A very impressive video on ocean exploration and the future of NOAA. Robert Ballard is basically the new Jacques Cousteau, trying to bring ocean exploration to the broad public and the scientific community. He mentions very exciting plans of how he will take ocean exploration to the next level! Amazing video!
Okay. So ted.com is just amazing… that is, when you find the right videos. So here are two of my latest favourite videos on 21st century physics made accessible to the general public. Very interestiung research being done at the moment!
A Google Talk from Luis von Ahn, an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also received his Ph.D. in 2005. The video is already two years old, but the subject is still very interesting.
The basic idea is to use “wasted human cycles”, as Luis calls them, to solve problems computers can’t solve yet. Luis defines our interactions with computers to be very parasitic (in which we are the parasites) and wants to shift it to a more symbiotic relationship. In order to show how important and relevant the topic is, Luis goes on to compare how much time people played solitaire online to how much time it took to build the Empire State Building.
Luis is a very good speaker, which makes this talk even more interesting. It’s easy to follow, with just the right amount of details, you’ll see, it’s hard to stop watching! Let me know what you think.
If I had to suggest two books to begin with, I would go with:
Ernst Mayr: What Evolution Is
Steve Jones: Darwin’s Ghost: The Origin of the Species Updated
(Or Charles Darwin: The Origin of Species directly if you have the patience and the wits…)
I’ve tried to give a certain order to the following list. The most influencial writers in comtemporary evolution theory come first. For example, Maynard Smith and Ernst Mayr are two very good writers and researchers from the 20th century. Super important stuff. One interesting note here, Niles Eldredge was the co-inventor of the theory of Punctuated equilibrium, on which you can read a really interesting article from Stephen Jay Gould’s free online archive.
John Maynard Smith: Evolution and the Theory of Games
John Maynard Smith: Evolutionary Genetics
Ernst Mayr: Toward a New Philosophy of Biology: Observations of an Evolutionist
Carl Zimmer: Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea.
Stephen Jay Gould: Ontogeny and Phylogeny
Richard Dawkins: Climbing Mount Improbable
Richard Dawkins: The Selfish Gene
Niles Eldredge: Reinventing Darwin
Niles Eldredge: The Natural History Reader in Evolution
Jared M. Diamond: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Jared Diamond: The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal
Daniel C. Dennett: Darwin’s Dangerous Idea
Michael T. Ghiselin: Metaphysics and the Origin of Species
P.J. Greenwood, et al.: Evolution
Matt Ridley: The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature