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From Strange Simplicity to Complex Familiarity: A Treatise on Matter, Information, Life and Thought (by Manfred Eigen)

From Strange Simplicity to Complex Familiarity: A Treatise on Matter, Information, Life and Thought

~ Manfred Eigen (author) More about this product
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This book presents a vivid argument for the almost lost idea of a unity of all natural sciences. It starts with the "strange" physics of matter, including particle physics, atomic physics and quantum mechanics, cosmology, relativity and their consequences (Chapter I), and it continues by describing the properties of material systems that are best understood by statistical and phase-space concepts (Chapter II). These lead to entropy and to the classical picture of quantitative information, initially devoid of value and meaning (Chapter III). Finally, "information space" and dynamics within it are introduced as a basis for semantics (Chapter IV), leading to an exploration of life and thought as new problems in physics (Chapter V).

Dynamic equations - again of a strange (but very general) nature - bring about the complex familiarity of the world we live in. Surprising new results in the life sciences open our eyes to the richness of physical thought, and they show us what can and what cannot be explained by a Darwinian approach. The abstract physical approach is applicable to the origins of life, of meaningful information and even of our universe.

 

 

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Exploring Discrete Dynamics, 2nd Edition

Exploring Discrete Dynamics, 2nd Edition | CxBooks | Scoop.it

EXPLORING DISCRETE DYNAMICS (second edition) is a comprehensive guide to studying cellular automata and discrete dynamical networks with the classic software Discrete Dynamics Laboratory (DDLab), widely used in research and education. These collective networks are at the core of complexity and emergent self-organisation. With interactive graphics, DDLab is able to explore a huge diversity of behaviour, mostly terra incognita -- space-time patterns, and basins of attraction -- mathematical objects representing the convergent flow in state-space. Applications range within physics, mathematics, biology, cognition, society, economics and computation, and more specifically in neural and genetic networks, artificial life, and theories of memory. This second edition covers many new features.

 

Advance Praise by Stuart Kauffman
The great John von Neumann invented cellular automata. These discrete state finite automata have become a mainstay in the study of complex systems, exhibiting order, criticality, and chaos. Andy Wuensche's "Exploring Discrete Dynamics" 2016, is by far the most advanced tool for simulating such systems and has become widely important in the field of complexity.

 

http://www.ddlab.org

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The Human Superorganism: How the Microbiome Is Revolutionizing the Pursuit of a Healthy Life (by Rodney Dietert)

The origin of asthma, autism, Alzheimer's, allergies, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and even some kinds of depression is now clear. Award-winning researcher on the microbiome, professor Rodney Dietert presents a new paradigm in human biology that has emerged in the midst of the ongoing global epidemic of noncommunicable diseases.

     The Human Superorganism makes a sweeping, paradigm-shifting argument. It demolishes two fundamental beliefs that have blinkered all medical thinking until very recently: 1) Humans are better off as pure organisms free of foreign microbes; and 2) the human genome is the key to future medical advances. The microorganisms that we have sought to eliminate have been there for centuries supporting our ancestors. They comprise as much as 90 percent of the cells in and on our bodies—a staggering percentage! More than a thousand species of them live inside us, on our skin, and on our very eyelashes. Yet we have now significantly reduced their power and in doing so have sparked an epidemic of noncommunicable diseases—which now account for 63 percent of all human deaths. 

     Ultimately, this book is not just about microbes; it is about a different way to view humans. The story that Dietert tells of where the new biology comes from, how it works, and the ways in which it affects your life is fascinating, authoritative, and revolutionary. Dietert identifies foods that best serve you, the superorganism; not new fad foods but ancient foods that have made sense for millennia. He explains protective measures against unsafe chemicals and drugs. He offers an empowering self-care guide and the blueprint for a revolution in public health. We are not what we have been taught. Each of us is a superorganism. The best path to a healthy life is through recognizing that profound truth.

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The Physics of Life: The Evolution of Everything (by Adrian Bejan)

The Physics of Life: The Evolution of Everything

~ Adrian Bejan (author) More about this product
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The Physics of Life explores the roots of the big question by examining the deepest urges and properties of living things, both animate and inanimate: how to live longer, with food, warmth, power, movement and free access to other people and surroundings. Bejan explores controversial and relevant issues such as sustainability, water and food supply, fuel, and economy, to critique the state in which the world understands positions of power and freedom. Breaking down concepts such as desire and power, sports health and culture, the state of economy, water and energy, politics and distribution, Bejan uses the language of physics to explain how each system works in order to clarify the meaning of evolution in its broadest scientific sense, moving the reader towards a better understanding of the world's systems and the natural evolution of cultural and political development.

The Physics of Life argues that the evolution phenomenon is much broader and older than the evolutionary designs that constitute the biosphere, empowering readers with a new view of the globe and the future, revealing that the urge to have better ideas has the same physical effect as the urge to have better laws and better government. This is evolution explained loudly but also elegantly, forging a path that flows sustainability.

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The City of Tomorrow: Sensors, Networks, Hackers, and the Future of Urban Life

The City of Tomorrow: Sensors, Networks, Hackers, and the Future of Urban Life (The Future Series)

~ Matthew Claudel (author) More about this product
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Since cities emerged ten thousand years ago, they have become one of the most impressive artifacts of humanity. But their evolution has been anything but linear—cities have gone through moments of radical change, turning points that redefine their very essence. In this book, a renowned architect and urban planner who studies the intersection of cities and technology argues that we are in such a moment.
 
The authors explain some of the forces behind urban change and offer new visions of the many possibilities for tomorrow’s city. Pervasive digital systems that layer our cities are transforming urban life. The authors provide a front-row seat to this change. Their work at the MIT Senseable City Laboratory allows experimentation and implementation of a variety of urban initiatives and concepts, from assistive condition-monitoring bicycles to trash with embedded tracking sensors, from mobility to energy, from participation to production. They call for a new approach to envisioning cities: futurecraft, a symbiotic development of urban ideas by designers and the public. With such participation, we can collectively imagine, examine, choose, and shape the most desirable future of our cities.

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Sustaining the Commons | Free eBook

Sustaining the Commons | Free eBook | CxBooks | Scoop.it

This textbook discusses the main framework, concepts and applications of the work of Elinor Ostrom for an undergraduate audience.

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Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? (by Frans de Waal)

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

~ Frans de Waal (author) More about this product
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What separates your mind from an animal’s? Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future―all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long.

People often assume a cognitive ladder, from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different forms that are often incomparable to ours? Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you’re less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns? Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as more sophisticated than that of a echolocating bat? De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed. De Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal―and human―intelligence.

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Pinpoint: How GPS Is Changing Technology, Culture, and Our Minds (by Greg Milner)

Pinpoint: How GPS Is Changing Technology, Culture, and Our Minds

~ Greg Milner (author) More about this product
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Pinpoint tells the story of GPS, a scientific marvel that enables almost all modern technology―but is changing us in profound ways.

 

Over the last fifty years, humanity has developed an extraordinary shared utility: the Global Positioning System. Even as it guides us across town, GPS helps land planes, route mobile calls, anticipate earthquakes, predict weather, locate oil deposits, measure neutrinos, grow our food, and regulate global finance. It is as ubiquitous and essential as another Cold War technology, the Internet. In Pinpoint, Greg Milner takes us on a fascinating tour of a hidden system that touches almost every aspect of our modern life.

While GPS has brought us breathtakingly accurate information about our planetary environment and physical space, it has also created new forms of human behavior. We have let it saturate the world’s systems so completely and so quickly that we are just beginning to confront the possible consequences. A single GPS timing flaw, whether accidental or malicious, could bring down the electrical grid, hijack drones, or halt the world financial system. The use, and potential misuse, of GPS data by government and corporations raise disturbing questions about ethics and privacy. GPS may be altering the nature of human cognition―possibly even rearranging the gray matter in our heads.

Pinpoint tells the sweeping story of GPS from its conceptual origins as a bomb guidance system to its presence in almost everything we do. Milner examines the different ways humans have understood physical space, delves into the neuroscience of cognitive maps, and questions GPS’s double-edged effect on our culture. A fascinating and original story of the scientific urge toward precision, Pinpoint offers startling insight into how humans understand their place in the world.

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THE
PURSUIT
OF
LEGIBLE
POLICY:
Encouraging Agency and Participation
in the Complex Systems
of the Contemporary Megalopolis

THE<br/>PURSUIT<br/>OF<br/>LEGIBLE<br/>POLICY:<br/>Encouraging Agency and Participation<br/>in the Complex Systems<br/>of the Contemporary Megalopolis | CxBooks | Scoop.it

Given the complexity of urban landscapes, legible policy has emerged as an important aim for urban laboratories, suggesting ways to increase citizen participation, heighten impact of policy decisions, allow for greater inclusion in political processes and stimulate citizens' agency.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Complex Motions and Chaos in Nonlinear Systems

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

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Boundaries of a Complex World (by Andrei Ludu)

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

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

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Systems Neuroscience in Depression (by Thomas Frodl)

Systems Neuroscience in Depression

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

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

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

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

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This Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society (by Kathleen McAuliffe)

An astonishing investigation into the world of microbes, and the myriad ways they control how other creatures — including humans — act, feel, and think

As we are now discovering, parasites — microbes that cannot thrive and reproduce without another organism as a host — are shockingly sophisticated and extraordinarily powerful. In fact, a plethora of parasites affect our behavior in ways we have barely begun to understand. 
 
In this mind-bending book, McAuliffe reveals the eons-old war between parasites and other creatures that is playing out in our very own bodies. And more surprising still, she uncovers the decisive role that parasites may have played in the rise and demise of entire civilizations. Our obsession with cleanliness and our experience of disgust are both evolutionary tools for avoiding infection, but they evolved differently for different populations. Political, social, and religious differences among societies may be caused, in part, by the different parasites that prey on us. In the tradition of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel and Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish, This Is Your Brain on Parasites is both a journey into cutting-edge science and a revelatory examination of what it means to be human.
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Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War (by Mary Roach)

Best-selling author Mary Roach explores the science of keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected, and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war.

Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier's most challenging adversaries―panic, exhaustion, heat, noise―and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them. Mary Roach dodges hostile fire with the U.S. Marine Corps Paintball Team as part of a study on hearing loss and survivability in combat. She visits the fashion design studio of U.S. Army Natick Labs and learns why a zipper is a problem for a sniper. She visits a repurposed movie studio where amputee actors help prepare Marine Corps medics for the shock and gore of combat wounds. At Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, in east Africa, we learn how diarrhea can be a threat to national security. Roach samples caffeinated meat, sniffs an archival sample of a World War II stink bomb, and stays up all night with the crew tending the missiles on the nuclear submarine USS Tennessee. She answers questions not found in any other book on the military: Why is DARPA interested in ducks? How is a wedding gown like a bomb suit? Why are shrimp more dangerous to sailors than sharks? Take a tour of duty with Roach, and you’ll never see our nation’s defenders in the same way again.

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Paper: Paging Through History (by Mark Kurlansky)

A definitive history of paper and the astonishing ways it has shaped today’s world.

Paper is one of the simplest and most essential pieces of human technology. For the past two millennia, the ability to produce it in ever more efficient ways has supported the proliferation of literacy, media, religion, education, commerce, and art; it has formed the foundation of civilizations, promoting revolutions and restoring stability. One has only to look at history’s greatest press run, which produced 6.5 billion copies of Máo zhuxí yulu, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Zedong)―which doesn’t include editions in 37 foreign languages and in braille―to appreciate the range and influence of a single publication, in paper. Or take the fact that one of history’s most revered artists, Leonardo da Vinci, left behind only 15 paintings but 4,000 works on paper. And though the colonies were at the time calling for a boycott of all British goods, the one exception they made speaks to the essentiality of the material; they penned the Declaration of Independence on British paper.

Now, amid discussion of “going paperless”―and as speculation about the effects of a digitally dependent society grows rampant―we’ve come to a world-historic juncture. Thousands of years ago, Socrates and Plato warned that written language would be the end of “true knowledge,” replacing the need to exercise memory and think through complex questions. Similar arguments were made about the switch from handwritten to printed books, and today about the role of computer technology. By tracing paper’s evolution from antiquity to the present, with an emphasis on the contributions made in Asia and the Middle East, Mark Kurlansky challenges common assumptions about technology’s influence, affirming that paper is here to stay. Paper will be the commodity history that guides us forward in the twenty-first century and illuminates our times.

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I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

~ Ed Yong (author) More about this product
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Joining the ranks of popular science classics like The Botany of Desire and The Selfish Gene, a groundbreaking, wondrously informative, and vastly entertaining examination of the most significant revolution in biology since Darwin—a “microbe’s-eye view” of the world that reveals a marvelous, radically reconceived picture of life on earth.
Every animal, whether human, squid, or wasp, is home to millions of bacteria and other microbes. Ed Yong, whose humor is as evident as his erudition, prompts us to look at ourselves and our animal companions in a new light—less as individuals and more as the interconnected, interdependent multitudes we assuredly are.
The microbes in our bodies are part of our immune systems and protect us from disease. In the deep oceans, mysterious creatures without mouths or guts depend on microbes for all their energy. Bacteria provide squid with invisibility cloaks, help beetles to bring down forests, and allow worms to cause diseases that afflict millions of people.
Many people think of microbes as germs to be eradicated, but those that live with us—the microbiome—build our bodies, protect our health, shape our identities, and grant us incredible abilities. In this astonishing book, Ed Yong takes us on a grand tour through our microbial partners, and introduces us to the scientists on the front lines of discovery. It will change both our view of nature and our sense of where we belong in it.

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The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself (by Sean Carroll)

The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

~ Sean Carroll (author) More about this product
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Where are we? Who are we? Are our emotions, our beliefs, and our hopes and dreams ultimately meaningless out there in the void? Does human purpose and meaning fit into a scientific worldview?

In short chapters filled with intriguing historical anecdotes, personal asides, and rigorous exposition, readers learn the difference between how the world works at the quantum level, the cosmic level, and the human level--and then how each connects to the other.  Carroll's presentation of the principles that have guided the scientific revolution from Darwin and Einstein to the origins of life, consciousness, and the universe is dazzlingly unique.  

Carroll shows how an avalanche of discoveries in the past few hundred years has changed our world and what really matters to us. Our lives are dwarfed like never before by the immensity of space and time, but they are redeemed by our capacity to comprehend it and give it meaning.

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The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe (Stephon Alexander)

The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe

~ Stephon Alexander (author) More about this product
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More than fifty years ago, John Coltrane drew the twelve musical notes in a circle and connected them by straight lines, forming a five-pointed star. Inspired by Einstein, Coltrane had put physics and geometry at the core of his music. Physicist and jazz musician Stephon Alexander returns the favor, using jazz to answer physics’ most vexing questions about the past and future of the universe.

Following the great minds that first drew the links between music and physics—a list including Pythagoras, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, and Rakim—The Jazz of Physics revisits the ancient realm where music, physics, and the cosmos were one. This cosmological journey accompanies Alexander’s own tale of struggling to reconcile his passion for music and physics, from taking music lessons as a boy in the Bronx to studying theoretical physics at Imperial College, London’s inner sanctum of string theory. Playing the saxophone and improvising with equations, Alexander uncovered the connection between the fundamental waves that make up sound and the fundamental waves that make up everything else. As he reveals, the ancient poetic idea of the “music of the spheres,” taken seriously, clarifies confounding issues in physics.

Whether you are more familiar with Brian Greene or Brian Eno, John Coltrane or John Wheeler, the Five Percent Nation or why the universe is less than five percent visible, there is a new discovery on every page. Covering the entire history of the universe from its birth to its fate, its structure on the smallest and largest scales, The Jazz of Physics will fascinate and inspire anyone interested in the mysteries of our universe, music, and life itself.

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Sherri L. McLendon's curator insight, May 22, 11:42 AM
Language: vibration + breath = creation. Words can be musical, too.
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Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension

Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension

~ Samuel Arbesman (author) More about this product
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From the power grid to the stock market to the latest iOS, complex systems are plagued by unintended glitches, unpredictable behavior, and unexplainable system failures. Why can’t we make things simpler? Is technological complexity inevitable? And how are we supposed to deal with technology that nobody can understand anymore?

In Overcomplicated, complexity scientist Samuel Arbesman explores the forces that lead us to continue to make systems more complicated and more incomprehensible, despite our desperate desire for them to be more coherent. He offers a new framework for dealing with complex systems. We must abandon the idea that we can understand the rules, and instead become field biologists for technology, relying on description and observation to uncover facts about how a system might work. 

Whether you work in business, finance, science, or IT—or you simply own a smart phone—Overcomplicated offers valuable insight on how to adapt to the complex age we are living in.

 

 

Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension
by Samuel Arbesman

http://amzn.to/1T9vZZM

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The Gene: An Intimate History (by Siddhartha Mukherjee)

The Gene: An Intimate History

Product by Scribner ~ Siddhartha Mukherjee (author) More about this product
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From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Emperor of All Maladies—a magnificent history of the gene and a response to the defining question of the future: What becomes of being human when we learn to “read” and “write” our own genetic information?

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

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

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

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

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s called the blockchain.

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

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

A World From Dust: How the Periodic Table Shaped Life

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

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The Genius of Birds (by Jennifer Ackerman)

The Genius of Birds

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

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

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

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

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