Spring 2012 books

 

For the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (50th Anniversary Edition) – Ayn Rand
This is Ayn Rand’s challenge to the prevalent philosophical doctrines of our time and the “atmosphere of guilt, of panic, of despair, of boredom, and of all-pervasive evasion” that they create. One of the most controversial figures on the intellectual scene, Ayn Rand was the proponent of a moral philosophy–and ethic of rational self-interest–that stands in sharp opposition to the ethics of altruism and self-sacrifice. The fundamentals of this morality–“a philosophy for living on Earth”–are here vibrantly set forth by the spokesman for a new class, For the New Intellectual.


Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle – Chris Hedges
In this New York Times bestseller, Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Chris Hedges has written a shattering meditation on American obsession with celebrity and the epidemic of illiteracy that threatens our cultural integrity. Reporting on such phenomena as professional wrestling, the pornographic film industry, and unchecked casino capitalism, Hedges exposes the mechanisms used to divert us from confronting the economic, political, and moral collapse around us. Empire of Illusion shows us how illiteracy and the embrace of fantasy have impoverished our working class, allowed for the continuance of destructive public policy, and ushered in cultural bankruptcy.

 

The Religion Virus: Why we believe in God: An evolutionist explains religion’s incredible hold on humanity – Craig A. James
Why is religion so incredibly tenacious? Why do intelligent people believe the universe is only six thousand years old? How can so many people believe the Bible, written over two thousand years ago, is 100% accurate in every respect?
Using the powerful new science of cultural evolution called “memetics” — how ideas spread and mutate as they move across society and down through history — Craig James takes us on a fascinating tour of religion’s peculiar and convoluted history.
Religions evolve, not metaphorically, but in a very real way. By applying “survival of the fittest” principles to religions, James shows shows us how religion became incredibly infectious to the average human. 

 

Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior – Suzanne Robertson (Author), James S. Robertson (Author), Stephen M. McMenamin (Author), Timothy R. Lister (Author), Peter Hruschka (Author), Tom DeMarco (Author) 
Adrenaline junkies, dead fish, project sluts, true believers, Lewis and Clark, template zombies . . .
Most developers, testers, and managers on IT projects are pretty good at recognizing patterns of behavior and gut-level hunches, as in, I sense that this project is headed for disaster.
But it has always been more difficult to transform these patterns and hunches into a usable form, something a team can debate, refine, and use. Until now.
In Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies, the six principal consultants of The Atlantic Systems Guild present the patterns of behavior they most often observe at the dozens of IT firms they transform each year, around the world.

 

In The Plex – Steven Levy
Few companies in history have ever been as successful and as admired as Google, the company that has transformed the Internet and become an indispensable part of our lives. How has Google done it? Veteran technology reporter Steven Levy was granted unprecedented access to the company, and in this revelatory book he takes readers inside Google headquarters—the Googleplex—to show how Google works.

Cognitive Robotics And Artificial Intelligence

Eccerobot

Eccerobot

At the swissnex San Francisco conference earlier this year, scientists from Switzerland and the US discussed their research on humanoid robots, cognitive robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI). Talk revolved around how some robots self-reflect, self-improve, and adapt to new circumstances, and whether it’s possible for robots of the future to possess the same cognitive characteristics as humans.

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