While my obsession with the Simpson's has waned over the years this book is a reminder of what made me unwittingly fall in love with this show. The auWhile my obsession with the Simpson's has waned over the years this book is a reminder of what made me unwittingly fall in love with this show. The author's obsession with the show makes me feel/look like an amateur. ;-)
Simon Singh does a fantastic job (the book reads like he thoroughly enjoyed it too) of uncovering gems from this show. From the "Treehouse of Horror VI" Calculus joke (yeah I completely missed this one!) to the very famous Fermat's last theorem. It you are interested in Mathematics it is actually a pretty good refresher of what you miss by not doing maths on a daily basis. I mean c'mon do you really think about perfect numbers, narcissistic numbers or Mersenne Primes? Did you ever? Yeah, thought so. When you couple that with what appear to be random numbers to guess the attendance at an Isotopes Baseball game you really have to read this book.
In addition dissecting the show Singh provides the readers with short biographical information of the writers. Many (nay ALL) of them had brilliant careers in Mathematics and decided to move to writing comedy. The world I would argue is better off for it. In a strange way reading this book gave me an appreciation on the fascination with dealing with absurdity. It made me understand how oft acerbic social commentary that comes from the show.
As a final bonus the book also tackles the arguably EVEN more brilliant Futurama. ...more
I finished this book sitting at an airport + a round trip flight. It is that easy of a read. I will come back to this book frequently because it staysI finished this book sitting at an airport + a round trip flight. It is that easy of a read. I will come back to this book frequently because it stays with you.
Imagine a brilliant mind. Then put the pressure of a finite amount of time to have one last lecture. To this brilliant mind add a healthy dose of secular humanism and know that this is why you need to re-read this book to remind yourself... How will you be remembered?...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I mean thoroughly enjoy this book. Prior to becoming a parental unit I devoured all manner of books which frightened mI thoroughly enjoyed this book. I mean thoroughly enjoy this book. Prior to becoming a parental unit I devoured all manner of books which frightened me. Nay, TERRIFIED ME. I mean I knew I was ill-qualified, I knew I was ill-equipped and I knew I had a challenge. I consulted other young parents and that was worse UNTIL I accidentally stumbled into Jeff Vogel's blog. At the time he was writing infrequent posts about parenting. He didn't make it seem easy "no I wasn't looking for an easy solution!" but he made me a believer that I can actually be a parent and manage not to raise a serial killer (yes these are the standards to follow!)
I recommend this book to any new parent. I REALLY recommend this book to a new parent who is a nerd. ...more
This book is a slog. This book is worth the slog. We look at information and how technology starting with the telegraph changes the way is transmittedThis book is a slog. This book is worth the slog. We look at information and how technology starting with the telegraph changes the way is transmitted. It was actually quite fun for me to see the reaction of the Newspapers to the telegraph. (Spoiler: it read like what we say of the Internet today)
A good amount -no surprise really given the subject- is spent on Claude Shannon. We look at how computation changed the way the word information was used in fields that would prior to Shannon have been imagined to use it. The detour to biology and evolution and the transmission of information was a fun read for me.
The final third of the book where information is described as a mathematical abstraction caught me off guard. It was initially unsettling but he made a convincing argument. Highly, highly recommend!...more