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Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World's Most Vital Resource
Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World's Most Vital Resource
by David L. Sedlak
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.90
56 used & new from $9.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Timely, engaging, and informative, December 19, 2015
The author states clearly that upcoming water crises are imminent due to climate change and population growth. Major revamping of urban water systems will be required. The book attempts to render the public informed via a comprehensive and authoritative account of the history of centralized water supply and sewage systems, water and sewage treatment, and water conservation. New technological initiatives and advances are canvassed. Ultimately in a democracy the populace needs to be engaged and this is the main and very laudable purpose of the book.


The Fundamentals of Ethics
The Fundamentals of Ethics
by Russ Shafer-Landau
Edition: Paperback
Price: $31.06
62 used & new from $22.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Moral Objectivism is (almost) certainly true., July 22, 2015
This great book starts by demonstrating that neither hedonism nor desire-satisfaction provides a sound foundation to a value theory. It then explores utilitarianism, Kantian categorical imperatives and contractarianism in depth, and highlights their respective deficiency. As none of these competing normative theories is complete, an intuitionist approach based on prima facie duties needs to be considered. The book then points out that all the aforementioned theories fail to address the issue of moral character, and virtue ethics may therefore complement them. Finally, the author makes a good case that relativism and nihilism are almost certainly false. Five stars.


The War on Heresy
The War on Heresy
by R. I. Moore
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.94
25 used & new from $12.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Who actually were "the Cathars" (if they ever existed)?, July 1, 2015
This review is from: The War on Heresy (Paperback)
A 300-page book on a complicated period over a quarter of a millennium is unlikely to be straightforward. Using primary sources Professor Moore demonstrates to the reader that there was never any "European-wide heretical movement" in the Middle Ages. Neoplatonism had a tendency to destabilize Christian theology. Meanwhile, lay piety had a tendency to challenge ecclesiastical authority when simony was practiced in one form or another. Heterodoxy and even heresy had been well tolerated for a long time. However, when the papacy, the empire, local aristocracies, and the middle class started to seriously compete for land and power, accusation of heresies became a convenient and deadly political tool. The myth of an organised heretical force such as the Cathars was thence developed. The story can be at times confusing but the account is exciting and indeed a page-turner.


Beyond the Brain: How Body and Environment Shape Animal and Human Minds
Beyond the Brain: How Body and Environment Shape Animal and Human Minds
by Louise Barrett
Edition: Paperback
Price: $22.95
42 used & new from $14.78

4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, June 24, 2015
The author makes a strong case that most (if not all) animal behaviors can be explained by non-representational and non-computational cognitive processes that inherently and inextricably involve and include the physical body and its environment. In other words, the "mind" is a process or a state but not the brain itself or anything within it. We humans somehow manage to exist, at least at times, in the Heideggerian mode of "vorhanden", and are prone to anthropomorphize animals which are in the "zuhanden" mode. Studies on animals, babies and robotics are used extensively to support the author's stance. Concepts like the 'umwelt' and 'distributed cognition' are explained very well. Truly thought provoking.


Would You Kill the Fat Man?: The Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us about Right and Wrong
Would You Kill the Fat Man?: The Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us about Right and Wrong
by David Edmonds
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.18
75 used & new from $7.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful. A very good introduction to ethics., June 1, 2015
Phillippa Foot's Trolley Problem basically highlights the conflict between deontological and utilitarian principles. This delightful book uses it firstly to present to the lay reader a brief history of ethics. Then, through studies drawn from the fields of experimental philosophy and neuroethics, it attempts to explain the biological and psychological origins of the conflict. Personally, I think a combination of moral particularism and virtue ethics, which are both discussed as well, may be the way to go. Four stars.


The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery
The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery
by Sam Kean
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.63
88 used & new from $4.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, accurate and insightful, May 27, 2015
The Self is a process and not a thing. With quirky dark humor, Sam Kean has written a fascinating and poignant account on how neuroscience has learnt from cases of brain injuries. All the dramatic anecdotes in the book are captivating and describe the phenomenological aspects of neurological deficits. They in turn remind us what make us "us". In spite of their differences, subjects who sustain various forms of brain injuries never lose their sense of "Self". This is a very insightful observation. As a medical practitioner, I am also very impressed by how accurately the author describes the myriad conditions. In fact, medical students can benefit from reading it. Five stars.


Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot
Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot
by Peter R. Crane
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.88
50 used & new from $14.48

4.0 out of 5 stars A majestic account on a majestic plant, May 17, 2015
The wide breadth of this book is dizzying. From ecology to gastronomy, from culture to horticulture, from history to climatology, from evolution to medication, from botany to chemistry ... ... the book keeps going tirelessly but can at times tire even an ardent reader through its often meandering digressions. Anything that the author can think of about Ginkgo is there. The resilience of this 200+ million year old plant and its luck are indeed amazing and will hold the reader in awe. Nature is indeed very fascinating.


Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas
Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas
by Natasha Dow Schüll
Edition: Paperback
Price: $22.23
51 used & new from $14.97

5.0 out of 5 stars A very comprehensive analysis, May 9, 2015
Written by an anthropologist, this well-researched account details how the gambling industry incorporates sophisticated technologies and customer tracking to refine slot machines ("pokies") such that they become highly effective in milking every last penny out of problem gamblers. These machines pervert the Csikszentmihalyi's concept of 'flow' to a purposeless process and offer it to problem gamblers, and short-circuit them to fulfill their Thanatos. Quoting Weber, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida, Lacan, etc., this is more a social theorist treatise than a neuropsychological one. The text is nuanced, sophisticated, balanced and illuminating. Five stars.


Life Unfolding: How the Human Body Creates Itself
Life Unfolding: How the Human Body Creates Itself
by Jamie A. Davies
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.90
67 used & new from $11.01

5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary introduction to embryology, May 3, 2015
This account of how we came into this world will certainly suspend the interested reader in deep awe. The first major breaking of symmetry using simple mechanical mechanism is truly breathtaking. Symmetry has to be broken in order for cells to differentiate and specialize. Then, through an unfathomably complicated network of signaling and feedback loops, complex structures develop. This decentralized system is robust, can adapt to the milieu, and can intrinsically rectify errors. The book is very well written and otherwise difficult concepts are clearly explained.


Poverty in the Midst of Affluence: How Hong Kong Mismanaged Its Prosperity
Poverty in the Midst of Affluence: How Hong Kong Mismanaged Its Prosperity
by Leo F. Goodstadt
Edition: Paperback
Price: $28.00
22 used & new from $19.31

5.0 out of 5 stars A must for those who want to understand contemporary Hong Kong, April 24, 2015
This book describes how the SAR government has perpetuated and exacerbated the social ills that it inherited from the British colonial predecessor and its business collaborators. Decent services in health care, education, housing and welfare are denied to the most vulnerable, all through a process of stealthy privatization. The dismantling of the infrastructure for producing public housing confines the destitute to their slums. Those who rely on welfare are humiliated and victimized. The lingering of some degree of collective conscience does provide a glimmer of hope. The indictment is cogently argued and has a bibliography of nearly 30 pages. Five stars


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