Carving Our Destiny: Scientific Research Faces a New Millennium

Joseph Henry Press
Free sample

This is a book for people who love and understand science and want to know more about contemporary research frontiers. The questions addressed are as fascinating as they are diverse: Is the human mind truly unique among the primates? Does "dark matter" really exist in the universe? What can the human genome tell us about our evolutionary history?

These wide-ranging topics are brought together by virtue of their impact on our understanding of ourselves--and by the caliber of the authors: ten young scientists and scholars, reaching the height of their powers, who are especially talented in communicating their research findings to broad audiences. They were chosen to receive the prestigious Centennial Fellowships awarded in 1998 by the McDonnell Foundation, established and funded by the late aerospace pioneer James S. McDonnell.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Joseph Henry Press
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Published on
Jan 1, 2001
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Pages
343
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ISBN
9780309183093
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / General
Science / Research & Methodology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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While researching this book, Glenn Schweitzer met four Moscow physicists who were trying to license Russian technology to western firms for product manufacture. During the worst times, they were reduced to driving taxis to keep things afloat. He asked them, will technological innovation have a discernible impact on the Russian economy in the coming decade? No, was the immediate reply. Are they right?

In Swords into Market Shares, Schweitzer examines the roots of such pessimism and the prospects for Russia to prosper from its technology in the post-Soviet world. He explores the different visions of prosperity held by entrepreneurs, technologists, and government officials and goes on to examine the barriers to progress as Russia struggles to build a viable technology industry on its own terms. In accessible language, this book talks about technology's place within Russia's economy and its research and development infrastructure. Schweitzer looks at the impact of the Soviet legacy--central planning, lack of priorities, scant incentives for personal initiative--and the aftermath of the Russian financial meltdown of 1998.

He also reviews the experiences of American companies that have invested in Russian technology and examines the results of pressure to reform according to the economic model of the West. Schweitzer goes on to document the problems of economic crime and government corruption, which plague activities designed to generate income in Russia. He discusses the lack of protection for intellectual property and taxation issues that stand in the way of technological innovation. The book looks at the impact of the "brain drain" as Russian experts seek greener pastures--not only the ominous recruitment of Russian biological weapons experts and the acquisition of military technology by "rogue" nations--but also Russia's own program to sell military technology for badly needed funds.

Schweitzer's use of case studies and examples puts a human face on these issues. He also discusses Russia's 60 "science cities"--sites of state research centers--with close-ups of three "nuclear cities."

Can the technical strengths of the Soviet military complex find a place in civilian Russia? How can this vast country sustain even a minimal standard of living? Swords into Market Shares addresses these and other key questions and explores fundamental policy issues confronting both Russia and the United States as Russia struggles for an economic foothold.
A prescient warning of a future we now inhabit, where fake news stories and Internet conspiracy theories play to a disaffected American populace

“A glorious book . . . A spirited defense of science . . . From the first page to the last, this book is a manifesto for clear thought.”—Los Angeles Times

How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don’t understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the pursuit of truth but to the very well-being of our democratic institutions.

Casting a wide net through history and culture, Sagan examines and authoritatively debunks such celebrated fallacies of the past as witchcraft, faith healing, demons, and UFOs. And yet, disturbingly, in today's so-called information age, pseudoscience is burgeoning with stories of alien abduction, channeling past lives, and communal hallucinations commanding growing attention and respect. As Sagan demonstrates with lucid eloquence, the siren song of unreason is not just a cultural wrong turn but a dangerous plunge into darkness that threatens our most basic freedoms.

Praise for The Demon-Haunted World

“Powerful . . . A stirring defense of informed rationality. . . Rich in surprising information and beautiful writing.”—The Washington Post Book World

“Compelling.”—USA Today

“A clear vision of what good science means and why it makes a difference. . . . A testimonial to the power of science and a warning of the dangers of unrestrained credulity.”—The Sciences

“Passionate.”—San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle
A USA TODAY BESTSELLER
An all-encompassing guide to skeptical thinking from podcast host and academic neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine Steven Novella and his SGU co-hosts, which Richard Wiseman calls "the perfect primer for anyone who wants to separate fact from fiction."
It is intimidating to realize that we live in a world overflowing with misinformation, bias, myths, deception, and flawed knowledge. There really are no ultimate authority figures-no one has the secret, and there is no place to look up the definitive answers to our questions (not even Google).
Luckily, THE SKEPTICS' GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE is your map through this maze of modern life. Here Dr. Steven Novella-along with Bob Novella, Cara Santa Maria, Jay Novella, and Evan Bernstein-will explain the tenets of skeptical thinking and debunk some of the biggest scientific myths, fallacies, and conspiracy theories-from anti-vaccines to homeopathy, UFO sightings to N- rays. You'll learn the difference between science and pseudoscience, essential critical thinking skills, ways to discuss conspiracy theories with that crazy co- worker of yours, and how to combat sloppy reasoning, bad arguments, and superstitious thinking.

So are you ready to join them on an epic scientific quest, one that has taken us from huddling in dark caves to setting foot on the moon? (Yes, we really did that.) DON'T PANIC! With THE SKEPTICS' GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE, we can do this together.

"Thorough, informative, and enlightening, The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe inoculates you against the frailties and shortcomings of human cognition. If this book does not become required reading for us all, we may well see modern civilization unravel before our eyes."--Neil deGrasse Tyson
"In this age of real and fake information, your ability to reason, to think in scientifically skeptical fashion, is the most important skill you can have. Read The Skeptics' Guide Universe; get better at reasoning. And if this claim about the importance of reason is wrong, The Skeptics' Guide will help you figure that out, too." --Bill Nye

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