THE GENERAL THEORY OF INFORMATION: ORIGIN OF TRUTH AND HOPE

Not an easy read, but for those with at least some background in quantum mechanics and relativity, it should prove both...

Authors Bach and Belardo use Einstein’s Theories of Relativity and quantum physics to establish a philosophical paradigm they say will lead to hope and happiness for mankind.

The book opens with a rather perplexing prologue, preface and introduction. These sections confound, in part, because of an inherent paradox. They continually use the terms “unthinkable” and “unspeakable,” without explaining what, precisely, is unimaginable or unsayable. Fortunately, clarity rules once the science begins—no small task considering the subject matter. It turns out that the unthinkable, unspeakable things are the implications of the Theories of Relativity, constructs that thwart our brains and mouths. This is dense stuff, but basically, quantum experiments have demonstrated that two particles can confer information instantaneously across any distance and time frame. Since this violates Einstein’s Theories of Relativity by exceeding the speed of light, scientists, including Einstein, began a debate that rages to the present. Without getting into that argument, which is not really covered in the book, the authors posit that relativity is not being violated. Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc2, they say, demonstrates that at the speed of light, all of space-time equals zero and in fact all information of the past, present and future, equals infinite and, therefore, exists as a single inseparable point, a realm they call nospacetime, nonlocality and an information singularity. Since all things are one in nospacetime, the information has not traveled any distance at all. The authors then attempt to make the leap to philosophy by postulating that somehow the knowledge of this oneness of all things on the nonlocal level will in itself change mankind’s wicked ways. As with most leaps from science to values and beliefs, their assumptions are not necessarily on a par with their scientific ones.

Not an easy read, but for those with at least some background in quantum mechanics and relativity, it should prove both fascinating and enlightening on a scientific level, even if the promised salvation of the human race falls somewhat short.

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1470026134

Page Count: 150

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2012

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ELON MUSK

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

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A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.

To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781982181284

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

WHY FISH DON'T EXIST

A STORY OF LOSS, LOVE, AND THE HIDDEN ORDER OF LIFE

A quirky wonder of a book.

A Peabody Award–winning NPR science reporter chronicles the life of a turn-of-the-century scientist and how her quest led to significant revelations about the meaning of order, chaos, and her own existence.

Miller began doing research on David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) to understand how he had managed to carry on after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed his work. A taxonomist who is credited with discovering “a full fifth of fish known to man in his day,” Jordan had amassed an unparalleled collection of ichthyological specimens. Gathering up all the fish he could save, Jordan sewed the nameplates that had been on the destroyed jars directly onto the fish. His perseverance intrigued the author, who also discusses the struggles she underwent after her affair with a woman ended a heterosexual relationship. Born into an upstate New York farm family, Jordan attended Cornell and then became an itinerant scholar and field researcher until he landed at Indiana University, where his first ichthyological collection was destroyed by lightning. In between this catastrophe and others involving family members’ deaths, he reconstructed his collection. Later, he was appointed as the founding president of Stanford, where he evolved into a Machiavellian figure who trampled on colleagues and sang the praises of eugenics. Miller concludes that Jordan displayed the characteristics of someone who relied on “positive illusions” to rebound from disaster and that his stand on eugenics came from a belief in “a divine hierarchy from bacteria to humans that point[ed]…toward better.” Considering recent research that negates biological hierarchies, the author then suggests that Jordan’s beloved taxonomic category—fish—does not exist. Part biography, part science report, and part meditation on how the chaos that caused Miller’s existential misery could also bring self-acceptance and a loving wife, this unique book is an ingenious celebration of diversity and the mysterious order that underlies all existence.

A quirky wonder of a book.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6027-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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