The Pastor and the Painter
By Cindy Wockner
At 12.35 a.m. on the 29th April 2015, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were led out in front of firing squad. Strapped to wooden crosses, they prayed and sang, staring straight ahead at their killers. On that day, the Indonesian government did not execute two drug smugglers, they executed a pastor and a painter.But who were Andrew and Myuran?In 2005, the selfish recklessness of youth and lure of drugs, money, fast cars and a better life led them and seven other Australians into a smuggling plot to import eight kilograms of heroin from Indonesia to Australia. Unbeknownst to them all, the Australian Federal Police knew their plan and tipped off the Indonesian police. Charged with drug trafficking, Myuran and Andrew were found guilty and sentenced to death. Andrew was 22 years old. Myuran was 24.Cindy Wockner was the Indonesian correspondent for News Limited when the Bali Nine were caught. For a decade she covered their story and she got to know Myuran, Andrew and their families very well. She watched them transform from angry, defiant young men into fully rehabilitated good people.This is the intimate, and untold, story of Andrew and Myuran; of their childhoods and what turned them to drugs, what happened in their ten years in Kerokoban Prison, the numerous legal appeals, the political fallout and the growing worldwide pleas for mercy that saw vigils held around Australia. It will show their rehabilitation and their focus on helping others - of Andrew's growing commitment to his faith and Myu's burgeoning artistic talent. It will show the boys they were and the men they became in a potent cautionary tale and a poignant reminder of what we all lose when we ignore the power of mercy.
The Plot to Destroy Democracy
By Malcolm Nance
In the greatest intelligence operation in the history of the world, Donald Trump was made President of the United States with the assistance of a foreign power. For the first time, The Plot to Destroy Democracy reveals the dramatic story of how blackmail, espionage, assassination, and psychological warfare were used by Vladimir Putin and his spy agencies to steal the 2016 U.S. election--and attempted to bring about the fall of NATO, the European Union, and western democracy. It will show how Russia and its fifth column allies tried to flip the cornerstones of democracy in order to re-engineer the world political order that has kept most of the world free since 1945. Career U.S. Intelligence officer Malcolm Nance will examine how Russia has used cyber warfare, political propaganda, and manipulation of our perception of reality--and will do so again--to weaponize American news, traditional media, social media, and the workings of the internet to attack and break apart democratic institutions from within, and what we can expect to come should we fail to stop their next attack.Nance has utilized top secret Russian-sourced political and hybrid warfare strategy documents to demonstrate the master plan to undermine American institutions that has been in effect from the Cold War to the present day. Based on original research and countless interviews with espionage experts, Nance examines how Putin's recent hacking accomplished a crucial first step for destabilizing the West for Russia, and why Putin is just the man to do it. Nance exposes how Russia has supported the campaigns of right-wing extremists throughout both the U.S. and Europe to leverage an axis of autocracy, and how Putin's agencies have worked since 2010 to bring fringe candidate Donald Trump into elections.Revelatory, insightful, and shocking, The Plot To Destroy Democracy puts a professional spy lens on Putin's plot and unravels it play-by-play. In the end, he provides a better understanding of why Putin's efforts are a serious threat to our national security and global alliances--in much more than one election--and a blistering indictment of Putin's puppet, President Donald J. Trump.
The Price of Greatness
By Jay Cost
An incisive account of the tumultuous relationship between Alexander Hamilton and James Madison and of the origins of our wealthy yet highly unequal nationIn the history of American politics there are few stories as enigmatic as that of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison's bitterly personal falling out. Together they helped bring the Constitution into being, yet soon after the new republic was born they broke over the meaning of its founding document. Hamilton emphasized economic growth, Madison the importance of republican principles.Jay Cost is the first to argue that both men were right--and that their quarrel reveals a fundamental paradox at the heart of the American experiment. He shows that each man in his own way came to accept corruption as a necessary cost of growth. The Price of Greatness reveals the trade-off that made the United States the richest nation in human history, and that continues to fracture our politics to this day.
By Quentin Letts
From the Sunday Times bestselling author of 50 People Who Buggered Up Britain, Quentin Letts, comes his blistering new book on how Britain's out-of-touch, illiberal elite fills its boots.'HILARIOUS' Daily Mail'With its vicious takedowns, Quentin Letts' laugh-out-loud Patronising Bastards will have the lefty-elite running scared' The SunNot since Marie Antoinette said 'Let them eat cake' have the peasants been so revolting. Western capitalism's elites are bemused: Brexit, Trump, and maybe more eruptions to follow. But their rulers were so good to them! Hillary Clinton called the ingrates 'a basket of deplorables', Bob Geldof flicked them a V sign, Tony Blair thought voters too thick to understand the question. Wigged judges stared down their legalistic noses at a surging, pongy populous.These people who know best, these snooterati with their faux-liberal ways, are the 'Patronising Bastards'. Their downfall is largely of their own making - their Sybaritic excesses, an obsession with political correctness, the prolonged rape of reason and rite. You'll find these self-indulgent show-ponys not just in politics and the cloistered old institutions but also in high fashion, football, among the clean-eating foodies and at the Baftas and Oscars, where celebritydom hires PR smoothies to massage reputations and mislead, distort, twist. Political columnist and bestselling author Quentin Letts identifies these condescending creeps and their networks, their methods and their dubious morals. Letts kebabs them like mutton. It's baaaahd. It's juicy.Richard Branson, Emma Thompson, Shami Chakrabarti, Jean-Claude Juncker and any head waiter who calls you 'young man' - this one's for you!
The Physics of Everyday Things
By James Kakalios
Most of us are clueless when it comes to the physics that makes our modern world so convenient. What's the simple science behind motion sensors, touch screens and toasters? How do we enter our offices using touch-on passes or find our way to new places using GPS? In The Physics of Everyday Things, James Kakalios takes us on an amazing journey into the subatomic marvels that underlie so much of what we use and take for granted.Breaking down the world of things into a single day, Kakalios engages our curiosity about how our refrigerators keep food cool, how a plane manages to remain airborne, and how our wrist fitness monitors keep track of our steps. Each explanation is coupled with a story revealing the interplay of the astonishing invisible forces that surround us. Through this 'narrative physics' The Physics of Everyday Things demonstrates that - far from the abstractions conjured by terms like the Higgs boson, black holes and gravity waves - sophisticated science is also quite practical. With his signature clarity and inventiveness, Kakalios ignites our imaginations and enthralls us with the principles that make up our lives.
By Maryn McKenna
'This is an important book. You can't understand the radical cheapening of food, with all its unpleasant effects, for farm animals and our most cherished rural landscapes, until you begin to understand the industrialisation of chicken. Industrial chicken is now displacing many more sustainable farming systems, driving them out of business. This book explains how that happened and why we should all be worried about it and demand change' James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd's LifePlucked! examines everything that has gone wrong in the modern agricultural system: overuse of antibiotics, threats to the environment, violations of animal welfare, destruction of farming communities, disruption of international trade and delivery of over-processed, obesity-promoting, nutritionally hollow food.Drawing on years of research into the 'big chicken' industry, acclaimed science writer Maryn McKenna uncovers the people searching for solutions and seeking to return chicken to a sustainable and honoured place on our plate and asking whether, with reform, chicken can safely feed the world. Rich with characters who together propelled the story of chicken's unintended consequences, Plucked! will reveal how the antibiotic era created modern agriculture. It is an eye-opening exploration of how the world's most popular meat came to define so much more than just chicken nuggets.
By Charlie Savage
Barack Obama promised change from George W. Bush's global war on terrorism. But the Obama administration used drones to kill suspected militants and vacuumed data on Americans' phone calls. Obama criticized Bush's unilateralism and secrecy, but launched wars without going to Congress and presided over an unprecedented crackdown on leaks.With extensive reporting, Savage explores how and why Obama and his legal team--an elite, liberal group who vowed to restore the rule of law--end up accused of entrenching the sweeping powers of the post-9/11 security state. If legitimate, the accusation stands to change the legacy of Obama's entire presidency.
The President's Book of Secrets
By David Priess
"One of the most interesting, exhilarating, and informative aspects of the presidency was my time with the CIA analysts and my PDB briefers." -George W. Bush, correspondence with the author, November 2012.Every day, a member of the CIA presents to the president a report detailing the most sensitive activities and analysis of world events. These can range from the behavior of America's allies to the maneuvering of its adversaries, from imminent dangers to long-term strategic opportunities, and are often based on the words of highly placed sources or the interceptions of astonishingly nimble technologies.This report - for the president's eyes only-forms the basis of the president's assessment of US intelligence and strength. The story of the President's Daily Brief-the PDB, in the jargon-is a window into the character of each president and his administration, and the degree to which his worldview and policy was shaped by the information from the security services.It is a story that could only be told by a trusted insider. David Priess served during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations as an award-winning intelligence officer, manager and daily intelligence briefer at the CIA. The CIA, despite its mission of secrecy, has diligently declassified and posted millions of pages of raw intelligence reports, analytic assessments, and memos from the late 1940s through the 1980s. These agency papers have been awaiting examination in a nondescript corner of the CIA's public website. Many more sit on an antiquated database terminal at the National Archives annex in College Park, Maryland.Few people know such documents exist. Fewer still have made the effort to dig through them as Priess has, hauling in never-before-revealed insights about the PDB. The information base for this book includes largely untapped oral histories, memoirs from PDB recipients and intelligence leaders, publicly released CIA internal studies, and tidbits about key personalities and locations from previously published works.
The Power of Different
By Gail Saltz
The Power of Different is an illuminating and uplifting examination of the link between brain differences and aptitude. Psychologist and bestselling author Gail Saltz presents the latest scientific research and profiles famous geniuses and lay individuals who have been diagnosed with all manner of brain 'problems' - including learning disabilities, ADD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and autism. Saltz shows that the source of our struggles can be the origin of our greatest strengths. Rooted in her experience as a professor and practicing psychiatrist, and based on the latest neurological research, Saltz demonstrates how specific deficits in certain areas of the brain are directly associated with the potential for great talent. She also shows how the very conditions that can cause difficulty at school, in social situations, at home or at work, are bound to creative, disciplinary, artistic, empathetic and cognitive abilities.In this pioneering work, readers will find engaging scientific research and stories from historical geniuses and everyday individuals who have not only made the most of their conditions, but who have flourished because of them. Enlightening and inspiring, The Power of Different shows how the unique wiring of every brain can be a source of strength and productivity, and can contribute to the richness of our world.
By Christine Temple
Where does creativity come from? Why are some people more creative than others?Eminent neuropsychologist Christine Temple navigates a wide range of factors from the hard science (visual memory, spatial ability, brain functions) to the environmental (the 'mad genius' myth, and Gladwell's 10,000 hours of practice) in her study of what contributes to creativity. Using Pablo Picasso as her model of a creative genius, she weighs up each theory as it applies to Picasso and shows how his own creativity came from a combination of many factors.In this book, she looks at Picasso's playful mindset and passionate relationships, investigates the possibility that genius is genetic and can be inherited in families, considers whether creative genii perceive the world in a different way, and determines whether single-mindedness and focus play a part. This is the first book to look at a multitude of traits in creativity, and nail down the key factors that matter (and also which ones don't) to provide an overall picture of this fascinating area, linking the science to the personal.
By Kurt Campbell
There is a quiet drama playing out in American foreign policy far from the dark contours of upheaval in the Middle East and South Asia and the hovering drone attacks of the war on terror. The United States is in the midst of a substantial and long-term national project, which is proceeding in fits and starts, to reorient its foreign policy to the East. The central tenet of this policy shift, aka The Pivot, is that the United States will need to do more with and in the Asia-Pacific hemisphere to help revitalize its own economy, to realize the full potential of the region's dramatic innovation, and to keep the peace in the world's most dynamic region where the lions' share of the history of the 21st Century will be written.This book is about a necessary course correction for American diplomacy, commercial engagement, and military innovation during a time of unrelenting and largely unrewarding conflict. While the United States has intensified its focus on the Asia-Pacific relative to previous administrations, much more remains to be done. THE PIVOT is about that future. It explores how the United States should construct a strategy that will position it to maneuver across the East and offers a clarion call for a cunning and dexterity and ingenuity in the period ahead for American statecraft in the Asia-Pacific region.
By Ian Bogost
Play Anything is nothing short of brilliant... I will be recommending this provocative and entertaining book to everyone I know." u- Jane McGonigal, bestselling author of Reality is Broken and SuperBetter ife is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun . But what if we've gotten fun wrong? In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities.The key to this playful mindset lies in discovering the secret truth of fun and games. Play Anything, reveals that games appeal to us not because they are fun, but because they set limitations . Soccer wouldn't be soccer if it wasn't composed of two teams of eleven players using only their feet, heads, and torsos to get a ball into a goal Tetris wouldn't be Tetris without falling pieces in characteristic shapes. Such rules seem needless, arbitrary, and difficult. Yet it is the limitations that make games enjoyable, just like it's the hard things in life that give it meaning. Play is what happens when we accept these limitations, narrow our focus, and, consequently, have fun. Which is also how to live a good life. Manipulating a soccer ball into a goal is no different than treating ordinary circumstances, like grocery shopping, lawn mowing, and making PowerPoints,as sources for meaning and joy. We can play anything" by filling our days with attention and discipline, devotion and love for the world as it really is, beyond our desires and fears.Ranging from Internet culture to moral philosophy, ancient poetry to modern consumerism, Bogost shows us how today's chaotic world can only be tamed,and enjoyed,when we first impose boundaries on ourselves. "An essential read for those seeking to understand how a new idea of play can be positive for our lives." u- Library Journal (STARRED review) /u Play Anything is a profound book: both a striking assessment of our current cultural landscape, and at the same time a smart self-improvement guide, teaching us the virtues of a life lived playfully." u- Steven Johnson, author of How We Got To Now and Everything Bad Is Good For You /u
Playing by the Rules
By Tracey Brown, Michael Hanlon
Does an airline pilot really need to surrender his tweezers at airport security when he's about to board an aircraft equipped with an axe on the back of the cockpit door?Can a mobile phone really cause a major explosion at a gas station?And is there really a good reason why you should be be prevented from swimming in a lake more than a foot deep?These rules exist, and they exist in the name of our own protection. But in this engrossing dissection of global health, safety and security regulations, authors Tracey Brown and Michael Hanlon dig a little deeper to discover the real reasons behind many of the instructions we obey without questioning their creators' motives. Their conclusions range from the startling to the staggering, and in presenting them the authors seek to empower readers to question the people and organisations who come up with them in the first place.Previously published as In the Interests of Safety.
People Get Ready
By John Nichols, Robert W McChesney
Humanity is on the verge of its darkest hour- or its greatest momentThe consequences of the technological revolution are about to hit hard: unemployment will spike as new technologies replace labour in the manufacturing, service, and professional sectors of an economy that is already struggling. The end of work as we know it will hit at the worst moment imaginable: as capitalism fosters permanent stagnation, when the labour market is in decrepit shape, with declining wages, expanding poverty, and scorching inequality. Only the dramatic democratization of our economy can address the existential challenges we now face. Yet, the US political process is so dominated by billionaires and corporate special interests, by corruption and monopoly, that it stymies not just democracy but progress.The great challenge of these times is to ensure that the tremendous benefits of technological progress are employed to serve the whole of humanity, rather than to enrich the wealthy few. Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols argue that the United States needs a new economy in which revolutionary technologies are applied to effectively address environmental and social problems and used to rejuvenate and extend democratic institutions. Based on intense reporting, rich historical analysis, and deep understanding of the technological and social changes that are unfolding, they propose a bold strategy for democratizing our digital destiny,before it's too late- and unleashing the real power of the Internet, and of humanity.
By Rick Shenkman
Can a football game affect the outcome of an election? What about shark attacks? Or a drought? In a rational world the answer, of course, would be no. But as bestselling historian Rick Shenkman explains in Political Animals , our world is anything but rational. Drawing on science, politics, and history, Shenkman explores the hidden forces behind our often illogical choices. Political Animals challenges us to go beyond the headlines, which often focus on what politicians do (or say they'll do), and to concentrate instead on what's really important: what shapes our response. Shenkman argues that, contrary to what we tell ourselves, it's our instincts rather than arguments appealing to reason that usually prevail. Pop culture tells us we can trust our instincts, but science is proving that when it comes to politics our Stone Age brain often malfunctions, misfires, and leads us astray.Fortunately, we can learn to make our instincts work in our favour. Shenkman takes readers on a whirlwind tour of labouratories where scientists are exploring how sea slugs remember, chimpanzees practice deception, and patients whose brains have been split in two tell stories. The scientists' findings give us new ways of understanding our history and ourselves,and prove we don't have to be prisoners of our evolutionary past."In this engaging, illuminating, and often riotous chronicle of our political culture, Shenkman probes the depths of the human mind to explore how we can become more political, and less animal.
The Perfect Theory
By Pedro G. Ferreira
Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is possibly the most perfect intellectual achievement in modern physics. Anything that involves gravity, the force that powers everything on the largest, hottest or densest of scales, can be explained by it. From the moment Einstein first proposed the theory in 1915, it was received with enthusiasm yet also with tremendous resistance, and for the following ninety years was the source of a series of feuds, vendettas, ideological battles and persecutions featuring a colourful cast of characters. A gripping, vividly told story, A Perfect Theory entangles itself with the flashpoints of modern history and is the first complete popular history of the theory, showing how it has informed our understanding of exactly what the universe is made of and how much is still undiscovered: from the work of the giant telescopes in the deserts of Chile to our newest ideas about black holes and the Large Hadron Collider deep under French and Swiss soil.
Probably Approximately Correct
By Leslie Valiant
From a leading computer scientist, a unifying theory that will revolutionize our understanding of how life evolves and learns.How does life prosper in a complex and erratic world? While we know that nature follows patterns,such as the law of gravity,our everyday lives are beyond what known science can predict. We nevertheless muddle through even in the absence of theories of how to act. But how do we do it?In Probably Approximately Correct , computer scientist Leslie Valiant presents a masterful synthesis of learning and evolution to show how both individually and collectively we not only survive, but prosper in a world as complex as our own. The key is probably approximately correct" algorithms, a concept Valiant developed to explain how effective behaviour can be learned. The model shows that pragmatically coping with a problem can provide a satisfactory solution in the absence of any theory of the problem. After all, finding a mate does not require a theory of mating. Valiant's theory reveals the shared computational nature of evolution and learning, and sheds light on perennial questions such as nature versus nurture and the limits of artificial intelligence.Offering a powerful and elegant model that encompasses life's complexity, Probably Approximately Correct has profound implications for how we think about behaviour, cognition, biological evolution, and the possibilities and limits of human and machine intelligence.
Powering the Future
By Robert B. Laughlin
In Powering the Future , Nobel laureate Robert B. Laughlin transports us two centuries into the future, when we've ceased to use carbon from the ground- either because humans have banned carbon burning or because fuel has simply run out. Boldly, Laughlin predicts no earth-shattering transformations will have taken place. Six generations from now, there will still be soccer moms, shopping malls, and business trips. Firesides will still be snug and warm. How will we do it? Not by discovering a magic bullet to slay our energy problems, but through a slew of fascinating technologies, drawing on wind, water, and fire. Powering the Future is an objective yet optimistic tour through alternative fuel sources, set in a world where we've burned every last drop of petroleum and every last shovelful of coal. The Predictable: Fossil fuels will run out. The present flow of crude oil out of the ground equals in one day the average flow of the Mississippi River past New Orleans in thirteen minutes. If you add the energy equivalents of gas and coal, it's thirty-six minutes. At the present rate of consumption, we'll be out of fossil fuels in two centuries' time. We always choose the cheapest gas . From the nineteenth-century consolidation of the oil business to the California energy crisis of 2000-2001, the energy business has shown, time and again, how low prices dominate market share. Market forces- not green technology- will be the driver of energy innovation in the next 200 years. The laws of physics remain fixed. Energy will still be conserved, degrade entropically with use, and have to be disposed of as waste heat into outer space. How much energy a fuel can pack away in a given space is fixed by quantum mechanics- and if we want to keep flying jet planes, we will need carbon-based fuels. The Potential: Animal waste. If dried and burned, the world's agricultural manure would supply about one-third as much energy as all the coal we presently consume. Trash. The United States disposes of 88 million tons of carbon in its trash per year. While the incineration of waste trash is not enough to contribute meaningfully to the global demand for energy, it will constrain fuel prices by providing a cheap supply of carbon. Solar energy. The power used to light all the cities around the world is only one-millionth of the total power of sunlight pouring down on earth's daytime side. And the amount of hydropump storage required to store the world's daily electrical surge is equal to only eight times the volume of Lake Mead. PRAISE FOR ROBERT B. LAUGHLIN &ldquoPerhaps the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Richard Feynman&rdquo- George Chapline, Lawrence Livermore National labouratory &ldquoPowerful but controversial.&rdquo- Financial Times "[Laughlin's] company &hellip is inspirational.&rdquo - New Scientist
Physics in Mind
By Werner Loewenstein
No one can escape a sense of awe when reflecting on the workings of the mind: we see, we hear, we feel, we are aware of the world around us. But what is the mind? What do we mean when we say we are aware" of something? What is this peculiar state in our heads, at once utterly familiar and bewilderingly mysterious, that we call awareness or consciousness?In Physics in Mind , eminent biophysicist Werner R. Loewenstein argues that to answer these questions, we must first understand the physical mechanisms that underlie the workings of the mind. And so begins an exhilarating journey along the sensory data stream of the brain, which shows how our most complex organ processes the vast amounts of information coming in through our senses to create a coherent, meaningful picture of the world. Bringing information theory to bear on recent advances in the neurosciences, Loewenstein reveals a web of immense computational power inside the brain. He introduces the revolutionary idea that quantum mechanics could be fundamental to how our minds almost instantaneously deal with staggering amounts of information, as in the case of the information streaming through our eyes. Combining cutting-edge research in neuroscience and physics, Loewenstein presents an ambitious hypothesis about the parallel processing of sensory information that is the heart, hub, and pivot of the cognitive brain. Wide-ranging and brimming with insight, Physics in Mind breaks new ground in our understanding of how the mind works.
By Karl E. Meyer, Shareen Blair Brysac
In a world replete with stories of sectarian violence, we are often left wondering: Are there places where people of different ethnicities, especially with significant Muslim minorities, live in peace? If so, why haven't we heard more about them, and what explains their success? To answer these questions, Karl Meyer and Shareen Brysac undertook a two-year exploration of oases of civility, places notable for minimal violence, rising life-expectancy, high literacy, and pragmatic compromises on cultural rights. They explored the Indian state of Kerala, the Russian republic of Tatarstan, the city of Marseille in France, the city of Flensburg, Germany, and the borough of Queens, New York. Through scores of interviews, they document ways and means that have proven successful in defusing ethnic tensions. This pathbreaking book elegantly blends political history, sociology, anthropology, and journalism, to provide big ideas for peace.