Pressed for Time

Pressed for Time

Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism by Judy Wajcman

HM 656 .W35 2015

“The technologically tethered, iPhone-addicted figure is an image we can easily conjure. Most of us complain that there aren’t enough hours in the day and there are too many e-mails in our thumb-accessible inboxes. This widespread perception that life is faster than it used to be is now ingrained in our culture, and smartphones and the Internet are continually being blamed. But isn’t the sole purpose of the smartphone to give us such quick access to people and information that we’ll be free to do other things? Isn’t technology supposed to make our lives easier?

In Pressed for Time, Judy Wajcman explains why we immediately interpret our experiences with digital technology as inexorably accelerating everyday life. She argues that we are not mere hostages to communication devices, and the sense of always being rushed is the result of the priorities and parameters we ourselves set rather than the machines that help us set them. Indeed, being busy and having action-packed lives have become valorized by our productivity-driven culture. Wajcman offers a bracing historical perspective, exploring the commodification of clock time and how the speed of the industrial age became identified with progress. She also delves into the ways time use differs for diverse groups in modern societies, showing how changes in work patterns, family arrangements, and parenting all affect time stress. Bringing together empirical research on time use and theoretical debates about dramatic digital developments, this accessible and engaging book will leave readers better versed in how to use technology to navigate life’s fast lane.”
– publisher description

The Essential Ginsberg

The Essential Ginsberg

The Essential Ginsberg edited by Michael Schumacher

PS 3513 .I74 A6 2015

“One of the Beat Generation’s most renowned poets and writers, Allen Ginsberg became internationally famous not only for his published works but also for his actions as a human rights activist who championed the sexual revolution, gay liberation, Buddhism and Eastern religion, and the confrontation of societal norms – all before it became fashionable to do so. He was also the dynamic leader of war protesters, artists, Flower Power hippies, musicians, punks, and political radicals.

The Essential Ginsberg collects a mosaic of material that displays the full range of Ginsberg’s mental landscape. His most important poems, songs, essays, letters, journals, and interviews are displayed in chronological order. His poetic masterpieces, “Howl” and “Kaddish,” are presented here along with lesser-known and difficult-to-find songs and prose. Personal correspondence with William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac is included, as well as photographs – shot and captioned by Ginsberg himself – of his friends and fellow rogues William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and others.

Through his essays, journals, interviews, and letters, this definitive volume will inspire readers to delve deeper into a body of work that remains one of the most impressive literary canons in American history.”
– publisher description

The Thirteenth Step

The Thirteenth Step

The Thirteenth Step: Addiction in the Age of Brain Science by Markus Heilig

RC 564 .H45 2015

“The past thirty years have witnessed a revolution in the science of addiction, yet we still rely on outdated methods of treatment. Expensive new programs for managing addiction are also flourishing, but since they are not based in science, they offer little benefit to people who cannot afford to lose money or faith in their recovery.

Clarifying the cutting-edge science of addiction for both practitioners and general readers, The Thirteenth Step pairs stories of real patients with explanations of key concepts relating to their illness. A police chief who disappears on the job illustrates the process through which a drug can trigger the brain circuits mediating relapse. One person’s effort to find a burrito shack in a foreign city illuminates the reward prediction error signaled by the brain chemical dopamine. With these examples and more, this volume paints a vivid, readable portrait of drug seeking, escalation, and other aspects of addiction and suggests science-based treatments that promise to improve troubling relapse rates. Merging science and human experience, The Thirteenth Step offers compassionate, valuable answers to anyone who hopes for a better handle on a confounding disease.”
– publisher description

Faith vs. Fact

Faith vs. Fact

Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible by Jerry A. Coyne

BL 240.3 .C69 2015

“The last five hundred years have seen monumental conflicts between science and faith, from Galileo’s sentence to lifetime house arrest in 1632 over his claim of a Sun-centered solar system to the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial,” the titanic clash between Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan over whether a high-school teacher could tell his students that humans had evolved (the jury said no). Schoolteachers in 2015 are still battling to teach evolution; long-conquered childhood diseases are reappearing because of religious objections to inoculation; despite legal victories, there are still vicious battles over abortion, assisted suicide, and homosexuality; and scientists fearing for their federal funding (controlled by climate-change-denying congressional committees) cling to “accommodationism” as a refuge – can’t we just tolerate each other’s beliefs and get along that way?

Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne could not be clearer: his answer is “Absolutely not.” Science and religion are incompatible because they have different methods for getting knowledge about reality, have different ways of assessing the reliability of that knowledge, and, in the end, arrive at conflicting conclusions about the universe. “Knowledge” acquired by religion is at odds not only with scientific knowledge but with that professed by other religions. In the end, religion’s methods, unlike those of science, are useless for understanding reality.

Using the clear-eyed, rational methodology of a world-class scientist, Coyne dismantles every claim to explaining the physical world, and the life in it, that religion proposes, from Genesis on. While science relies on observation, reason, testing, and experiment, methods that have led to tremendous progress, religion’s methods are based on faith – belief in things for which there is no evidence, insufficient evidence, or even counter-evidence – as well as on dogma, authority, and “confirmation bias,” the tendency to see as true what you want to be true. Coyne irrefutably demonstrates the grave harm – to individuals and to our planet – in mistaking faith for fact in making the most important decisions about the world we live in.”
– publisher description

The Myth of Race

The Myth of Race

The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea by Robert Wald Sussman

HT 1521 .S83 2014

“Biological races do not exist – and never have. This view is shared by all scientists who study variation in human populations. Yet racial prejudice and intolerance based on the myth of race remain deeply ingrained in Western society. In his powerful examination of a persistent, false, and poisonous idea, Robert Sussman explores how race emerged as a social construct from early biblical justifications to the pseudoscientific studies of today.

The Myth of Race traces the origins of modern racist ideology to the Spanish Inquisition, revealing how sixteenth-century theories of racial degeneration became a crucial justification for Western imperialism and slavery. In the nineteenth century, these theories fused with Darwinism to produce the highly influential and pernicious eugenics movement. Believing that traits from cranial shape to raw intelligence were immutable, eugenicists developed hierarchies that classified certain races, especially fair-skinned “Aryans,” as superior to others. These ideologues proposed programs of intelligence testing, selective breeding, and human sterilization – policies that fed straight into Nazi genocide. Sussman examines how opponents of eugenics, guided by the German-American anthropologist Franz Boas’s new, scientifically supported concept of culture, exposed fallacies in racist thinking.

Although eugenics is now widely discredited, some groups and individuals today claim a new scientific basis for old racist assumptions. Pondering the continuing influence of racist research and thought, despite all evidence to the contrary, Sussman explains why – when it comes to race – too many people still mistake bigotry for science.”
– publisher description

Whatever Happened to the Metric System?

Whatever Happened to the Metric System

Whatever Happened to the Metric System?: How America Kept Its Feet by John Bemelmans Marciano

QC 92 .U54 M37 2014

“The American standard system of measurement is a unique and odd thing to behold with its esoteric, inconsistent standards: twelve inches in a foot, three feet in a yard, sixteen ounces in a pound, one hundred pennies in a dollar. For something as elemental as counting and estimating the world around us, it seems like a confusing tool to use. So how did we end up with it?

Most of the rest of the world is on the metric system, and for a time in the 1970s America appeared ready to make the switch. Yet it never happened, and the reasons for that get to the root of who we think we are, just as the measurements are woven into the ways we think. John Marciano chronicles the origins of measurement systems, the kaleidoscopic array of standards throughout Europe and the thirteen American colonies, the combination of intellect and circumstance that resulted in the metric system’s creation in France in the wake of the French Revolution, and America’s stubborn adherence to the hybrid United States Customary System ever since. As much as it is a tale of quarters and tenths, it is also a human drama, replete with great inventors, visionary presidents, obsessive activists, and science-loving technocrats.

Anyone who reads this inquisitive, engaging story will never read Robert Frost’s line “miles to go before I sleep” or eat a foot-long sub again without wondering, Whatever happened to the metric system?”
– publisher description

Weed the People

Weed the People

Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America by Bruce Barcott

HV 5822 .M3 B374 2015

“Marijuana legalization is the next great refutation of the impossible. The long era of pot prohibition is quickly giving way to an American social and economic revolution. In 2012, Bruce Barcott, a pot skeptic and middle-aged father, reluctantly voted for legalization. He woke up the next morning and wondered: What have we done? To answer that question, the award-winning author embarked on a journey into the strange new world of legal weed. The result is an investigative travelogue by turns humorous, insightful and brilliantly observed. Barcott meets botanists breeding new strains, investors chasing marijuana millions, marketers designing wholesome dope brands, scientists exploring how pot can heal and harm, and parents struggling to explain it to their kids. Weed the People is a sneak preview for the millions of Americans who will soon need to decide whether, when and how they use legal pot. Filled with the pungent aroma of change, Weed the People is a provocative examination of one of the most significant cultural moments of our time.”
– publisher description