Science & Technology Book Reviews (page 8)

RACE UNMASKED by Michael Yudell
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 9, 2014

"A challenging, well-researched work that clearly shows the interconnectedness of scientific and social thought."
A history of the concept of race in American scientific thought. Read full book review >
THE COPERNICUS COMPLEX by Caleb Scharf
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 9, 2014

"Most readers will agree with Scharf's complex but astute arguments that '[w]hile we cannot be at the center of what we now know to be a centerless universe, we nonetheless occupy a very interesting place in it—in time, space, and scale.'"
The universe is massive, and humans occupy an infinitesimal part. Do we matter? In this ingenious mixture of cosmology, evolutionary biology and philosophy, Columbia Astrobiology Center director Scharf (Gravity's Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos, 2012) gives a thumbs up. Read full book review >

INFORMATION DOESN'T WANT TO BE FREE by Cory Doctorow
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 9, 2014

"Doctorow has spoken and written on these issues many times before but never quite so persuasively. Required reading for creators making their ways through the new world."
In his best-selling novel Ready Player One, Ernest Cline predicted that decades from now, Doctorow (Homeland, 2013, etc.) should share the presidency of the Internet with actor Wil Wheaton. Consider this manifesto to be Doctorow's qualifications for the job. Read full book review >
THE FUTURE, DECLASSIFIED by Mathew Burrows
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Sept. 9, 2014

"Burrows is an acute observer, but almost all important events in history are spectacularly unexpected. Although this is no news to readers of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's The Black Swan (2007), writers continue to deliver predictions, and this is a fine example of the genre."
As a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and current director of the Atlantic Council's Strategic Foresight Initiative, Burrows is well-qualified to speculate on the future, as he does in this stimulating series of essays. Read full book review >
VIRTUALLY HUMAN by Martine Rothblatt
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 9, 2014

"A thoughtful philosophical exploration of the role of virtual humans in our future."
Computers cannot mimic human consciousness, and human-level artificial intelligence may not be possible for centuries, according to many scientists—but not according to the author of this ingenious book, who commissioned a "mindclone" of her spouse, which contains memories and has the ability to talk and express emotions. Read full book review >

DATACLYSM by Christian Rudder
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 9, 2014

"Demographers, entrepreneurs, students of history and sociology, and ordinary citizens alike will find plenty of provocations and, yes, much data in Rudder's well-argued, revealing pages."
Are you a racist? Plainer-looking than you might wish? Inclined to vote left? Big data knows—and it's talking. Read full book review >
DR. JOHN HARVEY KELLOGG AND THE RELIGION OF BIOLOGIC LIVING by Brian C. Wilson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 3, 2014

"There's much here to interest both adherents to and skeptics of today's alternative and holistic medicines, as well as fans of American history, especially the history of religions."
A well-researched biography that seeks to restore the reputation of the doctor satirized in T.C. Boyle's novel The Road to Wellville (1993) and in the film of the same name. Read full book review >
GEEK SUBLIME by Vikram Chandra
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 2, 2014

"An engaging exercise in interdisciplinary thought, both elegant and eloquent. Besides, who can resist a text that works karma, Marcel Duchamp and iterative programming into a single thought?"
A fruitful exploration of computer-age aesthetics, when artists are making use of programming even as programmers consider themselves artists. Read full book review >
THE SMARTPHONE by Elizabeth Woyke
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Sept. 2, 2014

"A smartphone full monty that will appeal mostly to the device's users—all 1.75 billion of them."
An intricate dissection of the smartphone from technology reporter Woyke. Read full book review >
IN REAL LIFE by Nev Schulman
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 2, 2014

"Another quote from the book, one more telling about 'catfishing,' comes from comedian Marc Maron, who said that every status update is essentially a plea: 'Would someone please acknowledge me?'"
Searching for the overlap of our online selves and our "real life" selves. Read full book review >
HATE CRIMES IN CYBERSPACE by Danielle Keats Citron
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 1, 2014

"Frightening and infuriating, this demand for legal accountability for Internet barbarism deserves widespread exposure and serious consideration."
An impassioned call for equal rights for women on the Internet. Read full book review >
DODGING EXTINCTION by Anthony D. Barnosky
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Sept. 1, 2014

"A pragmatic approach to finding workable solutions to a looming crisis."
A paleontologist warns that our planet may be on the verge of a "mass extinction—when more than 75% of the Earth's known species die off in a geological eye blink." This has occurred "five times in the 550 million years that diverse life has occupied Earth." Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Pierce Brown
author of GOLDEN SON
February 17, 2015

With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, Pierce Brown’s genre-defying Red Rising hit the ground running. The sequel, Golden Son, continues the saga of Darrow, a rebel battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom. As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. “Stirring—and archetypal—stuff,” our reviewer writes. View video >