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Tagged with “books” (41) activity chart

  1. The power of positive sci-fi

    For a couple of generations, it’s been a truism that good science fiction is grim science fiction. Technology is out of control, democracy is failing, the environment ruined. Think Hunger Games, Minority Report, The Matrix, and Blade Runner, all the way back to 1984. But science fiction writer and astrophysicist David Brin believes we’ve gotten too fond of these bummers. “It’s so easy to make money with a tale that says: ‘Civilization is garbage. Our institutions never will be helpful. Your neighbors are all useless sheep,’” he laments. “’Now enjoy a couple of characters running around shooting things and having adventures in the middle of a dystopia.’”

    Dystopias are bad? That’s heresy for science fiction. But a few people are starting to agree with him, like Neal Stephenson, the author of Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash. A few years ago, Stephenson was on a panel discussion with Arizona State University President Michael Crow, and Stephenson started complaining that there were no big scientific projects to inspire people these days. Crow shot back, “You’re the ones slacking off!” In Crow’s view, it was the writers who weren’t pulling their weight, supplying the motivating visions for science and technology.

    From that discussion, Crow and Stephenson have collaborated on The Center for Science and the Imagination at ASU. And Stephenson founded a group called Project Hieroglyph, which recruits science fiction authors to write more optimistically about the future. “I guess I had never given science fiction writers enough credit of being leaders of innovation,” Stephenson says. The writers who contribute to Project Hieroglyph don’t have to consult with scientists or engineers, but doing so “shows they’re on the right track.” Stephenson says. Only three rules: no hyperspace, no holocausts and no hackers. Coming from Stephenson, the bard of hackers, that’s quite a challenge.

    http://www.studio360.org/story/power-of-positive-sci-fi/

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  2. The Incomparable | The Partial Monty (Episode 202)

    Bury your dead in a Zeppelin and call your interplanetary accountant—it’s time for our annual read of the Hugo Award nominees. We cover this year’s award nominees, plus the “retro Hugos” from 1939, both of which will be awarded in August in London. Also, someone defends Mira Grant.

    00:00: Introductions

    04:45: Best Novel

    41:18: Retro Hugos from 1939

    58:41: 2014 Short Fiction

    1:33:24: All the other categories

    1:47:18: Goodbyes

    http://www.theincomparable.com/theincomparable/202/index.php

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  3. How Churchill went atomic and currents in science writing: The Guardian Books Podcast

    Has the gilt rubbed off the golden age of science writing? And why has an award-winning writer turned his focus from scientific biography to political history? Graham Farmelo, who won the Costa biography award with his life of the quantum genius Paul Dirac, joins us to discuss his book about the "hidden" history of Winston Churchill and the nuclear bomb. He explains why Churchill’s role in the history of atomic weapons should not be underestimated, introduces us to some of the eccentrics who briefed him, and tells how the term "atomic bomb" was invented by a novelist years before they even existed.

    We also hear from Uta Frith, one of the panel judging the Royal Society’s Winton prize for science writing, about the books on this year’s longlist. And Guardian science writer Ian Sample – a former Winton shortlistee – explains why the last thing he wants to do when he’s relaxing is read a book about science.

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/audio/2013/sep/20/churchill-atomic-currents-science-writing-podcast

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  4. The Whole Library In His Hands | The Story

    Dick speaks with Brewster Kahle, who is collecting copies of all the books he can from around the world.

    http://www.thestory.org/stories/2012-05/whole-library-his-hands

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  5. Opening The Book

    The book has stayed pretty much the same for over 500 years: a bunch of paper pages between covers. It’s been both finite and easily grasped. But our digitally-connected world is forcing us to re-imagine what books could be.

    Participants in the program:

    Bob Stein, founder and co-director of The Institute For the Future of the Book, New York.

    James Bridle, writer, publisher, editor, technologist, London.

    Hugh McGuire, founder of pressbooks and libravox, co-editor of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto, Montreal.

    Kylie Mirmohamadi, professor of English, La Trobe University, Melbourne.

    Sue Martin, professor of English, La Trobe University, Melbourne.

    http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2013/02/25/opening-the-book/

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  6. Science Weekly podcast: Royal Society science book prize | Science | guardian.co.uk

    This week’s show is dedicated to a discussion of the six books shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books.

    Next week the winner of the prestigious Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books will be announced. Previous winners have included Jared Diamond (twice), Stephen Hawking, Steve Jones, Bill Bryson and Stephen Jay Gould.

    To discuss the merits of the shortlisted books (see below), Alok Jha is joined by one of the prize judges, Kim Shillinglaw, who is commissioning editor for science and natural history at BBC TV, and by science writer Ruth Francis, formerly of head of press at Nature Publishing Group.

    During the course of this week the Guardian will review all the books online. We’re also giving away two complete sets of the shortlisted titles in our usual science trivia competition.

    • The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker
    • The Hidden Reality by Brian Greene
    • The Information by James Gleick
    • My Beautiful Genome by Lone Frank
    • Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
    • The Viral Storm by Nathan Wolfe

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/audio/2012/nov/19/science-weekly-podcast-science-book-prize

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  7. America’s Facebook Generation Is Reading Strong : NPR

    Young Americans are reading more than just status updates and 140-character tweets. A new study by the Pew Research Center shows that among 16- to 29-year-olds, 8 in 10 have read a book in the past year. That’s compared with 7 in 10 among adults in general.

    http://www.npr.org/2012/10/23/163414069/americas-facebook-generation-is-reading-strong

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  8. Depression-Era Evil: Gothic Horror In A Haunted Land : NPR

    The Night of the Hunter is a much-loved film, but author Julia Keller says the book it is based on is even better —€” a forgotten masterpiece. Do you have a favorite book that became a movie? Tell us in the comments.

    http://www.npr.org/2013/01/01/161408688/depression-era-evil-gothic-horror-in-a-haunted-land

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  9. The future of the cookbook is up in the air

    What’s the future of cookbooks in our shelves and kitchens when that essential recipe is just a mouse click away? We talk to a long-time publisher and a self-confessed ‘foodie tech head’ about what sells on paper and what doesn’t anymore. Is there room for peaceful co-existence between the digital world and that dog-eared, food-stained tome we hold in our hands, or is the cookbook relegated to being a gift that no longer gives?

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rnfirstbite/will-technology-kill-the-cookbook3f/4171736

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  10. Interview: Robin Sloan, Author of ‘Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore’ : NPR

    Author Robin Sloan has written short stories and worked for Twitter. His new book brings those two worlds together to argue that embracing digital culture doesn’t mean you have to give up the treasured books —€” and values —€” of the past.

    http://www.npr.org/2012/10/09/162233599/mr-penumbra-bridges-the-digital-divide

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