Friday, November 23, 2012

Something to read.

I was listening to the Guardians weekly science podcast last night, they were discussing the Royal Society science book prize short list candidates. Six books, all of which I'd like to have a crack at but for one reason or another (time/money) I'm probably not going to get to. Of the six though, The Information by one James Gleick sounded the most interesting. Alok Jha, the chap who does the podcasts offers a review here.

It reminds me of the History of Computing paper I did way back when I was doing my Comp Sci masters, before I switched to biology. It a spectacularly interesting paper run by a curmudgeonly old chap by the name of Gary Tee. One of those papers that it was sometimes difficult to pay attention in class, but as soon as you walk out, you realize that you've just had another hours worth of really interesting pieces of history dumped in your brain.

The paper started, if I recall correctly, with the revolution of cutting a reed at an angle so as to allow an Abyssinian scribe to easily make either a dot or a dash on the wet clay tablets they were recording production on. And moved steadily through to the code breakers at Bletchly Park in world war II. In other words, it covered a huge amount of ground. I seriously might have to make the effort and track down a copy of The Information.


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