5 New Science Books to Watch Out For

Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker (28 Sep 2017)
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THE TOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

‘Vital … a life-raft’ Guardian
‘A top sleep scientist argues that sleep is more important for our health than diet or exercise’ The Times
‘It had a powerful effect on me’ Observer
‘I urge you all to read this book’ Times Higher Education

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in twenty-first-century society, with devastating consequences: every major disease in the developed world – Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, diabetes – has very strong causal links to deficient sleep.

Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why its absence is so damaging to our health. Compared to the other basic drives in life – eating, drinking, and reproducing – the purpose of sleep remained elusive.

Now, in this book, the first of its kind written by a scientific expert, Professor Matthew Walker explores twenty years of cutting-edge research to solve the mystery of why sleep matters. Looking at creatures from across the animal kingdom as well as major human studies, Why We Sleep delves in to everything from what really happens during REM sleep to how caffeine and alcohol affect sleep and why our sleep patterns change across a lifetime, transforming our appreciation of the extraordinary phenomenon that safeguards our existence.

Dawn of the New Everything: A Journey Through Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier (16 Nov 2017)
dawn of the new everything
Jaron Lanier, ‘the father of Virtual Reality … a high-tech genius’ (Sunday Times), tells the extraordinary story of how in just over three decades Virtual Reality went from being a dream to a reality – and how its power to turn dreams into realities will transform us and our world.

Virtual Reality has long been one of the dominant clichés of science fiction. Now Virtual Reality is a reality: those big headsets that make people look ridiculous, even while radiating startled delight; the place where war veterans overcome PTSD, surgeries are trialled, aircraft and cities are designed. But VR is far more interesting than any single technology, however spectacular. It is, in fact, the most effective device ever invented for researching what a human being actually is – and how we think and feel.

More than thirty years ago, legendary computer scientist, visionary and artist Jaron Lanier pioneered its invention. Here, in what is likely to be one of the most unusual books you ever read, he blends scientific investigation, philosophical thought experiment and his memoir of a life lived at the centre of digital innovation to explain what VR really is: the science of comprehensive illusion; the extension of the intimate magic of earliest childhood into adulthood; a hint of what life would be like without any limits.

As Lanier shows, we are standing on the threshold of an entirely new realm of human creativity, expression, communication and experience. While we can use VR to test our relationship with reality, it will test us in return, for how we choose to use it will reveal who we truly are.

Welcome to a mind-expanding, life-enhancing, world-changing adventure.

Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid (21 Nov 2017)
rise of the machines
As lives offline and online merge even more, it is easy to forget how we got here. Rise of the Machines reclaims the spectacular story of cybernetics, one of the twentieth century’s pivotal ideas.

Springing from the mind of mathematician Norbert Wiener amid the devastation of World War II, the cybernetic vision underpinned a host of seductive myths about the future of machines. Cybernetics triggered blissful cults and military gizmos, the Whole Earth Catalog and the air force’s foray into virtual space, as well as crypto-anarchists fighting for internet freedom.

In Rise of the Machines, Thomas Rid draws on unpublished sources–including interviews with hippies, anarchists, sleuths, and spies–to offer an unparalleled perspective into our anxious embrace of technology.

Answers to Questions You’ve Never Asked: Explaining the What If in Science, Geography and the Absurd by Joseph Pisenti (23 Nov 2017)
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Looking for trivia books filled with fun facts and trivia questions and answers? Answers to Questions You’ve Never Asked will entertain you for hour.

Fun facts for kids of all ages: When you take the most absurd parts of history, science, economics and geography, you end up with a pretty confusing picture of humanity. Why do we have borders, what’s the furthest you can get from the ocean, how do you qualify as a country and why did Vikings wear those silly helmets? These are just a few of the strange questions that bounce around the head of YouTube sensation Joseph Pisenti, aka RealLifeLore.

Trivia questions and answers: In his channel, Pisenti presents illogical truths in a logical manner. In his debut book, Pisenti builds on this nonsensical humor of the universe with in-depth analysis of empires, economies, and ecosystems as he helps answer the ridiculous. Why, you ask? Because someone has to. Using line drawings, graphs and charts, Pisenti not only details the absurd, but he also provides explanations on why things are…and why they aren’t. Answers to:

Where can I move to so that I’m never tempted by McDonalds again?
How far into the Pacific does Trump’s wall stretch?
If Plato came back to life, what would he think of modern democracy?
Why do all empires fail?
Who decides what countries are allowed to participate in the Olympics?
What makes Finland so great?

Witty, thought-provoking and occasionally snarky, Answers to Questions You’ve Never Asked is for anyone who beams with curiosity and has a belly-button.

Heavens on Earth by Michael Shermer (1 Feb 2018)
heavens on earth
In his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality along with utopian attempts to create heaven on earth. For millennia, religions have concocted numerous manifestations of heaven and the afterlife, and though no one has ever returned from such a place to report what it is really like – or that it even exists – today science and technology are being used to try to make it happen in our lifetime. From radical life extension to cryonic suspension to mind uploading, Shermer considers how realistic these attempts are from a proper skeptical perspective. Heavens on Earth concludes with an uplifting paean to purpose and progress and how we can live well in the here and now, whether or not there is a hereafter.

One thought on “5 New Science Books to Watch Out For

  1. Pingback: Sunday Post – 19th November 2017 | Brainfluff

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