December 7, 2007


Neuromancer is a 1984 novel by William Gibson, notable for being the most famous early cyberpunk novel and winner of the so-called science-fiction “triple crown” (the Nebula Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and the Hugo Award). It was Gibson’s first novel and the first of the Sprawl trilogy. The title seems to be a play on words based on its close resemblance to Necromancer, a person who receives divinations from disembodied spirits.

Neuromancer tells the story of Case, an out-of-work computer hacker hired by a mysterious patron to participate in a seemingly impossible crime. The novel examines the concepts of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, genetic engineering, multinational corporations overpowering the traditional nation-state and cyberspace long before these ideas became fashionable in popular culture including the internet itself.

The Dark Tower

September 6, 2007


The Dark Tower is a series of seven books by American writer Stephen King. The series begins, “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” It tells the story of the last living member of the Gunslingers, Roland Deschain, and his quest to catch The Man in Black, which will ultimately lead him to the Dark Tower. The Dark Tower is often described in the novels as a metaphor, and also as a real structure said to be located at the nexus of all universes. Roland exists in a place where “the world has moved on”, in a world that is recognizable as the Old West but exists in an alternate time frame or parallel universe to our own. The series incorporates themes from multiple genres, including fantasy fiction, science fantasy, horror, and western elements. King has described the series as his magnum opus; beside the seven novels that comprise the series proper, many of his other books are related to the story, introducing concepts and characters that come into play as the series progresses.

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Ending Aging

September 4, 2007

In Ending Aging, Dr. de Grey and his research assistant Michael Rae describe the details of this biotechnology. They explain that the aging of the human body, just like the aging of man-made machines, results from an accumulation of various types of damage. As with man-made machines, this damage can periodically be repaired, leading to indefinite extension of the machine’s fully functional lifetime, just as is routinely done with classic cars. We already know what types of damage accumulate in the human body, and we are moving rapidly toward the comprehensive development of technologies to remove that damage. By demystifying aging and its postponement for the nonspecialist reader, de Grey and Rae systematically dismantle the fatalist presumption that aging will forever defeat the efforts of medical science.

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Imagining The Tenth Dimension

June 8, 2007

Welcome to the Tenth Dimension – and thank you to “What Is Enlightenment?” magazine for their enthusiastic 2 1/2 page article about the book and this project in their current issue. Most of us have gotten used to the idea of there being four dimensions: but how can we possibly imagine the tenth? This project starts from the unique argument that time really is the fourth spatial dimension. This “new way of thinking about time and space” is not the traditional position of mainstream science (which says that time is not a full dimension, but rather a quality that is overlaid on the other three dimensions of space to create “spacetime”). Still, many people feel this new idea has resonances with their own ways of understanding reality.

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The Universe In A Single Atom

December 6, 2006

As the Dalai Lama observes in this wise and humble book, dialogue between scientists and those interested in spirituality is important because science is not neutral; it can be used for good or ill, and we must approach scientific inquiry with compassion and empathy. Similarly, a spirituality that ignores science can quickly become a rigid fundamentalism. Sometimes the Dalai Lama discovers similarities between the two fields. For example, Einstein’s idea that time is relative dovetails neatly with Buddhist philosophical understandings of time. Still, His Holiness does not accept all scientific thinking as holy writ: though he is intrigued by scientific stories of origins, like the Big Bang theory, Buddhism holds that the universe is “infinite and beginningless.”

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Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future

June 8, 2006

Gregory Stock has written an enthusiastic book in support of germ-line manipulations — that is, making genetic modifications to eggs, sperm and embryos that can be passed on to future generations. Like previous explorations of the subject by the ethicist Joseph F. Fletcher, the lawyer John Robertson and the biologist James Watson, among others, ”Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future” serves as an apologia for those scientists and physicians who are already edging toward such work in a piecemeal fashion in research labs and in vitro fertilization clinics around the world. It advocates the wholesale adoption of genetic manipulations with the purpose of finally taking control of human evolution. This, the author writes, ”is the ultimate expression and realization of our humanity.”

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Ontological Semantics

June 6, 2006

I had a chance to sit down and talk with Victor Raskin last week about a project that I am working on currently.  He has a book which I recently purchased because I am highly intrigued with the idea of the semantic web.  Ontological semantics, an integrated complex of theories, methodologies, descriptions, and implementations, attempts to systematize ideas about both semantic description as representation and manipulation of meaning by computer programs.

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