Re: Recent Readings of List Members

The Baileys (
Tue, 29 Dec 1998 21:09:31 -0500

Septhakas wrote:

> I'd like to know what some of the recent books you've read in the past year.

Most of the interesting stuff out there is contained in papers. A lovely thing would be an annual version of Ander's "This week's finds in science journals". Eugene Leitl makes a great attempt at providing a steady supply of such material on the transhuman tech list. If your institution has access to journals there are several gateways for searching and perusal.

With that said, there were some interesting books I've read in the past year or so. All these are located at

_The Age of Spiritual Machines_, Ray Kurzweil: I just finished this one. A
nice popularization of many of the concepts surrounding superintelligence. While tame in its scope relative to the discussions you might find in transhumanist circles, its good to see this type of subject matter getting more attention from the publishing houses.

_What Remains To Be Discovered_, John Maddox: A luminous figure in science
gives his take on the challenges to science in the next century or so. Maddox advocates a position very similar to some of the core concepts in transhumanism though I doubt he considers himself a transhumanist.

_The Feynman Processor_, Gerard Milburn: A nice work on quantum computation.

_The Search for Superstrings, Symmetry, and the Theory of Everything_, John
Gribbin: Generally, Gribbin is a good science popularizer. However, the first 140 pages of this book are old hat. The meat of the book is the last chapter where Gribbin gives his take on the latest developments in the search for a TOE. The book is pricey ($23) given you can learn most of what Gribbin states for free and in greater depth from John Baez's site.

_Immortality_, Ben Bova: A good introduction to the potentiality of
immortality for the layperson.

_Clones and Clones: Facts and Fantasies _, ed. Nussbaum and Sunstein: A
refreshingly Rifkin-free collection of essays about cloning and bioethics in general.

_The Origin of Virtue_, Matthew Ridley: An excellent work revealing the role
of altruism as an evolutionary advantage.

Hope this helps.

Doug Bailey