Book cover of Nuts and Bolts: Seven Small Inventions That Changed the World in a Big Way by Roma Agrawal
Engineering & Transportation

Nuts and Bolts: Seven Small Inventions That Changed the World in a Big Way

Some of humanity’s mightiest engineering achievements are small in scale—and, without them, the complex machinery on which our modern world runs would not exist. In Nuts and Bolts, structural engineer Roma Agrawal examines seven of these extraordinary elements: the nail, the wheel, the spring, the magnet, the lens, the string, and the pump. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything by Matthew Ball
Artificial Intelligence & Robotics

The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything

From the leading theorist of the Metaverse comes the definitive account of the next internet: what the Metaverse is, what it will take to build it, and what it means for all of us.

The term “Metaverse” is suddenly everywhere, from the front pages of national newspapers and the latest fashion trends to the plans of the most powerful companies in history. It is already shaping the policy platforms of the US government, the European Union, and the Chinese Communist Party […Learn More]

Book cover of How the Victorians Took Us to the Moon: The Story of the 19th-Century Innovators Who Forged Our Future by Iwan Rhys Morus
Computers & Technology

How the Victorians Took Us to the Moon: The Story of the 19th-Century Innovators Who Forged Our Future

The rich and fascinating history of the scientific revolution of the Victorian Era, leading to transformative advances in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

The Victorians invented the idea of the future. They saw it as an undiscovered country, one ripe for exploration and colonization. And to get us there, they created a new way of ordering and transforming nature, built on grand designs and the mass-mobilization of the resources of the British Empire. […Learn More]

Book cover of In the Forest of No Joy: The Congo-Océan Railroad and the Tragedy of French Colonialism by J. P. Daughton
Africa

In the Forest of No Joy: The Congo-Océan Railroad and the Tragedy of French Colonialism

The epic story of the Congo-Océan railroad and the human costs and contradictions of modern empire.

The Congo-Océan railroad stretches across the Republic of Congo from Brazzaville to the Atlantic port of Pointe-Noir. It was completed in 1934, when Equatorial Africa was a French colony, and it stands as one of the deadliest construction projects in history. Colonial workers were subjects of an ostensibly democratic nation whose motto read “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” but liberal ideals were savaged by a cruelly indifferent administrative state. […Learn More]

Book cover of From the River to the Sea: The Untold Story of the Railroad War That Made the West by John Sedgwick
Engineering & Transportation

From the River to the Sea: The Untold Story of the Railroad War That Made the West 

A propulsive and panoramic history of one of the most dramatic stories never told—the greatest railroad war of all time, fought by the daring leaders of the Santa Fe and the Rio Grande to seize, control, and create the American West.

It is difficult to imagine now, but for all its gorgeous scenery, the American West might have been barren tundra as far as most Americans knew well into the 19th century. While the West was advertised as a paradise on earth to citizens in the East and Midwest, many believed the journey too hazardous to be worthwhile—until 1869, when the first transcontinental railroad changed the face of transportation.
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Book cover of The Chinese Typewriter: A History by Thomas Mullaney
Asia

The Chinese Typewriter: A History

How Chinese characters triumphed over the QWERTY keyboard and laid the foundation for China’s information technology successes today.

Chinese writing is character based, the one major world script that is neither alphabetic nor syllabic. Through the years, the Chinese written language encountered presumed alphabetic universalism in the form of Morse Code, Braille, stenography, Linotype, punch cards, word processing, and other systems developed with the Latin alphabet in mind. […Learn More]

Book cover of Human Frontiers: The Future of Big Ideas in an Age of Small Thinking by Michael Bhaskar
Computers & Technology

Human Frontiers: The Future of Big Ideas in an Age of Small Thinking

Why has the flow of big, world-changing ideas slowed down? A provocative look at what happens next at the frontiers of human knowledge.

The history of humanity is the history of big ideas that expand our frontiers—from the wheel to space flight, cave painting to the massively multiplayer game, monotheistic religion to quantum theory. And yet for the past few decades, apart from a rush of new gadgets and the explosion of digital technology, world-changing ideas have been harder to come by. Since the 1970s, big ideas have happened incrementally—recycled, focused in narrow bands of innovation. […Learn More]