CxBooks
Follow
Find
249.1K views | +147 today
 
Suggested by AntonJ
onto CxBooks
Scoop.it!

Animal Body Size: Linking Pattern and Process across Space, Time, and Taxonomic Group (by Felisa A. Smith, S. Kathleen Lyons)

Galileo wrote that “nature cannot produce a horse as large as twenty ordinary horses or a giant ten times taller than an ordinary man unless by miracle or by greatly altering the proportions of his limbs and especially of his bones”—a statement that wonderfully captures a long-standing scientific fascination with body size. Why are organisms the size that they are? And what determines their optimum size?                     This volume explores animal body size from a macroecological perspective, examining species, populations, and other large groups of animals in order to uncover the patterns and causal mechanisms of body size throughout time and across the globe. The chapters represent diverse scientific perspectives and are divided into two sections. The first includes chapters on insects, snails, birds, bats, and terrestrial mammals and discusses the body size patterns of these various organisms. The second examines some of the factors behind, and consequences of, body size patterns and includes chapters on community assembly, body mass distribution, life history, and the influence of flight on body size.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
CxBooks
Recent books related to complex systems
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life (by Nick Lane)

The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life

~ Nick Lane (author) More about this product
List Price: $27.95
Price: $17.91
You Save: $10.04 (36%)

To explain the mystery of how life evolved on Earth, Nick Lane explores the deep link between energy and genes.

The Earth teems with life: in its oceans, forests, skies and cities. Yet there’s a black hole at the heart of biology. We do not know why complex life is the way it is, or, for that matter, how life first began. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists.

For two and a half billion years, from the very origins of life, single-celled organisms such as bacteria evolved without changing their basic form. Then, on just one occasion in four billion years, they made the jump to complexity. All complex life, from mushrooms to man, shares puzzling features, such as sex, which are unknown in bacteria. How and why did this radical transformation happen?

The answer, Lane argues, lies in energy: all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a lightning bolt. Building on the pillars of evolutionary theory, Lane’s hypothesis draws on cutting-edge research into the link between energy and cell biology, in order to deliver a compelling account of evolution from the very origins of life to the emergence of multicellular organisms, while offering deep insights into our own lives and deaths.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology (by Johnjoe McFadden & Jim Al-Khalili)

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology

~ Jim Al-Khalili (author) More about this product
List Price: $28.00
Price: $17.94
You Save: $10.06 (36%)

Life is the most extraordinary phenomenon in the known universe; but how did it come to be? Even in an age of cloning and artificial biology, the remarkable truth remains: nobody has ever made anything living entirely out of dead material. Life remains the only way to make life. Are we still missing a vital ingredient in its creation?
      
Like Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, which provided a new perspective on how evolution works, Life on the Edge alters our understanding of our world's fundamental dynamics. Bringing together first-hand experience at the cutting edge of science with unparalleled gifts of explanation, Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe Macfadden reveal that missing ingredient to be quantum mechanics; the phenomena that lie at the heart of this most mysterious of sciences. 

Drawing on recent ground-breaking experiments around the world, each chapter in Life on the Edge engages by illustrating one of life's puzzles: How do migrating birds know where to go? How do we really smell the scent of a rose? How do our genes copy themselves with such precision? Life on the Edge accessibly reveals how quantum mechanics can answer these probing questions of the universe.

Guiding the reader through the rapidly unfolding discoveries of the last few years, Al-Khalili and McFadden communicate the excitement of the explosive new field of quantum biology and its potentially revolutionary applications, while offering insights into the biggest puzzle of all: what is life? As they brilliantly demonstrate in these groundbreaking pages, life exists on the quantum edge.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

Time and Navigation: The Untold Story of Getting from Here to There (by Andrew K. Johnston et al.)

Time and Navigation: The Untold Story of Getting from Here to There

~ Paul E. Ceruzzi (author) More about this product
List Price: $29.95
Price: $22.30
You Save: $7.65 (26%)

If you want to know where you are, you need a good clock. The surprising connection between time and place is explored in Time and Navigation: The Untold Story of Getting from Here to There, the companion book to the National Air and Space Museum exhibition of the same name.

Today we use smartphones and GPS, but navigating has not always been so easy. The oldest "clock" is Earth itself, and the oldest means of keeping time came from observing changes in the sky. Early mariners like the Vikings accomplished amazing feats of navigation without using clocks at all. Pioneering seafarers in the Age of Exploration used dead reckoning and celestial navigation; later innovations such as sextants and marine chronometers honed these techniques by measuring latitude and longitude. When explorers turned their sights to the skies, they built on what had been learned at sea. For example, Charles Lindbergh used a bubble sextant on his record-breaking flights. World War II led to the development of new flight technologies, notably radio navigation, since celestial navigation was not suited for all-weather military operations. These forms of navigation were extended and enhanced when explorers began guiding spacecraft into space and across the solar system. Astronauts combined celestial navigation technology with radio transmissions. The development of the atomic clock revolutionized space flight because it could measure billionths of a second, thereby allowing mission teams to navigate more accurately. Scientists and engineers applied these technologies to navigation on earth to develop space-based time and navigation services such as GPS that is used every day by people from all walks of life.

While the history of navigation is one of constant change and innovation, it is also one of remarkable continuity. Time and Navigation tells the story of navigation to help us understand where we have been and how we got there so that we can understand where we are going.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

The Runes of Evolution: How the Universe became Self-Aware (by Simon Conway Morris)

The Runes of Evolution: How the Universe became Self-Aware

~ Simon Conway Morris (author) More about this product
List Price: $39.95
Price: $33.22
You Save: $6.73 (17%)

How did human beings acquire imaginations that can conjure up untrue possibilities? How did the Universe become self-aware? In The Runes of Evolution, Simon Conway Morris revitalizes the study of evolution from the perspective of convergence, providing us with compelling new evidence to support the mounting scientific view that the history of life is far more predictable than once thought.
 
A leading evolutionary biologist at the University of Cambridge, Conway Morris came into international prominence for his work on the Cambrian explosion (especially fossils of the Burgess Shale) and evolutionary convergence, which is the process whereby organisms not closely related (not monophyletic), independently evolve similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches.
 
In The Runes of Evolution, he illustrates how the ubiquity of convergence hints at an underlying framework whereby many outcomes, not least brains and intelligence, are virtually guaranteed on any Earth-like planet. Conway Morris also emphasizes how much of the complexity of advanced biological systems is inherent in microbial forms.
 
The Runes of Evolution is the most definitive synthesis of evolutionary convergence to be published to date.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

Toward a Unified Ecology (by Timothy F. H. Allen & Thomas W. Hoekstra)

The first edition of Toward a Unified Ecology was ahead of its time. For the second edition, the authors present a new synthesis of their core ideas on evaluating communities, organisms, populations, biomes, models, and management. The book now places greater emphasis on post-normal critiques, cognizant of ever-present observer values in the system. The problem it addresses is how to work holistically on complex things that cannot be defined, and this book continues to build an approach to the problem of scaling in ecosystems. Provoked by complexity theory, the authors add a whole new chapter on the central role of narrative in science and how models improve them. The book takes data and modeling seriously, with a sophisticated philosophy of science.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

Science Outside the Laboratory: Measurement in Field Science and Economics (by Marcel Boumans)

The conduct of most of social science occurs outside the laboratory. Such studies in field science explore phenomena that cannot for practical, technical, or ethical reasons be explored under controlled conditions. These phenomena cannot be fully isolated from their environment or investigated by manipulation or intervention. Yet measurement, including rigorous or clinical measurement, does provide analysts with a sound basis for discerning what occurs under field conditions, and why.

In Science Outside the Laboratory, Marcel Boumans explores the state of measurement theory, its reliability, and the role expert judgment plays in field investigations from the perspective of the philosophy of science. Its discussion of the problems of passive observation, the calculus of observation, the two-model problem, and model-based consensus uses illustrations drawn primarily from economics.

Rich in research and discussion, the volume clarifies the extent to which measurement provides valid information about objects and events in field sciences, but also has implications for measurement in the laboratory. Scholars in the fields of philosophy of science, social science, and economics will find Science Outside the Laboratory a compelling and informative read.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by Chris Aldrich
Scoop.it!

Information, Entropy, Life and the Universe: What We Know and What We Do Not Know by Arieh Ben-Naim

The aim of this book is to explain in simple language what we know and what we do not know about information and entropy — two of the most frequently discussed topics in recent literature — and whether they are relevant to life and the entire universe.
Entropy is commonly interpreted as a measure of disorder. This interpretation has caused a great amount of "disorder" in the literature. One of the aims of this book is to put some "order" in this "disorder".
The book explains with minimum amount of mathematics what information theory is and how it is related to thermodynamic entropy. Then it critically examines the application of these concepts to the question of "What is life?" and whether or not they can be applied to the entire universe.

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

Mind in Architecture: Neuroscience, Embodiment, and the Future of Design (by Sarah Robinson & Juhani Pallasmaa)

Although we spend more than ninety percent of our lives inside buildings, we understand very little about how the built environment affects our behavior, thoughts, emotions, and well-being. We are biological beings whose senses and neural systems have developed over millions of years; it stands to reason that research in the life sciences, particularly neuroscience, can offer compelling insights into the ways our buildings shape our interactions with the world. This expanded understanding can help architects design buildings that support both mind and body. In Mind in Architecture, leading thinkers from architecture and other disciplines, including neuroscience, cognitive science, psychiatry, and philosophy, explore what architecture and neuroscience can learn from each other. They offer historical context, examine the implications for current architectural practice and education, and imagine a neuroscientifically informed architecture of the future.

Architecture is late in discovering the richness of neuroscientific research. As scientists were finding evidence for the bodily basis of mind and meaning, architecture was caught up in convoluted cerebral games that denied emotional and bodily reality altogether. This volume maps the extraordinary opportunity that engagement with cutting-edge neuroscience offers present-day architects.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

Noise Matters: The Evolution of Communication (by R. Haven Wiley)

Noise Matters: The Evolution of Communication

~ R. Haven Wiley (author) More about this product
List Price: $45.00
Price: $35.55
You Save: $9.45 (21%)

Noise, as we usually think of it, is background sound that interferes with our ability to hear more interesting sounds. In general terms, though, it is anything that interferes with the reception of signals of any sort. It includes extraneous energy in the environment, degradation of signals in transit, and spontaneous random activity in receivers and signalers. Whatever the cause, the consequence of noise is error by receivers, and these errors are the key to understanding how noise shapes the evolution of communication.

 

Noise Matters breaks new ground in the scientific understanding of how communication evolves in the presence of noise. Combining insights of signal detection theory with evidence from decades of his own original research, Haven Wiley explains the profound effects of noise on the evolution of communication. The coevolution of signalers and receivers does not result in ideal, noise-free communication, Wiley finds. Instead, signalers and receivers evolve to a joint equilibrium in which communication is effective but never error-free. Noise is inescapable in the evolution of communication.

 

Wiley’s comprehensive approach considers communication on many different levels of biological organization, from cells to individual organisms, including humans. Social interactions, such as honesty, mate choice, and cooperation, are reassessed in the light of noisy communication. The final sections demonstrate that noise even affects how we think about human language, science, subjectivity, and freedom. Noise Matters thus contributes to understanding the behavior of animals, including ourselves.

 

 

more...
A. J. Alvarez-Socorro's curator insight, June 23, 2:11 AM
I want this book :S
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

Computation, Proof, Machine: Mathematics Enters a New Age (by Gilles Dowek)

Computation, Proof, Machine: Mathematics Enters a New Age

~ Gilles Dowek (author) More about this product
List Price: $39.99
Price: $37.65
You Save: $2.34 (6%)

Computation is revolutionizing our world, even the inner world of the "pure" mathematician. Mathematical methods - especially the notion of proof - that have their roots in classical antiquity have seen a radical transformation since the 1970s, as successive advances have challenged the priority of reason over computation. Like many revolutions, this one comes from within. Computation, calculation, algorithms - all have played an important role in mathematical progress from the beginning - but behind the scenes, their contribution was obscured in the enduring mathematical literature. To understand the future of mathematics, this fascinating book returns to its past, tracing the hidden history that follows the thread of computation. Along the way it invites us to reconsider the dialog between mathematics and the natural sciences, as well as the relationship between mathematics and computer science. It also sheds new light on philosophical concepts, such as the notions of analytic and synthetic judgment. Finally, it brings us to the brink of the new age, in which machine intelligence offers new ways of solving mathematical problems previously inaccessible.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

The Deeper Genome: Why there is more to the human genome than meets the eye (by John Parrington)

Over a decade ago, as the Human Genome Project completed its mapping of the entire human genome, hopes ran high that we would rapidly be able to use our knowledge of human genes to tackle many inherited diseases, and understand what makes us unique among animals. But things didn't turn out that way. For a start, we turned out to have far fewer genes than originally thought - just over 20,000, the same sort of number as a fruit fly or worm. What's more, the proportion of DNA consisting of genes coding for proteins was a mere 2%. So, was the rest of the genome accumulated 'junk'?

Things have changed since those early heady days of the Human Genome Project. But the emerging picture is if anything far more exciting. In this book, John Parrington explains the key features that are coming to light - some, such as the results of the international ENCODE programme, still much debated and controversial in their scope. He gives an outline of the deeper genome, involving layers of regulatory elements controlling and coordinating the switching on and off of genes; the impact of its 3D geometry; the discovery of a variety of new RNAs playing critical roles; the epigenetic changes influenced by the environment and life experiences that can make identical twins different and be passed on to the next generation; and the clues coming out of comparisons with the genomes of Neanderthals as well as that of chimps about the development of our species. We are learning more about ourselves, and about the genetic aspects of many diseases. But in its complexity, flexibility, and ability to respond to environmental cues, the human genome is proving to be far more subtle than we ever imagined.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Complexity Digest
Scoop.it!

Complex and Adaptive Dynamical Systems: A Primer - Claudius Gros

This primer offers readers an introduction to the central concepts that form our modern understanding of complex and emergent behavior, together with detailed coverage of accompanying mathematical methods. All calculations are presented step by step and are easy to follow.
This new fourth edition has been fully reorganized and includes new chapters, figures and exercises. The core aspects of modern complex system sciences are presented in the first chapters, covering network theory, dynamical systems, bifurcation and catastrophe theory, chaos and adaptive processes, together with the principle of self-organization in reaction-diffusion systems and social animals. Modern information theoretical principles are treated in further chapters, together with the concept of self-organized criticality, gene regulation networks, hypercycles and coevolutionary avalanches, synchronization phenomena, absorbing phase transitions and the cognitive system approach to the brain.
Technical course prerequisites are the standard mathematical tools for an advanced undergraduate course in the natural sciences or engineering. Each chapter includes exercises and suggestions for further reading, and the solutions to all exercises are provided in the last chapter.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Complexity Digest
Scoop.it!

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.

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

Genius At Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway (by Siobhan Roberts)

Genius At Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway

~ Siobhan Roberts (author) More about this product
List Price: $30.00
Price: $14.85
You Save: $15.15 (50%)

An unabashed original, John Horton Conway is Archimedes, Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, and Richard Feynman all rolled into one--a singular mathematician, with a rock star's charisma, a sly sense of humor, a polymath's promiscuous curiosity, and a burning desire to explain everything about the world to everyone in it.

Born in Liverpool in 1937, Conway found fame as a barefoot Cambridge professor. He discovered the Conway groups in mathematical symmetry, and invented the aptly named surreal numbers, as well as the cult classic Game of Life--more than a cool fad, Life demonstrates how simplicity generates complexity and the game provides an analogy for all mathematics and the entire universe. Moving to Princeton in 1987, as a mathemagician he deployed cards, ropes, dice, coat hangers, and even the odd Slinky as props to extend his winning imagination and share his mathy obsessions with signature contagion. He is a jet-setting ambassador-at-large for the beauties of all things mathematical.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature's Deep Design (by Frank Wilczek)

A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature's Deep Design

~ Frank Wilczek (author) More about this product
List Price: $29.95
Price: $18.07
You Save: $11.88 (40%)

Artists as well as scientists throughout human history have pondered this “beautiful question.” With Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek as your guide, embark on a voyage of related discoveries, from Plato and Pythagoras up to the present. Wilczek’s groundbreaking work in quantum physics was inspired by his intuition to look for a deeper order of beauty in nature. In fact, every major advance in his career came from this intuition: to assume that the universe embodies beautiful forms, forms whose hallmarks are symmetry—harmony, balance, proportion—and economy. There are other meanings of “beauty,” but this is the deep logic of the universe—and it is no accident that it is also at the heart of what we find aesthetically pleasing and inspiring.

Wilczek is hardly alone among great scientists in charting his course using beauty as his compass. As he reveals in A Beautiful Question, this has been the heart of scientific pursuit from Pythagoras, the ancient Greek who was the first to argue that “all things are number,” to Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, and into the deep waters of twentiethcentury physics. Though the ancients weren’t right about everything, their ardent belief in the music of the spheres has proved true down to the quantum level. Indeed, Wilczek explores just how intertwined our ideas about beauty and art are with our scientific understanding of the cosmos.

Wilczek brings us right to the edge of knowledge today, where the core insights of even the craziest quantum ideas apply principles we all understand. The equations for atoms and light are almost literally the same equations that govern musical instruments and sound; the subatomic particles that are responsible for most of our mass are determined by simple geometric symmetries. The universe itself, suggests Wilczek, seems to want to embody beautiful and elegant forms. Perhaps this force is the pure elegance of numbers, perhaps the work of a higher being, or somewhere between. Either way, we don’t depart from the infinite and infinitesimal after all; we’re profoundly connected to them, and we connect them. When we find that our sense of beauty is realized in the physical world, we are discovering something about the world, but also something about ourselves.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by Matteo Chinazzi
Scoop.it!

Data Algorithms

Data Algorithms | CxBooks | Scoop.it
If you are ready to dive into the MapReduce framework for processing large datasets, this practical book takes you step by step through the algorithms and tools you need to build distributed MapReduce applications with Apache Hadoop or Apache...
more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

Invisible Hands: Self-Organization and the Eighteenth Century (by Jonathan Sheehan & Dror Wahrman)

Invisible Hands: Self-Organization and the Eighteenth Century

~ Dror Wahrman (author) More about this product
List Price: $45.00
Price: $36.19
You Save: $8.81 (20%)

Why is the world orderly, and how does this order come to be? Human beings inhabit a multitude of apparently ordered systems—natural, social, political, economic, cognitive, and others—whose origins and purposes are often obscure. In the eighteenth century, older certainties about such orders, rooted in either divine providence or the mechanical operations of nature, began to fall away. In their place arose a new appreciation for the complexity of things, a new recognition of the world’s disorder and randomness, new doubts about simple relations of cause and effect—but with them also a new ability to imagine the world’s orders, whether natural or manmade, as self-organizing. If large systems are left to their own devices, eighteenth-century Europeans increasingly came to believe, order will emerge on its own without any need for external design or direction.

In Invisible Hands, Jonathan Sheehan and Dror Wahrman trace the many appearances of the language of self-organization in the eighteenth-century West. Across an array of domains, including religion, society, philosophy, science, politics, economy, and law, they show how and why this way of thinking came into the public view, then grew in prominence and arrived at the threshold of the nineteenth century in versatile, multifarious, and often surprising forms. Offering a new synthesis of intellectual and cultural developments, Invisible Hands is a landmark contribution to the history of the Enlightenment and eighteenth-century culture.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

Explanation in Biology: An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences (by Pierre-Alain Braillard & Christophe Malaterre)

Patterns of explanation in biology have long been recognized as different from those deployed in other scientific disciplines, especially that of physics. Celebrating the diversity of interpretative models found in biology, this volume details their varying types as well as explaining their relationships to one another. It covers the key differentials with other sciences in the nature of explanation, such as the existence in biology of varieties unheard of in the physical sciences, such as teleological, evolutionary and even functional explanations.

Offering a wealth of fresh analysis of the phenomenon, chapters examine aspects ranging from the role of mathematics in explaining cell development to the complexities thrown up by evolutionary-developmental biology, where explanation is altered by multidisciplinarity itself. They cover major domains such as ecology and systems biology, as well as contemporary trends, such as the mechanistic explanations spawned by progress in molecular biology. With contributions from researchers of many different nationalities, the book provides a many-angled perspective on a revealing feature of the discipline of biology.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

The Cybernetics Moment: Or Why We Call Our Age the Information Age (by Ronald R. Kline)

Cybernetics―the science of communication and control as it applies to machines and to humans―originates from efforts during World War II to build automatic anti-aircraft systems. Following the war, this science extended beyond military needs to examine all systems that rely on information and feedback, from the level of the cell to that of society. In The Cybernetics Moment, Ronald R. Kline, a senior historian of technology, examines the intellectual and cultural history of cybernetics and information theory, whose language of "information," "feedback," and "control" transformed the idiom of the sciences, hastened the development of information technologies, and laid the conceptual foundation for what we now call the Information Age.

Kline argues that, for about twenty years after 1950, the growth of cybernetics and information theory and ever-more-powerful computers produced a utopian information narrative―an enthusiasm for information science that influenced natural scientists, social scientists, engineers, humanists, policymakers, public intellectuals, and journalists, all of whom struggled to come to grips with new relationships between humans and intelligent machines.

Kline traces the relationship between the invention of computers and communication systems and the rise, decline, and transformation of cybernetics by analyzing the lives and work of such notables as Norbert Wiener, Claude Shannon, Warren McCulloch, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, and Herbert Simon. Ultimately, he reveals the crucial role played by the cybernetics moment―when cybernetics and information theory were seen as universal sciences―in setting the stage for our current preoccupation with information technologies.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by Matteo Chinazzi
Scoop.it!

Spurious Correlations: Tyler Vigen

Spurious Correlations

~ Tyler Vigen (author) More about this product
List Price: $20.00
Price: $12.00
You Save: $8.00 (40%)

Military intelligence analyst and Harvard Law student Tyler Vigen illustrates the golden rule that "correlation does not equal causation" through hilarious graphs inspired by his viral website.

Is there a correlation between Nic Cage films and swimming pool accidents? What about beef consumption and people getting struck by lightning? Absolutely not. But that hasn't stopped millions of people from going to tylervigen.com and asking, "Wait, what?" Vigen has designed software that scours enormous data sets to find unlikely statistical correlations. He began pulling the funniest ones for his website and has since gained millions of views, hundreds of thousands of likes, and tons of media coverage. Subversive and clever, Spurious Correlations is geek humor at its finest, nailing our obsession with data and conspiracy theory.

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

The Unknown as an Engine for Science: An Essay on the Definite and the Indefinite (by Hans J. Pirner)

This book explores the limits of our knowledge. The author shows how uncertainty and indefiniteness not only define the borders confining our understanding, but how they feed into the process of discovery and help to push back these borders. Starting with physics the author collects examples from economics, neurophysiology, history, ecology and philosophy.

The first part shows how information helps to reduce indefiniteness. Understanding rests on our ability to find the right context, in which we localize a problem as a point in a network of connections. New elements must be combined with the old parts of the existing complex knowledge system, in order to profit maximally from the information. An attempt is made to quantify the value of information by its ability to reduce indefiniteness.

The second part explains how to handle indefiniteness with methods from fuzzy logic, decision theory, hermeneutics and semiotics. It is not sufficient that the new element appears in an experiment, one also has to find a theoretical reason for its existence. Indefiniteness becomes an engine of science, which gives rise to new ideas.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond Our Control (by Wendell Wallach)

A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond Our Control

~ Wendell Wallach (author) More about this product
List Price: $28.99
Price: $20.67
You Save: $8.32 (29%)

We live in an age of awesome technological potential. From nanotechnology to synthetic organisms, new technologies stand to revolutionize whole domains of human experience. But with awesome potential comes awesome risk: drones can deliver a bomb as readily as they can a new smartphone; makers and hackers can 3D-print guns as well as tools; and supercomputers can short-circuit Wall Street just as easily as they can manage your portfolio.

One thing these technologies can’t do is answer the profound moral issues they raise. Who should be held accountable when they go wrong? What responsibility do we, as creators and users, have for the technologies we build? In A Dangerous Master, ethicist Wendell Wallach tackles such difficult questions with hard-earned authority, imploring both producers and consumers to face the moral ambiguities arising from our rapid technological growth. There is no doubt that scientific research and innovation are a source of promise and productivity, but, as Wallach, argues, technological development is at risk of becoming a juggernaut beyond human control. Examining the players, institutions, and values lobbying against meaningful regulation of everything from autonomous robots to designer drugs, A Dangerous Master proposes solutions for regaining control of our technological destiny.

Wallach’s nuanced study offers both stark warnings and hope, navigating both the fears and hype surrounding technological innovations. An engaging, masterful analysis of the elements we must manage in our quest to survive as a species, A Dangerous Master forces us to confront the practical—and moral—purposes of our creations.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

Life's Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable (by Paul G. Falkowski)

Life's Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable (Science Essentials)

~ Paul G. Falkowski (author) More about this product
List Price: $24.95
Price: $18.40
You Save: $6.55 (26%)

For almost four billion years, microbes had the primordial oceans all to themselves. The stewards of Earth, these organisms transformed the chemistry of our planet to make it habitable for plants, animals, and us. Life's Engines takes readers deep into the microscopic world to explore how these marvelous creatures made life on Earth possible--and how human life today would cease to exist without them.

 

Paul Falkowski looks "under the hood" of microbes to find the engines of life, the actual working parts that do the biochemical heavy lifting for every living organism on Earth. With insight and humor, he explains how these miniature engines are built--and how they have been appropriated by and assembled like Lego sets within every creature that walks, swims, or flies. Falkowski shows how evolution works to maintain this core machinery of life, and how we and other animals are veritable conglomerations of microbes.

 

A vibrantly entertaining book about the microbes that support our very existence, Life's Engines will inspire wonder about these elegantly complex nanomachines that have driven life since its origin. It also issues a timely warning about the dangers of tinkering with that machinery to make it more "efficient" at meeting the ever-growing demands of humans in the coming century.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

Biocode: The New Age of Genomics (by Dawn Field & Neil Davies)

Biocode: The New Age of Genomics

~ Neil Davies (author) More about this product
List Price: $29.95
Price: $28.94
You Save: $1.01 (3%)

The living world runs on genomic software - what Dawn Field and Neil Davies call the 'biocode' - the sum of all DNA on Earth. In Biocode, they tell the story of a new age of scientific discovery: the growing global effort to read and map the biocode, and what that might mean for the future. The structure of DNA was identified in 1953, and the whole human genome was mapped by 2003. Since then the new field of genomics has mushroomed and is now operating on an industrial scale. Genomes can now be sequenced rapidly and increasingly cheaply. The genomes of large numbers of organisms from mammals to microbes, have been mapped. Getting your genome sequenced is becoming affordable for many. You too can check paternity, find out where your ancestors came from, or whether you are at risk of some diseases. Some check out the pedigree of their pets, while others turn genomes into art. A stray hair is enough to crudely reconstruct the face of the owner. From reading to constructing: the first steps to creating artificial life have already been taken.

Some may find the rapidity of developments, and the potential for misuse, alarming. But they also open up unprecedented possibilities. The ability to read DNA has changed how we view ourselves and understand our place in nature. From the largest oceans, to the insides of our guts, we are able to explore the biosphere as never before, from the genome up. Sequencing technology has made the invisible world of microbes visible, and biodiversity genomics is revealing whole new worlds within us and without. The findings are transformational: we are all ecosystems now. Already the first efforts at 'barcoding' entire ecological communities and creating 'genomic observatories' have begun. The future, the authors argue, will involve biocoding the entire planet.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by AntonJ
Scoop.it!

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.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.