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Biotechnology

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  1. 6.9 hrs • 10/17/2013 • Unabridged

    The renowned scientist and author of A Life Decoded examines the creation of life in the new field of synthetic genomics. In 2010, scientists led by J. Craig Venter became the first to successfully create “synthetic life”—putting humankind at the threshold of the most important and exciting phase of biological research, one that will enable us to actually write the genetic code for designing new species to help us adapt and evolve for long-term survival. The science of synthetic genomics will have a profound impact on human existence, including chemical and energy generation, health, clean water and food production, environmental control, and possibly even our evolution. In Life at the Speed of Light, Venter presents a fascinating and authoritative study of this emerging field from the inside—detailing its origins, current challenges and controversies, and projected effects on our lives. This scientific frontier provides an opportunity to ponder anew the age-old question, “What is life?” and examine what we really mean by “playing God.” Life at the Speed of Light is a landmark work, written by a visionary at the dawn of a new era of biological engineering.

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    Life at the Speed of Light

    6.9 hrs • 10/17/13 • Unabridged
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  2. 11.8 hrs • 6/25/2013 • Unabridged

    Why does the bumblebee have better aerodynamics than a 747? What structural design is shared by a tornado and a blood vessel? Since the Industrial Revolution, manufacturers have built things by a process known as “heat, beat, and treat.” They use enormous amounts of energy to heat raw material, shape it with heavy machinery, and maintain its design, strength, and durability with toxic chemicals. Now, in a world of depleted natural resources, entrepreneurs and scientists are turning to nature to inspire future products that are more energy and cost efficient. Biomimicry, the science of employing nature to advance sustainable technology, is arguably one of the hottest new business concepts. At the center of this growing movement has been award-winning inventor and biomimetic entrepreneur Jay Harman. In The Shark’s Paintbrush, Harman introduces us to pioneering engineers in a wide array of businesses who are uncovering and copying nature’s hidden marvels. He shows business leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs how we can reconcile creating more powerful, lucrative technologies with maximizing sustainability. He injects a whole new vocabulary and way of thinking into the business sphere that speaks to both small start-ups and corporate giants.

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    The Shark’s Paintbrush by Jay Harman

    The Shark’s Paintbrush

    11.8 hrs • 6/25/13 • Unabridged
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  3. 6.4 hrs • 6/24/2013 • Unabridged

    Journalist Emily Anthes takes listeners from petri dish to pet store as she explores how biotechnology is shaping the future of our furry and feathered friends.

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    Frankenstein's Cat

    6.4 hrs • 6/24/13 • Unabridged
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  4. 7.8 hrs • 12/12/2012 • Unabridged

    The Total Recall revolution is inevitable. It will change what it means to be human It has already begun. What if you could remember everything? Soon, if you choose, you will be able to conveniently and affordably record your whole life in minute detail. You would have Total Recall. Authors Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell draw on experience from their MyLifeBits project at Microsoft Research to explain the benefits to come from an earth-shaking and inevitable increase in electronic memories. In 1998 they began using Bell, a luminary in the computer world, as a test case, attempting to digitally record as much of his life as possible. Photos, letters, and memorabilia were scanned. Everything he did on his computer was captured. He wore an automatic camera, an arm-strap that logged his bio-metrics, and began recording telephone calls. This experiment, and the system created to support it, put them at the center of a movement studying the creation and enjoyment of e-memories. Since then the three streams of technology feeding the Total Recall revolution—digital recording, digital storage, and digital search—have become gushing torrents. We are capturing so much of our lives now, be it on the date stamped photos we take with our smart phones or in the continuous records we have of our emails, instant messages, and tweets—not to mention the GPS tracking of our movements many cars and smart phones do automatically. We are storing what we capture either out there in the “cloud” of services such as Facebook or on our very own increasingly massive and cheap hard drives. But the critical technology, and perhaps least understood, is our magical new ability to find the information we want in the mountain of data that is our past. And not just Google it, but data mine it so that, say, we can chart how much exercise we have been doing in the last four weeks in comparison with what we did four years ago. In health, education, work life, and our personal lives, the Total Recall revolution is going to change everything. As Bell and Gemmell show, it has already begun. Total Recall provides a glimpse of the near future. Imagine heart monitors woven into your clothes and tiny wearable audio and visual recorders automatically capturing what you see and hear. Imagine being able to summon up the e-memories of your great grandfather and his avatar giving you advice about whether or not to go to college, accept that job offer, or get married. The range of potential insights is truly awesome. But Bell and Gemmell also show how you can begin to take better advantage of this new technology right now. From how to navigate the serious questions of privacy and serious problem of application compatibility to what kind of startups Bell is willing to invest in and which scanner he prefers, this is a book about a turning point in human knowledge as well as an immediate and practical guide. Total Recall is a technological revolution that will accomplish nothing less than a transformation in the way humans think about the meaning of their lives.

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    Total Recall

    Foreword by Bill Gates
    Read by John Haag
    7.8 hrs • 12/12/12 • Unabridged
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  5. 12.3 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    The genome's been mapped. But what does it mean? Arguably the most significant scientific discovery of the new century, the mapping of the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that make up the human genome raises almost as many questions as it answers. Questions that will profoundly impact the way we think about disease, about longevity, and about free will. Questions that will affect the rest of your life. Genome offers extraordinary insight into the ramifications of this incredible breakthrough. By picking one newly discovered gene from each pair of chromosomes and telling its story, Matt Ridley recounts the history of our species and its ancestors from the dawn of life to the brink of future medicine. From Huntington's disease to cancer, from the applications of gene therapy to the horrors of eugenics, Matt Ridley probes the scientific, philosophical, and moral issues arising as a result of the mapping of the genome. It will help you understand what this scientific milestone means for you, for your children, and for humankind.

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    Genome

    12.3 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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  6. 24.6 hrs • 5/4/2011 • Unabridged

    A radical and optimistic view of the future course of human development from Ray Kurzweil, whom Bill Gates calls “the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence” For over three decades, the great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he argued that computers would soon rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our creations. That merging is the essence of the Singularity, an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today—the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity. In this new world, there will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. While the social and philosophical ramifications of these changes will be profound, and the threats they pose considerable, The Singularity Is Near maintains a radically optimistic view of the future course of human development. As such, it offers a view of the coming age that is both a dramatic culmination of centuries of technological ingenuity and a genuinely inspiring vision of our ultimate destiny.

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    The Singularity Is Near

    24.6 hrs • 5/4/11 • Unabridged
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  7. 14.7 hrs • 3/15/2011 • Unabridged

    Imagine living in a world where people use their computers, drive their cars, and communicate with one another simply by thinking. In this stunning and inspiring work, Duke University neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis shares his revolutionary insights into how the brain creates thought and the human sense of self, and how this might be augmented by machines, so that the entire universe will be within our reach. Beyond Boundaries draws on Nicolelis’ ground-breaking research with monkeys that he taught to control the movements of a robot located halfway around the globe by using brain signals alone. Nicolelis’ work with primates has uncovered a new method for capturing brain function by recording rich neuronal symphonies rather than the activity of single neurons. His lab is now paving the way for a new treatment for Parkinson’s, silk-thin exoskeletons to grant mobility to the paralyzed, and breathtaking leaps in space exploration, global communication, manufacturing, and more. Beyond Boundaries promises to reshape our concept of the technological future, to a world filled with promise and hope.

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    Beyond Boundaries

    14.7 hrs • 3/15/11 • Unabridged
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  8. 10.7 hrs • 7/12/2010 • Unabridged

    The promise of a longer life has captivated humans for centuries, even before the first person set out to find the Fountain of Youth. But promises of life extension have long reeked of snake oil, and despite our wishful thinking, most of us regard it as an impossible dream. In The Youth Pill, science writer David Stipp explores the history of efforts to slow aging, which have been plagued by fits and starts that have led to dead ends, not to mention countless disillusioning hoaxes. But as Stipp shows, we may now be much closer than we think. He takes us behind the scenes and introduces us to key players—in both science and business—who are experimenting with the most promising cutting-edge research to retard the aging process. This is an informative and provocative book that shows how a small group of optimistic and determined scientists are closing in on drugs that will change the way we live forever.

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    The Youth Pill

    10.7 hrs • 7/12/10 • Unabridged
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  9. 8.4 hrs • 1/1/2005 • Unabridged

    What is embryonic stem cell research? Why is it so controversial? What is its relationship to human cloning? Events are moving so fast—and biotechnology seems so complicated—that many of us don’t have an informed opinion about issues that are remaking the human future before our very eyes. Now Wesley J. Smith provides us with a guide to the new world that is no longer a figment of our imagination but right around the corner. This highly readable and carefully researched book reports on the gargantuan “big biotech” industry and its supporters in science and in the universities. Smith reveals how this lobby works and how the ideology of “scientism,” mixed with the lure of riches, threatens to dismantle ethical norms and compromise the uniqueness and importance of all human life.

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    Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World by Wesley J. Smith

    Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World

    8.4 hrs • 1/1/06 • Unabridged
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