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Forecast: What Physics, Meteorology, and the Natural Sciences Can Teach Us About Economics (by Mark Buchanan)

Forecast: What Physics, Meteorology, and the Natural Sciences Can Teach Us About Economics

~ Mark Buchanan (author) More about this product
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In this deeply researched and piercingly intelligent book, physicist Mark Buchanan shows how a simple feedback loop can lead to major consequences, the kind predictable by mathematical models but hard for most people to anticipate. From his unique perspective, Buchanan argues that our basic assumptions about economic markets--that they are for the most part stable, with occasional interruptions--are simply wrong. Markets really act more like the weather: a brief heat wave can become a massive storm in a matter of a few days, or even hours.

The Physics of Finance reimagines the basics of how economics, with consequences that affect everyone.

 

 

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Simulating Social Complexity (by Bruce Edmonds)

Social systems are among the most complex known. This poses particular problems for those who wish to understand them. The complexity often makes analytic approaches infeasible and natural language approaches inadequate for relating intricate cause and effect. However, individual- and agent-based computational approaches hold out the possibility of new and deeper understanding of such systems.

 Simulating Social Complexity examines all aspects of using agent- or individual-based simulation. This approach represents systems as individual elements having each their own set of differing states and internal processes. The interactions between elements in the simulation represent interactions in the target systems. What makes these elements "social" is that they are usefully interpretable as interacting elements of an observed society. In this, the focus is on human society, but can be extended to include social animals or artificial agents where such work enhances our understanding of human society.

 The phenomena of interest then result (emerge) from the dynamics of the interaction of social actors in an essential way and are usually not easily simplifiable by, for example, considering only representative actors.

 The introduction of accessible agent-based modelling allows the representation of social complexity in a more natural and direct manner than previous techniques. In particular, it is no longer necessary to distort a model with the introduction of overly strong assumptions simply in order to obtain analytic tractability. This makes agent-based modelling relatively accessible to a range of scientists. The outcomes of such models can be displayed and animated in ways that also make them more interpretable by experts and stakeholders.

 

 

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A First Course in Network Theory (by Ernesto Estrada & Philip Knight)

A First Course in Network Theory

~ Philip Knight (author) More about this product
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The study of network theory is a highly interdisciplinary field, which has emerged as a major topic of interest in various disciplines ranging from physics and mathematics, to biology and sociology. This book promotes the diverse nature of the study of complex networks by balancing the needs of students from very different backgrounds. It references the most commonly used concepts in network theory, provides examples of their applications in solving practical problems, and clear indications on how to analyse their results.

In the first part of the book, students and researchers will discover the quantitative and analytical tools necessary to work with complex networks, including the most basic concepts in network and graph theory, linear and matrix algebra, as well as the physical concepts most frequently used for studying networks. They will also find instruction on some key skills such as how to proof analytic results and how to manipulate empirical network data. The bulk of the text is focused on instructing readers on the most useful tools for modern practitioners of network theory. These include degree distributions, random networks, network fragments, centrality measures, clusters and communities, communicability, and local and global properties of networks. The combination of theory, example and method that are presented in this text, should ready the student to conduct their own analysis of networks with confidence and allow teachers to select appropriate examples and problems to teach this subject in the classroom.

 

 

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The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life (by Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg & Tom Pyszczynski)

The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life

~ Tom Pyszczynski (author) More about this product
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More than one hundred years ago, the American philosopher William James dubbed the knowledge that we must die “the worm at the core” of the human condition. In 1974, cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker won the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Denial of Death, arguing that the terror of death has a pervasive effect on human affairs. Now authors Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski clarify with wide-ranging evidence the many ways the worm at the core guides our thoughts and actions, from the great art we create to the devastating wars we wage.
 
The Worm at the Core is the product of twenty-five years of in-depth research. Drawing from innovative experiments conducted around the globe, Solomon, Greenberg, and Pyszczynski show conclusively that the fear of death and the desire to transcend it inspire us to buy expensive cars, crave fame, put our health at risk, and disguise our animal nature. The fear of death can also prompt judges to dole out harsher punishments, make children react negatively to people different from themselves, and inflame intolerance and violence.
 
But the worm at the core need not consume us. Emerging from their research is a unique and compelling approach to these deeply existential issues: terror management theory. TMT proposes that human culture infuses our lives with order, stability, significance, and purpose, and these anchors enable us to function moment to moment without becoming overwhelmed by the knowledge of our ultimate fate. The authors immerse us in a new way of understanding human evolution, child development, history, religion, art, science, mental health, war, and politics in the twenty-first century. In so doing, they also reveal how we can better come to terms with death and learn to lead lives of courage, creativity, and compassion.

 

 

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Information theory: Knowledge and know-how

“Our world is marked by great international differences in countries' ability to crystallize imagination,” writes César Hidalgo in Why Information Grows: that is, in the ability to turn the inventiveness of the human mind into concrete, saleable products that embody information.
Hidalgo's book is largely concerned with explaining why those differences exist, and what the economic consequences are. In doing so, Hidalgo, a Chilean physicist at the Media Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, aims to embed his ideas in a broad view of how information economies work both in society and in nature, from Silicon Valley entrepreneurism to genetics.


Information theory: Knowledge and know-how
Philip Ball
Nature 521, 420–421 (28 May 2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/521420a 

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

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

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

 

 

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Introduction to Nonlinear Oscillations (by Vladimir I. Nekorkin)

Introduction to Nonlinear Oscillations

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Trees of the Brain, Roots of the Mind

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

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

 

 

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

Making 20th Century Science: How Theories Became Knowledge

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

 

 

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

Quantum Adaptivity in Biology: From Genetics to Cognition

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

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

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

 

 

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Data visualization: Mapping the topical space

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

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


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

Complexity Digest's insight:

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

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

Invisible: The Dangerous Allure of the Unseen

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

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

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

 

 

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Nonlinear Physics of Ecosystems (by Ehud Meron)

Nonlinear Physics of Ecosystems

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

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

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

 

 

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Intelligence Emerging: Adaptivity and Search in Evolving Neural Systems: Keith L. Downing

Emergence -- the formation of global patterns from solely local interactions -- is a frequent and fascinating theme in the scientific literature both popular and academic. In this book, Keith Downing undertakes a systematic investigation of the widespread (if often vague) claim that intelligence is an emergent phenomenon. Downing focuses on neural networks, both natural and artificial, and how their adaptability in three time frames -- phylogenetic (evolutionary), ontogenetic (developmental), and epigenetic (lifetime learning) -- underlie the emergence of cognition. Integrating the perspectives of evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence, Downing provides a series of concrete examples of neurocognitive emergence. Doing so, he offers a new motivation for the expanded use of bio-inspired concepts in artificial intelligence (AI), in the subfield known as Bio-AI.


One of Downing's central claims is that two key concepts from traditional AI, search and representation, are key to understanding emergent intelligence as well. He first offers introductory chapters on five core concepts: emergent phenomena, formal search processes, representational issues in Bio-AI, artificial neural networks (ANNs), and evolutionary algorithms (EAs). Intermediate chapters delve deeper into search, representation, and emergence in ANNs, EAs, and evolving brains. Finally, advanced chapters on evolving artificial neural networks and information-theoretic approaches to assessing emergence in neural systems synthesize earlier topics to provide some perspective, predictions, and pointers for the future of Bio-AI.

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Who Gets What - and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design (by Alvin E. Roth)

Who Gets What — and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design

~ Alvin E. Roth (author) More about this product
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A Nobel laureate reveals the often surprising rules that govern a vast array of activities — both mundane and life-changing — in which money may play little or no role.

If you’ve ever sought a job or hired someone, applied to college or guided your child into a good kindergarten, asked someone out on a date or been asked out, you’ve participated in a kind of market. Most of the study of economics deals with commodity markets, where the price of a good connects sellers and buyers. But what about other kinds of “goods,” like a spot in the Yale freshman class or a position at Google? This is the territory of matching markets, where “sellers” and “buyers” must choose each other, and price isn’t the only factor determining who gets what.

Alvin E. Roth is one of the world’s leading experts on matching markets. He has even designed several of them, including the exchange that places medical students in residencies and the system that increases the number of kidney transplants by better matching donors to patients. In Who Gets What — And Why, Roth reveals the matching markets hidden around us and shows how to recognize a good match and make smarter, more confident decisions.

 

 

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Tomorrowland: Our Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact (by Steven Kotler)

Tomorrowland: Our Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact

~ Steven Kotler (author) More about this product
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New York Times, Wired, Atlantic Monthly, Discover bestselling author Steven Kotler has written extensively about those pivotal moments when science fiction became science fact…and fundamentally reshaped the world. Now he gathers the best of his best, updated and expanded upon, to guide readers on a mind-bending tour of the far frontier, and how these advances are radically transforming our lives. From the ways science and technology are fundamentally altering our bodies and our world (the world’s first bionic soldier, the future of evolution) to those explosive collisions between science and culture (life extension and bioweapons), we’re crossing moral and ethical lines we’ve never faced before.
 
Join Kotler in this fascinating exploration of our incredible next: a deep dive into those future technologies happening now—and what it means to be a part of this brave new world.

 

 

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Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective: Kenneth O. Stanley, Joel Lehman

Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective

~ Joel Lehman (author) More about this product
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Why does modern life revolve around objectives? From how science is funded, to improving how children are educated -- and nearly everything in-between -- our society has become obsessed with a seductive illusion: that greatness results from doggedly measuring improvement in the relentless pursuit of an ambitious goal. In Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned, Stanley and Lehman begin with a surprising scientific discovery in artificial intelligence that leads ultimately to the conclusion that the objective obsession has gone too far. They make the case that great achievement can't be bottled up into mechanical metrics; that innovation is not driven by narrowly focused heroic effort; and that we would be wiser (and the outcomes better) if instead we whole-heartedly embraced serendipitous discovery and playful creativity.

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Costas Bouyioukos's curator insight, May 26, 5:21 AM

Scientific evidence (from AI) that the moronic protestant pursuit of measures and achievements is actually a barrier to generation of new outcomes (i.e. knowledge) and creativity. Brilliant!
(No2 in my summer reading list!) 

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

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

Quantum Mind and Social Science: Unifying Physical and Social Ontology

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

 

 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

 

 

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