Books and Arts

Nature 457, 150 (8 January 2009) | doi:10.1038/457150a; Published online 7 January 2009

Innovative reading

Jenny Meyer

Innovative reading

Gary Hall argues for the importance of free, worldwide and perpetual access to scientific research results in Digitize this Book! (Univ. Minnesota Press, 2008). He focuses on the benefits and problems of open access for academic and research purposes, discusses the global effects of new media and asks to what extent increasing Internet use has changed political decision-making.

Two new books discuss the effects of technology on society. Beyond: Business and Society in Transformation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) looks at how it is influencing areas such as science, religion, art and politics — and what we can expect in the future. Studying how technologies have altered education has led Mario Raich and Simon L. Dolan to predict the rise of a 'virtual culture' in business and society, in which physically distant individuals are linked by shared purposes online.

Innovative reading

William E. Halal's Technology's Promise (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) uses data gathered by the TechCast Project at George Washington University in Washington DC to predict how current problems, such as food shortages or the energy crisis, could lead to future opportunities. Assessing developments in genetics, energy and space travel, Halal speculates on how greater access to global information will provide opportunities for developing nations.

Innovative India Rises (Medialand, 2008), edited by veteran science writer and political journalist L. K. Sharma, presents a broad view of India's innovation. Scientists, policy makers and businessmen, justifiably proud of what India has achieved, assess the problems it faces and the future it may attain. Authors discuss India's aspirations in space and the potential benefits of space technology on the ground. Energy, defence and biotechnology also get an in-depth look. The volume updates a previous version written a decade ago.

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