A CRUDE LOOK AT THE WHOLE

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A Crude Look At The Whole

Author : John H. Miller
ISBN : 9780465073863
Genre : Science
File Size : 71.41 MB
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A top expert explains why a social and economic understanding of complex systems will help society to anticipate and confront our biggest challenges Imagine trying to understand a stained glass window by breaking it into pieces and examining it one shard at a time. While you could probably learn a lot about each piece, you would have no idea about what the entire picture looks like. This is reductionism--the idea that to understand the world we only need to study its pieces--and it is how most social scientists approach their work. In A Crude Look at the Whole, social scientist and economist John H. Miller shows why we need to start looking at whole pictures. For one thing, whether we are talking about stock markets, computer networks, or biological organisms, individual parts only make sense when we remember that they are part of larger wholes. And perhaps more importantly, those wholes can take on behaviors that are strikingly different from that of their pieces. Miller, a leading expert in the computational study of complex adaptive systems, reveals astounding global patterns linking the organization of otherwise radically different structures: It might seem crude, but a beehive's temperature control system can help predict market fluctuations and a mammal's heartbeat can help us understand the "heartbeat" of a city and adapt urban planning accordingly. From enduring racial segregation to sudden stock market disasters, once we start drawing links between complex systems, we can start solving what otherwise might be totally intractable problems. Thanks to this revolutionary perspective, we can finally transcend the limits of reductionism and discover crucial new ideas. Scientifically founded and beautifully written, A Crude Look at the Whole is a powerful exploration of the challenges that we face as a society. As it reveals, taking the crude look might be the only way to truly see.
Category: Science

Talking Back To The Machine

Author : Peter J. Denning
ISBN : 0387984135
Genre : Computers
File Size : 40.68 MB
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From one of the editors of the renowned book "Beyond Calculation" comes a newcollection of essays focusing on the impact of computers on humans.
Category: Computers

Rethinking Civilizational Analysis

Author : Said Arjomand
ISBN : 9781412931342
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 71.45 MB
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'At last, a volume on civilization that truly reflects the complexity of multiple civilizations. The wealth of contributions Arjomand and Tiryakian have assembled demonstrates the value of an old concept for understanding the awful dilemmas confronting human kind in the global age. Its thoroughgoing renewal here establishes this book as the essential benchmark for future scholars of civilization' - Martin Albrow, Founding Editor of International Sociology and author of The Global Age - winner of the European Amalfi Prize, 1997 'In our tension filled world, many are heralding, and others fearing, a"clash of civilizations." The contributors to this volume provides a healthy and persuasive argument about why this clash need not, and certainly should not, take place. They do so, moreover, not by rejecting the concept of civilization, but by developing a less primordial, homogenous, and essentialist concept of it. An important collection that provides illumination in this sometimes frighteningly dark time' - Jeffrey Alexander, Professor and Chair of Sociology at Yale University 'The concept of civilization may well replace the notions of globalization and identity as the core component in the vocabulary of 21st century sociology. The authors contribute a great deal to the clarification of fashionable controversies around the "clash of civilizations" and "multiculturalism". They go a long way toward purging the concept of civilization of its ideological overtones, and they suceed admirably in turning it into powerful analytic tool of an emerging fleld of macrosociology, known already as civilizational analysis' - Piotr Sztompka, President, International Sociological Association Although the concept of 'civilization' has deep roots in the social sciences, there is an urgent need to re-think it for contemporary times. This book points to an exhaustion in using 'the nation state' and 'world system' as the basic macro-units of social analysis because they do not get to grips with the 'soft power' variable of cultural factors involved in global aspects of development. Also, globalization requires us to reconsider the link between civilization and a fixed or given territory. This book focuses upon the dynamic aspect of civilizations. Among the topics covered are: · Civilizational analysis and social theory · Global civilization and local cultures · Civilizational forms · Rationalization and Civilization · Civilizations as zones of prestige · Historical and comparative dimensions of civilization · The clash of civilizations.
Category: Social Science

Generative Social Science

Author : Joshua M. Epstein
ISBN : 9781400842872
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 49.79 MB
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Agent-based computational modeling is changing the face of social science. In Generative Social Science, Joshua Epstein argues that this powerful, novel technique permits the social sciences to meet a fundamentally new standard of explanation, in which one "grows" the phenomenon of interest in an artificial society of interacting agents: heterogeneous, boundedly rational actors, represented as mathematical or software objects. After elaborating this notion of generative explanation in a pair of overarching foundational chapters, Epstein illustrates it with examples chosen from such far-flung fields as archaeology, civil conflict, the evolution of norms, epidemiology, retirement economics, spatial games, and organizational adaptation. In elegant chapter preludes, he explains how these widely diverse modeling studies support his sweeping case for generative explanation. This book represents a powerful consolidation of Epstein's interdisciplinary research activities in the decade since the publication of his and Robert Axtell's landmark volume, Growing Artificial Societies. Beautifully illustrated, Generative Social Science includes a CD that contains animated movies of core model runs, and programs allowing users to easily change assumptions and explore models, making it an invaluable text for courses in modeling at all levels.
Category: Business & Economics

Which World

Author : Allen Hammond
ISBN : 9781134188253
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 71.49 MB
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?Today, humanity faces a fundamentally different challenge ? that of managing a planet and a global human civilization in ways that will sustain both indefinitely. What makes this task less than easy are the pace and complexity of change. Over the next half century, human society will undergo a profound demographic transformation, experience fundamental shifts in the global balance of economic and political power, and cope with nearly continuous technological change. These transformations are inevitable ? the forces that compel them are already in place ? but their outcomes are far from fixed? This book is about the future, but not in the sense of making predictions. Rather it suggests how to think about the future. Because human destiny is not predetermined, this book explores not just one but several possible worlds, each embodying a very different vision of the future. Implicit in these contrasting visions is a choice: which world do we prefer; which world do we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren?? From chapter 1
Category: Business & Economics

Information And Life

Author : Gérard Battail
ISBN : 9789400770409
Genre : Science
File Size : 38.46 MB
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Communication, one of the most important functions of life, occurs at any spatial scale from the molecular one up to that of populations and ecosystems, and any time scale from that of fast chemical reactions up to that of geological ages. Information theory, a mathematical science of communication initiated by Shannon in 1948, has been very successful in engineering, but biologists ignore it. This book aims at bridging this gap. It proposes an abstract definition of information based on the engineers' experience which makes it usable in life sciences. It expounds information theory and error-correcting codes, its by-products, as simply as possible. Then, the fundamental biological problem of heredity is examined. It is shown that biology does not adequately account for the conservation of genomes during geological ages, which can be understood only if it is assumed that genomes are made resilient to casual errors by proper coding. Moreover, the good conservation of very old parts of genomes, like the HOX genes, implies that the assumed genomic codes have a nested structure which makes an information the more resilient to errors, the older it is. The consequences that information theory draws from these hypotheses meet very basic but yet unexplained biological facts, e.g., the existence of successive generations, that of discrete species and the trend of evolution towards complexity. Being necessarily inscribed on physical media, information appears as a bridge between the abstract and the concrete. Recording, communicating and using information exclusively occur in the living world. Information is thus coextensive with life and delineates the border between the living and the inanimate.
Category: Science

The Shortest Day

Author : Jane Langton
ISBN : 9789049985448
Genre : Fiction
File Size : 67.8 MB
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Homer investigates the violent deaths of a beautiful stage manager’s admirers Each year, the beautiful Sarah Bailey marks the winter solstice by organizing a pageant of drama and song for the citizens of Harvard University. Last year, the star of the show was Henry Shady, an Appalachian folk singer whose homespun charm won the eye of every young woman in Cambridge. On the eve of this year’s Revels, the singer is struck down in the street by an SUV driven by Sarah’s husband. The police dismiss it as a freak accident, but Mary Kelly, who witnessed the singer’s death, is not so sure. Her husband, Harvard professor and sometime sleuth Homer, dismisses her suspicion. But when more of the revelers suffer untimely deaths, Homer sees a pattern. Winter has gripped Cambridge, and Sarah’s husband may have been seized with murderous jealousy.
Category: Fiction

Intelligent Complex Adaptive Systems

Author : Yang, Ang
ISBN : 9781599047195
Genre : Computers
File Size : 34.34 MB
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"This book explores the foundation, history, and theory of intelligent adaptive systems, providing a fundamental resource on topics such as the emergence of intelligent adaptive systems in social sciences, biologically inspired artificial social systems, sensory information processing, as well as the conceptual and methodological issues and approaches to intelligent adaptive systems"--Provided by publisher.
Category: Computers

Look At More

Author : Andy Stefanovich
ISBN : 111801961X
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 72.46 MB
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Praise for Look At More "Andy Stefanovich is a masterful storyteller and a true 'curator of inspiration.' Look At More gives you a dose of Andy's adrenaline and creative can-do spirit, and it provides you with a powerful how-to guide for inspiring workplace innovation that lasts."—Beth Comstock, chief marketing officer, GE "Andy Stefanovich has always exhorted his clients to 'look at more stuff, think about it harder.' With this inspired and inspiring book, he shares dozens upon dozens of ways to put that principle to work. Look At More offers a way to real business transformation." —Daniel H. Pink, author, A Whole New Mind and Drive "Andy offers the reader a unique insight into what it really takes to create innovation within the structure of a corporate environment today. Andy doesn't think outside the box. He blows it up and starts again, helping large corporations think and behave like start-ups." —Duncan Wardle, vice president, Creative Inc., Disney Company "Andy Stefanovich delivers a host of innovative approaches to transform you and your business. The addictive narrative, while informative and actionable, is as creative as he wants us all to be."—Ivy Ross, executive vice president, marketing, Gap Brand at Gap Inc. "Look At More gives business leaders a practical and comprehensive framework to build, maintain, and most importantly inspire innovation not only at work but in all parts of life."—Stew Friedman, Wharton professor and author, Total Leadership
Category: Business & Economics

Aid On The Edge Of Chaos

Author : Ben Ramalingam
ISBN : 9780191503443
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 29.80 MB
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Many agree that the foreign aid system - which today involves virtually every nation on earth - needs drastic change. But there is much conflict as to what should be done. In Aid on the Edge of Chaos, Ben Ramalingam argues that what is most needed is the creative and innovative transformation of how aid works. Foreign aid today is dominated by linear, mechanistic ideas that emerged from early twentieth century industry, and are ill-suited to the world we face today. The problems and systems aid agencies deal with on a daily basis have more in common with ecosystems than machines: they are interconnected, diverse, and dynamic; they cannot be just simply re-engineered or fixed. Outside of aid, social scientists, economists, business leaders, and policy makers have started applying innovative and scientific approaches to such problems, informed by ideas from the 'new science' of complex adaptive systems. Inspired by these efforts, aid practitioners and researchers have started experimenting with such approaches in their own work. This book showcases the experiences, insights, and often remarkable results of innovative thinkers and practitioners who are working to bring these approaches into the mainstream of aid. From transforming child malnutrition to rethinking economic growth, from building peace to reversing desertification, from rural Vietnam to urban Kenya, the ideas of complex systems thinking are starting to be used to make foreign aid more relevant, more appropriate, and more catalytic. Aid on the Edge of Chaos argues that such ideas and approaches should play a vital part of the transformation of aid. Aid should move from being an imperfect post-World War II global resource transfer system, to a new form of global cooperation that is truly fit for the twenty-first century.
Category: Business & Economics