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James Gleick the author of the best A History MOBI #243 sellers Chaos and Genius now brings us a work just as astonishing and masterly a revelatory chronicle and meditation that shows how information has become the modern The Information PDF era’s defining uality the blood the fuel the vital principle of our world  The story of information begins in a time profoundly unlike our own when every thought and utterance vanishes as soon as it is Information A History PDF #860. I think this is perhaps as good an introduction to information theory as you are likely to read Lucid clear and uite nicely paced it covers a wealth of material and it does so with beautiful ease This guy really is a wonderful science writer His Chaos and Newton were both stunning books I got about half of the way through Genius but then got distracted and never uite made it back – but I’ve always meant to All the same this one shines and shinesPerhaps the best chapter was the one on randomness Randomness is such a tricky concept but oddly not something we generally really think about Just how do you go about proving that a series of numbers is in fact random The problem is that we humans are hopeless at spotting randomness This is partly because we are such excellent pattern picking machines that we even spot patterns when there are none And then we also tend to think there must be a pattern if there is repetition but random seuences have odd repetitions too All this means we tend to think things that aren’t random are in fact random and vice versaThe definition of randomness is that there is in a string of numbers a one in ten chance that you will be able to pick the next number in the seuence – in a random series you will have a one in ten chance – if you can do better than this chance at picking the number then you must have an algorithm to help you pick the next number and that means the next number can’t be randomHis discussion of Turing not just his test but also his machine and incalculable numbers is highly readable and clear His discussion of Gödel is somewhat less clear but than I’m yet to have read a perfectly clear description of the incompleteness theorem – which might say about me than it does about the descriptions I have read who knows This one is still good even if it remains over my head However there is a wonderful discussion of the relationship between information and entropy and why entropy is an important concept for people to understand as good an explanation as any I have ever readThe early parts of the book are a joy The stuff about the barbed wire telegraphs is particularly fascinating As was his explanation of why multistorey buildings needed the telephone to be invented as much as they needed liftsI was less impressed by the discussion of memes but mostly because I don’t find this nearly as useful a metaphor as others do and worry when ideas that are clearly meant to be provocative end up being taken much seriously than they warrant Selfish genes and selfish memes with their characteristic inversion of common sense tend to become Black’s ‘self plex’ and the end of human freewill and identity and therefore take a joke all a little too farThe discussion at the very start of this book about African talking drums is virtually worth the cover price alone I had never realised that these communicate ‘tonally’ and that to make them work the drummer must add lots of redundancy to the message almost like a convention of sub phrases This was a wonderful description of why redundancy is necessary to messages and said interesting things about Western racism Westerners simply could not believe these drums actually could send messages or that they were not being sent by a kind of Morse CodeThis book really is a pleasure and on a fascinating topic that is deftly handled by one of the best science writers alive

review The Information A History a Theory a Flood

The Information A History a Theory a Flood8 born From the invention of scripts and alphabets to the long misunderstood talking drums of Africa Gleick tells the story of information technologies that changed the very nature of human consciousness He provides portraits of Information A History a Theory Kindle the key figures contributing to the inexorable development of our modern understanding of information Charles Babbage the idiosyncratic inventor of the first great mechanical computer Ada Byron the brilliant. I have a soft spot for mathematics The complicated and obtuse it gets the I like it It is probably best I didn't figure this out earlier in life because I might have pursued it and gone crazy So I enjoy reading about it from time to timeIn The Information Gleick speaks to the interplay between mathematical progress with science culture information theory and really the development of society It is an incredible overview of topics ranging from logic to communication to memes It is DENSE I spread my reading over a few weeks a chapter here a chapter there When the information started going over my head I gleefully skimmed it until I could sink back in The formulas meant very little but then he put musical fragments into it with no explanation and at least I understood thoseThe chapter that first captured me detailed the history of the OED I loved the logic chapter talking about Boole and his contributions someone very important to library theory and I never really knew anything about where all of that came from It was the last chapter as well as the epilogue where Gleick steps beyond his thorough research to offer a few opinions on the direction of information and information overload that I think the book really shines or at least where it was most interestinguseful to me I don't know enough to speak to the accuracy of this book but I feel like I learned a lot as well as adding a bunch of other books to read to my list that he cites I will also be ordering it for the academic library where I work and using it in a presentation I'm giving in February WinwinwinIt sometimes seems as if curbing entropy is our uixotic purpose in this universe We make our own storehouses The persistence of information the difficulty of forgetting so characteristic of our time accretes confusionWhen information is cheap attention becomes expensive For the same reason mechanisms of search engines in cyberspace find needles in haystacks By now we've learned that it is not enough for information to existToo much information and so much of it lost An unindexed Internet site is in the same limbo as a misshelved library book This is why the successful and powerful business enterprises of the information economy are built on filtering and searchingInfinite possibility is good not bad Meaningless disorder is to be challenged not feared Language maps a boundless world of objects and sensations and combinations onto a finite space The world changes always mixing the static with the ephemeral Everyone's language is different We can be overwhelmed or we can be emboldenedWe want the Demon you see' wrote Stanislaw Lem 'to extract from the dance of atoms only information that is genuine like mathematical theorems fashion magazines blueprints historical chronicles or a recipe for ion crumpets or how to clean and iron a suit of asbestos and poetry too and scientific advice and almanacs and calendars and secret documents and everything that ever appeared in any newspaper in the Universe and telephone books of the future'As ever it is the choice that informs us Selecting the genuine takes work; then forgetting takes even workThe library will endure; it is the universe We walk the corridors searching the shelves and rearranging them looking for lines of meaning amid leagues of cacophony and incoherence reading the history of the past and of the future collecting our thoughts and collecting the thoughts of others and every so often glimpsing mirrors in which we may recognize creatures of the information

James Gleick Å 6 summary

The Information A History a Theory a Flood free read ✓ 6 ä ➞ The Information A History a Theory a Flood free download ➣ Author James Gleick – Johns-cycling-diary.co.uk James Gleick the author of the best sellers Chaos and Genius now brings us a work just as astonishing and masterly a revelatory chroniAnd doomed daughter of the poet who became the first true programmer pivotal figures like Samuel Morse and Alan Turing and Claude Shannon the creator of information theory itself And then the information age arrives Citizens of this world become experts willy nilly aficionados of bits and bytes And we sometimes feel we are drowning swept by a deluge of signs and signals news and images blogs and tweets The Information is the story of how we got here and where we are headi. 20th book for 2018In my doctorate I read and enjoyed many of the original 1950s papers applying information theory to psychology I read Gleick's Chaos Making a New Science many years ago and loved it so his history of information was a natural second book for me to read Although his writing style is good the book was uite disappointing The book simply covers too many different topics with little to connect them African drums; the telegraph; encyclopedias and dictionaries; codes; Babbage and Lady Lovelace; information theory; uantum computing; Wikipedia encyclopedias again While the chapters are interesting in their own way nothing really adds up into something coherentNot a terrible book but it could have been so much better with a tighter focus 3 stars