Friday, March 4, 2011
"The Information" by James Gleick
Information, please. We don't just rely on data - we are data, from our genes to our social networks, says author James Gleick. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/1/2011)
Excerpt: "All of human history has been about information," Gleick explains. "It's not an accident that we humans named our species homo sapiens" (loosely, "wise man").
From the cave paintings at Lascaux to papyrus scrolls to the printing press and DVDs, we have sought to understand and record our experience of the world. Our collective identity is constructed from information.
Information has been an important part of Gleick's life. Born in New York City and educated at Harvard University in English and linguistics, Gleick, 56, pursued a career as a journalist, most notably at the New York Times, before turning his hand to science books.
His books, which include Chaos: Making a New Science (1987) and the biographies Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (1992) and Isaac Newton (2003), are celebrated for translating complex scientific ideas for the general reader.
Seven years in the making, The Information is his most ambitious project. And perhaps his magnum opus.