NEW eBooks About Society

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Singularity is Near eBook editions: far into the future with Ray Kurzweil

  The Singularity is Near is pretty dense.  Not something most people will want to sit down and read in one pass.  In fact I worked on it over a couple of months.  It is hard to really grasp Kurzweil's future.  A future driven by exponential growth in knowledge and computing power.that actually alter the basic tenets of human life.

His future vision is about knowledge explosion, computing, the biological revolution, the nanotechnology revolution and the organization of the human brain. As usual it is a mind blowing collection of great value to those of us who care where the future is taking us.

To grapple with the information contained in this expansion of the human potential over the next four decades takes an open mind and a willingness to accept at least some of what you may not understand.

I know some basic things about nanotech and the biotech revolution. I am as familiar with computing as any person who has participated in the development of that technology for the last forty years. But this book expanded my breadth and depth of knowledge dramatically. It is a heady experience and one well worth living if you like to know where humanity may be headed.

Buy it, borrow it, steal it, (apologies to Ray) but get your hands on it and read this book. It will help you understand the changes that are approaching and help you benefit from them rather than simply being run over by them. They are headed our way and moving at exponential speeds already. We do need to be ready for them.

Here is the publisher's take:

The great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil is one of the best-known and controversial advocates for the role of machines in the future of humanity.

In his latest, thrilling foray into the future, he envisions an event--the "singularity"--in which technological change becomes so rapid and so profound that our bodies and brains will merge with our machines.

The Singularity Is Near portrays what life will be like after this event--a human-machine civilization where our experiences shift from real reality to virtual reality and where our intelligence becomes nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than unaided human intelligence. In practical terms, this means that human aging and pollution will be reversed, world hunger will be solved, and our bodies and environment transformed by nanotechnology to overcome the limitations of biology, including death. We will be able to create virtually any physical product just from information, resulting in radical wealth creation.

In addition to outlining these fantastic changes, Kurzweil also considers their social and philosophical ramifications. With its radical but optimistic view of the course of human development, The Singularity Is Near is certain to be one of the most widely discussed and provocative books of 2005. Tags: ebook,e-books,kurzweil,nano technology,ebooks about science

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Place Called Canterbury: Tales of the New Old Age in America eBook edition

  A Place called Canterbury is a humorous and sometimes touching, meditation on how today's elderly live.

When his mother moved to a Tampa Bay Life Care Retirement Community, Canterbury Tower, Dudley Clendinen got an up close and very personal look at retirement and old age in America. 

The average age of the Canterbury Tower resident is 86,  The same age as my mother is now.  I used to think that 86 was ancient.  I could barely imagine anyone living that long.  These days, not only can I imagine it, I am watching a whole generation of my family living into their 80s and 90s.

My mother at 86 has barely slowed down.  She has a more active social life than I do.  My Dad's oldest sister is 90+ and (except for her hearing) is going strong.  Based on my heredity I am going to be around for a very long time. It is fair to say that for me A Place Called Canterbury is both an inspiration and a cautionary tale.

Let's face it.  Stories about old people have a predictable ending.  Too often they are by turns depressing or maudlin. A Place Called Canterbury is anything but. There are poignant stories that made me tear up.  There are stories that made me laugh out loud.  There are stories that made me think.  There were stories that put me to sleep. In the end these tales are not so much a chronicle of old age but a celebration of what it means to be human.

Canterbury Towers, as described by Clendinen, is full of fascinating characters who refuse grow old.  They are committed to living life to its fullest; they forget things, they tell funny stories, they snack after sex, they drink martinis and have wonderful social debates.  Clendinen reports it all. 

He says that in writing this book he "set out to be diarist and chronicler."  He did his job well.  His Mother, if she could read this book, would be proud. 

You probably do not want to read this book on an empty stomach -- all the descriptions of food will send you to the freezer for ice cream.  And as I read, I couldn't help but think of my Dad who used to say -- "The best thing about old age is that it beats the alternative. "  

This book is certainly not everyone's cup of tea.  It is only recommended for anyone who is aging or has an aging Mother.

OK -- here is what the publisher says:

In 1994 New York Times writer Dudley Clendinen's mother-a Southern matron of iron will but creaking bones-sold her house and moved to Canterbury Tower, a geriatric apartment building with full services and a nursing wing in Tampa Bay.

There she landed in a microcosm of the New Old Age. Canterbury was filled not just with old Tampa neighbors but also with strangers from across the country. Wealthy, middle class, or barely afloat; Christian, Jewish, or faithless; proud, widowed, or still married; grumpy or dear-they had all come together, at the average age of eighty-six, in search of a last place to live and die.

A Place Called Canterbury is a beautifully written, often hilarious, deeply moving look at how the oldest Americans are living with the reality of living longer. Peopled by brave, daffy, memorable characters determined to grow old with dignity-and to help one another avoid the dreaded nursing wing-A Place Called Canterbury is a kind of soap opera.

Likewise, it is a poignant chronicle of the last years of the Greatest Generation and their children, the Boomers, as they are drawn into old age with their parents. A Place Called Canterbury is an essential read for anyone with aging parents and anyone wondering what their own old age will look like.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Truth And Frenzy


'Truth & Consequences' by Keith Olbermann. The book is well written; Olbermann has an obvious gift for words and the writing is partly amusing, partly sarcastic and always deadly serious. I suppose the comments would be better if they were spoken, however there are some of us who do not get his television station (in my case because the cable company chose that station alone as the only news channel to be made a "premium channel") and these are comments that should be preserved and read again and again. Whether you agree with his viewpoint or not, you cannot deny Keith's skills as a writer. The most interesting parts of the book to me were his explanations of what he was thinking when he wrote each Special Comment, or to what he was reacting. He gives credit to his high school teachers for the endless writing drills that turned out to be perfect training for broadcast writing!

'Fat Envelope Frenzy' by Joie Jager-Hyman. I really enjoyed reading this eBook. It is still shocking to me how hard it is to get into an Ivy League school, so it's great to get a former college admission's officers take on things. The author definitely demystified things--for instance I never knew that being wait-listed in all but the rarest cases means your out. But the best thing about this book is the five kids who are followed during the year they are applying to college. One is the US champion in rhythmic gymnastics. Another spent his summers in China working in orphanages. Another is a math machine. And a fourth had his family home trashed in Hurricane Katrina. All such fascinating teenagers, with really moving stories. Great Read. Use the Coupon Code below to receive a Discount on these two eBook Titles.

TRUTH & CONSEQUENCES eBook edition by Olbermann, Keith
Keith Olbermann is the host of Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. A veteran broadcaster, he was the co-anchor (with Dan Patrick) of ESPN’s SportsCenter from 1992 to 1997 and helped to launch ESPN2 and ESPN Radio Network.
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Fat Envelope Frenzy eBook edition by Jager-Hyman, Joie
A former Ivy League admissions officer, Joie Jager-Hyman follows five bright and eager high schoolers—students from diverse ethnic, social, and financial backgrounds—as they each put their best foot forward on the road they hope will lead them to the hallowed halls of Harvard University.
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Buy either of these titles this week, and recieve an extra 5% off your total purchase - so read all you want - these titles and much more await you at!
Use the following coupon code at checkout:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Planes, Trains, And Automobiles, Oh and Politics


'Riding Toward Everywhere' by William T. Vollmann. Getting on and off moving trains can be a dangerous business: Vollmann has many tales about broken limbs and lost legs. You will learn about the people in this life. People outside the life, are referred to derisively as "citizens", and inside the group, there are codes of conduct. It's all rather like, in a way, homeless street people--people who live outside the normal boundaries of society. It's a fascinating look at a little-known life.

'The Power of the Vote' by Douglas E. Schoen. This eBook offer's incredible insights into the country's political process. Important, and thought-provoking book. Schoen obviously loves and intimately knows about politics. In this eBook, he skillfully informs us about the inner workings of the political process in a perceptive and entertaining manner. I not only enjoyed reading it, but I feel much smarter for having done so. You will too. Use the Coupon Code below for a Discount on one or both of these eBook Titles.

Riding Toward Everywhere eBook edition by Vollmann, William T.
Vollmann is a relentlessly curious, endlessly sensitive, and unequivocally adventurous examiner of human existence. He has investigated the causes and symptoms of humanity's obsession with violence (Rising Up and Rising Down), taken a personal look into the hearts and minds of the world's poorest inhabitants (Poor People), and now turns his attentions to America itself, to our romanticizing of "freedom" and the ways in which we restrict the very freedoms we profess to admire.
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Power of the Vote, The eBook edition by Schoen, Douglas E.
In The Power of the Vote, Douglas E. Schoen—one of the premier strategists in the history of Democratic politics—offers a never-before-seen glimpse inside the most pivotal campaigns of his storied career, providing an essential primer for understanding the elections of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
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Buy either of these titles this week, and recieve an extra 5% off your total purchase - so read all you want - these titles and much more await you at!
Use the following coupon code at checkout:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What America Is Coming To, And Where We Are Going


'America Unzipped:' by Brian Alexander. America has been conflicted about sexuality for a long while. Europeans for decades have been amused by how we can be sending titillating movies over there, but remain shy about, say, discussing condoms in school. Readers will be pleased to find lots of sex in Alexander's book, but not much of the "vanilla" kind. There is an appropriate tone of wide-eyed amusement throughout, and a thoughtful examination of America's current version of sexual paradox. You will find entertainment and satisfaction throughout the chapters of Alexander's recounting of a unique and amusing journey.

'Dreams From My Father' by Barack Obama. I was fascinated by this unusual story and carried along by the eloquence and insightfulness of the author. This made a great reference work for the subsequent book, Audacity of Hope. Barack Obama was of an interracial marriage. Most of us remember, until 1967, many children in interracial marriages, like those in gay households today, were deprived of equal rights under the laws. Yet, few recall that Albino Luciani (later to become John Paul I) led the same struggle in Italy. When Barack decided to include his black ancestors, it gave him a stronger sense of community and a wider connection to the global community of the world. Very interesting read. I liked it! Check below for the Coupon Code to receive a Discount on either of these two eBook Titles.

America Unzipped: In Search of Sex and Satisfaction (Mobipocket) eBook edition by Alexander, Brian
Welcome to the America we don’t usually talk about, a place where that nice couple down the street could be saddling up for “pony play,” making and selling their own porn DVDs, or hosting other couples for a little flogging.
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BARACK OBAMA graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991, where he served as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He has worked as a community organizer, civil rights attorney, and law professor.
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Buy either of these titles this week, and recieve an extra 5% off your total purchase - so read all you want - these titles and much more await you at!
Use the following coupon code at checkout: