The Information

A History, a Theory, a Flood

By James Gleick

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Marc Oliver









Marc Oliver Orth finished reading The Information


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Nathan Borror The Information

“To do anything requires energy. To specify what is done requires information.”

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Aliou D. read 362 pages in The Information


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Nathan Borror The Information

Learning about genes from Richard Dawkins and James Gleick is fun:

"What I am doing is emphasizing the potential near-immortality of a gene, in the form of copies, as its defining property." This is where life breaks free from its material moorings. The gene is not an information-carrying macromolecule. The gene is the information. The physicist Max Delbrück wrote in 1949, "Today the tendency is to say 'genes are just molecules, and hereditary particles,' and thus to do away with the abstractions." Now the abstractions returned.

"Where, then, is any particular gene—say, the gene for long legs in humans? This is a little like asking where is Beethoven's Piano Sonata in E minor? Is it in the original handwritten score? The printed sheet music? Any one performance—or perhaps the sum of all performances, historical and potential, real and imagined?"

"The quavers and crotchets inked on paper are not the music. Music is not a series of pressure waves sounding through the air; nor grooves etched in vinyl or pits burned in CDs; nor even the neuronal symphonies stirred up in the brain of the listener. The music is the information. Like-wise, the base pairs of DNA are not genes. They encode genes. Genes themselves are made of bits."

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Nathan Borror read 23 pages in The Information


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Nathan Borror read 18 pages in The Information


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Chapter on entropy was really good.


Nathan Borror read 36 pages in The Information


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Jarrett Fuller finished reading The Information


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Jarrett Fuller read 43 pages in The Information


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Jarrett Fuller The Information

In Isaac Newton's lifetime, no more than a few thousand people had any idea what he looked like, though he was one of England's most famous men, yet now millions of people have quite a clear idea—based on replicas of copies of rather poorly painted portraits. Even more pervasive and indelible are the smile of Mona Lisa, The Scream of Edvard Munch, and the silhouettes of various fiction extraterrestrials. These are memes, living a life of their own, independent of any physical reality. "This may not be what George Washington looked like then," a tour guide was overheard saying of the Gilbert Stuart painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, "but this is what he looks like now." Exactly.

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