Get out your credit card and get some...

Science Books

February 8, 2007

The Intelligent Universe: AI, ET, and the Emerging Mind of the Cosmos
James Gardner (2007), with a foreword by Ray Kurzweil
ISBN: 1564149196

While we are not immortal, it's somehow still a downer to dwell upon the fact that the ultimate fate of our universe is to end in oblivion by either fire or ice. It would be comforting to know that at least the universe, and perhaps the memory of our lives carried through generations, would linger for eternity. Not one to take his fate lying down, James Gardner, a highly regarded and widely published complexity theorist, proposes yet a third alternative for the universe. Gardner claims that the universe is conceived upon a superior and all-pervading group intelligence (i.e. we humans), that at some later advanced stage of development will manufacture a cosmic renewal. This final state of the universe certainly sounds... well, far out, man, but Gardner's idea has received lavish praise from the likes of acclaimed physicist and writer Paul Davies, Ray Kurzweil, author of The Singularity Is Near, and Britain's Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees. Explanations for how the universe will be "reborn" venture into the future of human intelligence and of cosmic consciousness, which is likely to lose the attention of people still reeling from the onslaught of Intelligent Design arguments. As Dr. John Casti, author of Paradigms Lost, says, the implication of The Intelligent Universe is that humans "are the universe." Did someone say anthropocentrism? All that aside, Gardner makes a compelling, albeit rather speculative, case, and if you enjoy engaging with big "what if" questions, then you'll no doubt get a kick out of The Intelligent Universe.

The Last Forest: The Amazon in the Age of Globalization
Mark London, Brian Kelly (2007)
ISBN: 0679643052

At best, the future of the Amazon River basin and its once plentiful and diverse flora and fauna - not to mention its lush rainforests, which represent a full one-half of the Earth's remaining forests - looks bleak. Or so we've been told. Now, Mark London, a practicing attorney in Washington, D.C., and Brian Kelly, executive editor of U.S. News & World Report, have arrived on the scene to assure us that all is not lost, as Brazil's emerging democracy is likely to have a positive effect on environmental policy. Having already co-written Amazon, London and Kelly are no strangers to the region, and also to those willing to exploit it for financial gain. Back in 1980, when the pair visited the Amazon basin to research Amazon, 3 percent of the rainforests had disappeared. Today, that figure has risen to 20 percent. As a result, the team has spent a great deal of time chasing down and interviewing environmentalists, government ministers, developers, rich land owners and the poor to better understand what's in store for the Amazonian rainforests. What follows is an in-depth analysis into the question of whether the Amazon can provide a means of economic support for 21 million Brazilians, while still remaining the world's last great forest. As we discover, it is imperative that such a balance is found, and soon. London and Kelly's ability to so thoroughly convey the complexity of the Amazon problem while successfully embedding it within a truly riveting narrative is admirable. Highly recommended.

[Back to the Main Books Page]

Top of page     Home page     Forums     About

The terms and conditions governing your use of this website.

© 1997 - 2016 McMurdo Media Pty Ltd and its licensors. All rights reserved.