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Outdesigning Evolution, Resurrecting Species, and Reengineering Our World

We have all heard that there are no longer any places left on Earth untouched by humans. The significance of this goes beyond statistics documenting melting glaciers and shrinking species counts. It signals a new geological epoch. In The Synthetic Age, Christopher Preston argues that what is most startling about this coming epoch is not only how much impact humans have had but, more important, how much deliberate shaping they will start to do. Emerging technologies promise to give us the power to take over some of Nature’s most basic operations.

Victorian Women Inventors and their Extraordinary Cycle Wear

The bicycle in Victorian Britain is often celebrated as a vehicle of women's liberation. Less noted is another critical technology with which women forged new and mobile public lives—cycle wear. This illustrated account of women’s cycle wear from Goldsmiths Press brings together Victorian engineering and radical feminist invention to supply a missing chapter in the history of feminism.

Adaptation and Growth

This comprehensive overview of the modern Chinese economy by a noted expert on China's economic development offers a quality and breadth of coverage not found in any other English-language text. In The Chinese Economy, Barry Naughton provides both a broadly focused introduction to China's economy since 1949 and original insights based on his own extensive research.

Mural Journal, May '68

Graffiti itself became a form of freedom.
—Julien Besançon, The Walls Have the Floor

A Tar Sands Tale

Confounded by global warming and in search of an affirmative politics that links ecology with social change, Matt Hern and Am Johal set off on a series of road trips to the tar sands of northern Alberta—perhaps the world’s largest industrial site, dedicated to the dirty work of extracting oil from Alberta’s vast reserves.

Recording and the Science of Birdsong

Scientific observation and representation tend to be seen as exclusively visual affairs. But scientists have often drawn on sensory experiences other than the visual. Since the end of the nineteenth century, biologists have used a variety of techniques to register wildlife sounds. In this book, Joeri Bruyninckx describes the evolution of sound recording into a scientific technique for studying the songs and calls of wild birds and asks, what it means to listen to animal voices as a scientist.

Ex-Prodigy: My Childhood and Youth and I Am a Mathematician: The Later Life of a Prodigy

Norbert Wiener—A Life in Cybernetics combines for the first time the two volumes of Norbert Wiener’s celebrated autobiography. Published at the height of public enthusiasm for cybernetics—when it was taken up by scientists, engineers, science fiction writers, artists, and musicians—Ex-Prodigy (1953) and I Am a Mathematician (1956) received attention from both scholarly and mainstream publications, garnering reviews and publicity in outlets that ranged from the New York Times and New York Post to the Virginia Quarterly Review.

An Infrastructural History of BP in Iran

In the early twentieth century, international oil corporations emerged as a new kind of political actor. The development of the world oil industry, argues Katayoun Shafiee, was one of the era’s largest political projects of techno-economic development. In this book, Shafiee maps the machinery of oil operations in the Anglo-Iranian oil industry between 1901 and 1954, tracking the organizational work involved in moving oil through a variety of technical, legal, scientific, and administrative networks.

Personal Property in the Digital Economy

If you buy a book at the bookstore, you own it. You can take it home, scribble in the margins, put in on the shelf, lend it to a friend, sell it at a garage sale. But is the same thing true for the ebooks or other digital goods you buy? Retailers and copyright holders argue that you don’t own those purchases, you merely license them. That means your ebook vendor can delete the book from your device without warning or explanation—as Amazon deleted Orwell’s 1984 from the Kindles of surprised readers several years ago. These readers thought they owned their copies of 1984.

Tales of Dongles, Checks, and Other Money Stuff
Edited by Bill Maurer and Lana Swartz

Museums are full of the coins, notes, beads, shells, stones, and other objects people have exchanged for millennia. But what about the debris, the things that allow a transaction to take place and are left in its wake? How would a museum go about curating our scrawls on electronic keypads, the receipts wadded in our wallets, that vast information infrastructure that runs the card networks?

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