Neil deGrasse Tyson Selects the 8 Books Every Intelligent Person Should Read


How to “glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world.”

In December of 2011, Neil deGrasse Tysonchampion of science, celebrator of the cosmic perspective, master of the soundbite — participated in Reddit’sAsk Me Anything series of public questions and answers. One reader posed the following question: “Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on the planet?” Adding to history’s notable reading lists — including those by Leo Tolstoy, Alan Turing, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Stewart Brand, and Carl Sagan — Tyson offers the following eight essentials, each followed by a short, and sometimes wry, statement about “how the book’s content influenced the behavior of people who shaped the western world”:

  1. The Bible (public library; free ebook), to learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself
  2. The System of the World (public library; free ebook) by Isaac Newton, to learn that the universe is a knowable place
  3. On the Origin of Species (public library; free ebook) by Charles Darwin, to learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth
  4. Gulliver’s Travels (public library; free ebook) by Jonathan Swift, to learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos
  5. The Age of Reason (public library; free ebook) by Thomas Paine, to learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world
  6. The Wealth of Nations (public library; free ebook) by Adam Smith, to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself
  7. The Art of War (public library; free ebook) by Sun Tzu, to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art
  8. The Prince (public library; free ebook) by Machiavelli, to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it

Tyson adds:

If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world.

(What has driven it, evidently, is also the systematic exclusion of the female perspective. The prototypical “intelligent person” would be remiss not to also read, at the very least, Margaret Fuller’s foundational text Woman in the Nineteenth Century, which is even available as a free ebook, and Betty Friedan’sThe Feminine Mystique. But, of course, the question of diversity is an infinite one and any list is bound to be pathologically unrepresentative of all of humanity — a challenge I’ve addressed elsewhere — so Tyson’s selections remain indispensable despite their chromosomal lopsidedness. My hope, meanwhile, is that we’ll begin to see more such reading lists by prominent female scientists, philosophers, artists, or writers of the past and present; to my knowledge, none have been made public as of yet — except perhaps Susan Sontag’s diary, which is essentially a lifelong reading list.)

Complement with Nabokov on the six short stories every writer should read, then revisit Tyson on genius and the most humbling fact about the universe.

Original Source – Brain Pickings (Maria Popova)
Maria Popova

Conversations with Tomorrow: World Technology and Energy in 2064

World Technology and Energy in 2064

Gigaom

This article is part of the ‘Think Further’ series, sponsored by Fred Alger Management, Inc. For more ‘Think Further’ content and videos, visit thinkfurtheralger.com.

In 2064, the global use of fossil fuels will fall to less than half its current level, as resource exhaustion leads to higher extraction costs and higher prices than consumers can pay.

If humanity is smart, and takes firm action to grapple with resource exhaustion and climate change, renewable energy use will grow 10-fold until it provides roughly half the total primary energy supply. Electrified rail, plus a small share of electric cars, will dominate surface transportation. Coal and nuclear power will be nearly phased out. More than 80 percent of global electricity will be provided by renewables. Natural gas plants will provide most of the remaining 20 percent of power generation. The current grid power architecture, with its reliance on big, centralized “baseload” generators…

View original post 101 more words

TED Talk: How not to be ignorant about the world


Hans Rosling, global health expert and data visionary, one of the greatest speakers ever on TED, right beside Ken Robinson, Shawn Achor, and so many more.

How much do you know about the world? Hans Rosling, with his famous charts of global population, health and income data (and an extra-extra-long pointer), demonstrates that you have a high statistical chance of being quite wrong about what you think you know.

Mobile Advertising Rockets In India, World’s Fastest-growing Smartphone Market


Abogado Aly

Mobile advertising volume in India grew the fastest in the world, climbing a record 260% since July 2013, even as the larger Asia-Pacific region where ad impressions delivery rose 70% this year, emerged the fastest-growing region globally.

from Forbes – Business http://ift.tt/1tpE4eC
via Abogado Aly Business Consulting

View original post

What Can Our Education Systems Learn from Classrooms in the Developing World?


TED Blog

A group of students in Karakati, India, research the answer to a big question at one location of Sugata Mitra's School in the Cloud. According to Mitra and Adam Braun, there's a lot that Western schools can learn about education from students in India. Students in Karakati, India, research the answer to a big question at a location of Sugata Mitra’s School in the Cloud. According to Mitra and his Microsoft Work Wonders Project partner, Adam Braun, there’s quite a bit that Western schools can learn from classrooms in the developing world.

Adam Braun went to school in the US and now runs a nonprofit that builds schools in Ghana, Laos, Nicaragua and Guatemala. In contrast, Sugata Mitra—the winner of the 2013 TED Prize—went to school in India and now is a professor in the UK, where his research on self-directed learning routinely brings him into elementary schools. Both of these education activists have seen how typical classrooms function in the Western world, and both have seen how typical classrooms function in the developing world. And both say, the West isn’t always better.

Braun and Mitra have teamed up through Microsoft’s Work Wonders Project to…

View original post 3,772 more words