Tomorrow’s Data, Tomorrow’s Water, and Tomorrow-Land

Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture

by Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel

The Nutshell:

Scientists Aiden and Michel invented the Google Ngram Viewer, which allows users to analyze the evolution of language as captured in the millions of books Google has digitized. In Uncharted, they tell the story of how they developed this tool, explain some of their most trenchant findings, and demonstrate the potential of this data to illuminate the world we’ve created.

Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever

by Maude Barlow

The Nutshell:

Everything about our contemporary world—from global politics to food production technology—has made our water supply unsustainable, argues Canadian activist Barlow. She calls for clean water to be recognized as a human right and a public resource.

Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World’s Fair and the Transformation of America

by Joseph Tirella

The Nutshell:

Urban planner and master builder Robert Moses wanted the 1964-65 World’s Fair, which took place in Flushing, New York, to showcase the future. Instead, according to writer and editor Tirella, it portrayed a messy present, where art and civil rights, music and international relations, technology and architecture were undergoing a massive overhaul.

More In: The Six-Point Inspection

This Is Your Brain On Apps, ‘Minecraft,’ and Fracking

The App Generation: How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World, Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game That Changed Everything , and The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters ,

The Nutshell:

Risk-averse. Dependent. Superficial. Narcissistic. All of these are adjectives employed by developmental psychologists Gardner and Davis to describe the Web 2.0 generation. They argue that today’s kids are dependent on …

Histories That Go Above the 38th Parallel, Beneath the Pasties, and Behind the Bar

The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia, Behind the Burly Q: The Story of Burlesque in America , and Shakespeare’s Pub: A Barstool History of London As Seen Through the Windows of Its Oldest Pub—The George Inn ,

The Nutshell:

Lankov, a historian at South Korea’s Koomkin University who lived as an exchange student (from the Soviet Union) in North Korea in the 1980s, reveals the methods behind Pyongyang’s seeming …