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The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood (2011)

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (2011)

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3.95 of 5 Votes: 2
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0375423729 (ISBN13: 9780375423727)
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

About book The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood (2011)

I'm only 4 chapters in, but this is the best piece of book-length nonfiction I've read, maybe ever? Good science writers are hard to find, and this is fascinating.Another reviewer (Jenn), who I don't know but wish I did, wrote the following review, and I totally concur (and told her so):Here's an advertisement I want to place on craigslist because of this book: Desperately Seeking: Scintillating conversation partner who is preferably a math, physics, or logic major with strong knowledge of Quantum Physics and Information theory (of today and yesterday)and concepts including, but not limited to, the Babbage/Lovelace Difference Machine, Claude Shannon's math and entropy and cryptology, Turing's machine, logcal paradoxes, Maxwell's demon,The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, Schrodinger's cat, Richard Dawkins' memes, Goding's proofs, Douglas Hofstadter's EVERYTHING. Lack of arrogance and condescension toward someone who almost failed high school math a must. Must be willing to meet in heavily populated public place. Great book on Information Theory. Gleick begins with the tale of colonial European explorers and their fascination with African talking drums and their observed use to send complex and widely understood messages back and forth between villages far apart, and over even longer distances by relay. Gleick transitions from the information implications of such drum signalling to the impact of the arrival of long distance telegraph and then telephone communication to the commercial and social prospects of the industrial age west. Research to improve these technologies ultimately led to our understanding the essentially digital nature of information, quantized down to the unit of the bit (or qubit).Starting with the development of symbolic written language (and the eventual perceived need for a dictionary), Gleick examines the history of intellectual insights central to information theory, detailing the key figures responsible such as Claude Shannon, Charles Babbage, Ada Byron, Samuel Morse, Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins and John Archibald Wheeler. The author also delves into how digital information is now being understood in relation to physics and genetics. Following the circulation of Claude Shannon's A Mathematical Theory of Communication and Norbert Wiener's Cybernetics many disciplines attempted to jump on the information theory bandwagon to varying success. Information theory concepts of data compression and error correction became especially important to the computer and electronics industries.Gleick finally discusses Wikipedia as an emerging internet based Library of Babel, investigating the implications of its expansive user generated content, including the ongoing struggle between inclusionists, deletionists, and vandals. Gleick uses the Jimmy Wales created article for the Cape Town butchery restaurant Mzoli's as a case study of this struggle. The flood of information humanity is now exposed to presents new challenges Gleick says, as we retain more of our information now than at any previous point in human history, it takes much more effort to delete or remove unwanted information than to accumulate it. This is the ultimate entropy cost of generating additional information and the answer to slay Maxwell's Demon.

Do You like book The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood (2011)?

very thoughtful book, I hoped there is more about black holes and vanishing of information

Suberb Gleick, thorough and focusing on the essence.

Wonderful if a bit slow (at times).


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