New Caelifera

New Caelifera

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Book: Moore’s Law


Moore’s Law: The Life of Gordon Moore, Silicon Valley’s Quiet Revolutionary by Arnold Thackray, David Brock and Rachel Jones.

Gordon Moore once said my name. I’ve always been pretty stoked about that. Mostly because he was at the center of one of the greatest technological revolutions that humanity has seen: the rise of the silicon microprocessor. This book is a detailed biography, including lots of back story on Moore’s family. Moore’s personal life and even his personality was, in some ways, not too remarkable. This is not a book full of amusing stories, but instead focuses on the long pull of Moore’s life work. I came away from it with a greater appreciation of how complicated the story of the integrated circuit really was. We forget how long and how many challenges were overcome over the many decades of the rise of Moore’s law. Seeing how these were attacked was illuminating. The attack was generally first by putting on the scientist hat to try to understand, and then pivoting to engineering to see how to fix it, but often was a messy mix of the two, with an amazing amount of prior “expertise” necessary to make progress.

Recommended for nerds of the history of computing.

admin August 12, 2017 Leave A Comment Permalink

Book: Amusing Ourselves To Death


Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman

This book caused me to uninstall multiple apps from my phone. I suppose that is a strong recommendation. It also inspired Roger Waters album “Amused to Death”, which I am quite fond of. While some of the book is dated by its focus on television, the central ideas about how technology has shaped culture feel even more relevant today.

We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn’t, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another – slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

Recommended.

admin August 12, 2017 Leave A Comment Permalink