Re: Moral Machines

Wendell Wallach and Colin Allen raise some interesting questions in Moral Machines. Who is responsible when a driverless train runs amuck? Or when an automated medical system prescribes the wrong drug, or fail to detect drug interactions?  Why do we react to a robot displaying emotions as if it could feel them? Does a bomb […]

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Re: Game Change

Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, by John Heilemann & Mark Halperin is such a fast, trashy read, it almost takes longer to say the title than to read the book. The anecdotes are interesting, but the writing is pedestrian. It’s more entertaining to hear the […]

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Re: God’s Problem

Since I like messing about with gods, I found Bart Ehrman’s interview on Fresh Air about the problem of evil very interesting. In his book, God’s Problem, Ehrman examines how the Bible attempts to reconcile the idea of a loving, omnipotent god with the evil in this world. Each chapter opens with his personal observations […]

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Re: Predictably Irrational

I recently read a profile of Krugman in the New Yorker, which said that economists assume that people are rational economic actors because you can be irrational in too many ways. Irrationality is not predictable.  Predictably Irrational, by Daniel Ariely makes the case that it is.

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Re: Your Inner Fish

With its strong emphasis on commonalities with all tetrapods, all animals with heads, all animals with bodies, all living beings — Your Inner Fish,  by Neil Shubin is a fascinating book about the structures in our bodies.  It’s a little sad that the book has to begin with an argument for evolution. The first chapter […]

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Re: The Voyage of the Beagle

It took the Beagle five years to sail around the world, and it only took me just over one year for me to get through Darwin’s book about it, The Voyage of the Beagle. It’s basically a travelogue with forays inland to describe the various geologies and curious animals, in short the 19th century equivalent […]

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Re: Inbound 4

Boston is full of local history, odd little stories that add up to a sense of place. A fun collection of some is presented in comic book form is Inbound 4: A Comic Book History of Boston. Assembled by the Boston Comics Roundtable, these Boston-based artists tell a wide assortment of historic tales. It’s like […]

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Re: In Cheap We Trust

The main thesis of In Cheap We Trust, by Lauren Weber, is that most people live cheaply only when they have to. To a few it comes naturally, like the author’s father.  People in comfort, Ben Franklin included, might look back on a frugal past and call it virtuous, but those were people living in […]

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Re: Where’s My Jetpack?

Way back in 2007, Daniel H. Wilson asked the question you weren’t allowed to ask at Boskone, Where’s My Jetpack? Short answer: The Smithsonian. Long answer: Here’s thirty things from the future that didn’t turn out nearly as cool as they were supposed to.

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