📖 Read pages 16-55 of A Mind at Play by Jimmy Soni & Rob Goodman

📖 Read pages 16-55 of A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age by Jimmy Soni & Rob Goodman

Knowing that I’ve read a lot about Shannon and even Vannevar Bush over the years, I’m pleasantly surprised to read some interesting tidbits about them that I’ve not previously come across.  I was a bit worried that this text wouldn’t provide me with much or anything new on the subjects at hand.

I’m really appreciating some of the prose and writing structure, particularly given that it’s a collaborative work between two authors. At times there are some really nonstandard sentence structures, but they’re wonderful in their rule breaking.

They’re doing an excellent job so far of explaining the more difficult pieces of science relating to information theory. In fact, some of the intro was as good as I think I’ve ever seen simple explanations of what is going on within the topic. I’m also pleased that they’ve made some interesting forays into topics like eugenics and the background role it played in the story for Shannon.

They had a chance to do a broader view of the history of computing, but opted against it, or at least must have made a conscious choice to leave out Babbage/Lovelace within the greater pantheon. I can see narratively why they may have done this knowing what is to come later in the text, but a few sentences as a nod would have been welcome.

The book does, however, get on my nerves with one of my personal pet peeves in popular science and biographical works like this: while there are reasonable notes at the end, absolutely no proper footnotes appear at the bottoms of pages or even indicators within the text other than pieces of text with quotation marks. I’m glad the notes even exist in the back, but it just drives me crazy that publishers blatantly hide them this way. The text could at least have had markers indicating where to find the notes. What are we? Animals?

Nota bene: I’m currently reading an advanced reader copy of this; the book won’t be out until mid-July 2017.

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📗 Started reading A Mind at Play by Jimmy Soni & Rob Goodman

📖 Read pages i-16 of A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age by Jimmy Soni & Rob Goodman

A great little introduction and start to what portends to be the science biography of the year. The book opens up with a story I’d heard Sol Golomb tell several times. It was actually a bittersweet memory as the last time I heard a recounting, it appeared on the occasion of Shannon’s 100th Birthday celebration in the New Yorker:

In 1985, at the International Symposium in Brighton, England, the Shannon Award went to the University of Southern California’s Solomon Golomb. As the story goes, Golomb began his lecture by recounting a terrifying nightmare from the night before: he’d dreamed that he was about deliver his presentation, and who should turn up in the front row but Claude Shannon. And then, there before Golomb in the flesh, and in the front row, was Shannon. His reappearance (including a bit of juggling at the banquet) was the talk of the symposium, but he never attended again.

I had emailed Sol about the story, and became concerned when I didn’t hear back. I discovered shortly after that he had passed away the following day.

nota bene: I’m currently reading an advanced reader copy of this; the book won’t be out until mid-July 2017.

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📕 Read pages 138-162 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

📕 Read pages 138-162 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (finished)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Mike is sent by television.

I was a bit disappointed by the title of the final chapter which gives things away paragraphs earlier than it should have. It makes the build up to the big reveal a bit less than lackluster.

The 70’s version of the film has a stronger finish than the novel by showing Charlie’s nobility. In particular it was even better given the overall morals put forth by the book.

I find myself thinking about how solidly this book still stands today. I suspect that a slightly more modern retelling would replace gum chewing with the moral ills of using social media.

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📖 Read pages 116-138 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

📖 Read pages 116-138 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

One has to love Veruca in the nut room. This is one of the substantive changes from the movie which opted for a similar narrative, but apparently gooses were easier to film than squirrels.

I think I preferred the squirrels and the way this plays out in the novel. In particular, the fact that the parents get thrown down the trash chute as well (and the reason why) are fantastic!

What a great morality play.

📖 Read pages 100-115 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

📖 Read pages 100-115 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

His storytelling style is truly delicious. His sentence structure creates quite a bit of surprise, even when you know what’s coming.

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📖 Read pages 51-68 of Complexity and the Economy by W. Brian Arthur

📖 Read pages 51-68 of Complexity and the Economy by W. Brian Arthur

Complexity and the Economy by W. Brian Arthur

An interesting reference to the origin of life and some related research actually pops up in the discussion!

📖 Read pages 86-100 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

📖 Read pages 86-100 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

The trip down the river is very close in its dialogue to the version in the original 1974 movie version.

📖 Read pages 73-86 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

📖 Read pages 73-86 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

We get the story of the Oompa-Loompas and Augustus goes up the pipe. Parables about benign exploitation and colonialization followed by a short tale of gluttony.

📖 Read loc 1440-2080 of 12932 (16.08%) of American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

📖 Read loc 1440-2080 of 12932 (16.08%) of American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

Examples and discussion of how markets can manage to fail and why we need good government to fill in the (gaping) holes.

There’s also some good discussion of rent seeking behavior here too. The more I read, the more I think this should be required reading for everyone. I could see a need for taking just the first three chapters and expanding them out into their own book.

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📖 Read pages 58-73 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

📖 Read pages 58-73 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

The big day finally arrives and the children enter the chocolate factory with Mr. Willy Wonka. We see the chocolate waterfall and river and see the first Oompa-Loompas.

I’m not quite sure how Mr. Wonka (and interestingly he’s always called Mr.), managed to get sunlight down into his underground chocolate room–I’m presuming all the edible plants grow somehow.

 

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📖 Read pages 40-58 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

📖 Read pages 40-58 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

 

Circumstances for our poor hero Charlie become far more desperate before they begin to turn for the better.

Except that we’ve just read how horrifically poor and physically starving the family was, I’m surprised that he took two candy bars. Though I suspect his family would easily have given him the who dollar’s worth of food.

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📖 Read pages 106-114 of Professional WordPress: Design and Development 3rd Edition by Brad Williams, David Damstra, and Hal Stern

📖 Read pages 106-114 of Professional WordPress: Design and Development 3rd Edition by Brad Williams, David Damstra, and Hal Stern

Finishing up chapter 6

Professional WordPress: Design and Development 3rd Edition by Brad Williams, David Damstra, and Hal Stern

📖 Read loc 962-1440 of 12932 (11.13%) of American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

📖 Read loc 962-1440 of 12932 (11.13%) of American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

This continues to be intriguing with lots of examples (and footnotes, which I’ve been skipping over presently, but will circle back upon later). It continues to make a strong argument for a mixed economy and even bolsters with evidence that the richest countries are usually the ones with the most government–something which flies in the face of traditional Republican values. There’s also some good discussion of what markets are and aren’t capable of, a point which is often missed in the bigger public, potentially because of the decades of chanting that capitalism is best while we fought a cold war with Russia.

More people should really be concerned with externalities in the markets.

In general this seems to be a sweeping meta-analysis of lots of other sources and material, most of which is footnoted. I do sometimes wish they went into greater detail on many of their points, but I suspect that no one else would be reading the book because of its length. Their arguments are fairly quick and to the point however.

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📖 Read pages 32-40 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

📖 Read pages 32-40 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

I suspect at the time this was written many of these horrid children were hyperbole. It now seems like people accidentally read this as a model for how children should be and they totally missed the fact that Charlie was the hero.

Donald Trump was 18 years old when this book was released. Sadly, I strongly suspect he never read or benefited from it.

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📖 Read pages 100-106 of Professional WordPress: Design and Development 3rd Edition by Brad Williams, David Damstra, and Hal Stern

📖 Read pages 100-106 of Professional WordPress: Design and Development 3rd Edition by Brad Williams, David Damstra, and Hal Stern

Chapter 6 is pretty important. After going over the rest of the text, I’ll be sure to come back and re-read this particular section.

Professional WordPress: Design and Development 3rd Edition by Brad Williams, David Damstra, and Hal Stern