reading diary

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John Horton Conway is a great mathematician, certainly one of the greatest living mathematicians. Polymathematical in his mathematical interests (game theory, geometry, group theory, topology and more, not to mention the Game of Life), he’s also one of the most eccentric, and that’s saying a lot in a field where Cedric Villani is prime eccentricity…

This latest book in my reviewing adventures continues the recentish trend of books concerned with science during World War II. Michael Hiltzik’s Big Science: Ernest Lawrence and the Invention that Launched the Military-Industrial Complex follows books such as Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics under Hitler, Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken…

It’s tempting to go a couple of different ways here. A book that has “Insanely Great” in the title? What could possibly go wrong? On the other hand…. A kids book about what a jerk Steve Jobs was. What could possibly go wrong? Steve Jobs: Insanely Great by Jessie Hartland. An illustrated biography of Steve…

Cédric Villani’s Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure has risen to the top of my Best Science Book of 2015 list. It’ll be tough for another book to kick it off that summit before the end of the year, that’s for sure. The name Cédric Villani probably sounds a bit familiar to most who…

Gabriella Coleman’s Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous is largely a laudatory history of the Anonymous hacker activist movement with some anthropological and political analysis. Whitney Phillips’ This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture on the other hand, is much more geared…

Sydney Padua’s The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is one of the most flat-out entertaining books I have read in a very long time. You should buy this book. Your library should buy this book. Buy a copy of this book for all your friends. What’s all the fuss? TTAoLaB is a graphic novelization…

I am not trying to deny the transformative nature of the Internet, but rather that we’ve lived with it long enough to ask tough questions. … I’ve tried to avoid the Manichean view of technology, which assumes either that the Internet will save us or that it is leading us astray, that it is making…

A bit unusually for me, I’m reviewing a novel as part of my Reading Diary series. Usually the closest I’ll get to a novel is a fictionalized science graphic novel of some sort, kind of like the Survive! series or Lauren Ispsum. But no, this ain’t one of those. It’s a good old fashioned novel.…

What is digital governance in the first place? Digital governance is a discipline that focuses on establishing clear accountability for digital strategy, policy, and standards. A digital governance framework, when effectively designed and implemented, helps to streamline digital development and dampen debates around digital channel “ownership.” — From the Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design…

This roundup includes reviews of a bunch of recent and not-so-recent reading about Canadian politics, in particular the Harper government and how it controls information. Some of the books are pretty directly related to science policy and some, not so much. These are all worth reading, some kind of overlap while others present fairly unique…

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