Cycles of Invention and Discovery offers an in-depth look at the real-world practice of science and engineering. It shows how the standard categories of "basic" and "applied" have become a hindrance to the organization of the U.S. science and technology enterprise. Tracing the history of these problematic categories, Venkatesh Narayanamurti and Toluwalogo Odumosu document how historical views of policy makers and scientists have led to the construction of science as a pure ideal on the one hand and of engineering as a practical (and inherently less prestigious) activity on the other. Even today, this erroneous but still widespread distinction forces these two endeavors into separate silos, misdirects billions of dollars, and thwarts progress in science and engineering research. The authors contrast this outmoded perspective with the lived experiences of researchers at major research laboratories. Using such Nobel Prize-winning examples as magnetic resonance imaging, the transistor, and the laser, they explore the daily micro-practices of research, showing how distinctions between the search for knowledge and creative problem solving break down when one pays attention to the ways in which pathbreaking research actually happens. By studying key contemporary research institutions, the authors highlight the importance of integrated research practices, contrasting these with models of research in the classic but still-influential report Science the Endless Frontier. Narayanamurti and Odumosu's new model of the research ecosystem underscores that discovery and invention are often two sides of the same coin that moves innovation forward.
NASA's history is a familiar story, culminating with the agency successfully landing men on the moon in 1969, but itsprehistory is an important and rarely told tale. America's space agency drew together some of the best minds the non-Soviet world had to offer. At the end of World War II, Wernher von Braun escaped Nazi Germany and came to America where he began developing missiles for the United States Army. The engineer behind the V-2 rocket, von Braun dreamt of sending rockets into space. Ten years later his Jupiter rocket was the only one capable of launching a satellite into orbit. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and the U.S. Air Force, meanwhile, brought rocket technology into the world of manned flight. NACA test pilots like Neil Armstrong flew cutting-edge aircraft in the thin upper atmosphere while Air Force pilots rode to the fringes of space in balloons to see how humans handled radiation at high altitude. Breaking the Chains of Gravity looks at the evolving roots of America's space program--the scientific advances, the personalities, and the rivalries between the various arms of the United States military. After the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957, getting a man in space suddenly became a national imperative, leading President Dwight D. Eisenhower to pull various pieces together to create the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
"Tracing the arc of evolutionary history, biologist William C. Burger shows that cooperation and symbiosis have played a critical role in the ever increasing complexity of life on earth. Life may have started from the evolution of cooperating organic molecules, which outpaced their noncooperating neighbors. A prime example of symbiosis was the early incorporation of mitochondria into the eukaryotic cell (through a process called "endosymbiosis"). This event gave these cells a powerful new source of energy. Later, cooperation was again key when millions to trillions of individual eukaryotic cells eventually came together to build the unitary structures of large plants and animals. And cooperation between individuals of the same species resulted in complex animal societies, such as ant colonies and bee hives. Turning to our own species, the author argues that our ability to cooperate, along with incessant inter-group conflict, has driven the advancement of cultures, the elaboration of our technologies, and made us the most "invasive" species on the planet. But our very success has now become a huge problem, as our world dominion threatens the future of the biosphere and confronts us with a very uncertain future. Thought-provoking and full of fascinating detail, this eloquently told story of life on earth and our place within it presents a grand perspective and raises many important questions."
To most, the collapse of modern civilization is the stuff of fiction. Yet, science confirms that misuse of technology and environmental abuse places our world in grave danger of ruin. The World Scientists' Warning to Humanity places our civilization on a collision course. Defying Dystopia analyzes how we have come to this, and what options remain for far-seeing people to take control of their own destiny and survive the future. Ed Ayres, who has worked with some iconic environmental scientists of the past half-century, argues that technology was originally used to augment the natural strengths of humans, but has been increasingly used in ways that weaken us--shifting from useful work to the industries of distraction, entertainment, convenience, pain-relief, and sedation. Ayres advises on how at least some of us can avoid that collision. The most critical task, for those of us who want humanity to survive and thrive, is to disengage from our tech thralldom, and shift to a conscious management of our evolution in which we use technology to enhance our skills and strengths rather than erode or supplant them. Ayres provides insightful, actionable suggestions we can use to increase our odds of survival. He asks far-seeing individuals to take on a mission that the dominant governments and institutions demonstrably cannot: the epic task of shepherding a low-profile, resilient transition to a new kind of human future.
THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 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? 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.
In his 1969 book The Making of a Counterculture, Theodore Roszak described the youth of the late 1960s as fleeing science "as if from a place inhabited by plague," and even seeking "subversion of the scientific worldview" itself. Roszak's view has come to be our own: when we think of the youth movement of the 1960s and early 1970s, we think of a movement that was explicitly anti-scientific in its embrace of alternative spiritualities and communal living. Such a view is far too simple, ignoring the diverse ways in which the era's countercultures expressed enthusiasm for and involved themselves in science--of a certain type. Rejecting hulking, militarized technical projects like Cold War missiles and mainframes, Boomers and hippies sought a science that was both small-scale and big-picture, as exemplified by the annual workshops on quantum physics at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, or Timothy Leary's championing of space exploration as the ultimate "high." Groovy Science explores the experimentation and eclecticism that marked countercultural science and technology during one of the most colorful periods of American history.
This book--the culmination of a truly collaborative international and highly interdisciplinary effort--brings together Japanese and American political scientists, nuclear engineers, historians, and physicists to examine the Fukushima accident from a new and broad perspective. It explains the complex interactions between nuclear safety risks (the causes and consequences of accidents) and nuclear security risks (the causes and consequences of sabotage or terrorist attacks), exposing the possible vulnerabilities all countries may have if they fail to learn from this accident.The book further analyzes the lessons of Fukushima in comparative perspective, focusing on the politics of safety and emergency preparedness. It first compares the different policies and procedures adopted by various nuclear facilities in Japan and then discusses the lessons learned--and not learned--after major nuclear accidents and incidents in other countries in the past. The book's editors conclude that learning lessons across nations has proven to be very difficult, and they propose new policies to improve global learning after nuclear accidents or attacks.
Traditional toxicology textbooks tend to be doorstops: tomes filled with important but seemingly abstract chemistry and biology. Meanwhile, magazine and journal articles introduce students to timely topics such as BPA and endocrine disruption or the carcinogenic effects of pesticides, but don't provide the fundamentals needed to understand the science of toxicity. Written by a longtime professor of toxicology, Modern Poisons bridges this gap. This accessible book explains basic principles in plain language while illuminating the most important issues in contemporary toxicology. Kolok begins by exploring age-old precepts of the field such as the dose-response relationship and the concept, first introduced by Ambroise Par#65533; in the sixteenth century, that a chemical's particular action depends on its inherent chemical nature. The author goes on to show exactly how chemicals enter the body and elicit their toxic effect, as well as the body's methods of defense. With the fundamentals established, Kolok digs into advances in toxicology, tracing the field's development from World War II to the present day. The book examines both technical discoveries and their impacts on public policy. Highlights include studies of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in toiletries and prescriptions, the emerging science on prions, and our growing understanding of epigenetics. Readers learn not only how toxic exposure affects people and wildlife, but about the long-term social and environmental consequences of our chemicals. Whether studying toxicology itself, public health, or environmental science, readers will develop a core understanding of--and curiosity about--this fast-changing field.
A sweeping, richly detailed history that tells the fascinating story of how paper--the simple Chinese invention of two thousand years ago--wrapped itself around our world, humankind's most momentous ideas imprinted on its surface. The emergence of paper in the imperial court of Han China brought about a revolution in the transmission of knowledge and ideas, allowing religions, philosophies and propaganda to spread with ever greater ease. The first writing surface sufficiently cheap, portable and printable for books, pamphlets and journals to be mass-produced and distributed widely, paper opened the way for an unprecedented, ongoing dialogue between individuals and between communities across continents, oceans and time. The Paper Trail explores how the new substance was used to solidify social and political systems that influenced China even into our own time. We see how paper made possible the spread of the then new religions of Buddhism and Manichaeism into Japan, Korea and Vietnam . . . how it enabled theologians, scientists and artists to build the vast and signally intellectual empire of the Abbasid Caliphate and embed the Koran in popular culture . . . how paper was carried along the Silk Road by merchants and missionaries, finally reaching Europe in the late thirteenth century . . . and how, once established in Europe, along with the printing press, paper played an essential role in the three great foundations of Western modernity: the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. Here is a dramatic, comprehensively researched, vividly written story populated by holy men and scholars, warriors and poets, rulers and ordinary men and women--an essential story brilliantly told in this luminous work of history.
Google, Apple, Amazon, Uber: companies like these have come to embody innovation, efficiency, and success. How often is the environmental movement characterized in the same terms? Sadly, conservation is frequently seen as a losing battle, waged by well-meaning, but ultimately ineffective idealists. Joe Whitworth argues it doesn't have to be this way. In fact, it can't be this way if we are to maintain our economy, let alone our health or the planet's. In Quantified, Whitworth draws lessons from the world's most tech-savvy, high-impact organizations to show how we can make real gains for the environment. The principles of his approach, dubbed quantified conservation, will be familiar to any thriving entrepreneur: situational awareness, bold outcomes, innovation and technology, data and analytics, and gain-focused investment. This no-nonsense strategy builds on the inspirational environmental work begun in the 1970s, while recognizing that the next economy will demand new solutions. As President of The Freshwater Trust, Whitworth has put quantified conservation into practice, pioneering the model of a "do-tank" that is dramatically changing how rivers can get restored across the United States. The stories in Quantified highlight the most precious of resources--water--but they apply to any environmental effort. Whether in the realm of policy, agriculture, business, or philanthropy, Whitworth is charting a new course for conservation.
Melting ice sheets and warming oceans are causing the seas to rise. By the end of this century, hundreds of millions of people living at low elevations along coasts will be forced to retreat to higher and safer ground. Because of sea-level rise, major storms will inundate areas farther inland and will lay waste to critical infrastructure, such as water-treatment and energy facilities, creating vast, irreversible pollution by decimating landfills and toxic-waste sites. This big-picture, policy-oriented book explains in gripping terms what rising oceans will do to coastal cities and the drastic actions we must take now to remove vulnerable populations. The authors detail specific threats faced by Miami, New Orleans, New York, and Amsterdam. Aware of the overwhelming social, political, and economic challenges that would accompany effective action, they consider the burden to the taxpayer and the logistics of moving landmarks and infrastructure, including toxic-waste sites. They also show readers the alternative: thousands of environmental refugees, with no legitimate means to regain what they have lost. The authors conclude with effective approaches for addressing climate-change denialism and powerful arguments for reforming U.S. federal coastal management policies.
First published in French in 1998, revised in 2010, and appearing here in English for the first time, Michel Chion's Sound addresses the philosophical, interpretive, and practical questions that inform our encounters with sound. Chion considers how cultural institutions privilege some sounds above others and how spurious distinctions between noise and sound guide the ways we hear and value certain sounds. He critiques the tenacious tendency to understand sounds in relation to their sources and advocates "acousmatic" listening--listening without visual access to a sound's cause--to disentangle ourselves from auditory habits and prejudices. Yet sound can no more be reduced to mere perceptual phenomena than encapsulated in the sciences of acoustics and physiology. As Chion reminds us and explores in depth, a wide range of linguistic, sensory, cultural, institutional, and media- and technologically-specific factors interact with and shape sonic experiences. Interrogating these interactions, Chion stimulates us to think about how we might open our ears to new sounds, become more nuanced and informed listeners, and more fully understand the links between how we hear and what we do.
While the Moon was once thought to hold the key to space exploration, in recent decades, the U.S. has largely turned its sights toward Mars and other celestial bodies instead. In The Value of the Moon, lunar scientist Paul Spudis argues that the U.S. can and should return to the moon in order to remain a world leader in space utilization and development and a participant in and beneficiary of a new lunar economy. Spudis explores three reasons for returning to the Moon: it is close, it is interesting, and it is useful. The proximity of the Moon not only allows for frequent launches, but also control of any machinery we place there. It is interesting because recorded deep on its surface and in its craters is the preserved history of the moon, the sun, and indeed the entire galaxy. And finally, the moon is useful because it is rich with materials and energy. The moon, Spudis argues, is a logical base for further space exploration and even a possible future home for us all. Throughout his work, Spudis incorporates details about man's fascination with the moon and its place in our shared history. He also explores its religious, cultural, and scientific resonance and assesses its role in the future of spaceflight and our national security and prosperity.
Geologists are among that group of scientists who must factor the passage of time into their investigations, and they thus have a perspective on time that sets them apart from many other researchers. The proposition that geological time is vast, encompassing thousands of millions of years, is relatively recent. It is a concept that remains controversial and unacceptable to many people today who still consider the Earth to have been made to a timetable covering no more than 10,000 years. This book examines how our fascination with time has developed from our earliest ancestors' recognition of the cycles of the sun and the moon. It considers the passage of time as a series of non-repeatable events - "Time's Arrow" - in contrast to time as a series of repeated processes - "Time's Cycle" - both of which can be used to explain geological features on the Earth's surface. The Abyss of Time argues for a greater understanding of geological or 'deep time' as society becomes more aware of the vulnerability of the Earth's resources to over-exploitation by an expanding consumer society. This debate and the controversy surrounding global warming emphasizes the importance of geological time to the process of economic and political decision-making. It is a book for those interested in the intellectual challenge presented by the extent of geological time. The Abyss of Time is written for environmentalists and policy-makers who wish to better place their concerns and decisions in proper context but, above all, it is a book that offers to share a geologist's appreciation of time with the widest possible audience. *** "A work of solid scholarship that is exceptionally well written, organized and presented..." -- Midwest Book Review, Reviewer's Bookwatch: March 2016, Buhle's Bookshelf *** "...the book serves as a fine introduction to the concept of deep time. Throughout, Lyle emphasizes the necessity for understanding the immensity of the time involved, particularly with respect to the formation of the Earth's resources, which humans are using faster than they are being created. The presentation of this message is profusely and vividly illustrated with photos and diagrams. It is a message that everyone must heed. Recommended." -- Choice, Vol. 53, No. 10, June 2016 [Subject: Geology, Earth Science, Environmental Studies]
Drs. Pelton and Singh warn of the increasing risks of cybercrime and lay out a series of commonsense precautions to guard against individual security breaches. This guide clearly explains the technology at issue, the points of weakness and the best ways to proactively monitor and maintain the integrity of individual networks. Covering both the most common personal attacks of identity fraud, phishing, malware and breach of access as well as the larger threats against companies and governmental systems, the authors explain the vulnerabilities of the internet age. As more and more of life's transactions take place online, the average computer user and society at large have a lot to lose. All users can take steps to secure their information. Cybercrime is so subtle and hidden, people can ignore the threat until it is too late. Yet today about every three seconds a person is hit by some form of cyber attack out of the blue. Locking the "cyber-barn door" after a hacker has struck is way too late. Cyber security, cyber crime and cyber terrorism may seem to be intellectual crimes that don't really touch the average person, but the threat is real. Demystifying them is the most important step and this accessible explanation covers all the bases.
The Other Space Race is a unique look at the early U.S. space program and how it both shaped and was shaped by politics during the Cold War. Eisenhower's "New Look" expanded the role of the Air Force in national security, and ultimately allowed ambitious aerospace projects, namely the "Dyna-Soar," a bomber equipped with nuclear weapons that would operate in space. Eisenhower's space policy was purely practical, creating a strong deterrent against the use of nuclear arms against the United States. With the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957, the political climate changed, and space travel became part of the United States' national discourse. Sambaluk explores what followed, including the scuttling of the "Dyna-Soar" program and the transition from Eisenhower's space policy to John Kennedy's. This well-argued, well-researched book gives much needed perspective on the Cold War's influence on space travel and it's relation to the formation of public policy.
Before the "Big Three,” even before the Model T, the race for dominance in the American car market was fierce, fast, and sometimes farcical.Car Crazy takes readers back to the passionate and reckless years of the early automobile era, from 1893, when the first US-built auto was introduced, through 1908, when General Motors was founded and Ford’s Model T went on the market. The motorcar was new, paved roads few, and devotees of this exciting and unregulated technology battled with citizens who considered the car a dangerous scourge, wrought by the wealthy, that was shattering a more peaceful way of life. Among the pioneering competitors were Ransom E. Olds, founder of Olds Motor Works and creator of a new company called REO; Olds’ cutthroat new CEO Frederic L. Smith; William C. "Billy” Durant of Buick Motor Company (and soon General Motors); and inventor Henry Ford. They shared a passion for innovation, both mechanical and entrepreneurial, but their maniacal pursuit of market share would also involve legal manipulation, vicious smear campaigns, and zany publicity stunts--including a wild transcontinental car race that transfixed the public. Their war on wheels ultimately culminated in a courtroom battle that would shape the American car industry forever. Based on extensive original research,Car Crazy is a page-turning story of popular culture, business, and sport at the dawn of the twentieth century, filled with compelling, larger-than-life characters, each an American original.
Other than air, the only substance more vital to life is water. Our bodies brim with it, and if we're deprived of it for even a few days, the results can be fatal. Our planet, too, is mostly water, with oceans across approximately seventy percent of its surface. But potable water has in many times and places been a scarce resource, and with Water, Ian Miller traces the history of our relationship with drinking water--our attempts to find it, keep it clean, and make it widely available. Miller's history ranges widely, from ancient times to the present, exploring all the many ways that we've rendered water palatable--from boiling it for tea or distilling it as part of alcoholic beverages to piping it from springs, bubbles and all. He covers the histories of water treatment and supply, belief in its medicinal powers, and much more, all supported by fascinating historical illustrations. As access to fresh water becomes an ever more potent problem worldwide, Miller's book is a fascinating reminder of our long engagement with this most vital fluid.
A day does not go by without a news article reporting some amazing breakthrough in artificial intelligence (AI). Many philosophers, futurists, and AI researchers have conjectured that human-level AI will be developed in the next 20 to 200 years. If these predictions are correct, it raises new and sinister issues related to our future in the age of intelligent machines. Artificial Superintelligence: A Futuristic Approach directly addresses these issues and consolidates research aimed at making sure that emerging superintelligence is beneficial to humanity. While specific predictions regarding the consequences of superintelligent AI vary from potential economic hardship to the complete extinction of humankind, many researchers agree that the issue is of utmost importance and needs to be seriously addressed. Artificial Superintelligence: A Futuristic Approachdiscusses key topics such as: AI-Completeness theory and how it can be used to see if an artificial intelligent agent has attained human level intelligence Methods for safeguarding the invention of a superintelligent system that could theoretically be worth trillions of dollars Self-improving AI systems: definition, types, and limits The science of AI safety engineering, including machine ethics and robot rights Solutions for ensuring safe and secure confinement of superintelligent systems The future of superintelligence and why long-term prospects for humanity to remain as the dominant species on Earth are not great Artificial Superintelligence: A Futuristic Approach is designed to become a foundational text for the new science of AI safety engineering. AI researchers and students, computer security researchers, futurists, and philosophers should find this an invaluable resource.
From the bestselling author of Here’s Looking at Euclid, a dazzling new book that turns even the most complex math into a brilliantly entertaining narrative. From triangles, rotations and power laws, to cones, curves and the dreaded calculus, Alex takes you on a journey of mathematical discovery with his signature wit and limitless enthusiasm. He sifts through over 30,000 survey submissions to uncover the world’s favourite number, and meets a mathematician who looks for universes in his garage. He attends the World Mathematical Congress in India, and visits the engineer who designed the first roller-coaster loop. Get hooked on math as Alex delves deep into humankind’s turbulent relationship with numbers, and reveals how they have shaped the world we live in.
From the New York Times-bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From and Everything Bad Is Good for You, a new look at the power and legacy of great ideas. In this illustrated history, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life (refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few) from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Filled with surprising stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes--from the French publisher who invented the phonograph before Edison but forgot to include playback, to the Hollywood movie star who helped invent the technology behind Wi-Fi and Bluetooth--How We Got to Now investigates the secret history behind the everyday objects of contemporary life. In his trademark style, Johnson examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields: how the invention of air-conditioning enabled the largest migration of human beings in the history of the species--to cities such as Dubai or Phoenix, which would otherwise be virtually uninhabitab≤ how pendulum clocks helped trigger the industrial revolution; and how clean water made it possible to manufacture computer chips. Accompanied by a major six-part television series on PBS, How We Got to Now is the story of collaborative networks building the modern world, written in the provocative, informative, and engaging style that has earned Johnson fans around the globe.
Our energy use and its consequences (including climate change) motivate some of the most contentious and complex public debates of our time. Although these issues are often cast in terms of renewable versus non-renewable energy, in reality both depend on finite Earth resources. The evolution of the Earth itself therefore offers a uniquely illuminating perspective from which to evaluate alternative pathways toward energy and environmental sustainability. Geofuels: Energy and the Earth systematically develops this perspective using informal, nontechnical language laced with humor. It is well suited to a broad readership, ranging from beginning university students to lifelong learners who are interested in how the Earth's past will influence their own future. It also provides simplified explanations of controversial topics, such as energy return on energy investment, peak oil, and fracking. The focus throughout is on building a sound physical understanding of how natural resources constrain our use of energy.
The extraordinary life and career of the iconic twentieth-century inventor, technologist, and business magnate H. Joseph Gerber is described in a fascinating biography written by his son, David, based on unique access to unpublished sources. A Holocaust survivor whose early experiences shaped his ethos of invention, Gerber pioneered important developments in engineering, electronics, printing, apparel, aerospace, and numerous other areas, playing an essential role in the transformation of American industry. Gerber's story is remarkable and inspiring, and his method, redolent of Edison's and Sperry's, holds a key to a restored national economy and American creative vitality in the twenty-first century.
In the past, the brain was considered an autonomous organ, self-contained and completely separate from the body's immune system. But over the past twenty years, neuroimmunologist Michal Schwartz, together with her research team, not only has overturned this misconception but has brought to light revolutionary new understandings of brain health and repair. In this book Schwartz describes her research journey, her experiments, and the triumphs and setbacks that led to the discovery of connections between immune system and brain. Michal Schwartz, with Anat London, also explains the significance of the findings for future treatments of brain disorders and injuries, spinal cord injuries, glaucoma, depression, and other conditions such as brain aging and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Scientists, physicians, medical students, and all readers with an interest in brain function and its relationship to the immune system in health and disease will find this book a valuable resource. With general readers in mind, the authors provide a useful primer to explain scientific terms and concepts discussed in the book.
Time and Age explores how time is defined by man. It follows the development of our means for measuring time from early methods using the flow of water or the steady burning of candles through to the atomic clock that records time with incredible precision.The classical idea of time as something that progresses at a uniform rate and as something that is the same to all observers was overturned by Einstein's Theory of Relativity. The conclusions coming from this theory are described, including the anti-intuitive twin paradox where one twin, returning from a journey to a distant star, is younger than his twin brother.Also covered is how age can be determined in a wide range of situations, such as how we work out the age of the Universe to how we calculate the age of artefacts that are just a few centuries old.
Tracing the long pre-history of five twentieth-century inventions which have transformed our lives, Gavin Weightman reveals a fantastic cast of scientists and inspired amateurs whose ingenuity has given us the airplane, television, bar code, personal computer, and mobile phone. Not one of these inventions can be attributed to a lone genius who experiences a moment of inspiration. Nearly all innovations exist in the imagination before they are finally made to work by the hard graft of inventors who draw on the discoveries of others. While the discoveries of scientists have provided vital knowledge which has made innovation possible, it is a revelation of Weightman's study that it is more often than not the amateur who enjoys the "eureka moment" when an invention works for the first time. Filled with fascinating stories of struggle, rivalry, and the ingenuity of both famous inventors and hundreds of forgotten people, Weightman's captivating work is a triumph of storytelling that offers a fresh take on the making of our modern world.
Cities will continue to accommodate the automobile, but when cities are built around them, the quality of human and natural life declines. Current trends show great promise for future urban mobility systems that enable freedom and connection, but not dependence. We are experiencing the phenomenon of peak car use in many global cities at the same time that urban rail is thriving, central cities are revitalizing, and suburban sprawl is reversing. Walking and cycling are growing in many cities, along with ubiquitous bike sharing schemes, which have contributed to new investment and vitality in central cities including Melbourne, Seattle, Chicago, and New York. We are thus in a new era that has come much faster than global transportation experts Peter Newman and Jeffrey Kenworthy had predicted: the end of automobile dependence. In The End of Automobile Dependence, Newman and Kenworthy look at how we can accelerate a planning approach to designing urban environments that can function reliably and conveniently on alternative modes, with a refined and more civilized automobile playing a very much reduced and manageable role in urban transportation. The authors examine the rise and fall of automobile dependence using updated data on 44 global cities to better understand how to facilitate and guide cities to the most productive and sustainable outcomes. This is the final volume in a trilogy by Newman and Kenworthy on automobile dependence (Cities and Automobile Dependence in 1989 and Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence in 1999). Like all good trilogies this one shows the rise of an empire, in this case that of the automobile, the peak of its power, and the decline of that empire.
Scientific progress depends on good research, and good research needs good statistics. But statistical analysis is tricky to get right, even for the best and brightest of us. You'd be surprised how many scientists are doing it wrong. Statistics Done Wrong is a pithy, essential guide to statistical blunders in modern science that will show you how to keep your research blunder-free. You'll examine embarrassing errors and omissions in recent research, learn about the misconceptions and scientific politics that allow these mistakes to happen, and begin your quest to reform the way you and your peers do statistics. You'll find advice on: Asking the right question, designing the right experiment, choosing the right statistical analysis, and sticking to the plan How to think about p values, significance, insignificance, confidence intervals, and regression Choosing the right sample size and avoiding false positives Reporting your analysis and publishing your data and source code Procedures to follow, precautions to take, and analytical software that can help Scientists: Read this concise, powerful guide to help you produce statistically sound research. Statisticians: Give this book to everyone you know. The first step toward statistics done right is Statistics Done Wrong.
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. The author Physicist Dirk Helbing is Professor of Computational Social Science at the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences and an affiliate of the Computer Science Department at ETH Zurich, as well as co-founder of ETH''s Risk Center. He is internationally known for the scientific coordination of the FuturICT Initiative which focuses on using smart data to understand techno-socio-economic systems. "Prof. Helbing has produced an insightful and important set of essays on the ways in which big data and complexity science are changing our understanding of ourselves and our society, and potentially allowing us to manage our societies much better than we are currently able to do. Of special note are the essays that touch on the promises of big data along with the dangers...this is material that we should all become familiar with!" Alex Pentland, MIT, author of Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread - The Lessons From a New Science "Dirk Helbing has established his reputation as one of the leading scientific thinkers on the dramatic impacts of the digital revolution on our society and economy. Thinking Ahead is a most stimulating and provocative set of essays which deserves a wide audience." Paul Ormerod, economist, and author of Butterfly Economics and Why Most Things Fail. "It is becoming increasingly clear that many of our institutions and social structures are in a bad way and urgently need fixing. Financial crises, international conflicts, civil wars and terrorism, inaction on climate change, problems of poverty, widening economic inequality, health epidemics, pollution and threats to digital privacy and identity are just some of the major challenges that we confront in the twenty-first century. These issues demand new and bold thinking, and that is what Dirk Helbing offers in this collection of essays. If even a fraction of these ideas pay off, the consequences for global governance could be significant. So this is a must-read book for anyone concerned about the future." Philip Ball, science writer and author of Critical Mass "This collection of papers, brought together by Dirk Helbing, is both timely and topical. It raises concerns about Big Data, which are truly frightening and disconcerting, that we do need to be aware of; while at the same time offering some hope that the technology, which has created the previously unthought-of dangers to our privacy, safety and democracy can be the means to address these dangers by enabling social, economic and political participation and coordination, not possible in the past. It makes for compelling reading and I hope for timely action."Eve Mitleton-Kelly, LSE, author of Corporate Governance and Complexity Theory and editor of Co-evolution of Intelligent Socio-technical Systems
This book provides detailed yet easily understandable information about sustainable energy alternatives in the context of growing public concern about climate change, the impending fuel crisis and environmental degradation. It deals with the history of energy use and the factors that have led to the current interest in energy alternatives and assesses the chance of renewable energy replacing fossil fuels in the future. The authors manage to make a highly complex and often intimidating subject not only accessible but also engaging and entertaining. This book unpacks but never simplifies the science of energy, leavening the more technical passages with anecdotes, metaphors, examples and imagery. By also dealing with the history, politics and economics of energy use, it offers both scientific and non-scientific readers a deeper understanding of the most important issue of our age.
The world is changing. Human population is surging towards 10 billion, food, water, climate and energy security are all at risk. Nitrogen could be our life raft in this global 'perfect storm'. Get it right and it can help to feed billions, fuel our cars and put a dent in global warming. Get it wrong and it will make things a whole lot worse.
Every year, perhaps even every week, there is some new gadget, device, service, or other digital offering intended to make our lives easier, better, more fun, or more instantaneous--making it that much harder to question how anything digital can be bad for us. Digital has created some wonderful things and we can hardly imagine life without them. But digital the most relentless social and economic juggernaut humanity has unleashed in centuries is also destroying much we had taken for granted. And what is your place in this brave new world? In Digital Is Destroying Everything, futurist and digital marketing consultant Andrew Edwards tours the blasted heath digital is leaving behind and takes a fearless look at the troubled landscape that may lie ahead. The book is not, despite its title, a dystopian rant against all things digital and technological. Instead, expect to find a lively investigation into the ways digital has opened us to new and sometimes quite wonderful experiences, driven down costs for consumers, and given information a chance to be free. But the book also takes a clear-eyed look at many of the good (and sometimes bad) things businesses and behaviors digital has destroyed, and how the world may be diminished, compromised, and altered forever in its wake. This tour of the effects of digital technologies on our lives is sure to raise questions, touch a nerve, and enlighten even the most dedicated digital enthusiasts."
Stem cells and the emerging field of regenerative medicine are at the frontiers of modern medicine. These areas of scientific inquiry suggest that in the future, damaged tissue and organs might be repaired through personalized cell therapy as easily as the body repairs itself, revolutionizing the treatment of numerous diseases. Yet the use of stem cells is fraught with ethical and public policy dilemmas that challenge scientists, clinicians, the public health community, and people of good will everywhere. How shall we deal with these amazing biomedical advances, and how can we talk about potential breakthroughs with both moral and scientific intelligence? This book provides an innovative look at these vexing issues through a series of innovative Socratic dialogues that elucidate key scientific and ethical points in an approachable manner. Addressing the cultural and value issues underlying stem cell research while also educating readers about stem cells' biological function and medical applications, Stem Cell Dialogues features fictional characters engaging in compelling inquiry and debate. Participants investigate the scientific, political, and socioethical dimensions of stem cell science using actual language, analysis, and arguments taken from scientific, philosophical, and popular literature. Each dialogue centers on a specific, recognizable topic, such as the policies implemented by the George W. Bush administration restricting the use of embryonic stem cells; the potential role of stem cells in personalized medicine; the ethics of cloning; and the sale of eggs and embryos. Additionally, speakers debate the use of stem cells to treat paralysis, diabetes, stroke effects, macular degeneration, and cancer. Educational, entertaining, and rigorously researched (with 300 references to scientific literature), Stem Cell Dialogues should be included in any effort to help the public understand the science, ethics, and policy concerns of this promising field.
In this first comprehensive authorized biography of David Brower, a dynamic leader in the environmental movement over the last half of the twentieth century, Tom Turner explores Brower's impact on the movement from its beginnings until his death in 2000. Frequently compared to John Muir, David Brower was the first executive director of the Sierra Club, founded Friends of the Earth, and helped secure passage of the Wilderness Act, among other key achievements. Tapping his passion for wilderness and for the mountains he scaled in his youth, he was a central figure in the creation of the Point Reyes National Seashore and of the North Cascades and Redwood national parks. In addition, Brower worked tirelessly in successful efforts to keep dams from being built in Dinosaur National Monument and the Grand Canyon. Tom Turner began working with David Brower in 1968 and remained close to him until Brower’s death. As an insider, Turner creates an intimate portrait of Brower the man and the decisive role he played in the development of the environmental movement. Culling material from Brower’s diaries, notebooks, articles, books, and published interviews, and conducting his own interviews with many of Brower’s admirers, opponents, and colleagues, Turner brings to life one of the movement's most controversial and complex figures.
Selected as one of the 10 best science and technology books of 2015 by The Economist After billions of dollars and fifty years of effort, researchers are finally cracking the code on artificial intelligence. As society stands on the cusp of unprecedented change, Jerry Kaplan unpacks the latest advances in robotics, machine learning, and perception powering systems that rival or exceed human capabilities. Driverless cars, robotic helpers, and intelligent agents that promote our interests have the potential to usher in a new age of affluence and leisure -- but as Kaplan warns, the transition may be protracted and brutal unless we address the two great scourges of the modern developed world: volatile labor markets and income inequality. He proposes innovative, free-market adjustments to our economic system and social policies to avoid an extended period of social turmoil. His timely and accessible analysis of the promise and perils of artificial intelligence is a must-read for business leaders and policy makers on both sides of the aisle.
Of Limits and Growth connects three of the most important aspects of the twentieth century: decolonization, the rise of environmentalism, and the United States' support for economic development and modernization in the Third World. It links these trends by revealing how environmental NGOs challenged and reformed development approaches of the US government, World Bank, and United Nations from the 1960s through the 1990s. The book shows how NGOs promoted the use of 'appropriate' technologies, environmental reviews in the lending process, development plans based on ecological principles, and international cooperation on global issues such as climate change. It also reveals that the 'sustainable development' concept emerged from transnational negotiations in which environmentalists accommodated the developmental aspirations of Third World intellectuals and leaders. In sum, Of Limits and Growth offers a new history of sustainability by elucidating the global origins of environmental activism, the ways in which environmental activists challenged development approaches worldwide, and how environmental non-state actors reshaped the United States' and World Bank's development policies.
A New York Times bestseller The Magic of Math is the math book you wish you had in school. Using a delightful assortment of examples--from ice cream scoops and poker hands to measuring mountains and making magic squares--this book empowers you to see the beauty, simplicity, and truly magical properties behind those formulas and equations that once left your head spinning. You’ll learn the key ideas of classic areas of mathematics like arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus, but you’ll also have fun fooling around with Fibonacci numbers, investigating infinity, and marveling over mathematical magic tricks that will make you look like a math genius! A mathematician who is known throughout the world as the "mathemagician,” Arthur Benjamin mixes mathematics and magic to make the subject fun, attractive, and easy to understand. In The Magic of Math, Benjamin does more than just teach skills: with a tip of his magic hat, he takes you on as his apprentice to teach you how to appreciate math the way he does. He motivates you to learn something new about how to solve for x, because there is real pleasure to be found in the solution to a challenging problem or in using numbers to do something useful. But what he really wants you to do is be able to figure out why, for that’s where you’ll find the real beauty, power, and magic of math. If you are already someone who likes math, this book will dazzle and amuse you. If you never particularly liked or understood math, Benjamin will enlighten you and--with a wave of his magic wand--turn you into a math lover.
This is the story of the intellectual and social life of a community, and of its interactions with the wider world. For eight centuries mathematics has been researched and studied at Oxford, and the subject and its teaching have undergone profound changes during that time. This highly readable and beautifully illustrated book reveals the richness and influence of Oxford's mathematical tradition and the fascinating characters that helped to shape it.The story begins with the founding of the University of Oxford and the establishing of the medieval curriculum, in which mathematics had an important role. The Black Death, the advent ofprinting, the Civil War, and the Newtonian revolution all had a great influence on the development of mathematics at Oxford. So too did many well-known figures: Roger Bacon, Henry Savile, Robert Hooke, Christopher Wren, Edmond Halley, Florence Nightingale, Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), and G. H. Hardy, to name but a few. Later chapters bring us to the 20th century, with some entertaining reminiscences by Sir Michael Atiyah of the thirty years he spent as an Oxfordmathematician.In this second edition the story is brought right up to the opening of the new Mathematical Institute in 2013 with a foreword from Marcus du Sautoy and recent developments from Peter M.Neumann.
To open a newspaper or turn on the television it would appear that science and religion are polar opposites - mutually exclusive bedfellows competing for hearts and minds. There is little indication of the rich interaction between religion and science throughout history, much of whichcontinues today. From ancient to modern times, mathematicians have played a key role in this interaction. This is a book on the relationship between mathematics and religious beliefs. It aims to show that, throughout scientific history, mathematics has been used to make sense of the 'big' questions of life, and that religious beliefs sometimes drove mathematicians to mathematics to help them make senseof the world. Containing contributions from a wide array of scholars in the fields of philosophy, history of science and history of mathematics, this book shows that the intersection between mathematics and theism is rich in both culture and character. Chapters cover a fascinating range of topics including theSect of the Pythagoreans, Newton's views on the apocalypse, Charles Dodgson's Anglican faith and Godel's proof of the existence of God.
The fascinating world of graph theory goes back several centuries and revolves around the study of graphs--mathematical structures showing relations between objects. With applications in biology, computer science, transportation science, and other areas, graph theory encompasses some of the most beautiful formulas in mathematics--and some of its most famous problems. For example, what is the shortest route for a traveling salesman seeking to visit a number of cities in one trip? What is the least number of colors needed to fill in any map so that neighboring regions are always colored differently? Requiring readers to have a math background only up to high school algebra, this book explores the questions and puzzles that have been studied, and often solved, through graph theory. In doing so, the book looks at graph theory's development and the vibrant individuals responsible for the field's growth. Introducing graph theory's fundamental concepts, the authors explore a diverse plethora of classic problems such as the Lights Out Puzzle, the Minimum Spanning Tree Problem, the Königsberg Bridge Problem, the Chinese Postman Problem, a Knight's Tour, and the Road Coloring Problem. They present every type of graph imaginable, such as bipartite graphs, Eulerian graphs, the Petersen graph, and trees. Each chapter contains math exercises and problems for readers to savor. An eye-opening journey into the world of graphs, this book offers exciting problem-solving possibilities for mathematics and beyond.
The heart of mathematics is its elegance; the way it all fits together. Unfortunately, its beauty often eludes the vast majority of people who are intimidated by fear of the difficulty of numbers. Mathematical Elegance remedies this. Using hundreds of examples, the author presents a view of the mathematical landscape that is both accessible and fascinating. At a time of concern that American youth are bored by math, there is renewed interest in improving math skills. Mathematical Elegance stimulates students, along with those already experienced in the discipline, to explore some of the unexpected pleasures of quantitative thinking. Invoking mathematical proofs famous for their simplicity and brainteasers that are fun and illuminating, the author leaves readers feeling exuberant--as well as convinced that their IQs have been raised by ten points. A host of anecdotes about well-known mathematicians humanize and provide new insights into their lofty subjects. Recalling such classic works as Lewis Carroll's Introduction to Logic and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper by John Allen Paulos, Mathematical Elegance will energize and delight a wide audience, ranging from intellectually curious students to the enthusiastic general reader.
The invention of numerals is perhaps the greatest abstraction the human mind has ever created. Virtually everything in our lives is digital, numerical, or quantified. The story of how and where we got these numerals, which we so depend on, has for thousands of years been shrouded in mystery.Finding Zero is an adventure filled saga of Amir Aczel's lifelong obsession: to find the original sources of our numerals. Aczel has doggedly crisscrossed the ancient world, scouring dusty, moldy texts, cross examining so-called scholars who offered wildly differing sets of facts, and ultimately penetrating deep into a Cambodian jungle to find a definitive proof. Here, he takes the reader along for the ride. The history begins with the early Babylonian cuneiform numbers, followed by the later Greek and Roman letter numerals. Then Aczel asks the key question: where do the numbers we use today, the so-called Hindu-Arabic numerals, come from? It is this search that leads him to explore uncharted territory, to go on a grand quest into India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and ultimately into the wilds of Cambodia. There he is blown away to find the earliest zeroâe"the keystone of our entire system of numbersâe"on a crumbling, vine-covered wall of a seventh-century temple adorned with eaten-away erotic sculptures. While on this odyssey, Aczel meets a host of fascinating characters: academics in search of truth, jungle trekkers looking for adventure, surprisingly honest politicians, shameless smugglers, and treacherous archaeological thievesâe"who finally reveal where our numbers come from.
The Freakonomics of math—a math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do—the whole world is shot through with it. Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of our world. It’s a science of not being wrong, hammered out by centuries of hard work and argument. Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does “public opinion” really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer? How Not to Be Wrong presents the surprising revelations behind all of these questions and many more, using the mathematician’s method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman—minus the jargon. Ellenberg chases mathematical threads through a vast range of time and space, from the everyday to the cosmic, encountering, among other things, baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, and the existence of God. Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need. Math, as Ellenberg says, is “an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength.” With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.
This book provides a fun, hands-on approach to learning how mathematics and computing relate to the world around us and help us to better understand it. How can reposting on Twitter kill a movie's opening weekend? How can you use mathematics to find your celebrity look-alike? What is Homer Simpson's method for disproving Fermat's Last Theorem? Each topic in this refreshingly inviting book illustrates a famous mathematical algorithm or result--such as Google's PageRank and the traveling salesman problem--and the applications grow more challenging as you progress through the chapters. But don't worry, helpful solutions are provided each step of the way. Math Bytes shows you how to do calculus using a bag of chocolate chips, and how to prove the Euler characteristic simply by doodling. Generously illustrated in color throughout, this lively and entertaining book also explains how to create fractal landscapes with a roll of the dice, pick a competitive bracket for March Madness, decipher the math that makes it possible to resize a computer font or launch an Angry Bird--and much, much more. All of the applications are presented in an accessible and engaging way, enabling beginners and advanced readers alike to learn and explore at their own pace--a bit and a byte at a time.
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. This book is the 2007 Winner of the Grand Prix de Philosophie de l'Académie Française.
"Conway is a creative genius." --Martin GardnerAn 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.Genius At Play is an intimate investigation into the mind of an endearing genius, laying bare Conway's personal and professional idiosyncrasies. The intimacy comes courtesy of the man himself. He generously granted Roberts full access, though not without the occasional grudge and grumble: "Oh hell," he'd say. "You're not going to put that in the book. Are you?!?
There has been a data rush in the past decade brought about by online communication and, in particular, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, among others), which promises a new age of digital enlightenment. But social data is compromised: it is being seized by specific economic interests, it leads to a fundamental shift in the relationship between research and the public good, and it fosters new forms of control and surveillance.Compromised Data: From Social Media to Big Data explores how we perform critical research within a compromised social data framework. The expert, international lineup of contributors explores the limits and challenges of social data research in order to invent and develop new modes of doing public research. At its core, this collection argues that we are witnessing a fundamental reshaping of the social through social data mining.
Under one cover, Frank Incropera provides a comprehensive, objective and critical assessment of all issues germane to the climate change debate: science, technology options, economic ramifications, cultural and behavioural issues, the influence of special interests and public policy, geopolitics, and ethical dimensions. The underlying science is treated in depth, but in an approachable and accessible manner. A strong case is made for the reality of anthropogenic climate change, while confronting the range of issues that remain uncertain and deconstructing opposing views. Incropera assesses the strengths and weaknesses of technology options for mitigating the effects of climate change, analyzes nontechnical factors - economic, cultural and political − and provides an in-depth treatment of ethical implications. This book is intended for those wishing to become fully informed about climate change and is designed to provide the reader with a firm foundation for drawing his or her own conclusions.
Since its inception in 1958, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA has grown to become the Defense Department's most secret, most powerful, and most controversial military science research and development agency--"the Pentagon's brain." Created by President Eisenhower to prevent another Sputnik, and to focus primarily on defensive programs against nuclear weapons, the agency--and it's imagination and scope--has expanded enormously with each passing year.
Based on information from inside sources, exclusive interviews, private documents, and declassified memos, The Pentagon's Brain reads like science fiction but is absolutely true, a groundbreaking look behind the scenes at the clandestine intersection of science and the American military.
A fascinating and deeply researched investigation into the mysteries of flavor-from the first bite taken by our ancestors to scientific advances in taste and the current "foodie" revolution. Taste has long been considered the most basic of the five senses because its principal mission is a simple one: to discern food from everything else. Yet it's really the most complex and subtle. Taste is a whole-body experience, and breakthroughs in genetics and microbiology are casting light not just on the experience of french fries and foie gras, but the mysterious interplay of body and brain. With reporting from kitchens, supermarkets, farms, restaurants, huge food corporations, and science labs, Tasty tells the story of the still-emerging concept of flavor and how our sense of taste will evolve in the coming decades. Tasty explains the scientific research taking place on multiple fronts: how genes shape our tastes; how hidden taste perceptions weave their way into every organ and system in the body; how the mind assembles flavors from the five senses and signals from body's metabolic systems; the quest to understand why sweetness tastes good and its dangerous addictive properties; why something disgusts one person and delights another; and what today's obsessions with extreme tastes tell us about the brain. Brilliantly synthesizing science, ancient myth, philosophy, and literature, Tasty offers a delicious smorgasbord of where taste originated and where it's going-and why it changes by the day.
The diverse cultures of the Caribbean have been shaped as much by hurricanes as they have by diplomacy, commerce, or the legacy of colonial rule. In this panoramic work of social history, Stuart Schwartz examines how Caribbean societies have responded to the dangers of hurricanes, and how these destructive storms have influenced the region's history, from the rise of plantations, to slavery and its abolition, to migrations, racial conflict, and war. Taking readers from the voyages of Columbus to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Schwartz looks at the ethical, political, and economic challenges that hurricanes posed to the Caribbean's indigenous populations and the different European peoples who ventured to the New World to exploit its riches. He describes how the United States provided the model for responding to environmental threats when it emerged as a major power and began to exert its influence over the Caribbean in the nineteenth century, and how the region's governments came to assume greater responsibilities for prevention and relief, efforts that by the end of the twentieth century were being questioned by free-market neoliberals. Schwartz sheds light on catastrophes like Katrina by framing them within a long and contentious history of human interaction with the natural world. Spanning more than five centuries and drawing on extensive archival research in Europe and the Americas, Sea of Storms emphasizes the continuing role of race, social inequality, and economic ideology in the shaping of our responses to natural disaster.
Life for early humans wasn't easy. They may have been able to walk on two feet and create tools 4 million years ago, but they couldn't remember or communicate. Fortunately, people got smarter, and things got better. They remembered on-the-spot solutions and shared the valuable information of their experiences. Clubs became swords, caves became huts, and fires became ovens. Collectively these new tools became technology. As the 21st century unfolds, the pace of innovation is accelerating exponentially. Breakthroughs from robotics to genetics appear almost on a daily basis. It's all happening so quickly that it's hard to keep track but recently there's been a shift. We used to create technology to change the world around us; now we're using it to change ourselves. With vaccinations, in-vitro fertilization, and individual genetic therapy, we're entering a new epoch, a next step, faster and more dramatic than the shift from Australopithicines to Homo Sapiens. The technology that set us apart from our earliest selves is becoming part of the evolutionary process. Advancements in computing, robotics, nanotechnology, neurology, and genetics mean that our wildest imaginings could soon become commonplace. Peter Nowak deftly presents the potential outcomes both exciting and frightening of key, rapidly advancing technologies and adroitly explores both the ramifications of adopting them and what doing so will reveal about the future of our species. We've come a long way in 4 million years. Welcome to Human 3.0."
A poetic and nuanced exploration of the human experience of flight that reminds us of the full imaginative weight of our most ordinary journeys--and reawakens our capacity to be amazed. The twenty-first century has relegated airplane flight--a once remarkable feat of human ingenuity--to the realm of the mundane. Mark Vanhoenacker, a 747 pilot who left academia and a career in the business world to pursue his childhood dream of flight, asks us to reimagine what we--both as pilots and as passengers--are actually doing when we enter the world between departure and discovery. In a seamless fusion of history, politics, geography, meteorology, ecology, family, and physics, Vanhoenacker vaults across geographical and cultural boundaries; above mountains, oceans, and deserts; through snow, wind, and rain, renewing a simultaneously humbling and almost superhuman activity that affords us unparalleled perspectives on the planet we inhabit and the communities we form.
"[Ada Lovelace], like Steve Jobs, stands at the intersection of arts and technology."--Walter Isaacson, author of The Innovators
Over 150 years after her death, a widely-used scientific computer program was named "Ada," after Ada Lovelace, the only legitimate daughter of the eighteenth century's version of a rock star, Lord Byron. Why? Because, after computer pioneers such as Alan Turing began to rediscover her, it slowly became apparent that she had been a key but overlooked figure in the invention of the computer. In Ada Lovelace, James Essinger makes the case that the computer age could have started two centuries ago if Lovelace's contemporaries had recognized her research and fully grasped its implications. It's a remarkable tale, starting with the outrageous behavior of her father, which made Ada instantly famous upon birth. Ada would go on to overcome numerous obstacles to obtain a level of education typically forbidden to women of her day. She would eventually join forces with Charles Babbage, generally credited with inventing the computer, although as Essinger makes clear, Babbage couldn't have done it without Lovelace. Indeed, Lovelace wrote what is today considered the world's first computer program--despite opposition that the principles of science were "beyond the strength of a woman's physical power of application." Based on ten years of research and filled with fascinating characters and observations of the period, not to mention numerous illustrations, Essinger tells Ada's fascinating story in unprecedented detail to absorbing and inspiring effect.
Algorithms increasingly run our lives. They find books, movies, jobs, and dates for us, manage our investments, and discover new drugs. More and more, these algorithms work by learning from the trails of data we leave in our newly digital world. Like curious children, they observe us, imitate, and experiment. And in the world’s top research labs and universities, the race is on to invent the ultimate learning algorithm: one capable of discovering any knowledge from data, and doing anything we want, before we even ask. Machine learning is the automation of discovery--the scientific method on steroids--that enables intelligent robots and computers to program themselves. No field of science today is more important yet more shrouded in mystery. Pedro Domingos, one of the field’s leading lights, lifts the veil for the first time to give us a peek inside the learning machines that power Google, Amazon, and your smartphone. He charts a course through machine learning’s five major schools of thought, showing how they turn ideas from neuroscience, evolution, psychology, physics, and statistics into algorithms ready to serve you. Step by step, he assembles a blueprint for the future universal learner--the Master Algorithm--and discusses what it means for you, and for the future of business, science, and society. If data-ism is today’s rising philosophy, this book will be its bible. The quest for universal learning is one of the most significant, fascinating, and revolutionary intellectual developments of all time. A groundbreaking book,The Master Algorithm is the essential guide for anyone and everyone wanting to understand not just how the revolution will happen, but how to be at its forefront.
Though not traditionally thought of as strategic natural resources, glaciers are a crucial part of our global ecosystem playing a fundamental role in the sustaining of life around the world. Comprising three quarters of the world's freshwater, they freeze in the winter and melt in the summer,supplying a steady flow of water for agriculture, livestock, industry and human consumption. The white of glacier surfaces reflect sunrays which otherwise warm our planet. Without them, many of the planet's rivers would run dry shortly after the winter snow-melt. A single mid-sized glacier in highmountain environments of places like California, Argentina, India, Kyrgyzstan, or Chile can provide an entire community with a sustained flow of drinking water for generations. On the other hand, when global temperatures rise, not only does glacier ice wither away into the oceans and cease to act aswater reservoirs, but these massive ice bodies can become highly unstable and collapse into downstream environments, resulting in severe natural events like glacier tsunamis and other deadly environmental catastrophes. But despite their critical role in environmental sustainability, glaciers oftenexist well outside our environmental consciousness, and they are mostly unprotected from atmospheric impacts of global warming or from soot deriving from transportation emissions, or from certain types of industrial activity such as mining, which has been shown to have devastating consequences forglacier survival. Glaciers: The Politics of Ice is a scientific, cultural, and political examination of the cryosphere - the earth's ice - and the environmental policies that are slowly emerging to protect it. Jorge Daniel Taillant discusses the debates and negotiations behind the passage of the world's firstglacier-protection law in the mid-2000s, and reveals the tension that quickly arose between industry, politicians, and environmentalists when an international mining company proposed dynamiting three glaciers to get at gold deposits underneath. The book is a quest to educate general society aboutthe basic science behind glaciers, outlines current and future risks to their preservation, and reveals the intriguing politics behind glacier melting debates over policies and laws to protect the resource. Taillant also makes suggestions on what can be done to preserve these crucial sources offresh water, from both a scientific and policymaking standpoint.Glaciers is a new window into one of the earth's most crucial and yet most ignored natural resources, and a call to reawaken our interest in the world's changing climate.
In this New York Times bestselling investigation, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America's power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared. Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Tens of millions of people over several states are affected. For those without access to a generator, there is no running water, no sewage, no refrigeration or light. Food and medical supplies are dwindling. Devices we rely on have gone dark. Banks no longer function, looting is widespread, and law and order are being tested as never before. It isn't just a scenario. A well-designed attack on just one of the nation's three electric power grids could cripple much of our infrastructure--and in the age of cyberwarfare, a laptop has become the only necessary weapon. Several nations hostile to the United States could launch such an assault at any time. In fact, as a former chief scientist of the NSA reveals, China and Russia have already penetrated the grid. And a cybersecurity advisor to President Obama believes that independent actors--from "hacktivists" to terrorists--have the capability as well. "It's not a question of if," says Centcom Commander General Lloyd Austin, "it's a question of when." And yet, as Koppel makes clear, the federal government, while well prepared for natural disasters, has no plan for the aftermath of an attack on the power grid. The current Secretary of Homeland Security suggests keeping a battery-powered radio. In the absence of a government plan, some individuals and communities have taken matters into their own hands. Among the nation's estimated three million "preppers," we meet one whose doomsday retreat includes a newly excavated three-acre lake, stocked with fish, and a Wyoming homesteader so self-sufficient that he crafted the thousands of adobe bricks in his house by hand. We also see the unrivaled disaster preparedness of the Mormon church, with its enormous storehouses, high-tech dairies, orchards, and proprietary trucking company - the fruits of a long tradition of anticipating the worst. But how, Koppel asks, will ordinary civilians survive? With urgency and authority, one of our most renowned journalists examines a threat unique to our time and evaluates potential ways to prepare for a catastrophe that is all but inevitable.
Leo Corry tells the story behind the idea of number, from the early days of the Pythagoreans, up until the turn of the twentieth century. He presents an overview of how numbers were handled and conceived in classical Greek mathematics, in the mathematics of Islam, in European mathematics of the middle ages and the Renaissance, during the scientific revolution, all the way through to the mathematics of the 18th to the early 20th century.
This collection of 39 short essays gives the reader a unique opportunity to take a look at the scientific philosophy of Vladimir Arnold, one of the most original contemporary researchers. Topics of the stories included range from astronomy, to mirages, to motion of glaciers, to geometry of mirrors and beyond. In each case Arnold's explanation is both deep and simple, which makes the book interesting and accessible to an extremely broad readership. Original illustrations hand drawn by the author help the reader to further understand and appreciate Arnold's view on the relationship between mathematics and science. Arnold's talent for exposition shines in this collection of short chapters on a miscellany of topics. I could not stop reading until I reached the end of the book. This book will entertain and enrich any curious person, whether a layman or a specialist. --Mark Levi, Penn State University, author of ``The Mathematical Mechanic'' This book, which fits all mathematical ages, provides a glimpse into the ``laboratory'' of one of the most influential mathematicians of our time. Its genre is absolutely unique. A kaleidoscope of intriguing examples illustrating applications of mathematics to real life, intertwines with entertaining and often wildly funny mathematical anecdotes, as well as with profound insights into modern research areas. A brilliant informal exposition, complemented by artful drawings by the author, makes the book a fascinating read. --Leonid Polterovich, Tel-Aviv University
From the moment radiation was discovered in the late nineteenth century, nuclear science has had a rich history of innovative scientific exploration and discovery, coupled with mistakes, accidents, and downright disasters. Mahaffey, a long-time advocate of continued nuclear research and nuclear energy, looks at each incident in turn and analyzes what happened and why, often discovering where scientists went wrong when analyzing past meltdowns. Every incident has lead to new facets in understanding about the mighty atom—and Mahaffey puts forth what the future should be for this final frontier of science that still holds so much promise.
New York Times andLos Angeles Times Bestseller! As every day brings urgent reports of growing water shortages around the world, there is no time to lose in the search for solutions. The U.S. government predicts that forty of our fifty states-and 60 percent of the earth's land surface-will soon face alarming gaps between available water and the growing demand for it. Without action, food prices will rise, economic growth will slow, and political instability is likely to follow. Let There Be Waterillustrates how Israel can serve as a model for the United States and countries everywhere by showing how to blunt the worst of the coming water calamities. Even with 60 percent of its country made of desert, Israel has not only solved its water problem; it also had an abundance of water. Israel even supplies water to its neighbors-the Palestinians and the Kingdom of Jordan-every day. Based on meticulous research and hundreds of interviews,Let There Be Waterreveals the methods and techniques of the often offbeat inventors who enabled Israel to lead the world in cutting-edge water technology. Let There Be Wateralso tells unknown stories of how cooperation on water systems can forge diplomatic ties and promote unity. Remarkably, not long ago, now-hostile Iran relied on Israel to manage its water systems, and access to Israel's water know-how helped to warm China's frosty relations with Israel. Beautifully written,Let There Be Wateris and inspiring account of the vision and sacrifice by a nation and people that have long made water security a top priority. Despite scant natural water resources, a rapidly growing population and economy, and often hostile neighbors, Israel has consistently jumped ahead of the water innovation-curve to assure a dynamic, vital future for itself. Every town, every country, and every reader can benefit from learning what Israel did to overcome daunting challenges and transform itself from aparched land into a water superpower.
This book uncovers the biggest scientific fraud of our age. It tells the fascinating and frequently astounding story of how the massive enterprise to restructure the genetic core of the world's food supply came into being, how it advanced by consistently violating the protocols of science, and how for more than three decades, hundreds of eminent biologists and esteemed institutions have systematically contorted the truth in order to conceal the unique risks of its products-and get them onto our dinner plates. Altered Genes, Twisted Truth provides a graphic account of how this elaborate fraud was crafted and how it not only deceived the general public, but Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Barack Obama and a host of other astute and influential individuals as well. The book also exposes how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was induced to become a key accomplice--and how it has broken the law and repeatedly lied in order to usher genetically engineered foods onto the market without the safety testing that's required by federal statute. As a result, for fifteen years America's families have been regularly ingesting a group of novel products that the FDA's own scientific staff had previously determined to be unduly hazardous to human health. By the time this gripping story comes to a close, it will be clear that the degradation of science it documents has not only been unsavory but unprecedented--and that in no other instance have so many scientists so seriously subverted the standards they were trained to uphold, misled so many people, and imposed such magnitude of risk on both human health and the health of the environment.
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.
This second edition of the immediately popular 101 Careers in Mathematics contains updates on the career paths of individuals profiled in the first edition, along with many new profiles. No career counselor should be without this valuable resource. The authors of the essays in the this volume describe a wide variety of careers for which a background in the mathematical sciences is useful. Each of the jobs presented show real people in real jobs. Their individual histories demonstrate how the study of mathematics helped them land good paying jobs in predictable places like IBM, AT&T, and American Airlines, and in surprising places like FedEx Corporation, L.L. Bean, and Perdue Farms, Inc. You will also learn about job opportunities in the Federal Government, as well as exciting careers in the arts, sculpture, music, and television. There are really no limits to what you can do if you are well prepared in mathematics. The degrees earned by the authors profiled here range from bachelors to masters to Ph.D. in approximately equal numbers. Most of the writers use the mathematical sciences on a daily basis in their work; others rely on the general problem-solving skills acquired in mathematics as they deal with complex issues. Students should not overlook the articles in the Appendix that are reprinted from the MAA's student magazine, Math Horizons. These articles provide valuable advice on looking for a job and on the expectations of industry.
A panoramic overview of biotechnologies that can endlessly boost human capabilities and the drastic changes these "superhuman" traits could trigger Biotechnology is moving fast. In the coming decades, advanced pharmaceuticals, bioelectronics, and genetic interventions will be used not only to heal the sick but to boost human physical and mental performance to unprecedented levels. People will have access to pills that make them stronger and faster, informatic devices will interface seamlessly with the human brain, and epigenetic modification may allow people to reshape their own physical and mental identities at will. Until recently, such major technological watersheds--like the development of metal tools or the industrialization of manufacturing--came about incrementally over centuries or longer. People and social systems had time to adapt: they gradually developed new values, norms, and habits to accommodate the transformed material conditions. But contemporary society is dangerously unprepared for the dramatic changes it is about to experience down this road on which it is already advancing at an accelerating pace. The results will no doubt be mixed. People will live longer, healthier lives, will fine-tune their own thought processes, and will generate staggeringly complex and subtle forms of knowledge and insight. But these technologies also threaten to widen the rift between rich and poor, to generate new forms of social and economic division, and to force people to engage in constant cycles of upgrades and boosts merely to keep up. Individuals who boost their traits beyond a certain threshold may acquire such extreme capabilities that they will no longer be recognized as unambiguously human. In this important and timely book, prize-winning historian Michael Bess provides a clear, nontechnical overview of cutting-edge biotechnology and paints a vivid portrait of a near-future society in which bioenhancement has become a part of everyday life. He surveys the ethical questions raised by the enhancement enterprise and explores the space for human agency in dealing with the challenges that these technologies will present. Headed your way over the coming decades: new biotechnologies that can powerfully alter your body and mind. The possibilities are tantalizing: * Rejuvenation therapies offering much longer lives (160 and even beyond) in full vigor and mental acuity * Cognitive enhancement through chemical or bioelectronic means (the rough equivalent of doubling or tripling IQ scores) * Epigenetic tools for altering some of your genetically influenced traits at any point in your lifetime (body shape, athletic ability, intelligence, personality) * Bioelectronic devices for modulating your own brain processes, including your "pleasure centers" (a potentially non-stop high) * Direct control of machines by thought, and perhaps direct communication with other people, brain-to-brain (a new dimension of sharing and intimacy) But some of the potential consequences are also alarming: * A growing rift between the biologically enhanced and those who can't afford such modifications * A constant cycle of upgrades and boosts as the bar of "normal" rises ever higher--"Humans 95, Humans XP, Humans 8" * The fragmentation of humankind into rival "bioenhancement clusters" * A gradually blurring boundary between "person" and "product" * Extreme forms of self-modification, with some individuals no longer recognized as unambiguously human
Algebra marked the beginning of modern mathematics, moving it beyond arithmetic, which involves calculations featuring given numbers, to problems where some quantities are unknown. Now, it stands as a pillar of mathematics, underpinning the quantitative sciences, both social and physical.This Very Short Introduction explains algebra from scratch. Over the course of ten logical chapters, Higgins offers a step by step approach for readers keen on developing their understanding of algebra. Using theory and example, he renews the reader's aquaintance with school mathematics, beforetaking them progressively further and deeper into the subject.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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.
When the demographer Robert Malthus (1766–1834) famously outlined the brutal relationship between food and population, he never imagined the success of modern scientific agriculture. In the mid-twentieth century, an unprecedented agricultural advancement known as the Green Revolution brought hybrid seeds, chemical fertilizers, and improved irrigation that drove the greatest population boom in history—but left ecological devastation in its wake. In The End of Plenty, award-winning environmental journalist Joel K. Bourne Jr. puts our race to feed the world in dramatic perspective. With a skyrocketing world population and tightening global grain supplies spurring riots and revolutions, humanity must produce as much food in the next four decades as it has since the beginning of civilization to avoid a Malthusian catastrophe. Yet climate change could render half our farmland useless by century’s end. Writing with an agronomist’s eye for practical solutions and a journalist’s keen sense of character, detail, and the natural world, Bourne takes readers from his family farm to international agricultural hotspots to introduce the new generation of farmers and scientists engaged in the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. He discovers young, corporate cowboys trying to revive Ukraine as Europe’s breadbasket, a Canadian aquaculturist channeling ancient Chinese traditions, the visionary behind the world’s largest organic sugar-cane plantation, and many other extraordinary individuals struggling to increase food supplies—quickly and sustainably—as droughts, floods, and heat waves hammer crops around the globe. Part history, part reportage and advocacy, The End of Plenty is a panoramic account of the future of food, and a clarion call for anyone concerned about our planet and its people.
Human exploration has been an unceasing engine of technological progress, from the first homo sapiens to leave our African cradle to a future in which mankind promises to settle another world. Beyond tells the epic story of humanity leaving home—and how humans will soon thrive in the vast universe beyond the earth. A dazzling and propulsive voyage through space and time, Beyond reveals how centuries of space explorers—from the earliest stargazers to today’s cutting-edge researchers—all draw inspiration from an innate human emotion: wanderlust. This urge to explore led us to multiply around the globe, and it can be traced in our DNA. Today, the urge to discover manifests itself in jaw-dropping ways: plans for space elevators poised to replace rockets at a fraction of the cost; experiments in suspending and reanimating life for ultra-long-distance travel; prototypes for solar sails that coast through space on the momentum of microwaves released from the Earth. With these ventures, private companies and entrepreneurs have the potential to outpace NASA as the leaders in a new space race. Combining expert knowledge of astronomy and avant-garde technology, Chris Impey guides us through the heady possibilities for the next century of exploration. In twenty years, a vibrant commercial space industry will be operating. In thirty years, there will be small but viable colonies on the Moon and Mars. In fifty years, mining technology will have advanced enough to harvest resources from asteroids. In a hundred years, a cohort of humans born off-Earth will come of age without ever visiting humanity’s home planet. This is not the stuff of science fiction but rather the logical extension of already available technologies. Beyond shows that space exploration is not just the domain of technocrats, but the birthright of everyone and the destiny of generations to come. To continue exploration is to ensure our survival. Outer space, a limitless unknown, awaits us.
From drones to Mars rovers - an exploration of the most innovative use of robots today and a provocative argument for the crucial role of humans in our increasingly technological future. In Our Robots, Ourselves, David Mindell offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the cutting edge of robotics today, debunking commonly held myths and exploring the rapidly changing relationships between humans and machines. Drawing on firsthand experience, extensive interviews, and the latest research from MIT and elsewhere, Mindell takes us to extreme environments - high atmosphere, deep ocean, and outer space - to reveal where the most advanced robotics already exist. In these environments, scientists use robots to discover new information about ancient civilizations, to map some of the world's largest geological features, and even to 'commute' to Mars to conduct daily experiments. But these tools of air, sea, and space also forecast the dangers, ethical quandaries, and unintended consequences of a future in which robotics and automation suffuse our everyday lives. Mindell argues that the stark lines we've drawn between human and not human, manual and automated, aren't helpful for understanding our relationship with robotics. Brilliantly researched and accessibly written, Our Robots, Ourselvesclarifies misconceptions about the autonomous robot, offering instead a hopeful message about what he calls 'rich human presence' at the center of the technological landscape we are now creating. ' An essential book . . . it is required reading as we seriously engage one of the most important debates of our time.' Sherry Turkle, author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age 'Mindell brings an altogether refreshing perspective to a field that can sometimes get lost in the 'what if'.'Financial Times 'Neither overly optimistic nor doomy, MIT professor Mindell offers a clear-eyed, reasoned overview of current and potential robotics achievements - and why the machines will always need us.'Discover 'Science fiction has become science as we find more and more uses for robots. The MIT professor explores the 'hidden world' of robotics and the controversial relationship between humankind and what it has created.' The Sacramento Bee 'Mindell's ingenious and profoundly original book will enlighten those who prophesy that robots will soon make us redundant, and challenges us all to think more precisely and creatively about how machines can augment human potential.' David Autor, Professor of Economics, MIT 'Authoritative . . . Mindell leaves us with a better understanding of what lies ahead for our daily lives.' Kirkus 'An expansively researched and enjoyably accessible treatment of robotic automation, recommended for readers of popular science and those with an interest in artificial intelligence and automation.' Library Journal 'A careful, measured extrapolation of contemporary technological trends.' Booklist 'A lucid, hype-free exploration of how robotic automation really works - in concert with human design, intention, and action.' Ian Bogost, Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies and Professor of Interactive Computing Professor, Scheller School of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology 'My thanks to the author for bringing scholarship and sanity to a debate which has run off into a magic la-la land in the popular press.' Rodney Brooks, founder Rethink Robotics and iRobot 'A must read for those who aspire to be effective contributors to the robotics of our future.' D
Caffeinated reveals the little-known truth about this addictive, largely unregulated drug found in coffee, energy drinks, teas, colas, chocolate, and even pain relievers. We'll learn why caffeine has such a powerful effect on everything from boosting our mood to improving our athletic performance as well as how - and why - brands such as Coca-Cola have ducked regulatory efforts for decades. We learn the differences in the various ways caffeine is delivered to the body, how it is quietly used to reinforce our buying patterns, and how it can play a role in promoting surprising health problems like obesity and anxiety. Drawing on the latest research, CAFFEINATED brings us the inside perspective of the additive that Salt Sugar Fat overlooked. Carpenter's story takes us from the coffee farms of central Guatemala to the world's largest synthetic caffeine factory in China to an energy shot bottler in New Jersey, and beyond.
Your cell phone provider tracks your location and knows who's with you. Your online and in-store purchasing patterns are recorded, and reveal if you're unemployed, sick, or pregnant. Your e-mails and texts expose your intimate and casual friends. Google knows what you're thinking because it saves your private searches. Facebook can determine your sexual orientation without you ever mentioning it. The powers that surveil us do more than simply store this information. Corporations use surveillance to manipulate not only the news articles and advertisements we each see, but also the prices we're offered. Governments use surveillance to discriminate, censor, chill free speech, and put people in danger worldwide. And both sides share this information with each other or, even worse, lose it to cybercriminals in huge data breaches. Much of this is voluntary: we cooperate with corporate surveillance because it promises us convenience, and we submit to government surveillance because it promises us protection. The result is a mass surveillance society of our own making. But have we given up more than we've gained? In Data and Goliath, security expert Bruce Schneier offers another path, one that values both security and privacy. He shows us exactly what we can do to reform our government surveillance programs and shake up surveillance-based business models, while also providing tips for you to protect your privacy every day. You'll never look at your phone, your computer, your credit cards, or even your car in the same way again.
This collection of essays examines the relationship between environmental injustice and the exploitation of working-class people. Twelve scholars from the fields of environmental humanities and the humanistic social sciences explore connections between the current and unprecedented rise of environmental degradation, economic inequality, and widespread social injustice in the United States and Canada. The authors challenge prevailing cultural narratives that separate ecological and human health from the impacts of modern industrial capitalism. Essay themes range from how human survival is linked to nature to how the use and abuse of nature benefit the wealthy elite at the expense of working-class people and the working poor as well as how climate change will affect cultures deeply rooted in the land. Ultimately, Working on Earth calls for a working-class ecology as an integral part of achieving just and sustainable human development.
Computing is usually viewed as a technology field that advances at the breakneck speed of Moore's Law. If we turn away even for a moment, we might miss a game-changing technological breakthrough or an earthshaking theoretical development. This book takes a different perspective, presenting computing as a science governed by fundamental principles that span all technologies. Computer science is a science of information processes. We need a new language to describe the science, and in this book Peter Denning and Craig Martell offer the great principles framework as just such a language. This is a book about the whole of computing -- its algorithms, architectures, and designs. Denning and Martell divide the great principles of computing into six categories: communication, computation, coordination, recollection, evaluation, and design. They begin with an introduction to computing, its history, its many interactions with other fields, its domains of practice, and the structure of the great principles framework. They go on to examine the great principles in different areas: information, machines, programming, computation, memory, parallelism, queueing, and design. Finally, they apply the great principles to networking, the Internet in particular. Great Principles of Computing will be essential reading for professionals in science and engineering fields with a "computational" branch, for practitioners in computing who want overviews of less familiar areas of computer science, and for non-computer science majors who want an accessible entry way to the field.
This unique book provides an overview of the principle and applications of lasers enriched with numerous illustrations. Being over fifty years old, lasers continue to amaze us. Their performance characteristics are constantly reaching new limits, and the scope of their applications continues to expand. Yet, it took years of effort by teams of physicists to transform the fundamental notions of Einstein into the first experimental beam of laser light. And history is still going on as fundamental research is now triggered by its remarkable properties. This book addresses every aspect of laser light, from its fundamental principles to its industrial applications, at a level particularly suited for high school teachers, students, and anybody curious about science and technology.
Though the scientific community largely agrees that climate change is underway, debates about this issue remain fiercely polarized. These conversations have become a rhetorical contest, one where opposing sides try to achieve victory through playing on fear, distrust, and intolerance. At its heart, this split no longer concerns carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases, or climate modeling; rather, it is the product of contrasting, deeply entrenched worldviews. This brief examines what causes people to reject or accept the scientific consensus on climate change. Synthesizing evidence from sociology, psychology, and political science, Andrew J. Hoffman lays bare the opposing cultural lenses through which science is interpreted. He then extracts lessons from major cultural shifts in the past to engender a better understanding of the problem and motivate the public to take action. How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate makes a powerful case for a more scientifically literate public, a more socially engaged scientific community, and a more thoughtful mode of public discourse.
The "best all-around book yet on fracking" (San Francisco Chronicle) from a Pulitzer Prize finalist: "Gold's work is a tour de force of contemporary journalism" (Booklist). First invented in 1947, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has not only become a major source of energy, it is changing the way we use energy, and the energy we use. It is both a threat and a godsend for the environment, and it is leading the revival of manufacturing in the United States. A definitive narrative history, The Boom follows the twists and turns in the development and adoption of this radical technology. It is a thrilling journey filled with colorful characters: the green-minded Texas oilman who created the first modern frack; a bare-knuckled Oklahoman natural gas empire-builder who gave the world an enormous new supply of energy and was brought down by his own success and excesses; an environmental leader whose embrace of fracking brought an end to his public career; and an aging fracking pioneer who is now trying to save the industry from itself. A fascinating and exciting exploration of one of the most controversial and promising sources of energy, The Boom "brings new clarity to a subject awash in hype from all sides...a thoughtful, well-written, and carefully researched book that provides the best overview yet of the pros and cons of fracking. Gold quietly leads both supporters and critics of drilling to consider other views" (Associated Press).
"Measured, funny, and fascinating... If you need vitamins to survive (you do), you should read this book." Scientific American ("Food Matters") Most of us know nothing about vitamins. What's more, what we think we know is harming both our personal nutrition and our national health. By focusing on vitamins at the expense of everything else, we've become blind to the bigger picture: despite our belief that vitamins are an absolute good--and the more of them, the better--vitamins are actually small and surprisingly mysterious pieces of a much larger nutritional puzzle. In Vitamania, award-winning journalist Catherine Price offers a lucid and lively journey through our cherished yet misguided beliefs about vitamins, and reveals a straightforward, blessedly anxiety-free path to enjoyable eating and good health. When vitamins were discovered a mere century ago, they changed the destiny of the human species by preventing and curing many terrifying diseases. Yet it wasn't long before vitamins spread from labs of scientists into the realm of food marketers and began to take on a life of their own. By the end of the Second World War, vitamins were available in forms never before seen in nature--vitamin gum, vitamin doughnuts, even vitamin beer--and their success showed food manufacturers that adding synthetic vitamins to otherwise nutritionally empty products could convince consumers that they were healthy. The era of "vitamania," as one 1940s journalist called it, had begun. Though we've gained much from our embrace of vitamins, what we've lost is a crucial sense of perspective. Vitamins may be essential to our lives, but they are not the only important substances in food. By buying into a century of hype and advertising, we have accepted the false idea that particular dietary chemicals can be used as shortcuts to health--whether they be antioxidants or omega-3s or, yes, vitamins. And it's our vitamin-inspired desire for effortless shortcuts that created today's dietary supplement industry, a veritable Wild West of overpromising "miracle" substances that can be legally sold without any proof that they are effective or safe. For the countless individuals seeking to maximize their health and who consider vitamins to be the keys to well-being, Price's Vitamania will be a game-changing look into the roots of America's ongoing nutritional confusion. Her travels to vitamin manufacturers and food laboratories and military testing kitchens--along with her deep dive into the history of nutritional science-- provide a witty and dynamic narrative arc that binds Vitamania together. The result is a page-turning exploration of the history, science, hype, and future of nutrition. And her ultimate message is both inspiring and straightforward: given all that we don't know about vitamins and nutrition, the best way to decide what to eat is to stop obsessing and simply embrace this uncertainty head-on. By exposing our extraordinary psychological relationship with vitamins and challenging us to question our beliefs, Vitamania won't just change the way we think about vitamins. It will change the way we think about food. Booklist, *STARRED* "A hidden, many-faceted, and urgent story." Wall Street Journal "The baselessness of our hopes for various elixirs, alongside our baseless fear of science's true achievements, opens up a rich vein of hypocrisy that Ms. Price mines with engaging relish."
Between 1608 and 1610 the canopy of the night sky changed forever, ripped open by an object created almost by accident: a cylinder with lenses at both ends. Galileoâe(tm)s Telescope tells the story of how an ingenious optical device evolved from a toy-like curiosity into a precision scientific instrument, all in a few years. In transcending the limits of human vision, the telescope transformed humanityâe(tm)s view of itself and knowledge of the cosmos. Galileo plays a leadingâe"but by no means soloâe"part in this riveting tale. He shares the stage with mathematicians, astronomers, and theologians from Paolo Sarpi to Johannes Kepler and Cardinal Bellarmine, sovereigns such as Rudolph II and James I, as well as craftsmen, courtiers, poets, and painters. Starting in the Netherlands, where a spectacle-maker created a spyglass with the modest magnifying power of three, the telescope spread like technological wildfire to Venice, Rome, Prague, Paris, London, and ultimately India and China. Galileoâe(tm)s celestial discoveriesâe"hundreds of stars previously invisible to the naked eye, lunar mountains, and moons orbiting Jupiterâe"were announced to the world in his revolutionary treatise Sidereus Nuncius. Combining science, politics, religion, and the arts, Galileoâe(tm)s Telescope rewrites the early history of a world-shattering innovation whose visual power ultimately came to embody meanings far beyond the science of the stars.
Now in his 95th year, James Lovelock has been hailed as "the man who conceived the first wholly new way of looking at life on earth since Charles Darwin" (Independent) and "the most profound scientific thinker of our time" (Literary Review). A Rough Ride to the Future introduces two new Lovelockian ideas. The first is that three hundred years ago, when Thomas Newcomen invented the steam engine, he was unknowingly beginning what Lovelock calls "accelerated evolution," a process that is bringing about change on our planet roughly a million times faster than Darwinian evolution. The second is that as part of this process, humanity has the capacity to become the intelligent part of Gaia, the self-regulating earth system whose discovery Lovelock first announced nearly fifty years ago. A Rough Ride to the Future is also an intellectual autobiography, in which Lovelock reflects on his life as a lone scientist, and asks--eloquently--whether his career trajectory is possible in an age of increased bureaucratization. We are now changing the atmosphere again, and Lovelock argues that there is little that can be done about this. But instead of feeling guilty, we should recognize what is happening, prepare for change, and ensure that we survive as a species so we can contribute to--perhaps even guide--the next evolution of Gaia. The road will be rough, but if we are smart enough, life will continue on earth in some form far into the future.
"A pioneering work. David has performed a herculean task by pulling together for the first time hundreds of formerly classified documents to tell the fascinating story of NASA's intimate and extremely sensitive relations with the CIA and other branches of the intelligence community over the past fifty-plus years."--Matthew M. Aid, author of Intel Wars: The Secret History of the Fight against Terror "Reveals the long, complicated, and fascinating relationship between NASA, the Department of Defense, and the intelligence community."--Jeffrey T. Richelson, author of Defusing Armageddon "Casts light on a hitherto deeply shadowed portion of America's spaceflight history."--Rick W. Sturdevant, deputy director of history, USAF Space Command at Peterson AFB "Everyone who's interested in space history has always known there was a relationship between the U.S. defense community and NASA. The shuttle era was the heyday of that relationship. For the first time, this book really captures just how deep that relationship was even before the shuttle era and how the defense and intelligence communities cooperated with and influenced NASA."--David Christopher Arnold, editor of Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly In this real life spy saga, James David digs through newly declassified documents to ultimately reveal how NASA became a strange bedfellow to the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Central Intelligence Agency. Beginning with the establishment of NASA in 1958, he follows the agency through its growth, not only in scope but also in complexity, exposing the ties between spaceflight and the intelligence community that have historically remained unexplored. David tracks NASA's early cooperation--supplying cover stories for covert missions, analyzing the Soviet space program, providing weather and other scientific data from its satellites, and monitoring missile tests--and reveals how these extensive interactions eventually devolved into NASA's reliance on DoD for political and financial support for the Shuttle. This riveting book aptly demonstrates that the hidden connections between these entities were far greater and deeper than previously known.
<i>Newton</i> is an evocative intellectual history of the life and ideas of Isaac Newton the natural philosopher, covering his influential thoughts about philosophical problems, our knowledge of nature, and even the nature of the divine.<br /> <br /> <ul> <li>Offers a comprehensive and highly accessible introduction to the life and ideas of Isaac Newton, emphasizing his influential contributions to the field of philosophy</li> <li>Covers the principal philosophical topics that captivated Newton's mind, from our knowledge of nature to the nature of the divine</li> <li>Includes the most recent and innovative research regarding Newton's views on theology and philosophy</li> <li>Emphasizes the philosophical importance of Newton's work to the history of philosophy and his engagement with the ideas of both historic and contemporary figures such as Galileo and Descartes, Leibniz and Locke</li> </ul>
Worldwide, half a million people die from air pollution each year-more than perish in all wars combined. One in every five mammal species on the planet is threatened with extinction. Our climate is warming, our forests are in decline, and every day we hear news of the latest ecological crisis. What will it really take to move society onto a more sustainable path? Many of us are already doing the "little things" to help the earth, like recycling or buying organic produce. These are important steps-but they're not enough. In Who Rules the Earth?, Paul Steinberg, a leading scholar of environmental politics, shows that the shift toward a sustainable world requires modifying the very rules that guide human behavior and shape the ways we interact with the earth. We know these rules by familiar names like city codes, product design standards, business contracts, public policies, cultural norms, and national constitutions. Though these rules are largely invisible, their impact across the planet has been dramatic. By changing the rules, Ontario, Canada has cut the levels of pesticides in its waterways in half. The city of Copenhagen has adopted new planning codes that will reduce its carbon footprint to zero by 2025. In the United States, a handful of industry mavericks designed new rules to promote greener buildings, and transformed the world's largest industry into a more sustainable enterprise. Steinberg takes the reader on a series of journeys, from a familiar walk on the beach to a remote village deep in the jungles of Peru, helping the reader to "see" the social rules that pattern our physical reality and showing why these are the big levers that will ultimately determine the health of our planet. By unveiling the influence of social rules at all levels of society-from private property to government policy, and from the rules governing our oceans to the dynamics of innovation and change within corporations and communities-Who Rules the Earth? is essential reading for anyone who understands that sustainability is not just a personal choice, but a political struggle.
The era of the Scientific Revolution has long been epitomized by Galileo. Yet many women were at its vanguard, deeply invested in empirical culture. They experimented with medicine and practical alchemy at home, at court, and through collaborative networks of practitioners. In academies, salons, and correspondence, they debated cosmological discoveries; in their literary production, they used their knowledge of natural philosophy to argue for their intellectual equality to men. Meredith Ray restores the work of these women to our understanding of early modern scientific culture. Her study begins with Caterina Sforzaâe(tm)s alchemical recipes; examines the sixteenth-century vogue for âeoebooks of secretsâe; and looks at narratives of science in works by Moderata Fonte and Lucrezia Marinella. It concludes with Camilla Erculianiâe(tm)s letters on natural philosophy and, finally, Margherita Sarrocchiâe(tm)s defense of Galileoâe(tm)s âeoeMediceanâe stars. Combining literary and cultural analysis, Daughters of Alchemy contributes to the emerging scholarship on the variegated nature of scientific practice in the early modern era. Drawing on a range of under-studied material including new analyses of the Sarrocchiâe"Galileo correspondence and a previously unavailable manuscript of Sforzaâe(tm)s Experimenti, Rayâe(tm)s book rethinks early modern science, properly reintroducing the integral and essential work of women.
For more than half a century, physicists and astronomers engaged in heated dispute over the possibility of black holes in the universe. The weirdly alien notion of a space-time abyss from which nothing escapes--not even light--seemed to confound all logic. This engrossing book tells the story of the fierce black hole debates and the contributions of Einstein and Hawking and other leading thinkers who completely altered our view of the universe. Renowned science writer Marcia Bartusiak shows how the black hole helped revive Einstein's greatest achievement, the general theory of relativity, after decades during which it had been pushed into the shadows. Not until astronomers discovered such surprising new phenomena as neutron stars and black holes did the once-sedate universe transform into an Einsteinian cosmos, filled with sources of titanic energy that can be understood only in the light of relativity. This book celebrates the hundredth anniversary of general relativity, uncovers how the black hole really got its name, and recounts the scientists' frustrating, exhilarating, and at times humorous battles over the acceptance of one of history's most dazzling ideas.
Air is vital to human existenceit protects us from radiation, maintains climate and weather patterns, disperses seeds and pollen, and serves as an alternative energy source. Despite all of this, air remains neglected in environmental policy, with its ownerless, borderless nature making it difficult to campaign and legislate. Breathing Space is the first book to properly integrate air into the wider environmental discourse. Mark Everard assesses the atmosphere’s structure and its role within our overall environment and argues persuasively for the necessity of governments’ and activists’ recognition of air as a vital resource, as well as the dire need for more effective worldwide policies on air regulation. This work is long overdue and a must-read for scholars, environmental activists, and anyone interested environmental policy.
Does science have limits? Where does order come from? Can we understand consciousness? Written by Nobel Laureate Leon N. Cooper, this book places pressing scientific questions in the broader context of how they relate to human experience. Widely considered to be a highly original thinker, Cooper has written and given talks on a large variety of subjects, ranging from the relationship between art and science, possible limits of science, to the relevance of the Turing test. These essays and talks have been brought together for the first time in this fascinating book, giving readers an opportunity to experience Cooper's unique perspective on a range of subjects. Tackling a diverse spectrum of topics, from the conflict of faith and science to whether understanding neural networks could lead to machines that think like humans, this book will captivate anyone interested in the interaction of science with society.
In recent years, there have been major outbreaks of whooping cough among children in California, mumps in New York, and measles in Ohio’s Amish country--despite the fact that these are all vaccine-preventable diseases. Although America is the most medically advanced place in the world, many people disregard modern medicine in favor of using their faith to fight life threatening illnesses. Christian Scientists pray for healing instead of going to the doctor, Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusions, and ultra-Orthodox Jewish mohels spread herpes by using a primitive ritual to clean the wound. Tragically, children suffer and die every year from treatable diseases, and in most states it is legal for parents to deny their children care for religious reasons. In twenty-first century America, how could this be happening? InBad Faith, acclaimed physician and author Dr. Paul Offit gives readers a never-before-seen look into the minds of those who choose to medically martyr themselves, or their children, in the name of religion. Offit chronicles the stories of these faithful and their children, whose devastating experiences highlight the tangled relationship between religion and medicine in America. Religious or not, this issue reaches everyone--whether you are seeking treatment at a Catholic hospital or trying to keep your kids safe from diseases spread by their unvaccinated peers. Replete with vivid storytelling and complex, compelling characters,Bad Faith makes a strenuous case that denying medicine to children in the name of religion isn’t just unwise and immoral, but a rejection of the very best aspects of what belief itself has to offer.
Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize David McCullough tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright. On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot. Who were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did? David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the surprising, profoundly American story of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Far more than a couple of unschooled Dayton bicycle mechanics who happened to hit on success, they were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity, much of which they attributed to their upbringing. The house they lived in had no electricity or indoor plumbing, but there were books aplenty, supplied mainly by their preacher father, and they never stopped reading. When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high school education, little money and no contacts in high places, never stopped them in their "mission" to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off in one of their contrivances, they risked being killed. In this thrilling book, master historian David McCullough draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence to tell the human side of the Wright Brothers' story, including the little-known contributions of their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them.
Every day we hear about some fascinating new discovery. Yet anemic progress toward addressing the greatest risks to humankind -- clean energy, emerging infections, and cancer -- warns us that science may not be meeting its potential. Indeed, there is evidence that advances are slowing. Science is costly and can hurt people; thus it must be pursued with caution. Yet, excessive caution stifles the very thing that powers inventiveness: creation. In her boldest book yet, Roberta Ness argues that the system of funding agencies, universities, and industries designed to promote innovation has come to impede it. The Creativity Crisis strips away the scientific enterprise's veil of mystique to reveal the gritty underbelly of university research. America's economic belt-tightening discourages long-term, risky investments in revolutionary advances and elevates short-term projects with assured outcomes. The pursuit of basic research insights, with the greatest power to transform but little ability to enrich, is being abandoned. The social nature of academia today also contributes to the descent of revolutionary discovery. In academia, which tends to be insular, hierarchical, and tradition-bound, research ideas are "owned" and the owners gain enormous clout to decide what is accepted. Communalism is antithetical to idea ownership. Thus science has not embraced the Web-based democratic sharing of ideas called crowdsourcing, one of the greatest tools for creativity and social change in our age. A final battleground between creation and caution is within the sphere of ethics. Scientists are typically altruistic but sometimes have all-too-human inclinations toward avarice and conceit. The most original thinkers are most likely to flout convention. This tendency can pull them across the lines of acceptable behavior. Caution is a necessary check on the destructive potential of amoral creation. Yet, when every individual and institution is considered a priori to be a threat, adventuresome invention is squelched. Creation and caution in science should be in balance, but they are not. For possibilities to unlock, the ecosystem in which science is done must be fundamentally rebalanced.
The past thirty years have witnessed a revolution in the science of addiction, yet we still rely on outdated methods of treatment. Expensive new programs for managing addiction are also flourishing, but since they are not based in science, they offer little benefit to people who cannot afford to lose money or faith in their recovery. Clarifying the cutting-edge science of addiction for both practitioners and general readers, The Thirteenth Step pairs stories of real patients with explanations of key concepts relating to their illness. A police chief who disappears on the job illustrates the process through which a drug can trigger the brain circuits mediating relapse. One person's effort to find a burrito shack in a foreign city illuminates the reward prediction error signaled by the brain chemical dopamine. With these examples and more, this volume paints a vivid, readable portrait of drug seeking, escalation, and other aspects of addiction and suggests science-based treatments that promise to improve troubling relapse rates. Merging science and human experience, The Thirteenth Step offers compassionate, valuable answers to anyone who hopes for a better handle on a confounding disease.
Peter Piot, founding executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), recounts his experience as a clinician, scientist, and activist fighting the disease from its earliest manifestation to today. The AIDS pandemic was not only catastrophic to the health of millions worldwide but also fractured international relations, global access to new technologies, and public health policies in nations across the globe. As he struggled to get ahead of the disease, Piot found science does little good when it operates independently of politics and economics, and politics is worthless if it rejects scientific evidence and respect for human rights. Piot describes how the epidemic altered global attitudes toward sexuality, the character of the doctor-patient relationship, the influence of civil society in international relations, and traditional partisan divides. AIDS thrust health into national and international politics where, he argues, it rightly belongs. The global reaction to AIDS over the past decade is the positive result of this partnership, showing what can be achieved when science, politics, and policy converge on the ground. Yet it remains a fragile achievement, and Piot warns against complacency and the consequences of reduced investments. He refuses to accept a world in which high levels of HIV infection are the norm. Instead, he explains how to continue to reduce the incidence of the disease to minute levels through both prevention and treatment, until a vaccine is discovered.
Smartphone adoption has surpassed 50% of the population in more than 15 countries, and there are now more than one million mobile applications people can download to their phones. Many of these applications take advantage of smartphones as locative media, which is what allows smartphones to be located in physical space. Applications that take advantage of people's location are called location-based services, and they are the focus of this book. Smartphones as locative media raise important questions about how we understand the complicated relationship between the Internet and physical space. This book addresses these questions through an interdisciplinary theoretical framework and a detailed analysis of how various popular mobile applications including Google Maps, Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, and Foursquare use people's location to provide information about their surrounding space. The topics explored in this book are essential reading for anyone interested in how smartphones and location-based services have begun to impact the ways we navigate and engage with the physical world.
The commonly held view of Albert Einstein is of an eccentric genius for whom the pursuit of science was everything. But in actuality, the brilliant innovator whose Theory of Relativity forever reshaped our understanding of time was a man of his times, always politically engaged and driven by strong moral principles. An avowed pacifist, Einstein's mistrust of authority and outspoken social and scientific views earned him death threats from Nazi sympathizers in the years preceding World War II. To him, science provided not only a means for understanding the behavior of the universe, but a foundation for considering the deeper questions of life and a way for the worldwide Jewish community to gain confidence and pride in itself. Steven Gimbel's biography presents Einstein in the context of the world he lived in, offering a fascinating portrait of a remarkable individual who remained actively engaged in international affairs throughout his life. This revealing work not only explains Einstein's theories in understandable terms, it demonstrates how they directly emerged from the realities of his times and helped create the world we live in today.
Climate change is still, arguably, the most critical and controversial issue facing the world in the twenty-first century. Previously published as Global Warming: A Very Short Introduction, the new edition has been renamed Climate Change: A Very Short introduction, to reflect the important change in the terminology of the last decade. In the third edition, Mark Maslin includes crucial updates from the last few years, including the results of the 2013 IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, the effects of ocean acidification, and the impact of changes to global population and health. Exploring key topics in the debate, Maslin makes sense of the complexities of climate change, from political and social issues to environmental and scientific ones. Looking at its predicated impacts, he explores the controversies, and explains various proposed solutions. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
In 1712, English naturalist Mark Catesby (1683-1749) crossed the Atlantic to Virginia. After a seven-year stay, he returned to England with paintings of plants and animals he had studied. They sufficiently impressed other naturalists that in 1722 several Fellows of the Royal Society sponsored his return to North America. There Catesby cataloged the flora and fauna of the Carolinas and the Bahamas by gathering seeds and specimens, compiling notes, and making watercolor sketches. Going home to England after five years, he began the twenty-year task of writing, etching, and publishing his monumental The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands. Mark Catesby was a man of exceptional courage and determination combined with insatiable curiosity and multiple talents. Nevertheless no portrait of him is known. The international contributors to this volume review Catesby's biography alongside the historical and scientific significance of his work. Ultimately, this lavishly illustrated volume advances knowledge of Catesby's explorations, collections, artwork, and publications in order to reassess his importance within the pantheon of early naturalists. Contributors: Kraig Adler, Aaron M. Bauer, Janet Browne, David J. Elliott, W. Hardy Eshbaugh, Kay Etheridge, Stephen A. Harris, Valerie Herbert, Suzanne Linder Hurley, C. E. Jarvis, Shepard Krech III, Mark Laird, Henrietta McBurney, Judith Magee, Sarah Meacham, Cynthia P. Neal, Charles Nelson, Leslie K. Overstreet, Florence F. J. M. Pieters, Ghillean T. Prance, Diana Preston, Michael Preston, Karen Reeds, James L. Reveal, Robert Robertson, Marcus B. Simpson, Jr.
Fracking for gas trapped in shale could be a game changer in the quest to find alternatives to dirty fossil fuels, but it also has potential for harm. This book provides "one-stop shopping" for everyone who wants to know more about the issues. * Offers a comprehensive, impartial understanding of unconventional natural gas development from many different perspectives by experts in the field * Draws from the findings of the most up-to-date research and discusses areas where scientific findings are yet unclear * Addresses fracking's potential effects on humans, animals, and environmental factors including air quality, water quality, and climate change * Explains the economic, legal, regulatory, and ethical issues surrounding fracking * Examines social and community issues and the industry perspective
Experiments in geoengineering - intentionally manipulating the Earth's climate to reduce global warming - have become the focus of a vital debate about responsible science and innovation. Drawing on three years of sociological research working with scientists onone of the world's first major geoengineering projects, thisbook examines the politics of experimentation. Geoengineering provides a test case for rethinking the responsibilities of scientists and asking how science can take better care of the futures that it helps bring about. This book gives students, researchers and the general reader interested in the place of science in contemporary society a compelling framework for future thinking and discussion.
Throughout the ages, comets, enigmatic and beautiful wandering objects that appear for weeks or months, have alternately fascinated and terrified humankind. The result of five years of careful research, Atlas of Great Comets is a generously illustrated reference on thirty of the greatest comets that have been witnessed and documented since the Middle Ages. Special attention is given to the cultural and scientific impact of each appearance, supported by a wealth of images, from woodcuts, engravings, historical paintings and artifacts, to a showcase of the best astronomical photos and images. Following the introduction, giving the broad historical context and a modern scientific interpretation, the Great Comets feature in chronological order. For each, there is a contemporary description of its appearance along with its scientific, cultural and historical significance. Whether you are an armchair astronomer or a seasoned comet-chaser, this spectacular reference deserves a place on your shelf.
In Scientific Controversies, Dominque Raynaud shows how organized debates in the sciences help us establish or verify our knowledge of the world. If debates focus on form, scientific controversies are akin to public debates that can be understood within the framework of theories of conflict. If they focus on content, then such controversies have to do with a specific activity and address the nature of science itself. Understanding the major focus of a scientific controversy is a first step toward understanding these debates and assessing their merits. Controversies of unique socio-historic context, disciplines, and characteristics are examined: Pasteur's germ theory and Pouchet's theory of spontaneous generation; vitalism advocated at Montpellier versus experimental medicine in Paris; the science of optics about the propagation of visual rays; the origins of relativism (the Duhem-Quine problem). Touching on the work of Boudon, Popper, and others, Raynaud puts forward an incrementalist theory about the advancement of science through scientific controversies. The debates Raynaud has selected share in common their pivotal importance to the history of the sciences. By understanding the role of controversy, we better understand the functioning of science and the stakes of the contemporary scientific debates.
Max Planck is credited with being the father of quantum theory, and his work was described by his close friend Albert Einstein as "the basis of all twentieth-century physics." But Planck's story is not well known, especially in the United States. A German physicist working during the first half of the twentieth century, his library, personal journals, notebooks, and letters were all destroyed with his home in World War II. What remains, other than his contributions to science, are handwritten letters in German shorthand, and tributes from other scientists of the time. In Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War, Brandon R. Brown interweaves the voices and writings of Planck, his family, and his contemporaries--with many passages appearing in English for the first time--to create a portrait of a groundbreaking physicist working in the midst of war. Planck spent much of his adult life grappling with the identity crisis of being an influential German with ideas that ran counter to his government. During the later part of his life, he survived bombings and battlefields, surgeries and blood transfusions, all the while performing his influential work amidst a violent and crumbling Nazi bureaucracy. When his son was accused of treason, Planck tried to use his standing as a German "national treasure," and wrote directly to Hitler to spare his son's life. Brown tells the story of Planck's friendship with the far more outspoken Albert Einstein, and shows how his work fits within the explosion of technology and science that occurred during his life. This story of a brilliant man living in a dangerous time gives Max Planck his rightful place in the history of science, and it shows how war-torn Germany deeply impacted his life and work.
It was at the height of the Cold War, in the summer of 1950, when Bruno Pontecorvo mysteriously vanished behind the Iron Curtain. Who was he, and what caused him to disappear? Was he simply a physicist, or also a spy and communist radical? A protégé of Enrico Fermi, Pontecorvo was one of the most promising nuclear physicists in the world. He spent years hunting for the Higgs boson of his day--the neutrino--a nearly massless particle thought to be essential to the process of particle decay. His work on the Manhattan Project helped to usher in the nuclear age, and confirmed his reputation as a brilliant physicist. Why, then, would he disappear as he stood on the cusp of true greatness, perhaps even the Nobel Prize? In Half-Life, physicist and historian Frank Close offers a heretofore untold history of Pontecorvo’s life, based on unprecedented access to Pontecorvo’s friends and family and the Russian scientists with whom he would later work. Close takes a microscope to Pontecorvo’s life, combining a thorough biography of one of the most important scientsts of the twentieth century with the drama of Cold War espionage. With all the elements of a Cold War thriller--classified atomic research, an infamous double agent, a possible kidnapping by Soviet operatives--Half-Life is a history of nuclear physics at perhaps its most powerful: when it created the bomb.physics at perhaps its most powerful: when it created the bomb.
In this series of clinical vignettes, a board-certified psychiatrist and life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association illustrates the effectiveness of dream therapy in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). * Shares techniques to end PTSD nightmares and flashbacks * Lessens the exposure to trauma, making the treatment more benign than most other methods * Offers strategies for treating individual patients as well as groups of patients * Features complete descriptions of 140 dreams along with approaches for lessening their detrimental effects * Provides a comparison between common stress and PTSD
The world is composed of molecules. Some are synthetic while many others are products of nature. Molecules That Amaze Us presents the stories behind many of the most famous and infamous molecules that make up our modern world. Examples include the molecule responsible for the spicy heat in chilies (capsaicin), the world's first synthetic painkiller (aspirin), the pigment responsible for the color of autumn leaves (carotene), the explosive in dynamite (nitroglycerine), the antimalarial drug (quinine), the drug known as "speed" (methamphetamine), and many others. Other molecules discussed include caffeine, adrenaline, cholesterol, cocaine, digitalis, dopamine, glucose, insulin, methane, nicotine, oxytocin, penicillin, carbon dioxide, limonene, and testosterone. In all, the book includes 67 sections, each describing a different molecule, what it does, how it is made, and why it is so interesting. Written by experts in the field, the book is accessible and easy to read. It includes amusing anecdotes, historical curiosities, and entertaining facts about each molecule, thereby balancing educational content with entertainment. The book is heavily illustrated with relevant photographs, images, and cartoons--the aim being both to educate and entertain.
For decades after the identification of the structure of DNA, scientists focused only on genes, the regions of the genome that contain codes for the production of proteins. Other regions that make up 98 percent of the human genome were dismissed as "junk," sequences that serve no purpose. But researchers have recently discovered variations and modulations in this junk DNA that are involved with a number of intractable diseases. Our increasing knowledge of junk DNA has led to innovative research and treatment approaches that may finally ameliorate some of these conditions. Junk DNA can play vital and unanticipated roles in the control of gene expression, from fine-tuning individual genes to switching off entire chromosomes. These functions have forced scientists to revisit the very meaning of the word "gene" and have engendered a spirited scientific battle over whether or not this genomic "nonsense" is the source of human biological complexity. Drawing on her experience with leading scientific investigators in Europe and North America, Nessa Carey provides a clear and compelling introduction to junk DNA and its critical involvement in phenomena as diverse as genetic diseases, viral infections, sex determination in mammals, and evolution. We are only now unlocking the secrets of junk DNA, and Nessa Carey's book is an essential resource for navigating the history and controversies of this fast-growing, hotly disputed field.
Neither Donkey nor Horse tells the story of how Chinese medicine was transformed from the antithesis of modernity in the early twentieth century into a potent symbol of and vehicle for China’s exploration of its own modernity half a century later. Instead of viewing this transition as derivative of the political history of modern China, Sean Hsiang-lin Lei argues that China’s medical history had a life of its own, one that at times directly influenced the ideological struggle over the meaning of China’s modernity and the Chinese state. Far from being a remnant of China’s premodern past, Chinese medicine in the twentieth century coevolved with Western medicine and the Nationalist state, undergoing a profound transformation--institutionally, epistemologically, and materially--that resulted in the creation of a modern Chinese medicine. This new medicine was derided as "neither donkey nor horse” because it necessarily betrayed both of the parental traditions and therefore was doomed to fail. Yet this hybrid medicine survived, through self-innovation and negotiation, thus challenging the conception of modernity that rejected the possibility of productive crossbreeding between the modern and the traditional. By exploring the production of modern Chinese medicine and China’s modernity in tandem, Lei offers both a political history of medicine and a medical history of the Chinese state.
A new cultural icon strode the world stage at the turn of the twenty-first century: the celebrity scientist, as comfortable in Vanity Fair and Vogue as Smithsonian. Declan Fahy profiles eight of these eloquent, controversial, and compelling sellers of science to investigate how they achieved celebrity in the United States and internationally and explores how their ideas influence our understanding of the world. Fahy traces the career trajectories of Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Greene, Stephen Jay Gould, Susan Greenfield, and James Lovelock. He demonstrates how each scientist embraced the power of promotion and popularization to stimulate thinking, impact policy, influence research, drive controversies, and mobilize social movements. He also considers critical claims that they speak beyond their expertise and for personal gain. The result is a fascinating look into how celebrity scientists help determine what it means to be human, the nature of reality, and how to prepare for society s uncertain future."
Pell and Pell-Lucas numbers, like the well-known Fibonacci and Catalan numbers, continue to intrigue the mathematical world with their beauty and applicability. They offer opportunities for experimentation, exploration, conjecture, and problem-solving techniques, connecting the fields of analysis, geometry, trigonometry, and various areas of discrete mathematics, number theory, graph theory, linear algebra, and combinatorics. Pell and Pell-Lucas numbers belong to an extended Fibonacci family as a powerful tool for extracting numerous interesting properties of a vast array of number sequences. A key feature of this work is the historical flavor that is interwoven into the extensive and in-depth coverage of the subject. An interesting array of applications to combinatorics, graph theory, geometry, and intriguing mathematical puzzles is another highlight engaging the reader. The exposition is user-friendly, yet rigorous, so that a broad audience consisting of students, math teachers and instructors, computer scientists and other professionals, along with the mathematically curious will all benefit from this book. Finally, Pell and Pell-Lucas Numbers provides enjoyment and excitement while sharpening the reader's mathematical skills involving pattern recognition, proof-and-problem-solving techniques.
In The Viral Network, Theresa MacPhail examines our collective fascination with and fear of viruses through the lens of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. In April 2009, a novel strain of H1N1 influenza virus resulting from a combination of bird, swine, and human flu viruses emerged in Veracruz, Mexico. The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) announced an official end to the pandemic in August 2010. Experts agree that the global death toll reached 284,500. The public health response to the pandemic was complicated by the simultaneous economic crisis and by the public scrutiny of official response in an atmosphere of widespread connectivity. MacPhail follows the H1N1 influenza virus's trajectory through time and space in order to construct a three-dimensional picture of what happens when global public health comes down with a case of the flu. The Viral Network affords a rare look inside the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, as well as Hong Kong s virology labs and Centre for Health Protection, during a pandemic. MacPhail looks at the day-to-day practices of virologists and epidemiologists to ask questions about the production of scientific knowledge, the construction of expertise, disease narratives, and the different "cultures" of public health in the United States, Europe, Hong Kong, and China. The chapters of the book move from the micro to the macro, from Hong Kong to Atlanta, from the lab to the WHO, from the pandemic past in 1918 to the future. The various historical, scientific, and cultural narratives about flu recounted in this book show how biological genes and cultural memes become interwoven in the stories we tell during a pandemic. Ultimately, MacPhail argues that the institution of global public health is as viral as the viruses it tracks, studies, and helps to contain or eradicate. The global is itself viral in nature."
Within months of the start of the First World War, Germany began to run out of the raw materials it needed to make explosives. As Germany faced imminent defeat, chemists such as Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch came to the rescue with Nobel Prize winning discoveries that overcame the shortages and enabled the country to continue in the war. Similarly, Britain could not have sustained its war effort for four years had it not been for chemists like Chaim Weizmann who was later to become the first president of the State of Israel. Michael Freemantle tells the stories of these and many other chemists and explains how their work underpinned and shaped what became known as The Chemists' War. He reveals: * how chemistry contributed to the care of the sick and wounded and to the health and safety of troops; * how coal not only powered the war but was also an important source of the chemicals needed for the manufacture of explosives, dyes, medicines and antiseptics; * how Britain's production of propellants relied on the slaughter of tens of thousands of whales; * how a precious metal played a critical role in the war; * how poisonous chemicals were used as weapons of mass destruction for the first time in the history of warfare and how chemists developed gas masks for protection against these weapons; * how the British naval blockade of Germany imperilled agricultural production in the United States. The book will appeal to the general reader as well as the many scientists and historians interested in the Great War.
Many of the world’s most renowned and exciting ornamental plants--including magnolias, roses, rhododendrons, tree peonies, lilies, and blue poppies--have their origins in China. In the mid-nineteenth century, professional plant hunters were dispatched by nurseries and botanic gardens to collect living botanical specimens from China for cultivation in Europe, and it is these adventurers and nurserymen who are often credited with the explosive bloom of Chinese flowers in the West. But as Jane Kilpatrick shows in Fathers of Botany, the first Westerners to come upon and document this bounty were in fact cut from a different cloth: the clergy. Following the Opium Wars, European missionaries were the first explorers to dig further into the Chinese interior and send home evidence of one of the richest and most varied floras ever seen, and it was their discoveries that caused a sensation among Western plantsmen. Both men of faith and talented botanists alike, these missionaries lent their names to many of the plants they discovered, but their own stories disappeared into the leaf litter of history. Drawing on their letters and contemporary accounts, Kilpatrick focuses on the lives of four great French missionary botanists--Pères Armand David (of Davidia involucrata--the dove tree--and discoverer of the giant panda), Jean Marie Delavay, Paul Guillaume Farges, and Jean André Soulié--as well as a group of other French priests, Franciscan missionaries, and a single German Protestant pastor who all amassed significant plant collections, as she unearths a lost chapter of botanical history. In so doing, she reminds today’s gardeners and botanists--and any of us who stop to smell the roses--of the enormous debt owed to these obscure fathers of botany.
Science and experimentation were at the heart of the Founding Fathers' philosophies and actions. The Founders relentlessly tinkered, invented, farmed by means of scientific principles, star-gazed, were fascinated by math, used scientific analogies and scientific thinking in their political writing, and fell in love with technologies. They conceived of the United States of America as a grand "experiment" in the scientific meaning of the word. George Washington's embrace of an experimental vaccination for smallpox saved the American army in 1777. He was also considered the most scientific farmer in the country. John Adams founded a scientific society and wrote public support of science into the Massachusetts constitution. The president of another scientific society, Thomas Jefferson, convinced its leading lights to train Meriwether Lewis for the Lewis and Clark expedition; his Declaration of Independence was so suffused with scientific thinking that it was called Newtonian. Benjamin Franklin's fame as an "electrician" gave him the status to persuade France to help America win the Revolutionary War. Thomas Paine invented smokeless candles, underwater bombs, and the first-ever iron span bridge. InGentlemen Scientists and Revolutionaries, Tom Shachtman provides the full story of how the intellectual excitement of scientific discoveries had a powerful influence on America's Founding Fathers.
Considered 'the father of genomics', Fred Sanger (1918-2013) paved the way for the modern revolution in our understanding of biology. His pioneering methods for sequencing proteins, RNA and, eventually, DNA earned him two Nobel Prizes. He remains one of only four scientists (and the only British scientist) ever to have achieved that distinction. In this, the first full biography of Fred Sanger to be published, Brownlee traces Sanger's life from his birth in rural Gloucestershire to his retirement in 1983 from the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. Along the way, he highlights the remarkable extent of Sanger's scientific achievements and provides a real portrait of the modest man behind them. Including an extensive transcript of a rare interview of Sanger by the author, this biography also considers the wider legacy of Sanger's work, including his impact on the Human Genome Project and beyond.
What does mathematics have to do with poetry? Seemingly, nothing. Mathematics deals with abstractions while poetry with emotions. And yet, the two share something essential: Beauty. "Euclid alone has looked on beauty bare, " says the title of a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay."Mathematics, Poetry and Beauty" tries to solve the secret of the similarity between the two domains. It tries to explain how a mathematical argument and a poem can move us in the same way. Mathematical and poetic techniques are compared, with the aim of showing how they evoke the same sense of beauty.The reader may find that, as Bertrand Russell said, "Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty -- a beauty hold and austere, like that of sculpture ... sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show."
In recent decades we have come to realize that the microbial world is hugely diverse, and can be found in the most extreme environments. Fungi, single-celled protists, bacteria, archaea, and the vast array of viruses and sub-viral particles far outnumber plants and animals. Microbes, we nowknow, play a critical role in ecosystems, in the chemistry of atmosphere and oceans, and within our bodies. The field of microbiology, armed with new techniques from molecular biology, is now one of the most vibrant in the life sciences.In this Very Short Introduction Nicholas P. Money explores not only the traditional methods of microscopy and laboratory culture but also the modern techniques of genetic detection and DNA sequencing, genomic analysis, and genetic manipulation. In turn he demonstrates how advances in microbiologyhave had a tremendous impact on the areas of medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Scientists at War examines the ethical debates that severely tested the American scientific community during the Cold War. Sarah Bridger highlights the contributions of scientists to military technologies and strategic policymaking, from the dawning atomic age in the 1940s through the Strategic Defense Initiative (âeoeStar Warsâe) in the 1980s, which sparked a cross-generational opposition among scientists. The Manhattan Project in the early 1940s and the crisis provoked by the launch of Sputnik in 1957 greatly enhanced the political clout of American scientists. Yet many who took up government roles felt a duty to advocate arms control. Bridger investigates the internal debate over nuclear weapons policy during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, when scientific advisors did not restrict themselves to technical assessments but made an impassioned moral case for a nuclear test ban. The relationship between government and science began to fray further during the Vietnam War, as younger scientists inside and outside of government questioned the morality of using chemical defoliants, napalm, and other non-nuclear weapons. With campuses erupting in protest over classified weapons research conducted in university labs, many elder statesmen of science, who once believed they could wield influence from within, became alienated. The result was a coalition that opposed âeoeStar Warsâe during the 1980sâe"and a diminished role for scientists as counselors to future presidents.
Energy can be neither created nor destroyedâe"but it can be wasted. The United States wastes two-thirds of its energy, including 80 percent of the energy used in transportation. So the nation has a tremendous opportunity to develop a sensible energy policy based on benefits and costs. But to do that we need factsâe"not hyperbole, not wishful thinking. Mara Prentiss presents and interprets political and technical information from government reports and press releases, as well as fundamental scientific laws, to advance a bold claim: wind and solar power could generate 100 percent of the United Statesâe(tm) average total energy demand for the foreseeable future, even without waste reduction. To meet the actual rather than the average demand, significant technological and political hurdles must be overcome. Still, a U.S. energy economy based entirely on wind, solar, hydroelectricity, and biofuels is within reach. The transition to renewables will benefit from new technologies that decrease energy consumption without lifestyle sacrifices, including energy optimization from interconnected smart devices and waste reduction from use of LED lights, regenerative brakes, and electric cars. Many countries cannot obtain sufficient renewable energy within their borders, Prentiss notes, but U.S. conversion to a 100 percent renewable energy economy would, by itself, significantly reduce the global impact of fossil fuel consumption. Enhanced by full-color visualizations of key concepts and data, Energy Revolution answers one of the centuryâe(tm)s most crucial questions: How can we get smarter about producing and distributing, using and conserving, energy?
The Internet, created during the Cold War, has now ushered in one of the greatest shifts in society since the Industrial Revolution. There are many positive ways in which the Internet has contributed to the world, but as a society we are less aware of the Internet’s deeply negative effects on our psychology, economy, and culture. InThe Internet Is Not the Answer, Andrew Keen, a twenty-year veteran of the tech industry, traces the technological and economic history of the internet from its founding in the 1960s through the rise of the big data companies to the increasing attempts to monetize almost every human activity, and investigates how the internet is reconfiguring our world--often at great cost. In this sharp, witty narrative, informed by the work of other writers, academics, and reporters, as well as his own wide-ranging research and interviews, Keen shows us the tech world, warts and all, and investigates what we can do to make sure the choices we make about the reconfiguring of our society do not lead to unpleasant unforeseen aftershocks.
How does nature work in our human-created city, suburb, and exurb/peri-urb? Indeed how is ecology - including its urban water, soil, air, plant, and animal foundations - spatially entwined with this great human enterprise? And how can we improve urban areas for both nature and people? Urban Ecology: Science of Cities explores the entire urban area: from streets, lawns, and parks to riversides, sewer systems, and industrial sites. The book presents models, patterns, and examples from hundreds of cities worldwide. Numerous illustrations enrich the presentation. Cities are analyzed, not as ecologically bad or good, but as places with concentrated rather than dispersed people. Urban ecology principles, traditionally adapted from natural-area ecology, now increasingly emerge from the distinctive features of cities. Spatial patterns and flows, linking organisms, built structures, and the physical environment highlight a treasure chest of useful principles. This pioneering interdisciplinary book opens up frontiers of insight, as a valuable source and text for undergraduates, graduates, researchers, professionals and others with a thirst for solutions to growing urban problems.
For patients and their loved ones, no care decisions are more profound than those made near the end of life. Unfortunately, the experience of dying in the United States is often characterized by fragmented care, inadequate treatment of distressing symptoms, frequent transitions among care settings, and enormous care responsibilities for families. According to this report, the current health care system of rendering more intensive services than are necessary and desired by patients, and the lack of coordination among programs increases risks to patients and creates avoidable burdens on them and their families. "Dying in America" is a study of the current state of health care for persons of all ages who are nearing the end of life. Death is not a strictly medical event. Ideally, health care for those nearing the end of life harmonizes with social, psychological, and spiritual support. All people with advanced illnesses who may be approaching the end of life are entitled to access to high-quality, compassionate, evidence-based care, consistent with their wishes. "Dying in America" evaluates strategies to integrate care into a person- and family-centered, team-based framework, and makes recommendations to create a system that coordinates care and supports and respects the choices of patients and their families. The findings and recommendations of this report will address the needs of patients and their families and assist policy makers, clinicians and their educational and credentialing bodies, leaders of health care delivery and financing organizations, researchers, public and private funders, religious and community leaders, advocates of better care, journalists, and the public to provide the best care possible for people nearing the end of life.
Three-fourths of scientific research in the United States is funded by special interests. Many of these groups have specific practical goals, such as developing pharmaceuticals or establishing that a pollutant causes only minimal harm. For groups with financial conflicts of interest, theirscientific findings often can be deeply flawed.To uncover and assess these scientific flaws, award-winning biologist and philosopher of science Kristin Shrader-Frechette uses the analytical tools of classic philosophy of science. She identifies and evaluates the concepts, data, inferences, methods, models, and conclusions of science tainted bythe influence of special interests. As a result, she challenges accepted scientific findings regarding risks such as chemical toxins and carcinogens, ionizing radiation, pesticides, hazardous-waste disposal, development of environmentally sensitive lands, threats to endangered species, andless-protective standards for workplace-pollution exposure. In so doing, she dissects the science on which many contemporary scientific controversies turn. Demonstrating and advocating "liberation science," she shows how practical, logical, methodological, and ethical evaluations of science can bothimprove its quality and credibility - and protect people from harm caused by flawed science, such as underestimates of cancers caused by bovine growth hormones, cell phones, fracking, or high-voltage wires.This book is both an in-depth look at the unreliable scientific findings at the root of contemporary debates in biochemistry, ecology, economics, hydrogeology, physics, and zoology - and a call to action for scientists, philosophers of science, and all citizens.
This annual anthology brings together the year's finest mathematics writing from around the world. Featuring promising new voices alongside some of the foremost names in the field, The Best Writing on Mathematics 2014 makes available to a wide audience many articles not easily found anywhere else--and you don't need to be a mathematician to enjoy them. These writings offer surprising insights into the nature, meaning, and practice of mathematics today. They delve into the history, philosophy, teaching, and everyday occurrences of math, and take readers behind the scenes of today's hottest mathematical debates. Here John Conway presents examples of arithmetical statements that are almost certainly true but likely unprovable; Carlo Séquin explores, compares, and illustrates distinct types of one-sided surfaces known as Klein bottles; Keith Devlin asks what makes a video game good for learning mathematics and shows why many games fall short of that goal; Jordan Ellenberg reports on a recent breakthrough in the study of prime numbers; Stephen Pollard argues that mathematical practice, thinking, and experience transcend the utilitarian value of mathematics; and much, much more. In addition to presenting the year's most memorable writings on mathematics, this must-have anthology includes an introduction by editor Mircea Pitici. This book belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in where math has taken us--and where it is headed.