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Books Briefly Noted

Florida, Richard (2005). Cities and the creative class. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-94887-8, pb, $19.95.

This book gathers in one place for the first time the research leading up to Richard Florida’s theory on how the growth of the creative economy shapes the development of cities and regions. In a new introduction, Florida updates this theory and responds to the critics of his 2002 bestseller, The Rise of the Creative Class. The essays that make up Cities then spell out in full empirical detail and analysis the key premises on which the argument of Rise are based. He argues that people are the key economic growth asset, and that cities and regions can therefore no longer compete simply by attracting companies or by developing big-ticket venues like sports stadiums and downtown development districts. To truly prosper, they must tap and harness the full creative power of all people, basing their strategies on a comprehensive blend of the 3 T’s of economic development: Technology, Talent, and Tolerance. Long-run success requires the reinvention of regions into the kind of open and diverse places that can attract and retain talent from across the social spectrum – by allowing people to validate their varied identities and to pursue the lifestyles and jobs they choose.

Frankel, Felice (2004). Envisioning science: The design and craft of the science image. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-56205-7, pb, $35.00.

The hard cover publication of this book met with critical acclaim. Now available in a less expensive paper format, it beautifully conveys the importance of creating dynamic and compelling photographs for journal submissions and for scientific and technical presentations to funding agencies, investors, and the general public. The book is organized from the large to the small, from pictures of new material and biological structures made with a camera and lens, to images made with a stereomicroscope, compound microscope, and Scanning Electron Microscope. The text explains how to design, craft, and execute effective images, SEMs, and diagrams while maintaining scientific and technical integrity. Full-color illustrations, including many instructional side-by-side comparisons, provide examples from the physical and biological sciences, biotechnology, nanotechnology, electrical engineering, materials science, and mechanical engineering to encourage a new way to see and create images of science and technology.

Gee, Henry (2004). Jacob’s ladder: The history of the human genome. New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-05083-1, hc, $25.95.

This monograph delivers a lucid explanation of what the sequencing of the human genome tells us. Knowing the sequence is just the beginning. This evolutionary biologist explains that the next frontier is finding how genes interact to direct the growth of an organism. He speculates on what the new knowledge will mean for humanity as scientists increasing develop the capability to directly manipulate genes to serve human desires. The tone overall is upbeat and fast paced, with engagingly well-written prose that incorporates the history and science of developments in molecular biology. Gee does not fully consider the ethical issues that such capabilities raise.

Hashmi, Sohail H., Steven P. Lee, Eds. (2004). Ethics and weapons of mass destruction: Religious and secular perspectives. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-54526-9, pb, $37.99.

This volume offers a unique perspective on the discussion of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by broadening the terms of the debate to include both secular and religious viewpoints not normally considered. The contributors represent the following diverse ethical and religious traditions: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, feminism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, liberalism, natural law, pacifism, and realism. The two introductory chapters outline the technical aspects of WMD and international agreements for controlling WMD. A concluding essay compares the different traditions.

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