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Inventions

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  1. 11.9 hrs • 8/25/2015 • Unabridged

    As robots are increasingly integrated into modern society—on the battlefield and the road, in business, education, and health—Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times science writer John Markoff searches for an answer to one of the most important questions of our age: Will these robots help us … or will they replace us? At the dawn of the modern computer era, two Pentagon-financed laboratories began researching artificial intelligence. At one facility, a small group of scientists and engineers worked to recreate the human mind, while at the other, a similar group worked to augment it. For the past four decades, the dichotomy between artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation (AI versus IA) has been at the heart of the revolution in computing science. Now, as the pace of technological change continues to accelerate, automated systems are confronting their designers with fundamental moral choices that have emerged too quickly for society to weigh their consequences. In Machines of Loving Grace, New York Times reporter John Markoff, who was the first reporter to describe the World Wide Web, explores this issue. Markoff travels across the country, from the brain trusts in Palo Alto and Silicon Valley to the expanding tech corridor between Boston—home of MIT—and New York, the latest incubator for future tech development. He evaluates the present state of the AI versus IA debate; goes deep inside the science-fiction worlds of Battlestar Galactica, Terminator, and the Jetsons, which are fast becoming a reality; and talks to the insiders—scientists, entrepreneurs, ethicists, hackers, and others—who are shaping the future. The result is an incisive and chilling look at our lives today—and what may come tomorrow.

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    Machines of Loving Grace

    11.9 hrs • 8/25/15 • Unabridged
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  2. 0 reviews 0 5 4.6 4 out of 5 stars 4.6/5
    13.4 hrs • 5/19/2015 • Unabridged

    In the spirit of Steve Jobs and Moneyball, Elon Musk is both an illuminating and authorized look at the extraordinary life of one of Silicon Valley’s most exciting, unpredictable, and ambitious entrepreneurs—a real-life Tony Stark—and a fascinating exploration of the renewal of American invention and its new “makers.” In Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance provides the first inside look into the extraordinary life and times of Silicon Valley’s most audacious entrepreneur. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family and friends, the book traces the entrepreneur’s journey from a rough upbringing in South Africa to the pinnacle of the global business world. Vance spent over forty hours in conversation with Musk and interviewed close to three hundred people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk’s world-changing companies—PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, and SolarCity—and to characterize a man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation while making plenty of enemies along the way. Vance uses Musk’s story to explore one of the pressing questions of our time: can the nation of inventors and creators that led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk—one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history—is a contemporary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science fiction. Thorough and insightful, Elon Musk brings to life a technology industry that is rapidly and dramatically changing by examining the life of one of its most powerful and influential titans.

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    Elon Musk

    13.4 hrs • 5/19/15 • Unabridged
    0 reviews 0 5 4.6 4 out of 5 stars 4.6/5
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  3. 10.8 hrs • 2/5/2015 • Unabridged

    A Soul of the New Machine for our time, a gripping account of invention, commerce, and duplicity in the age of technology A worldwide race is on to perfect the next engine of economic growth, the advanced lithium-ion battery. It will power the electric car, relieve global warming, and catapult the winner into a new era of economic and political mastery. Can the United States win? Steve LeVine was granted unprecedented access to a secret federal laboratory outside Chicago, where a group of geniuses is trying to solve this next monumental task of physics. But these scientists—almost all foreign born—are not alone. With so much at stake, researchers in Japan, South Korea, and China are in the same pursuit. The drama intensifies when a Silicon Valley start-up licenses the federal laboratory’s signature invention with the aim of a blockbuster sale to the world’s biggest carmakers. The Powerhouse is a real-time, two-year thrilling account of big invention, big commercialization, and big deception. It exposes the layers of competition and ambition, aspiration and disappointment behind this great turning point in the history of technology.

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    The Powerhouse

    10.8 hrs • 2/5/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 6.2 hrs • 9/30/2014 • Unabridged

    From the New York Times bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From and Everything Bad Is Good for You, a new look at the power and legacy of great ideas Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life (refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few) from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Filled with surprising stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes—from the French publisher who invented the phonograph before Edison but forgot to include playback, to the Hollywood movie star who helped invent the technology behind Wi-Fi and Bluetooth—How We Got to Now investigates the secret history behind the everyday objects of contemporary life. In his trademark style, Johnson examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields: how the invention of air-conditioning enabled the largest migration of human beings in the history of the species—to cities such as Dubai or Phoenix, which would otherwise be virtually uninhabitable; how pendulum clocks helped trigger the industrial revolution; and how clean water made it possible to manufacture computer chips. Accompanied by a major six-part television series on PBS, How We Got to Now is the story of collaborative networks building the modern world, written in the provocative, informative, and engaging style that has earned Johnson fans around the globe.

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    How We Got to Now

    6.2 hrs • 9/30/14 • Unabridged
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  5. 6.3 hrs • 3/1/2014 • Unabridged

    You don’t have to be a mechanical genius to be an inventor. Anyone can invent: a parent wrestling with a baby sling … a coach frustrated with slick-soled running shoes … an office worker determined to keep the computer cords untangled. Inventing is simply finding clever solutions to everyday challenges. Author and inventor Patricia Nolan-Brown has turned common annoyances into ingenious and money-making products.  She shares the tricks of her trade in Idea to Invention, a practical guide that helps ordinary people look at their world with the eyes of an inventor. Readers will learn six simple steps to invention, and will discover how they rate on six crucial personality traits; creativity habits that spark invention; the power of tape-and-paper prototypes to refine their vision; how to navigate the ins and outs of licensing and patenting their product; the pros and cons of finding a licensed manufacturer vs. running a home-based assembly line;how to promote their invention—from perfecting the pitch and finding store buyers to trade-show shortcuts and strategies for creating buzz online; and product enhancements that add years to shelf life.  From initial concept to thriving business, this handy guide simplifies the invention process and gives creative thinkers the competitive edge they need to achieve success.

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    Idea to Invention

    6.3 hrs • 3/1/14 • Unabridged
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  6. 8.3 hrs • 10/2/2012 • Unabridged

    Wired magazine editor and bestselling author Chris Anderson takes you to the front lines of a new industrial revolution as today’s entrepreneurs, using open source design and 3-D printing, bring manufacturing to the desktop. In an age of custom-fabricated, do-it-yourself product design and creation, the collective potential of a million garage tinkerers and enthusiasts is about to be unleashed, driving a resurgence of American manufacturing. A generation of “makers” using the web’s innovation model will help drive the next big wave in the global economy, as the new technologies of digital design and rapid prototyping gives everyone the power to invent, creating “the long tail of things.”

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    Makers

    8.3 hrs • 10/2/12 • Unabridged
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  7. 8.2 hrs • 6/7/2011 • Unabridged

    If you've ever read a book on an e-reader, unleashed your inner rock star playing Guitar Hero, built a robot with LEGO Mindstorms, or ridden in a vehicle with child-safe air bags, then you've experienced first hand just a few of the astounding innovations that have come out of the Media Lab over the past 25 years. But that’s old hat for today’s researchers, who are creating technologies that will have a much deeper impact on the quality of people’s lives over the next quarter century.  In this exhilarating tour of the Media Lab's inner sanctums, we'll meet the professors and their students - the Sorcerers and their Apprentices - and witness first hand the creative magic behind inventions such as:  * Nexi, a mobile humanoid robot with such sophisticated social skills she can serve as a helpful and understanding companion for the sick and elderly. * CityCar, a foldable, stackable, electric vehicle of the future that will redefine personal transportation in cities and revolutionize urban life. * Sixth Sense, a compact wearable device that transforms any surface – wall, tabletop or even your hand - into a touch screen computer.* PowerFoot, a lifelike robotic prosthesis that enables amputees to walk as naturally as if it were a real biological limb.  Through inspiring stories of people who are using Media Lab innovations to confront personal challenges - like a man with cerebral palsy who is unable to hum a tune or pick up an instrument yet is using an ingenious music composition system to unleash his “inner Mozart”, and a woman with a rare life-threatening condition who co-invented a revolutionary web service that enables patients to participate in the search for their own cures - we’ll see how the Media Lab is empowering us all with the tools to take control of our health, wealth, and happiness.  Along the way, Moss reveals the highly unorthodox approach to creativity and invention that makes all this possible, explaining how the Media Lab cultivates an open and boundary-less environment where researchers from a broad array of disciplines – from musicians to neuroscientists to visual artists to computer engineers - have the freedom to follow their passions and take bold risks unthinkable elsewhere.  The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices can serve as a blueprint for how to fix our broken innovation ecosystem and bring about the kind of radical change required to meet the challenges of the 21st century.  It is a must-read for anyone striving to be more innovative as an individual, as a businessperson, or as a member of society. 

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    The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices

    8.2 hrs • 6/7/11 • Unabridged
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  8. 13.5 hrs • 6/1/2010 • Unabridged

    If all measures of human advancement in the last hundred centuries were plotted on a graph, they would show an almost perfectly flat line—until the eighteenth century, when the Industrial Revolution would cause the line to shoot straight up, beginning an almost uninterrupted march of progress. In The Most Powerful Idea in the World, William Rosen tells the story of the men responsible for the Industrial Revolution and the machine that drove it—the steam engine. In the process he tackles the question that has obsessed historians ever since: what made eighteenth-century Britain such fertile soil for inventors? Rosen’s answer focuses on a simple notion that had become enshrined in British law the century before: that people had the right to own and profit from their ideas. The result was a period of frantic innovation revolving particularly around the promise of steam power. Rosen traces the steam engine’s history from its early days as a clumsy but sturdy machine to its coming-of-age driving the wheels of mills and factories to its maturity as a transporter for people and freight by rail and by sea. Along the way we enter the minds of such inventors as Thomas Newcomen and James Watt; scientists, including Robert Boyle and Joseph Black; and philosophers John Locke and Adam Smith—all of whose insights, tenacity, and ideas transformed first a nation and then the world. Rosen is a masterly storyteller with a keen eye for the “aha!” moments of invention and a gift for clear and entertaining explanations of science. The Most Powerful Idea in the World will appeal to anyone who is fascinated with history, science, and the hows and whys of innovation itself.

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    The Most Powerful Idea in the World

    13.5 hrs • 6/1/10 • Unabridged
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  9. 3.7 hrs • 4/17/2007 • Unabridged

    It’s the twenty-first century and let’s be honest—things are a little disappointing. Despite every World’s Fair prediction and the advertisements in comic books, we are not living the future we were promised. By now, life was supposed to be a fully automated, atomic-powered, germ-free Utopia, a place where a grown man could wear a velvet spandex unitard and not be laughed at. Where are the ray guns, the flying cars, and the hoverboards that we expected? What happened to our moon colonies and servant robots? In Where’s My Jetpack? roboticist Daniel H. Wilson takes a hilarious look at the future we imagined for ourselves. You will learn which technologies are already available, who made them, and where to find them. If the technology is not public, you will learn how to build, buy, or steal it. And if doesn’t yet exist, you will learn what stands in the way of making it real. With thirty entries spanning everything from teleportation to self-contained skyscraper cities, Where’s My Jetpack? is an endlessly entertaining, one-of-a-kind look at the world that we always wanted.

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    Where's My Jetpack? by Daniel H. Wilson

    Where's My Jetpack?

    3.7 hrs • 4/17/07 • Unabridged
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  10. 4.8 hrs • 12/1/2006 • Unabridged

    You’re driving on a deserted road when your car dies. Your cell phone isn’t getting service. All you have on hand are a gum wrapper and a wire hanger. Or maybe you’re living in a building without central air conditioning in July. You can’t afford an AC; all you have access to are a fan and a bucket of water. In such times of desperation, many have called upon the symbol of all that is inventive, the hero who awed thousands with his cool, quick wit: “what would MacGyver do?” they ask. For anyone who has ever wished they could channel the 1980s action-adventure icon comes this clever collection of forty-five true stories, commemorating the use of improvised genius to solve everyday problems. Inspired by television’s Angus MacGyver (played by Richard Dean Anderson), a secret agent who relied on his brains and scientific prowness—not to mention duct tape and a Swiss Army knife—to save the day, the “MacGyverisms” recounted range from the concrete (using Chex Mix to provide traction in an icy parking lot) to the intangible (saving a relationship with the perfect turn of phrase). Edgy, entertaining, and smirk-to-yourself funny, these masterfully told stories reveal that, with a little luck and a lot of ingenuity, you can “MacGyver” yourself out of virtually any predicament.

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    What Would MacGyver Do?

    4.8 hrs • 12/1/06 • Unabridged
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  11. 7.1 hrs • 12/14/2004 • Unabridged

    From the time man first took to the seas until only one thousand years ago, sight and winds were the sailor’s only navigational aids. It was not until the development of the compass that maps and charts could be used with any accuracy—even so, it would be hundreds of years and thousands of shipwrecks before the marvelous instrument was perfected. Its history up to modern times is filled with the stories of disasters that befell sailors who misused it. In fascinating detail, Alan Gurney brings to life the story of the perfection of the essential navigational device—the instrument Victor Hugo called “the soul of the ship.”

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    Compass

    Read by John Lee
    7.1 hrs • 12/14/04 • Unabridged
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