Friday, 22 July 2011

The Information

The Information
In The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, James Gleick (author of Faster) documents the history of mediated communication and calculation, from the first alphabets to contemporary social networks, and their associated technologies. He also explains how the information we exchange is stored, processed, and organised, from Charles Babbage's mechanical 'difference engine' to the modern computer.

Gleick writes in an accessible and anecdotal style, though he doesn't dumb down the science. The book's scope is extremely wide-ranging; personally, I was most fascinated by the chapters on communications technologies (telegraphy and telephony, also covered in A Social History Of The Media), lexicography (documented by Jonathon Green in Chasing The Sun), and memetics (pioneered by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene).

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