by Dale Pendell
- GÃ¶del Escher Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter
- A masterpiece dive into the intersection of math, number theory, biology, art
music, and consciousness. By the end of this gargantuan book, I was absolutely
awestruck by the depth of knowledge and cleverness of Hofstadter.
- Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
- Possibly the best piece of fiction I have ever read. So dense with information,
trivia, and strange comedy that it requires a dozen read-throughs and notes to self.
The footnotes alone could make up a textbook, partially true, partially imagined.
- The Cuckoo's Egg by Cliff Stoll
- A fascinating narrative that is as engaging as it is informative
about the early years of the Internet. Particularly great for those interested
in cyber security or networking, this book is truly a geeky page-turner. (I went and
visited the landing spot in Mui Wo he mentioned!)
- This book, the second in a three part series (Pharmakopoeia and Pharmakognosis being the others),
blends, history, chemistry, and poetry to describe psychoactive plants that have been used all over the
world for hundreds to thousands of years. The series reads like a textbook and a trip report, blending
extensive research and personal anecdotes. Pharmakodynamis in particular, looks at stimulants and the role,
they have played in the revolutions in society. It may get you to rethink how you view the chemicals that rule
More book reviews
- "Mother Earth Mother Board" by Neal Stephenson (Wired, 1996) [LINK] [PDF]
- An enlightening and entertaining look into the roots of the modern international telecommunications system
through vignettes about the construction of the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG). A long read, but
as colorful and enthralling as anything Stephenson has ever written -- the hacker cum Gonzo. The piece makes
one who took the world wide web for granted into perspective and gives a history of how the telecoms
connected the world, who did the heavy lifting, and where these cables made landfall.
- "Man-Computer Symbiosis" by JCR Licklider (IRE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics, 1960) [LINK] [PDF]
- A look at computers as an extension of biological life. In moving the perspective of computers as number-crunching
mainframes to human-friendly tools, Licklider is able to look decades forward into the grand challenges of the
computing industry including artificial intelligence and speech recognition..
- "As We May Think" by Vannevar Bush (The Atlantic, 1945) [LINK] [PDF]
- A visionary work of post-war scientific insight and conjecture. Bush looks at the next great frontier of
science and predicts the personal computer forty years before the average American would see one. This article
is the root of cybernetics and still as relevant as it was in 1945.
- "The Cult (and Cults) of Brasilia" by Julian Dibbel (1992) [LINK] [PDF]
- A bizarre and beautifully written piece on a mystical collision of city planning and superstition. I've never visited
Brasilia, but this really piques my interest.
- "Concise Electronics For Geeks" by Michal Zalewski[LINK] [PDF]
- A fantastic little primer, if a bit nitty-gritty, on the basic dynamics of circuitry, both analog and digital.
As someone with little hands on experience, but a lot of interest, I will be referring to this a lot.
- While reading up about Medieval fairs on Wikipedia, I came upon the Scarborough Fair ballad rendered in MIDI
[Offline Version] by Franz-Rudolf Kuhnen. The sound was really nostalgic and matched
ambiance of reading about medieval commerce. So I dug in deeper and found a bunch of cool resources for this type of music. Here are a couple of my favorites.
- Early Music Collection of Curtis Clark: [LINK][ARCHIVE MIRROR]
- Medieval, Rennaisance and Traditional Music on Kunst der Fuge (Curtis Clark, David Miles): [LINK]
- Midi World's Early Music Collection: [LINK]
- Early Polish Music by Adam Jaczyk: [LINK]
- The Talos Principle
- West of Loathing
- Weird History
- British History Podcast
- Dan Carlin's Hardcore History
- Lapham's Quarterly
- Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality Podcast
- Mail Tester: a free service for testing the spamminess of an email.
So valuable when troubleshooting your personal server (and extra valuable if you're a total noob).
- The Midnight Gospel an animation series that's Adventure Time-meets-Superjail. However sometimes
I just turn off the audio sometimes.