Are religion and science really at war with one another? Not according to David F. Noble, who argues that the flourishing of both religion and technology today is nothing new but rather the continuation of a 1,000-year-old Western tradition.
The Religion of Technology demonstrates that modern man's enchantment with things technological was inspired by and grounded in religious expectations and the quest for transcendence and salvation. The two early impulses behind the urge to advance in science, he claims, are the conviction that apocalypse is imminent, and the belief that increasing human knowledge helps recover what was lost in Eden. Noble traces the history of these ideas by examining the imaginings of monks, explorers, magi, scientists, Freemasons, and engineers, from Sir Isaac Newton to Joseph Priestley to Wernher von Braun.
Noble suggests that the relationship between religion and technology has perhaps outlived its usefulness. Whereas it once aimed to promote human well-being, it has ultimately become a threat to our survival. Thus, with The Religion of Technology, Noble aims to redirect our efforts toward more worldly and humane ends.
Why do so many world-changing insights come from people with little or no related experience? Charles Darwin was a geologist when he proposed the theory of evolution. And it was an astronomer who finally explained what happened to the dinosaurs.Frans Johansson's The Medici Effect shows how breakthrough ideas most often occur when we bring concepts from one field into a new, unfamiliar territory, and offers examples how we can turn the ideas we discover into path-breaking innovations.
For almost thirty years, the words "Star Wars" have summoned images of spaceships, super-weapons, and futuristic visions of all kinds. But George Lucas's immensely popular, vividly imagined blockbusters of life in "a galaxy far, far away" have often anticipated real-life technology right here on Earth--and this fascinating, visually irresistible book probes the amazing interface between movie magic and practical science.
Today's scientists are taking "Star Wars" fictions and turning them into fact; travel entrepreneurs are making plans for commercial space flight, and high-tech mag-lev trains defy gravity to zoom along like Luke Sky-walker's landspeeder. As the beloved C-3PO observes in his introduction to the book, robots are now a reality, and microscopic nanobots are already performing surgery internally. In the next twenty years, human soldiers will wear exoskeletal armor like Imperial stormtroopers and carry laser weapons as lethal as any light-saber, while orbiting satellites spy on the enemy and accurately pinpoint targets thousands of miles away. These exciting advances, often fraught with peril, are explored by the book's technological experts, who consider the risky implications and possible consequences of their inventions.
A perfect souvenir for visitors to the exhibition, now on a three-year multi-city tour, as well as the millions who have made "Star Wars" one of the most successful epics in entertainment history, this is a book guaranteed to delight film fans and the technologically savvy alike.
In Jacquard's Web, James Essinger tells the story of some of the most brilliant inventors the world has ever known, in this fascinating account of how a hand-loom invented in Napoleonic France led to the development of the modern information age.
Essinger, a master story-teller, describes how Joseph-Marie Jacquard's loom enabled the silk-weavers of Lyons to weave fabrics 25 times faster than had previously been possible. The device used punched cards, which stored instructions for weaving whatever pattern or design was required. These cards can very reasonably be described as the world's first computer programs. Indeed, Essinger shows through a series of remarkable and meticulously researched historical connections--connections never before investigated--that the Jacquard loom kick-started a process of scientific evolution which would lead directly to the development of the modern computer. The book examines a wealth of extraordinary links between the nineteenth-century world of weaving and today's computer age: for example, modern computer graphics displays are based on exactly the same principles as those employed in Jacquard's special woven tableaux. Jacquard's Web also introduces some of the most colorful and interesting characters in the history of science and technology: the modest but exceptionally dedicated Jacquard himself; the brilliant but temperamental Victorian polymath Charles Babbage, who dreamed of a cogwheel computer operated using Jacquard cards; and the imaginative and perceptive Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's only legitimate daughter.
Attractively illustrated and compellingly narrated, Jacquard's Web is an engaging and delightful volume. It is an impressive case of historical detective work, one that will leave the reader mesmerized.
Can disruption be useful? Christensen (business administration, Harvard Business School) and his collaborators believe so. They predict industry change using theories of innovation, locating new organizations that use simple, convenient, low-cost innovations to overpower incumbents. Noting that data only describes the past, they assert that working from theories can be useful in predicting such disruptions at an industry, national, or international level. Their examples and case studies include Western Electric, which lost its monopoly over telephone equipment in a lawsuit with a tiny upstart competitor. They also examine the intrusion of discount airlines into a deregulated market, the reasons why new entrants and not established firms created the semiconductor industry, and why for-profit higher education providers are disruptive innovators. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
How did the table fork acquire a fourth tine? What advantage does the Phillips-head screw have over its single-grooved predecessor? Why does the paper clip look the way it does? What makes Scotch tape Scotch?In this delightful book Henry, Petroski takes a microscopic look at artifacts that most of us count on but rarely contemplate, including such icons of the everyday as pins, Post-its, and fast-food clamshell containers. At the same time, he offers a convincing new theory of technological innovation as a response to the perceived failures of existing products--suggesting that irritation, and not necessity, is the mother of invention.
Using unprecedented access to Edison family papers and years of research at the Edison corporate archives, Neil Baldwin offers a revealing portrait of one of America's seminal inventors: a man whose imagination, dynamism, entrepreneurial brilliance epitomized the American dream as he became a victim of its darker side.
"Baldwin has demythologized the man and left the genius bigger than life." --Newsweek
From the bestselling, National Book Award-nominated author of Genius and Chaos, a bracing new work about the accelerating pace of change in today's world.Most of us suffer some degree of hurry sickness. a malady that has launched us into the epoch of the nanosecond, a need-everything-yesterday sphere dominated by cell phones, computers, faxes, and remote controls. Yet for all the hours, minutes, and even seconds being saved, we're still filling our days to the point that we have no time for such basic human activities as eating, sex, and relating to our families. Written with fresh insight and thorough research, Faster is a wise and witty look at a harried world not likely to slow down anytime soon.
The straight-talking masters of auto care, whose popular program on National Public Radio is broadcast to over 200 stations nationwide, offer a wealth of smart talk on what every car owner must know to make your first car last, avoiding the repair shop rip-offs, getting the best trade-in deal, and American cars versus the imports. When Click and Clack talk cars, people listen.--Newsweek. National Public Radio giveaways.