Looking for an interesting, serious, essential book to read for the new year?
You can't go wrong with Global Catastrophic Risks, edited by Nick Bostrom and Milan Cirkovic. It features a foreword from Martin Rees and includes a chapter on nanotechnology co-authored Chris Phoenix and yours truly.
Last July, Chris and I attended and spoke at a conference in Oxford, England, to kick off the book's promotion and to meet and discuss our concerns with many experts from various fields. Next week I'll write about the projected human death toll in the 21st century from catastrophic risks, as estimated informally by conference participants.
In October, 2008, CRN co-sponsored a one-day seminar on the same topic held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. One of the most interesting -- and probably the most disturbing -- presentation that day was from J. Storrs (Josh) Hall, who described what he calls "the weather machine."
Both of these events, the first in England and the second in the US, were worth attending and full of fascinating and important information. I'm sorry to say, however, that although there was plenty of talk about risks, there was no real movement toward any next steps for evaluating and potentially averting them.
Maybe what's needed is for you to read the book, tell your friends about it, and create a groundswell for action!