop.it

ALIFE 14, the Fourteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems, presents the current state of the art of Artificial Life—the highly interdisciplinary research area on artificially constructed living systems, including mathematical, computational, robotic, and biochemical ones. The understanding and application of such generalized forms of life, or “life as it could be,” have been producing significant contributions to various fields of science and engineering.
This volume contains papers that were accepted through rigorous peer reviews for presentations at the ALIFE 14 conference. The topics covered in this volume include: Evolutionary Dynamics; Artificial Evolutionary Ecosystems; Robot and Agent Behavior; Soft Robotics and Morphologies; Collective Robotics; Collective Behaviors; Social Dynamics and Evolution; Boolean Networks, Neural Networks and Machine Learning; Artificial Chemistries, Cellular Automata and Self-Organizing Systems; In-Vitro and In-Vivo Systems; Evolutionary Art, Philosophy and Entertainment; and Methodologies.


Artificial Life 14

Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems

Edited by Hiroki Sayama, John Rieffel, Sebastian Risi, René Doursat and Hod Lipson

http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/artificial-life-14

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ComplexInsight's curator insight, July 10, 10:30 PM

I remember reading the first one of these and my imagination being captured by Chris Langton's introduction. Look forward to reading this one.

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Toward Analytical Chaos in Nonlinear Systems (by Albert C. J. Luo)

Exact analytical solutions to periodic motions in nonlinear dynamical systems are almost not possible. Since the 18th century, one has extensively used techniques such as perturbation methods to obtain approximate analytical solutions of periodic motions in nonlinear systems. However, the perturbation methods cannot provide the enough accuracy of analytical solutions of periodic motions in nonlinear dynamical systems. So the bifurcation trees of periodic motions to chaos cannot be achieved analytically.  The author has developed an analytical technique that is more effective to achieve periodic motions and corresponding bifurcation trees to chaos analytically.

Toward Analytical Chaos in Nonlinear Systems systematically presents a new approach to analytically determine periodic flows to chaos or quasi-periodic flows in nonlinear dynamical systems with/without time-delay.  It covers the mathematical theory and includes two examples of nonlinear systems with/without time-delay in engineering and physics. From the analytical solutions, the routes from periodic motions to chaos are developed analytically rather than the incomplete numerical routes to chaos.  The analytical techniques presented will provide a better understanding of regularity and complexity of periodic motions and chaos in nonlinear dynamical systems.

 

 

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Chaotic Harmony: A Dialog about Physics, Complexity and Life (by Ali Sanayei & Otto E. Rössler)

This fascinating book written by Ali Sanayei and Otto E. Rössler is not a classic scientific publication, but a vivid dialogue on science, philosophy and  the interdisciplinary intersections of science and technology with biographic elements. Chaotic Harmony: A Dialog about Physics, Complexity and Life represents a discussion between Otto Rössler and his colleague and student, focusing on the different areas of science and highlights their mutual relations. The book's concept of interdisciplinary dialogue is  unusual nowadays although it has a long tradition in science. It provides insight not only into interesting topics that are often closely linked, but also into the mind of a prominent scientist in the field of physics, chaos and complexity in general. It allows a deep look into the fascinating process of scientific development and discovery and provides a very interesting background of known and unknown facts in the areas of complex processes in physics, cosmology, biology, brains and systems in general. This book will be valuable to all who are interested in science, its evolution and in an unconventional and original look at various issues. Surely it can serve as an inspiration for students, explaining the often overlooked fact that science and philosophy enrich each other.

 

 

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Thinking Big: How the Evolution of Social Life Shaped the Human Mind (by Robin Dunbar et al.)

Thinking Big: How the Evolution of Social Life Shaped the Human Mind

~ John Gowlett (author) More about this product
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A closer look at genealogy, incorporating how biological, anthropological, and technical factors can influence human lives

We are at a pivotal moment in understanding our remote ancestry and its implications for how we live today. The barriers to what we can know about our distant relatives have been falling as a result of scientific advance, such as decoding the genomes of humans and Neanderthals, and bringing together different perspectives to answer common questions. These collaborations have brought new knowledge and suggested fresh concepts to examine. The results have shaken the old certainties.

The results are profound; not just for the study of the past but for appreciating why we conduct our social lives in ways, and at scales, that are familiar to all of us. But such basic familiarity raises a dilemma. When surrounded by the myriad technical and cultural innovations that support our global, urbanized lifestyles we can lose sight of the small social worlds we actually inhabit and that can be traced deep into our ancestry. So why do we need art, religion, music, kinship, myths, and all the other facets of our over-active imaginations if the reality of our effective social worlds is set by a limit of some one hundred and fifty partners (Dunbar’s number) made of family, friends, and useful acquaintances? How could such a social community lead to a city the size of London or a country as large as China? Do we really carry our hominin past into our human present? It is these small worlds, and the link they allow to the study of the past that forms the central point in this book.

 

 

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Book of Extremes: Why the 21st Century Isn't Like the 20th Century (by Ted G. Lewis)

Book of Extremes: Why the 21st Century Isn't Like the 20th Century

~ Ted G. Lewis (author) More about this product
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What makes the 21st century different from the 20th century? This century is the century of extremes -- political, economic, social, and global black-swan events happening with increasing frequency and severity. Book of Extremes is a tour of the current reality as seen through the lens of complexity theory – the only theory capable of explaining why the Arab Spring happened and why it will happen again; why social networks in the virtual world behave like flashmobs in the physical world; why financial bubbles blow up in our faces and will grow and burst again; why the rich get richer and will continue to get richer regardless of governmental policies; why the future of economic wealth and national power lies in comparative advantage and global trade; why natural disasters will continue to get bigger and happen more frequently; and why the Internet – invented by the US -- is headed for a global monopoly controlled by a non-US corporation. It is also about the extreme innovations and heroic innovators yet to be discovered and recognized over the next 100 years.Complexity theory combines the predictable with the unpredictable. It assumes a nonlinear world of long-tailed distributions instead of the classical linear world of normal distributions. In the complex 21st century, almost nothing is linear or normal. Instead, the world is highly connected, conditional, nonlinear, fractal, and punctuated. Life in the 21st century is a long-tailed random walk – Levy walks -- through extreme events of unprecedented impact. It is an exciting time to be alive.

 

 

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Language and Wallace's problem

Alfred Russel Wallace, who with Darwin gave us the foundations of evolutionary theory, despaired of the power of natural selection to explain the intellectual and technological prowess of humans: “Natural selection could only have endowed the savage with a brain a little superior to that of an ape,” he noted (1), pointing to intellectual, linguistic, and technological capabilities way beyond what would seem required for survival. What kind of improbable course of events yielded this excess of competences? In his wide-ranging More Than Nature Needs, Derek Bickerton takes this problem as the starting point for a novel inquiry into the evolution of language.


Language and Wallace's problem
Stephen Levinson

Vol. 344 no. 6191 pp. 1458-1459
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1252988


Review of:

  • More Than Nature Needs Language, Mind, and Evolution Derek Bickerton Harvard University Press, 2014. 334 pp.
  • A Natural History of Human Thinking Michael Tomasello Harvard University Press, 2014 192 pp.
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