Scale

Author: Geoffrey West
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1594205582
Format: PDF, ePub
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"From one of the most influential scientists of our time, a dazzling exploration of the hidden laws that govern the life cycle of everything from plants and animals to the cities we live in. The former head of the Sante Fe Institute, visionary physicist Geoffrey West is a pioneer in the field of complexity science, the science of emergent systems and networks. The term "complexity" can be misleading, however, because what makes West's discoveries so beautiful is that he has found an underlying simplicity that unites the seemingly complex and diverse phenomena of living systems, including our bodies, our cities and our businesses. Fascinated by issues of aging and mortality, West applied the rigor of a physicist to the biological question of why we live as long as we do and no longer. The result was astonishing, and changed science, creating a new understanding of energy use and metabolism: West found that despite the riotous diversity in the sizes of mammals, they are all, to a large degree, scaled versions of each other. If you know the size of a mammal, you can use scaling laws to learn everything from how much food it eats per day, what its heart-rate is, how long it will take to mature, its lifespan, and so on. Furthermore, the efficiency of the mammal's circulatory systems scales up precisely based on weight: if you compare a mouse, a human and an elephant on a logarithmic graph, you find with every doubling of average weight, a species gets 25% more efficient--and lives 25% longer. This speaks to everything from how long we can expect to live to how many hours of sleep we need. Fundamentally, he has proven, the issue has to do with the fractal geometry of the networks that supply energy and remove waste from the organism's body"--

Scale

Author: Geoffrey West
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101621508
Format: PDF, Kindle
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"This is science writing as wonder and as inspiration." —The Wall Street Journal Wall Street Journal From one of the most influential scientists of our time, a dazzling exploration of the hidden laws that govern the life cycle of everything from plants and animals to the cities we live in. Visionary physicist Geoffrey West is a pioneer in the field of complexity science, the science of emergent systems and networks. The term “complexity” can be misleading, however, because what makes West’s discoveries so beautiful is that he has found an underlying simplicity that unites the seemingly complex and diverse phenomena of living systems, including our bodies, our cities and our businesses. Fascinated by aging and mortality, West applied the rigor of a physicist to the biological question of why we live as long as we do and no longer. The result was astonishing, and changed science: West found that despite the riotous diversity in mammals, they are all, to a large degree, scaled versions of each other. If you know the size of a mammal, you can use scaling laws to learn everything from how much food it eats per day, what its heart-rate is, how long it will take to mature, its lifespan, and so on. Furthermore, the efficiency of the mammal’s circulatory systems scales up precisely based on weight: if you compare a mouse, a human and an elephant on a logarithmic graph, you find with every doubling of average weight, a species gets 25% more efficient—and lives 25% longer. Fundamentally, he has proven, the issue has to do with the fractal geometry of the networks that supply energy and remove waste from the organism’s body. West’s work has been game-changing for biologists, but then he made the even bolder move of exploring his work’s applicability. Cities, too, are constellations of networks and laws of scalability relate with eerie precision to them. Recently, West has applied his revolutionary work to the business world. This investigation has led to powerful insights into why some companies thrive while others fail. The implications of these discoveries are far-reaching, and are just beginning to be explored. Scale is a thrilling scientific adventure story about the elemental natural laws that bind us together in simple but profound ways. Through the brilliant mind of Geoffrey West, we can envision how cities, companies and biological life alike are dancing to the same simple, powerful tune.

Scale

Author: Geoffrey West
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
ISBN: 9780297609476
Format: PDF, ePub
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Geoffrey West's research centres on a quest to find unifying principles and patterns connecting everything from cells and ecosystems to cities, social networks and businesses. SCALE addresses big, urgent questions about global sustainability, population explosion, urbanization, ageing, cancer, human lifespans and the increasing pace of life, but also encourages us to question the world around us. Why can we live for 120 years but not for a thousand? Why does the pace of life continually increase? Why do mice live for just two or three years and elephants for up to 75? Why do companies behave like mice, and are they all destined to die? Do cities, companies and human beings have natural, pre-determined lifespans? Why, in fact, do we die? Are we just a fascinating experiment in natural selection that is ultimately doomed to fail? And what is the origin of the magic number 4 that seems to determine much of physiology and life-history from birth to death?SCALE is a seminal book of breathtaking originality and scope.

The Knowledge Illusion

Author: Steven Sloman
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0399184341
Format: PDF
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“The Knowledge Illusion is filled with insights on how we should deal with our individual ignorance and collective wisdom.” —Steven Pinker We all think we know more than we actually do. Humans have built hugely complex societies and technologies, but most of us don’t even know how a pen or a toilet works. How have we achieved so much despite understanding so little? Cognitive scientists Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach argue that we survive and thrive despite our mental shortcomings because we live in a rich community of knowledge. The key to our intelligence lies in the people and things around us. We’re constantly drawing on information and expertise stored outside our heads: in our bodies, our environment, our possessions, and the community with which we interact—and usually we don’t even realize we’re doing it. The human mind is both brilliant and pathetic. We have mastered fire, created democratic institutions, stood on the moon, and sequenced our genome. And yet each of us is error prone, sometimes irrational, and often ignorant. The fundamentally communal nature of intelligence and knowledge explains why we often assume we know more than we really do, why political opinions and false beliefs are so hard to change, and why individual-oriented approaches to education and management frequently fail. But our collaborative minds also enable us to do amazing things. The Knowledge Illusion contends that true genius can be found in the ways we create intelligence using the community around us.

Waking Up

Author: Sam Harris
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1451636032
Format: PDF, Kindle
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For the millions of Americans who want spirituality without religion, Sam Harris’s latest New York Times bestseller is a guide to meditation as a rational practice informed by neuroscience and psychology. From Sam Harris, neuroscientist and author of numerous New York Times bestselling books, Waking Up is for the twenty percent of Americans who follow no religion but who suspect that important truths can be found in the experiences of such figures as Jesus, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi, and the other saints and sages of history. Throughout this book, Harris argues that there is more to understanding reality than science and secular culture generally allow, and that how we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the quality of our lives. Waking Up is part memoir and part exploration of the scientific underpinnings of spirituality. No other book marries contemplative wisdom and modern science in this way, and no author other than Sam Harris—a scientist, philosopher, and famous skeptic—could write it.

The Creative Spark

Author: Agustín Fuentes
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101983957
Format: PDF, Mobi
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A bold new synthesis of paleontology, archaeology, genetics, and anthropology that overturns misconceptions about race, war and peace, and human nature itself, answering an age-old question: What made humans so exceptional among all the species on Earth? Creativity. It is the secret of what makes humans special, hiding in plain sight. Agustín Fuentes argues that your child's finger painting comes essentially from the same place as creativity in hunting and gathering millions of years ago, and throughout history in making war and peace, in intimate relationships, in shaping the planet, in our communities, and in all of art, religion, and even science. It requires imagination and collaboration. Every poet has her muse; every engineer, an architect; every politician, a constituency. The manner of the collaborations varies widely, but successful collaboration is inseparable from imagination, and it brought us everything from knives and hot meals to iPhones and interstellar spacecraft. Weaving fascinating stories of our ancient ancestors' creativity, Fuentes finds the patterns that match modern behavior in humans and animals. This key quality has propelled the evolutionary development of our bodies, minds, and cultures, both for good and for bad. It's not the drive to reproduce; nor competition for mates, or resources, or power; nor our propensity for caring for one another that have separated us out from all other creatures. As Fuentes concludes, to make something lasting and useful today you need to understand the nature of your collaboration with others, what imagination can and can't accomplish, and, finally, just how completely our creativity is responsible for the world we live in. Agustín Fuentes's resounding multimillion-year perspective will inspire readers—and spark all kinds of creativity.

Economic Risks of Climate Change

Author: Trevor Houser
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023153955X
Format: PDF, ePub
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Climate change threatens the economy of the United States through increased flooding and storm damage, climate-driven changes in crop yields, disruptions in labor productivity, crime, and public health and heat-related strains on energy systems. Combining current data with state-of-the-art climate models, econometric research on human responses to climate, and cutting-edge private sector risk assessment tools, this prospectus crafts a game-changing analysis of the risks of future climate change in specific U.S. regions and sectors. This work is based on a critically acclaimed independent assessment of climate change's economic risks commissioned by the Risky Business Project. With contributions from Karen Fisher-Vanden (Penn State University), Michael Greenstone (MIT), Geoffrey Heal (Columbia Business School), Michael Oppenheimer (Princeton University), and Nicholas Stern and Bob Ward (Grantham Research Institute), as well as a foreword from the nation's leading voices on environmental action, the prospectus speaks to scientists, researchers, scholars, activists, and policymakers. It depicts the distribution of escalating climate change risk across the country and anticipates its effects on aspects as varied as coastal property and crime. Beautifully illustrated and accessibly written, Economic Risks of Climate Change is an essential tool for helping businesses and governments prepare for the future.

The Mathematical Corporation

Author: Josh Sullivan
Publisher: PublicAffairs
ISBN: 1610397894
Format: PDF, ePub
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The most powerful weapon in business today is the alliance between the mathematical smarts of machines and the imaginative human intellect of great leaders. Together they make the mathematical corporation, the business model of the future. We are at a once-in-a-decade breaking point similar to the quality revolution of the 1980s and the dawn of the internet age in the 1990s: leaders must transform how they run their organizations, or competitors will bring them crashing to earth--often overnight. Mathematical corporations--the organizations that will master the future--will outcompete high-flying rivals by merging the best of human ingenuity with machine intelligence. While smart machines are weapon number one for organizations, leaders are still the drivers of breakthroughs. Only they can ask crucial questions to capitalize on business opportunities newly discovered in oceans of data. This dynamic combination will make possible the fulfillment of missions that once seemed out of reach, even impossible to attain. Josh Sullivan and Angela Zutavern's extraordinary examples include the entrepreneur who upended preventive health care, the oceanographer who transformed fisheries management, and the pharmaceutical company that used algorithm-driven optimization to boost vaccine yields. Together they offer a profoundly optimistic vision for a dazzling new phase in business, and a playbook for how smart companies can manage the essential combination of human and machine.

The Improbability Principle

Author: David J. Hand
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 0374175349
Format: PDF, Mobi
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A well-known statistician presents his theory that extraordinary and rare events are actually commonplace and cites stories of two-time lottery winners and other bizarre coincidences to support his theory that unlikely events statistically must happen. 50,000 first printing.

Complexity and Evolution

Author: David S. Wilson
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 026233772X
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Two widely heralded yet contested approaches to economics have emerged in recent years: one emphasizes evolutionary theory in terms of individuals and institutions; the other views economies as complex adaptive systems. In this book, leading scholars examine these two bodies of theory, exploring their possible impact on economics. Relevant concepts from evolutionary theory drawn on by the contributors include the distinction between proximate and ultimate causation, multilevel selection, cultural change as an evolutionary process, and human psychology as a product of gene-culture coevolution. Applicable ideas from complexity theory include self-organization, fractals, chaos theory, sensitive dependence, basins of attraction, and path dependence. The contributors discuss a synthesis of complexity and evolutionary approaches and the challenges that emerge. Focusing on evolutionary behavioral economics, and the evolution of institutions, they offer practical applications and point to avenues for future research.ContributorsRobert Axtell, Jenna Bednar, Eric D. Beinhocker, Adrian V. Bell, Terence C. Burnham, Julia Chelen, David Colander, Iain D. Couzin, Thomas E. Currie, Joshua M. Epstein, Daniel Fricke, Herbert Gintis, Paul W. Glimcher, John Gowdy, Thorsten Hens, Michael E. Hochberg, Alan Kirman, Robert Kurzban, Leonhard Lades, Stephen E. G. Lea, John E. Mayfield, Mariana Mazzucato, Kevin McCabe, John F. Padgett, Scott E. Page, Karthik Panchanathan, Peter J. Richerson, Peter Schuster, Georg Schwesinger, Rajiv Sethi, Enrico Spolaore, Sven Steinmo, Miriam Teschl, Peter Turchin, Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh, Sander E. van der Leeuw, Romain Wacziarg, John J. Wallis, David S. Wilson, Ulrich Witt