An Autonomous Agent

exploring the noosphere

Category: book (Page 1 of 27)

Scale – Geoffrey West

Scale, by Geoffrey West, is a thought provoking book about coarse grained quantitative network theories which concern the entire human species and its interaction with the environment. Although verbose — as I think the intended audience is upper high school and entry-level college — it is clear in its depictions and explanations. This book is an important summary of really profound work and research performed at the Santa Fe Institute. And it is a great introduction to understanding power laws and scaling in biology and network topologies.

Mastering Bitcoin – Andreas M. Antonopoulos

I’ve been following Bitcoin since 2011 but sadly never researched its technical foundations. A few weeks ago I decided to dive into the subject. Mastering Bitcoin, by Andreas M. Antonopoulos, clearly explains the fundamental designs of Bitcoin. The book is well written and an excellent entry point for developers new to the subject. Many sites and people recommend this book and rightly so, because after reading it, I feel that I have a new understanding and appreciation of everything blockchain related. While it is detailed and technical — geared towards an audience familiar with programming and Internet technologies, it can be a great resource for those wanting an intellectual challenge.

If you decide to purchase the book, make sure you do it on purse.io with Bitcoin. Purse is now where I make any purchases for books or things I would have bought directly from Amazon.

Opening the Doors of Perception – Anthony Peake

In Opening the Doors of Perception, Anthony Peake strings together research in epilepsy, migraines, autism,¬†Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and entheogens in an attempt to understand human consciousness. Are we living in a simulation? What is Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch-OR) and what can it tell us about ourselves? How is it that flickering light can trigger an altered state of consciousness? What is the relationship between the Eidolon and the Daemon? These are just some of the questions pondered and developed by Peake. Opening the Doors of Perception provides the reader with some fascinating research which will hopefully open ones mind to some really powerful insights.

Order Out of Chaos – Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers

A little bit of quantum physics, chemistry, biology and philosophy all rolled up into one important book. Order Out of Chaos (La Nouvelle Alliance as originally published in French) by Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers is a paradigm changing book. The first parts of the book are an excellent overview on the historical development of science – the evolution of dynamics and the discovery of thermodynamics and their relationship is particularly fascinating.

Once the reader gets to the later parts, it becomes somewhat abstract and the reader may not be able to get through it without a background in chemistry and physics. Chapter Nine, when the phrase “Order Out of Chaos” is developed, is difficult. Despite this, it is much more accessible than a scientific paper on the subject. It may take two or three reads to fully absorb the ideas presented. Overall it is one of my favorite reads.

Some important conclusions from the book:

  • The arrow of time objectively exists and it arises from non-equilibrium and irreversibility at the microscopic level.
  • The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics can be understood as a selection principal. It operates as a negative on allowable initial conditions, in other words it restricts systems with certain initial conditions from existing.
  • Time travel to the past is not allowed by thermodynamics because time reversal requires infinite information concerning the initial conditions of the system, an impossibility to an observer in the universe. This implies that information is closely connected to irreversibility and time.
  • Thermodynamics can be expressed from dynamics through the idea of correlations and internal-time operators. Thus, dynamics has been extended once again (general relativity, quantum mechanics, and chaos theory).
  • The universe as a whole is in a non-equilibrium state and it is an irreversible process with pockets of reversible dynamics.
  • In general, one of the goals of the authors is to make dynamics and thermodynamics consistent with each other.

The Dancing Wu Li Masters – Gary Zukav

Gary Zukav’s book, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, simply describes (without math) quantum physics and relativity since their inception at the beginning of the 20th century. Zukav skillfully presents the paradoxes and questions posed and asked by some of the smartest people in history including Einstein, Bohr, Born, Heisenberg, von Neumann, Feynman, etc… He carefully elucidates the evolution of the answers to these paradoxes and questions.

There are numerous analogies with eastern cosmologies which may help readers understand the wild results and conclusions of modern physics. The book is perfect for those without a strong background in the quantitative sciences who wish to understand what quantum physics reveals about the universe. Although dated, (1979) it is inspirational and should get readers excited about reading more up to date books.

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