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The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick August 26, 2011

Posted by stuffilikenet in Books, Brilliant words, Science.

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood is an interesting history of the development of information theory, from African Talking Drums through Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace (she the originator of virtual computing, by way of imagining a programming method for a computer which did not exist), past Samuel F. B. Morse, Alexander Graham Bell,Turing, Nyqvist, Shannon et. al. to the modern notions of information theory and its many modern descendant/dependants.

I do not hesitate to mention that this is of interest only to the unique intersection of history buffs and science geeks, like me.  This book offers lots of things to look further into, like the African Talking Drums (which really do mimic African speech by rhythm and are therefore magical to Europeans…now sadly no longer in use, since cell phones seem to work OK there. John F. Carrington, in his 1949 book The Talking Drums of Africa explained how African drummers were able to communicate complex messages over vast distances. He found that to each short word which was beaten on the drums was added an extra phrase, which would be redundant in speech but provided context to the core drum signal).

Lots of stuff here for further inquiry (Carrington’s book is only available on Carey Kingsgate Press, and Amazon does not carry it!  Blasphemy!!…neither does spfl.org, which is much, much worse), if I can find the time.


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