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Tech Q & A

Lucas Mix
In clear and compelling terms, Life in Space: Astrobiology for Everyone shows how the emerging field of astrobiology investigates the nature of life in space. How did life begin? How common is it? Where do we fit in? These are the important questions that astrobiology seeks to answer.
Jo Marchant
In Decoding the Heavens, Jo Marchant details the 100-year quest to decode an ancient Greek computer device. This is the surprising story behind the 2,000-year-old mechanism that challenges modern assumptions about what ancient scientists knew, and the technological equipment they used to understand their world.
Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost
It's not hard to imagine how Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost spent their youth. Their new book, Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System, is one of the first to explore the "systems" of the Atari game console, and explains the relationship between platforms and creative expression. They discuss and dissect popular Atari games such as Pitfall, Adventure, Pac-Man, and Star Wars.
Gary Small
In iBrain, one of America's leading neuroscientists, Gary W. Small, reveals the remarkable brain evolution caused by the constant presence of technology today, separating the digital natives — those born in the computer age — from the digital immigrants, who discovered computer technology as adults.
Louisa Gilder
In The Age of Entanglement, Louisa Gilder offers a brilliantly original and richly illuminating exploration of entanglement — the seemingly telepathic communication between two separated particles, which is one of the fundamental concepts of quantum physics.
Eric Roston
The story of carbon — the building block of life that is, ironically, humanity's great threat. In The Carbon Age, Eric Roston evokes this essential element, its journey illuminating history from the Big Bang to modern civilization. In this Tech Q&A, Roston explains the source of his inspiration, which five seminal days he'd choose to revisit in another life, and more!
Brian Greene
In Icarus at the Edge of Time, one of America's leading physicists delivers a moving and visually stunning futuristic reimagining of the Icarus fable — a fable about fathers and sons, curiosity and wisdom, and the complexity of the universe. In this Tech Q&A, author Brian Greene explains his inspiration to write, shares his score on the Geek Test, and more!
Tom Boellstorff
Tom Boellstorff's last two books were anthropological studies on Indonesia. So why now a book on Second Life? Boellstorff decided to study virtual reality as if it were the Yanamamos. In his Q&A, he writes, "I decided to see if the same methods anthropologists used in the physical world could be used to study virtual worlds." His new book, Coming of Age in Second Life, reveals what he's learned since joining the online community in 2004. Read on, and learn about his surprising score on the Geek Test, his fluency in Elvish, and the influence of Lord of the Rings on the virtual world.
Mark Sobell
Along with being the most comprehensive reference to installing, configuring, and working with Ubuntu, A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux also provides extensive server coverage you won't find in any other Ubuntu book. In this Tech Q&A, author Mark G. Sobell explains the difference between inspiration and panic, shares his childhood love for catalogs, and more!
George Johnson
From acclaimed New York Times science writer George Johnson comes The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, an irresistible book on the most fascinating experiments in the history of science. In this Q&A, Johnson shares how Tony Hillerman inspired his writing, why his Geek Test score is unfair, and more!
Leonard Mlodinow
Leonard Mlodinow's The Drunkard's Walk is an irreverent look at how randomness influences our lives, and how our successes and failures are far more dependent on chance events than we recognize. In his lively Q&A, he shares why he would love to meet Einstein, when he dribbles or drinks, and why his librarian will always be near and dear to his heart.
Lawrence Weinstein
In Guesstimation, authors Lawrence Weinstein and John A. Adam show, using numerous examples, how readers can make numerical estimates of quantities — some absurd and some fascinating — in a wide variety of areas. In this Q&A, Weinstein explains why he can't predict future technologies, shares his youthful struggles with P.E. class, and more!
Michio Kaku
In Physics of the Impossible, renowned physicist Michio Kaku explores to what extent technologies and devices deemed impossible today might become commonplace in the future. In this Technica Q&A, Kaku reveals the childhood vow that led to writing books, discusses the inspiration of Isaac Asimov's Foundation, and much more!
Tim Guest
Every day, millions of people abandon reality for virtual worlds — building houses, making and selling works of art, and getting married. In Second Lives, Tim Guest takes readers into this bizarre culture of virtual lives. In this Q&A, Guest shares his passion for walking the streets of London "being carefully angry," explains what he and Douglas Adams have in common, and more!
Jeffrey Bennett
The quest for extraterrestrial life doesn't happen only in science fiction. "In cogent and entertaining language" (Publishers Weekly), Jeffrey Bennett's Beyond UFOs describes the startling discoveries being made in the very real science of astrobiology, an intriguing new field that blends astronomy, biology, and geology to explore the possibility of life on other planets. In this Q&A, Bennett describes his inspiration to write, what he hopes for the future, and more!
Janet Hope
Traversing disciplinary boundaries, Janet Hope presents a careful analysis of intellectual property-related challenges confronting the biotechnology industry and then paints a detailed picture of "open source biotechnology" as a possible solution in her book Biobazaar: The Open Source Revolution and Biotechnology. Read her exclusive Q&A and learn why she is motivated by unemployment, why she attracts stares with her computer at the park, and more!
Dan Lyons
Dan Lyons In the tradition of Thank You for Smoking and in the spirit of The Onion, Options is a novelistic sendup and takedown of Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Washington, D.C. In this Technica Q&A, "Fake Steve Jobs" (a.k.a. Dan Lyons) tells us what inspired him to spoof Silicon Valley, where he thinks technology may be in ten years, and more!
Paul Pasles
Paul Pasles Few American lives have been as celebrated — or as closely scrutinized — as that of Benjamin Franklin. In Benjamin Franklin's Numbers, Paul Pasles reveals a side of the iconic statesman, scientist, and writer that few Americans know — his mathematical side. Pasles shares his own mathematical side in this Q&A, along with his favorite childhood teacher, why he can't stand not writing, and more!
Stuart Clark
In The Sun Kings, Stuart Clark brings to life the scientists who roundly rejected the significance of amateur astronomer Richard Carrington's discovery of solar flares, as well as those who took up his struggle to prove the notion that the Earth could be touched by influences from space. In this Technica Q&A, Clark reveals his fondness for Victorian erudition, why he doesn't like Jane Austen, and more!
Alex Wright
Richly illustrated and exhaustively researched, Alex Wright's Glut takes readers on an intriguing cross-disciplinary journey through the deep history of human knowledge systems and examines the problem of information overload. In this Q&A, Wright shares his favorite childhood book, fantasizes that his computer could disappear, and more!
Phil Torrone
From out of nowhere, MAKE — often coined "the bible of the Tech DIY movement" — has rapidly become one of the hottest new magazines to hit the newsstands. In a special re-release, MAKE Magazine: The First Year, all 4-Volumes of MAKE's inaugural year are combined in a special four-volume Collector's Set. In this Technica Q&A, MAKE senior editor and blogger Phil Torrone offers his favorite blog, shares his inspiration for writing, and more!
Paul Halpern
What's Science Ever Done for Us? is a completely unauthorized, informative, and fun exploration of the science and technology connected with the world's most famous cartoon family, The Simpsons. In this Technica Q&A, Paul Halpern explains the science of Springfield, describes his favorite childhood teacher, and more!
Ken Steiglitz
In Snipers, Shills, and Sharks, Ken Steiglitz examines how and why eBay works, revealing practical auction strategies and introducing readers to the fundamentals of auction theory and the mathematics behind eBay. In this exclusive Q&A, Steiglitz shares which scientist or writer he'd like to be reincarnated as, why he's looking forward to the arrival of androids, and more!
Christopher Vine
With 168 pages, 130 color photographs, and 30 diagrams, Christopher Vine's How (Not) to Paint a Locomotive takes the beginner through all the necessary stages and processes in painting a model engineering subject. In this Technica Q&A, Vine shares his favorite museum, reveals his worst subject in school, and more!
James Gardner
In The Intelligent Universe James Gardner addresses the question: What is the ultimate destiny of our universe? In this Technica Q&A, Gardner disusses his favorite teacher, his best (and worst) subject in school, and much more.
Edward Belbruno
Edward Belbruno describes Fly Me to the Moon: An Insider's View of the New Science of Space Travel as depicting "the rescue of a Japanese spacecraft using a revolutionary route to the Moon." In this Technica Q&A, Belbruno disusses his favorite teacher, his best (and worst) subject in school, and much more.
Dan Hooper
Dan Hooper describes Dark Cosmos: In Search of Our Universe's Missing Mass and Energy as "a book about two of the biggest mysteries in science today — dark matter and dark energy." In this Technica Q&A, Hooper disusses his inspiration, his best subject in school, and more.
Fritjof Capra
Fritjof Capra, author of The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living, describes his current book project about the science of Leonardo Da Vinci (due in 2007), discusses his favorite childhood teacher, and shares his passion for chess in this exclusive Q&A.
David Orr
Design on the Edge: The Making of a High-Performance Building tells the story of the Adam Joseph Lewis Center at Oberlin College — the first substantially green building to be built on a college campus. This thoughtful book is also a philosophical study on green design in general. David Orr, a professor at Oberlin, noticed that many academic buildings built after World War II were ugly, cheaply-made behemoths. (It's ironic that the planning committee for this new, green building met in a windowless basement.) Orr writes eloquently about the slow process of institutional change and the political economy of design.
Eugene Kaplan
A reviewer calls author Eugene Kaplan "part Indiana Jones, part Richard Feynman and part Woody Allen." "Sensuous Seas" is Kaplan's ninth book, and after more than fifty years as a marine biologist, Kaplan still has many delightful stories and thoughtful observations on marine life. Sensuous Seas is full of creatures that slime, snot and ooze viscous fluids (and have pretty interesting sex lives, too). Kaplan presents elemental biological concepts in entertaining, amusing prose that will delight armchair biologists. After all, how can you resist a book with chapters like "A Peek into the Anus of a Sea Cucumber"? Of course, you can't. Find out more and save 30% on "Sensuous Seas."
Alex Vilenkin
Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin's new book, Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes, is his first for non-specialists. Vilenkin's basic thesis is that the world is constantly expanding due to "eternal inflation," and that ours is but one of infinite universes. Here Vilenkin expands on his book and give us some insight into what makes him tick.
Paul Nahin
Paul Nahin, a prolific mathematics writer, does not subscribe to Dorothy Parker's "I hate writing, I love having written" philosophy. No, Mr. Nahin loves all of it. Writing first drafts by hand in bucolic university coffee shops, revising, and admiring the final manuscript. "Is there anything more beautiful than typeset mathematics?" he asks. Check out his Q&A to discover his other secrets, and find out more about Dr. Euler's Fabulous Formula.
Chet Raymo
Chet Raymo's newest book, Walking Zero, uses the prime meridian to tell the story of humankind's intellectual journey from a cosmos not much larger than ourselves to the universe of the galaxies and geologic eons. Publishers Weeky cheers, "[A]s meandering and invigorating as a brisk country walk....One could hardly ask for a better travel companion than Raymo."
Jim Heid
Jim Heid, resident Apple expert and author of The Macintosh iLife '06, has been writing books since the early 1980s. He confesses to a fondness for Scrabble, plays guitar, and finds joy in Flickr, the photo sharing site: "Flickr has very literally changed my life for the better." Despite his aversion to video games, Heid is more than happy to share his knowledge of the latest digital media.
Wayne Goddard
Wayne Goddard, author of Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife Shop, is the real deal — an Oregon Renaissance man. He's currently working on a knife made with deer antlers. What inspires him to teach knife-making? "There were no books or magazines on knife-making when I started in 1963, so I had to learn everything the hard way."
Charles Seife
In Decoding the Universe, Charles Seife explores one of the greatest revolutions of the 20th century: information theory. But, in a parallel universe, Seife would likely be running about New York City searching for its charms, fencing, enjoying an absorbing round of Ms. Pac Man, and exploring the mind of Leonardo da Vinci.
Stephen and Chris Daubert
The authors of Threads from the Web of Life take the Technica Q&A, offering such fodder for future car-ride trivia as what drives them to create, their favorite childhood books, and what they do to relax (sadly, answering Technica Q&A questions didn't make the list).
Lance Berelowitz
Lance Berelowitz, author of Dream City: Vancouver and the Global Imagination, takes a turn on our Tech Q&A. Discover his surprising answers to who he's most like to be reincarnated as, his favorite museum, what inspires him to write, and more.
Robert Scoble and Shel Israel
Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, co-authors of Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers both took time to answer our Technica Q&A. As might be obvious, blogs are very much on their minds, though you may be surprised to know their favorite books, best school subjects, and the people they emulate, or, at least, would like to.
Will Shortz
Will Shortz, American puzzle meister, New York Times crossword editor, and NPR Weekend Edition Sunday puzzle host, presents Sudoku: Easy to Hard (Volume 3). What is sudoku? you may well ask. Find out in our Technica Q&A with Shortz, along with the story world he'd like to live in and his current breakfast food of choice.
Mario Livio
Mario Livio, author of the elegant and highly successful book The Golden Ratio, returns with The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved. Illuminating and literary, Livio's latest uncovers the gripping tale of the romantic characters and dramatic history surrounding the discovery of the language of symmetry.
Jonathan Weiner
Jonathan Weiner's name has became synonymous with user-friendly science and technology. Philosopher, poet, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Weiner has assembled a stellar cast of essays as editor of the The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2005, and here takes a moment to answer our Q&A.
Mark Svenvold
Mark Svenvold's latest work is a wry meditation on weather as a marketable celebrity. Big Weather: Chasing Tornadoes in the Heart of America is a virtuosic look at our primal fascination with storms. In our Technica Q&A, Svenvold discusses the sublime, the humiliating, and Ezra Pound.
Harm de Blij
Harm de Blij, world-renowned Dutch geographer and author of Why Geography Matters, took some time from his demanding schedule to answer a few questions for our readers. What inspires Professor de Blij to write? What will impair America's current technological lead? What does a world-famous geographer like to read?
Garth Sundem
Garth Sundem's new book, Geek Logik: 50 Foolproof Equations for Everyday Life, is an amusing look at life from a quirky statistician's perspective. Assign variables to certain questions, and you have your answer. "Should I get a tattoo? Can I get away with calling in sick today? How many beers should I drink at the company party?" Sundem is an engaging, funny writer who's not afraid of his inner geek. And Geek Logik even comes with a pocket calculator so that you can figure out if you want to buy the book.
Mick Farren
The government is tightening its grip on us by watching and recording what we do. Who's Watching You? asks, who are "they" and why do they want to know so much about us? This book includes chilling, accurate, and up-to-date descriptions of the methods the government (and private company proxies) use to watch us. In this exclusive Q&A, co-author Mick Farren shares his writing inspiration, his best (and worst) subject in high school, and more!
Melanie Mitchell
Richly illustrated and vividly written, Complexity: A Guided Tour offers a comprehensive and eminently comprehensible overview of the ideas underlying complex systems science, the current research at the forefront of this field, and the prospects for the field's contribution to solving some of the most important scientific questions of our time.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
In The Pluto Files, New York Times-bestselling author Neil deGrasse Tyson chronicles America's irrational love affair with Pluto. In his typically witty way, Tyson explores the history of planet classification and America's obsession with the "planet" that's recently been judged a dwarf. "[H]ighly entertaining," cheers Booklist.
James Boyle
James Boyle is a professor of law and cofounder of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University. Boyle's newest book, The Public Domain, asserts the importance of a richer public domain in an increasingly private and litigious copyright law environment.
Joseph T. Hallinan
"To err is human," Alexander Pope once said, but have you ever wondered why? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Joseph Hallinan has. He describes his new book, Why We Make Mistakes, as "a field guide to human error," and offers some helpful hints for making fewer of them. Adults tend to act and see in patterns, neglecting to notice the details. That's why your kids always know where your car keys are and you don't.
Ron Pernick
Profits and potential are explored in The Clean Tech Revolution, the definitive book on clean tech: technologies designed to provide superior performance at lower costs, greatly reducing the world's dependence on "dirty" energy such as fossil fuels and other environmentally damaging products.
Bill Tancer
In Click, columnist Bill Tancer searches deep inside the massive database of online intelligence to reveal the naked truth and unexpected insights about how people use the Web, navigate to sites, and search for information — and what that says about individuals and their buying habits. In this Tech Q&A, Tancer searches deep inside himself to offer insight into his favorite teacher, what he really means when he says he barbecues for relaxation, and more!
Robert Zimmerman
In The Universe in a Mirror: The Saga of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Visionaries Who Built It, Robert Zimmerman brings the visionaries behind this most remarkable of instruments vividly to life. In this Tech Q&A, Zimmerman brings his own views to life, sharing some of his favorite blogs, why he joined a gun club, and more!
Michael Gazzaniga
In Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique, Michael S. Gazzaniga, one of the world's leading neuroscientists, explores how best to understand the human condition by examining the biological, psychological, and the highly social nature of the species. In this Tech Q&A, Gazzaniga explains his ideas for the biggest changes in human culture, how truly special human beings are, and more!
Carl Zimmer
Just the word E. coli makes us squirm. But Carl Zimmer, author of Microcosm: E.Coli and the New Science of Life finds the little buggers fascinating. In Carl's exclusive Q&A for, learn about his obsession with the Mütter Museum, find out what writer he'd love to be reincarnated as, and discover why he can never quite relax.
Jeffrey Kluger
In Simplexity, Time magazine reporter Kluger adeptly translates cutting-edge theory into high-octane history that surrounds the notion of simplexity — that simple things can be more complicated than they seem, and complex things more simple — and how this affects everyone. In this Tech Q&A, Kluger
Gary Marcus
In Kluge, New York University psychologist Gary Marcus argues that the mind is a "kluge" — a clumsy, cobbled-together contraption — as he ponders the accidents of evolution that caused this structure and what we can do about it. In this Q&A, Marcus shares his inspiration for writing, his favorite book as a child, and more!
James Stein
Scientists such as Heisenberg and Godel taught us that it's impossible to know everything about the physical universe. But according to James Stein, author of "How Math Explains the World," such uncertainty has led to bigger scientific breakthroughs, which help explain, for example, why car repairs always take so long. In this Q&A, find out why Stein loves Chicago, his favorite cartoonist, and why his junior high school shop teacher took pity on him.
David Lindley
In Uncertainty, a riveting account of Werner Heisenberg's "uncertainty principle," David Lindley captures this critical episode and explains one of the most important scientific discoveries in history. In this Technica Q&A, Lindley describes his best (and worst) subject in school, how soothing it can be to spackle an old wall, and more!
Paul Davies
Cosmic Jackpot is Paul Davies's eagerly awaited return to cosmology, in which he tackles all the "big questions," including the biggest of them all: Why does the universe seem so well adapted for life? In this Technica Q&A, Davies tackles smaller, but no less scintillating, questions — including what he does for relaxation, his best and worst subjects in school, and more!
Wagner James Au
In The Making of Second Life, "embedded" journalist Wagner James Au presents the inside story of the creation, development, and unexplored potential of the hottest place on the Internet — the virtual world known as Second Life. In this Q&A, Au opens up about how the Residents of Second Life inspire him, which physicist he would wish to be reincarnated as, and more!
Chris Sangwin
How do you draw a straight line? How do you determine if a circle is really round? These may sound like simple or even trivial mathematical problems, but to an engineer the answers can mean the difference between success and failure. In How Round Is Your Circle?, Chris Sangwin invites readers to explore many of the same fundamental questions that working engineers deal with every day — it's hands-on and fun. Which perfectly describe Sangwin's answers to our exclusive Q&A!
Helen R. Quinn and Yossi Nir
The Mystery of the Missing Antimatter is at once a history of ideas and an exploration of modern science and the frontiers of human knowledge. This exciting, accessible book reveals how the interplay of theory and experimentation advances our understanding and redefines the questions we ask about our universe. In this Tech Q&A, authors Helen R. Quinn and Yossi Nir reveal their favorite childhood teachers, their best subjects in high school and much more!
Richard Reeves
Richard Reeves In his new intellectual biography of Ernest Rutherford, the 20th century's greatest experimental physicist, A Force of Nature, Richard Reeves portrays a ruddy, genial man who was also a towering figure in scientific history. In this Technica Q&A, Reeves explains why he wants to be reincarnated as Rutherford, the problem with e-mail, and more!
David Levy
David Levy From the story of Dr. Frankenstein to the man-machine fiction of Philip K. Dick, readers have been enthralled by the possibilities of interaction between technological creations and themselves. Love and Sex with Robots builds on that fascination to show how technological entities may very well turn out to be objects of real, human desire. In this Technica Q&A, author David Levy shares his vision for why people will soon fall in love with robots, what inspires him to write, and more!
David Ruelle
In The Mathematician's Brain David Ruelle, the well-known mathematical physicist who helped create chaos theory, gives us a rare insider's account of the celebrated mathematicians he has known — their quirks, oddities, personal tragedies, bad behavior, descents into madness, tragic ends, and the sublime, inexpressible beauty of their most breathtaking mathematical discoveries. In this Technica Q&A, we peek inside Ruelle's brain to discover his favorite teacher, his favorite childhood book, and more!
Rebecca Tapley
The rapidly growing world of Second Life has over five million players. Treating Second Life as an experience, which is just how its subscribers and residents see it, Designing Your Second Life focuses on ways to leverage design in enriching that experience. In this Q&A, author Rebecca Tapley shares her inspiration write, reveals which writer she'd like to be reincarnated as, and more!
Scott Berkun
Bestselling author Scott Berkun asks timeless, important questions in his latest book, The Myths of Innovation. How do you know whether a new technology will succeed or fail? Where will the next big idea come from? In this Tech Q&A, Berkun answers somewhat less important questions, filling us in on his best and worst high school subjects, what technological advancements are in store for humankind, and more!
Geoff Andersen
The Telescope is the ideal introduction to a fascinating instrument that has taught us so much, but that most of us know so little about. In this Technica Q&A, author Geoff Andersen shares what inspires him to write, his favorite book as a child, and more!
Robert Hoekman
Belonging in the toolbox of every person charged with the design and development of Web-based software, Robert Hoekman's Designing the Obvious explores the character traits of great Web applications and uses them as guiding principles of application design. In this exclusive Q&A, Hoekman discusses his inspiration to write, who taught him how to have fun for a living, and more!
Jack El-Hai
Jack El-Hai describes The Lobotomist, his biography of Walter Freeman, the physician who introduced lobotomy to the United States, as an attempt to "illuminate his behavior and set his work in the context of the fascinating neuroscience and psychiatry of the time." In this Technica Q&A, El-Hai reveals his writing inspirations, describes his favorite childhood teacher, and more!
David Linden
David Linden describes The Accidental Mind as a guide "through the strange and often illogical world of neural function." In this Technica Q&A, Linden reveals his score on the Geek Test, his favorite book as a kid, and more!
Tom McNichol
Tom McNichol's AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War relates the little-known story of how Thomas Edison wrongly bet in the fierce war between supporters of alternating current and direct current. In this Technica Q&A, McNichol disusses his inspiration, his best subject in school, and more.
Guy Ogilvy
Author Guy Ogilvy describes The Alchemist's Kitchen as "an alchemical recipe book" with "extensive appendices chock full of recipes for all manner of useful things like glue, perfumes, soap, pigments, gunpowder, and alcohol."
Brian Clegg
What is quantum entanglement, and why is this such an exciting scientific theory? Entanglement occurs when two or more objects have to be described with reference to one another, even though they may not be physically close. What are the ramifications of this? This phenomenon could affect time travel, teleportation and super-powerful computers, or so says author Brian Clegg.
Joseph Turow
Over the past ten years or so, we have grown increasingly accustomed to heavy marketing online. Certain websites remember us by name, and more importantly, know our consumer habits and demographics. And we've found ways to circumvent these advertising tactics with spam blockers and TiVo. Credit card companies know us better than ourselves, and even shopping at the grocery store these days is a lesson in Big Brother marketing. How did we get to such an adversarial position with our media? Author Joseph Turow, whom the New York Times calls "the reigning academic expert on media fragmentation," examines this uneasy relationship in his newest book, Niche Envy.
T. L. Taylor
In Play between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture, T. L. Taylor delves into the world of Everquest, aka "Evercrack." Part anthropologist, part geek, she uses her role as an Everquest gamer to learn more about the subculture of massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), arguing that they're just as socially acceptable as bowling or baseball.
Amy N. Langville and Carl Meyer
Authors Amy Langville and Carl Meyer have just published Google's PageRank and Beyond. This academic book has at least two audiences: readers who want to learn the intricacies of Google (and how to tweak them), and mathematicians who want to study Google as a computational puzzle. Google and math, united at last.
Leonard Susskind
Leonard Susskind, author of The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design and theoretical physics professor at Stanford, is widely known as "the father of string theory." Despite this highbrow moniker, Susskind is a humble sort who struggles with chess, and dreams of inventing a machine that balances wobbly restaurant tables.
David E. Nye
David Nye, recipient of last year's Leonardo da Vinci Medal and author of Technology Matters, believes that "we are deeply encapsulated in a cocoon of technological conveniences, but we still want to use new machines to get closer to nature." In his Q&A, Nye champions solar energy, admires Henry Adams, and tells us what he thinks about the Red Sox.
Giles Slade
America's obsession with the new is an old tradition, writes Giles Slade, author of Made to Break. The Industrial Age ushered in the throwaway era. Packaging, marketing, advertising, and social pressure all contribute to our collective desire to have the newest cell phone, computer, or car, explains Slade. "E[lectronic] waste is a threat to every living thing, but for some reason it hides under our cultural radar."
Cy Tymony
Author Cy Tymony's newest book, Sneakier Uses for Everyday Things, is essential reading for any Macgyver wannabe. He loves "devising and collecting resourceful tricks to inspire creativity in people." Read about his favorite childhood book, why he admires Lex Luthor, and the things he finds in Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.
Brian D. Foy
"Gadgets are pretty high on Maslow's Pyramid, and I tend to think that they are, in the language of Herzberg, 'hygiene factors.' If we don't keep improving them or taking care of them, we become unhappy." So says brian d foy, author of Intermediate Perl, who loves to teach Perl programming classes, and publishes a magazine called The Perl Review.
Henry Petroski
Though it may seem a paradox, bad design can lead to great success. In his newest book, Success through Failure, Henry Petroski elucidates the many great failures that have, in turn, led to great design and invention. Read our Tech Q&A with Petroski and find out what makes him tick.
Roger Penrose
Roger Penrose, author of The Road to Reality, took some time off from charting the laws of the universe to answer our Q&A. You'll learn what inspires him to write (or, rather, doesn't), that he prefers Douglas Adams to Scott Adams, and why he would choose to be reincarnated as Galileo.
Simon Singh
What does one of the world's great writers of physics and math do for relaxation? Where does he go for his favorite buzz? And what, pray tell, pushed him into the British Reincarnation Society? Find out the answers and more in our Technica Q&A with Simon Singh, author of Big Bang.
Scott MacHaffie
If Scott MacHaffie, author of Palm and Treo Hacks, wasn't Scott MacHaffie, who would Scott MacHaffie be? What was his favorite book to read during junior high math? Learn the answers to these and other fascinating facts about the man who has deconstructed PDAs like no one's business.
Jeff Byles
Jeff Byles's Rubble: Unearthing the History of Demolition rides the wrecking ball through the world of destruction. Told with arresting detail and energy, this tale goes to the heart of the scientific, social, economic, and personal meaning of how we unbuild our world. In our Technica Q&A, Byles shares his personal formula for writing ("Panic") and introduces us to his favorite blogs.
Bart Farkas
Though Bart Farkas has made a splash in the podcasting world with Secrets of Podcasting, he's more well-rounded-man than techno-geek. Football referee, fiction writer, futurist, and devoted father, Bart shares some insights in our Technica Q&A on the future of health sciences and technology.
Simon Winchester
Simon Winchester, who brought Krakatoa, the greatest explosion in recorded history, into living rooms across America, has now turned his formidable powers toward planetary rumblings in A Crack in the Edge of the World. Here Winchester muses on Joseph Needham, chess with his twelve-year-old godson, and mountain-climbing in Scotland.
Edward Burger
Not only did mathematics giant Edward Burger answer many of our favorite questions, he also completed the Geek Test just for us. Where does he rank? And who inspired him to become the hip mathematician he is today?
Sarah Horton
Sarah Horton, author of Access by Design: A Guide to Universal Usability for Web Designers sat down to answer a few questions about her new book, her least favorite teacher, the future of technology, and Shel Silverstein.
Chris Mooney
The Republican War on Science, new in paperback, is a meticulous, finely crafted book on how science has been affected by the partisan politics of the conservative Republican right and George W. Bush. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Chris Mooney asks hard questions. Are Republicans pleasing their base by refuting hard science which supports "liberal" causes like global warming, the Endangered Species Act, and stem cell research?
Mark Jason Dominus
Author Mark Jason Dominus takes a new approach to programming Perl in his new, bestselling book, Higher-Order Perl. Many Perl programmers have early training in C and Unix programming, and this shows in their code. But Perl has advanced features that have their roots in other languages such as Lisp. With these features, you can use functional techniques that make your Perl programming extremely powerful and efficient, and Dominus can show you how.
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