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The world can be an amazing place if you know the right questions to ask: How much does a ghost reduce a house's value? How are winemakers responding to climate change? How much should you tip your Uber driver? Should your dog fear Easter more than fireworks? The keen minds of The Economist love to look beyond everyday appearances to find out what really makes things tick. In this latest collection of The Economist Explains, they have gathered the weirdest and most counter-intuitive answers they've found in their endless quest to explain our bizarre world. Take a peek at some Unconventional Wisdom - and pass it on! The world only gets more amazing when discoveries are shared.
A New York Times bestseller when it appeared in 1989, Roger Penrose's The Emperor's New Mind was universally hailed as a marvelous survey of modern physics as well as a brilliant reflection on the human mind, offering a new perspective on the scientific landscape and a visionary glimpse of the possible future of science. Now, in Shadows of the Mind, Penrose offers another exhilarating look at modern science as he mounts an even more powerful attack on artificial intelligence. But perhaps more important, in this volume he points the way to a new science, one that may eventually explain the physical basis of the human mind.
Penrose contends that some aspects of the human mind lie beyond computation. This is not a religious argument (that the mind is something other than physical) nor is it based on the brain's vast complexity (the weather is immensely complex, says Penrose, but it is still a computable thing, at least in theory). Instead, he provides powerful arguments to support his conclusion that there is something in the conscious activity of the brain that transcends computation--and will find no explanation in terms of present-day science. To illuminate what he believes this "something" might be, and to suggest where a new physics must proceed so that we may understand it, Penrose cuts a wide swathe through modern science, providing penetrating looks at everything from Turing machines (computers programmed for artificial intelligence) to the implications of Godel's theorem maintaining that conscious thinking must indeed involve ingredients that cannot adequately be simulated by mere computation. Of particular interest is Penrose's extensive examination of quantum mechanics, which introduces some new ideas that differ markedly from those advanced in The Emperor's New Mind, especially concerning the mysterious interface where classical and quantum physics meet. But perhaps the most interesting wrinkle in Shadows of the Mind is Penrose's excursion into microbiology, where he examines cytoskeletons and microtubules, minute substructures lying deep within the brain's neurons. (He argues that microtubules--not neurons--may indeed be the basic units of the brain, which, if nothing else, would dramatically increase the brain's computational power.)
For physics to accommodate something that is as foreign to our current physical picture as the phenomenon of consciousness, we must expect a profound change--one that alters the very underpinnings of our philosophical viewpoint as to the nature of reality. Shadows of the Mind provides an illuminating look at where these changes may take place and what our future understanding of the world may be.
For centuries, the sorites paradox has spurred philosophers to think and argue about the problem of vagueness. This volume offers a guide to the paradox which is both an accessible survey and an exposition of the state of the art, with a chapter-by-chapter presentation of all of the main solutions to the paradox and of all its main areas of influence. Each chapter offers a gentle introduction to its topic, gradually building up to a final discussion of some open problems. Students will find a comprehensive guide to the fundamentals of the paradox, together with lucid explanations of the challenges it continues to raise. Researchers will find exciting new ideas and debates on the paradox.
At the heart of this classic, seminal book is Julian Jaynes's still-controversial thesis that human consciousness did not begin far back in animal evolution but instead is a learned process that came about only three thousand years ago and is still developing. The implications of this revolutionary scientific paradigm extend into virtually every aspect of our psychology, our history and culture, our religion -- and indeed our future.
"Hitch Your Antenna to the Stars" is the first cultural and industrial history of early television stardom. Susan Murray argues that television stars were central to the growth and development of American broadcasting. They were used not only to promote programs and the sale of television sets and advertised consumer goods, but also to established network identities. Through profiles of well-known performers including Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Jackie Gleason, and Lucille Ball, she shows how the television industry gave birth to the idea of TV stars and established a system of star production and management notably different from the Hollywood star system of the studio era.
This book is a collection of twenty-four papers that Michael A. Cremo, who is not a professional scientist, presented at scientific and academic conferences. Versions of some of these papers have appeared in peer-reviewed academic publications. In these papers, Cremo explores the relationship between science and religion, in terms of his specific scientific and religious commitments. Many of the papers in this book deal with archeological evidence for extreme human antiquity, consistent with the Puranic histories. Other papers explore the history of archeology in India. In his book "Human Devolution," Cremo presented a Vedic alternative to the current theory of human origins. Some of the papers in "My Science, My Religion" are related to this topic. This collection will be of interest to theologians, scientists, historians of science, philosophers of science, and scholars of science and religion.
The Sociology of the Sciences represents one of the most vivid fields in the social sciences today. From a former subfield of sociology, social studies of science and technology (STS) have transformed into a transdisciplinary field of research in its own right - reflecting the still growing dynamics of techno-science in modern societies. The two volume set, The Sociology of the Sciences, is an attempt to map out the broad range of contemporary studies covered in this transdisciplinary research field. The ten sections in the two volumes include selected articles from the most relevant areas of contemporary social studies of science, ranging from studies of scientific knowledge to science policy issues, from the gender-related questions in science to the relations between science and the public.
This inspiring book addresses a topic that is far too often ignored or disregarded by sci-tech librarians: Exactly how do scientists and engineers really discover, select, and use the countless information and communications resources available to them when conducting research? The answer to this question should be a major influence on the way information specialists develop information systems in their libraries. Unfortunately, many librarians are not as familiar with the work, information needs, and communicating behavior of the research worker. Information Seeking and Communications Behavior of Scientists and Engineers looks at this question from several perspectives to give an overall view of how to best serve the needs of the scientific community.This book is an encouragement and a challenge to sci-tech librarians to make an ever greater effort to understand the work of their users, the differing information channels and sources they employ, and thus tailor the library's systems and services to best support their information-seeking behavior.
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