In Things That Make Us Smart, Donald A. Norman explores the complex interaction between human thought and the technology it creates, arguing for the development of machines that fit our minds, rather than minds that must conform to the machine.Humans have always worked with objects to extend our cognitive powers, from counting on our fingers to designing massive supercomputers. But advanced technology does more than merely assist with thought and memory--the machines we create begin to shape how we think and, at times, even what we value. Norman, in exploring this complex relationship between humans and machines, gives us the first steps towards demanding a person-centered redesign of the machines that surround our lives.
Passionate, succinct, chilling, closely argued, sometimes hilarious, touchingly well-intentioned, and essential. --Margaret Atwood, The New York Review of BooksNearly fifteen years ago, in The End of Nature, Bill McKibben demonstrated that humanity had begun to irrevocably alter and endanger our environment on a global scale. Now he turns his eye to an array of technologies that could change our relationship not with the rest of nature but with ourselves. He explores the frontiers of genetic engineering, robotics, and nanotechnology--all of which we are approaching with astonishing speed--and shows that each threatens to take us past a point of no return. We now stand, in Michael Pollan's words, on a moral and existential threshold, poised between the human past and a post-human future. McKibben offers a celebration of what it means to be human, and a warning that we risk the loss of all meaning if we step across the threshold. Instantly acclaimed for its passion and insight, this wise and eloquent book argues that we cannot forever grow in reach and power--that we must at last learn how to say, Enough.
What exactly is a slope? What's the difference between a tile and a plate? Why is it bad to simply stack bricks in columns to make a wall? "The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide" is here to answer your questions.Focusing on building actual models with real bricks, "The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide" comes with complete instructions to build several cool models but also encourages you to use your imagination to create your own fantastic creations.Inside, you'll learn: The best ways to connect bricks and creative uses for those patternsTricks for calculating and using scale (it's not as hard as you think)The step-by-step plans to create a train station on the scale of LEGO people (a.k.a. "minifigs")How to build spheres, jumbo-sized LEGO bricks, micro-scaled models, and a mini space shuttleTips for sorting and storing all of your LEGO pieces
"The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide" also includes the Brickopedia, a visual guide to nearly 300 of the most useful and reusable elements of the LEGO system, with historical notes, common uses, part numbers, and the year each piece first appeared in a LEGO set.The firm foundation for your LEGO hobby starts here
In the history of electronic communication, the last quarter of the nineteenth century holds a special place, for it was during this period that the telephone, phonograph, electric light, wireless, and cinema were all invented. In When old Technologies Were New, Carolyn Marvin explores how two of these new inventions--the telephone and the electric light--were publicly envisioned at the end of the nineteenth century, as seen in specialized engineering journals and popular media. Marvin pays particular attention to the telephone, describing how it disrupted established social relations, unsettling customary ways of dividing the private person and family from the more public setting of the community. On the lighter side, she describes how people spoke louder when calling long distance, and how they worried about catching contagious diseases over the phone. A particularly powerful chapter deals with telephonic precursors of radio broadcasting--the "Telephone Herald" in New York and the "Telefon Hirmondo" of Hungary--and the conflict between the technological development of broadcasting and the attempt to impose a homogenous, ethnocentric variant of Anglo-Saxon culture on the public. While focusing on the way professionals in the electronics field tried to control the new media, Marvin also illuminates the broader social impact, presenting a wide-ranging, informative, and entertaining account of the early years of electronic media.
Bestselling author of The Tutankhamun Prophecies decodes the spiritual mysteries hidden within the recently discovered Mochian pyramids in Sipan- Reveals that ancient Inca sun-kings possessed the same solar science as Lord Pacal of Mexico and Tutankhamun of Egypt - Solves the mystery of the ancient Inca legend concerning a white god who traveled through ancient Peru, healing the sick and restoring sight to the blind Inca mythology tells of a tall, white leader who wandered along the coast performing miracles, a man they called Viracocha Pachamac, which means God of the World. Centuries later another great miracle worker, similar to the first, appeared and wandered the countryside, healing the sick and restoring sight to the blind. He, too, was named Viracocha. These accounts have long baffled scholars, as have the carvings left by the people of Tiahuanaco who preserved these legends. Now Maurice Cotterell, who cracked the codes hidden in both ancient Maya carvings and the treasures of Tutankhamun, unlocks the secrets concealed within the treasure-filled tombs of Viracocha Pachamac and Viracocha. His investigation of these tombs, held within the long-lost pyramids of Peru, proves that these two figures were not myth but actually existed 1,500 years ago. The two Viracocha sun-kings had much in common with Lord Pacal of Mexico and Tutankhamun of Egypt and, like them, left the secrets of a super solar science encoded in their treasures. This science reveals the intimate connection between the cycles of life and birth on Earth and solar activity such as sunspots. More important, it holds the key to reincarnation and human spiritual realization, with answers to the spiritual mysteries of life and death.
Around noon on January 15, 1919, a group of firefighters was playing cards in Boston's North End when they heard a tremendous crash. It was like roaring surf, one of them said later. Like a runaway two-horse team smashing through a fence, said another. A third firefighter jumped up from his chair to look out a window-"Oh my God " he shouted to the other men, "Run "A 50-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses had just collapsed on Boston's waterfront, disgorging its contents as a 15-foot-high wave of molasses that at its outset traveled at 35 miles an hour. It demolished wooden homes, even the brick fire station. The number of dead wasn't known for days. It would be years before a landmark court battle determined who was responsible for the disaster.
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.
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.
Stem cell research, genetically modified crops, animals developed with personalized human organs for transplantation, and other previously inconceivable biotech applications could increase the quality of all human lives and maximize the health of the biosphere. But ironically, as the science becomes more precise and transparent, it also becomes more contentious. In Challenging Nature, Silver argues that although they seem to have little in common, Christian fundamentalists opposed to embryo research and New Age organic food devotees are both driven by a deeply rooted fear that biotechnology--in some guise--challenges the sovereignty of a higher or deeper transcendent authority. In the short term, Silver writes, Eastern spiritual traditions will give Asian countries a research advantage. But over the millennia, human nature may have the potential to remake Mother Nature in the image of an idealized world.