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susan smitten

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Media [Apr. 1st, 2011|08:29 am]
susan smitten
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How about some Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donelly? I love the combination of these two. There will never be enough collaboration between them in the world. Their styles are so opposite, yet so entwined, and the result is always eerie and energetic.

(I get goosebumps when Kristin's guitar part starts. The way their parts weave together is so evocative.)

I am loving James Gleick's The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood. It's about the history of information technology and communication, revolutionary mathematical theories of communication, and ways that our kind has mapped information onto other formats, from the dawn of written culture, via African drums, cryptanalysis, early dictionaries, different forms of telegraphy and signaling, and the spontaneous synergy of mathematics, engineering, anthropology, neuroscience, and other disciplines, at the middle of the last century. And, well, that's how far I am in the book - halfway. Gleick approaches the topic in such a novel way that I wonder what compelled him to write it in the first place. A biographer, Gleick provides such rich details about the lives and communications between the figures who created our science of information technology, that I feel occasionally like I've traveled in time, forgotten to take for granted the pervasiveness and ease of modern communication. (Imagine living in France during the Revolution, sending messages over several miles by using a system of relay semaphores, encoding the short messages since they were communicated from prominently visible stations, and hoping that fog doesn't obscure vital pieces of intelligence... then glancing at your hotel nightstand and noticing the Cisco IP phone and a list of country codes. Startling!)

This made me laugh. It's an anecdote from an eclectic sciences conference in 1950:
Ralph Gerard, the neuroscientist, was reminded of a story. A stranger is at a party of people who know one another well. One says, "72," and everyone laughs. Another says, "29," and the party roars. The stranger asks what is going on.

His neighbor said, "We have many jokes and we have told them so often that now we just use a number." The guest thought he'd try it, and after a few words, said, "63." The response was feeble. "What's the matter, isn't this a joke?"

"Oh, yes, that is one of our very best jokes, but you did not tell it well."

[User Picture]From: polarisdib
2011-04-01 05:52 am (UTC)
Now THAT'S a book I wanna borrow from you.

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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2011-04-01 05:56 am (UTC)
My pleasure! Later, I might take a lesson from your friend and buy copies of it for people who will read it. It's GOOD. I read another one of his in college, and then I read it again, and again. Chaos.
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[User Picture]From: mrputter
2011-04-01 06:55 am (UTC)
> ways that our kind has mapped information onto other formats

This has always excited me. It's what has spurred my interest in human languages, in programming languages (and thence to my abortive grad degree, but whatever; much of it was still interesting), in mapping (what I mostly do at work these days; "just" another tecnhique for information visualization), and so on.

If there's one thread that one can run through most* of my life's interests, it's that I love exploring how the same information can be communicated in different ways.

* now if I could only figure out how cooking fits into that...
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[User Picture]From: hitchhiker
2011-04-01 07:28 pm (UTC)
the gleick book sounds brilliant! i love his writing style, so i'll definitely be picking this one up.
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From: eloketh
2011-04-02 05:16 am (UTC)
Never heard of those musicians before, but they really are good. I like "Red Shoes" especially. Hypnotic.

Gleick's The Information did catch my eye recently. It sounded interesting then, sounds even more so now. Consider it added to my 'must buy' list.
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[User Picture]From: m0rg4n
2011-04-05 11:01 am (UTC)
Color Blind Cat
I thought of you :)
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From: wupospot
2011-04-14 11:05 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing the info. I found the details very helpful.

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