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On collaborative filteringHello, James Gleick," said Amazon.com the other day (click here if youre someone else). "Take a peek at your brand new music recommendations."
I peeked. Amazons computers predicted that I would like the Beastie Boys, Adiemus, Frank Sinatra, Harvey Danger, and the Dave Matthews Band. What an impressive list! All right, I dont actually care for any of these, but still. It was quite a shot in the dark, considering Id never been to Amazons music department before. This is the way its going on the Internet: if marketers want your money and your time and your "eyeballs," they feel they should figure out who you are and what you like. --http://www.around.com/taste.html --James Gleick, first published in the New York Times Magazine 25 October 1998
- Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything - James Gleick [1 book, Amazon US]
Never in the history of the human race have so many had so much to do in so little time. That, anyway, is the impression most of us have of civilized life at the end of the millennium, and Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything only sharpens it. Elegantly composed and insightfully researched, Faster delivers a brisk volley of observations on how microchips, media, and economics, among other things, have accelerated the pace of everyday experience over the course of the manic 20th century.
Author of the pop-science triumph, Chaos, James Gleick brings his formidable writing skills to bear here, creating an almost poetic flow of ideas from what in other hands might have been just a mass of interesting facts and anecdotes. Whether tracing the modern history of chronometry (from Louis-François Cartier's invention of the wristwatch to the staggeringly precise atomic clocks of today's standards bureaus) or revealing the ways the camera has sped up our subjective sense of pace (from the freeze frames of Eadweard Muybridge's early photographic experiments to the jump cuts of MTV's latest videos), Gleick manages to weave in slyly perceptive or occasionally profound points about our increasingly hopped-up relationship to time. The result is the kind of thing only an accelerated culture like ours could have come up with: an instant classic. --Julian Dibbell for Amazon.com
- Chaos: Making a New Science (1987) - James Gleick [1 book, Amazon US]
Few writers distinguish themselves by their ability to write about complicated, even obscure topics clearly and engagingly. James Gleick, a former science writer for the New York Times, resides in this exclusive category. In Chaos, he takes on the job of depicting the first years of the study of chaos--the seemingly random patterns that characterize many natural phenomena.
This is not a purely technical book. Instead, it focuses as much on the scientists studying chaos as on the chaos itself. In the pages of Gleick's book, the reader meets dozens of extraordinary and eccentric people. For instance, Mitchell Feigenbaum, who constructed and regulated his life by a 26-hour clock and watched his waking hours come in and out of phase with those of his coworkers at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
As for chaos itself, Gleick does an outstanding job of explaining the thought processes and investigative techniques that researchers bring to bear on chaos problems. Rather than attempt to explain Julia sets, Lorenz attractors, and the Mandelbrot Set with gigantically complicated equations, Chaos relies on sketches, photographs, and Gleick's wonderful descriptive prose. --From Book News, Inc, amazon.com [...]
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