Saylor makes a strong case for the wonder and value of mobile computing, though it leaves a chill in the air.

THE MOBILE WAVE

HOW MOBILE INTELLIGENCE WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING

Entrepreneur and technology expert Saylor investigates the stunning new world of smartphones and tablets and likes what he sees.

These new mobile technologies are game-changers, writes the author in this paean to the “disruptive technology” wrought by the little devices that herald not just an information and communication revolution, but a vast rearranging of the social and commercial landscape. With its affordability, worldwide distribution and 24/7 availability, mobile computing has already profoundly affected publishing, entertainment, social interactions, medical care, education, financial transactions, and advertising and marketing. Saylor’s passion for speed, efficiency and the betterment of the human condition through the ability to immediately address health and education concerns is incandescent and well-framed. Still, what is being lost as we so intimately commune with our devices, heads bowed, oblivious to our surroundings? The author addresses issues of privacy, monopoly control and the spread of misinformation, but he is less concerned with the loss of human-to-human interaction and the consequences of super efficiency. An electronic university education feels like a diminished substitute for being in the presence of a great professor; Amazon will never replace poking through a bookstore; and there is something disconcerting with the sentence, “Between 2003 and 2007, more than 2,700 record stores vanished, freeing up real estate and capital that could be used for other things.”

Saylor makes a strong case for the wonder and value of mobile computing, though it leaves a chill in the air.

Pub Date: June 26, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59315-720-3

Page Count: 306

Publisher: Vanguard/Perseus

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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THE GREAT BRIDGE

THE EPIC STORY OF THE BUILDING OF THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE

It took 14 years to build and it cost 15 million dollars and the lives of 20 workmen. Like the Atlantic cable and the Suez Canal it was a gigantic embodiment in steel and concrete of the Age of Enterprise. McCullough's outsized biography of the bridge attempts to capture in one majestic sweep the full glory of the achievement but the story sags mightily in the middle. True, the Roeblings, father and son who served successively as Chief Engineer, are cast in a heroic mold. True, too, the vital statistics of the bridge are formidable. But despite diligent efforts by the author the details of the construction work — from sinking the caissons, to underground blasting, stringing of cables and pouring of cement — will crush the determination of all but the most indomitable reader. To make matters worse, McCullough dutifully struggles through the administrative history of the Brooklyn Bridge Company which financed and contracted for the project with the help of the Tweed Machine and various Brooklyn bosses who profited handsomely amid continuous allegations of kickbacks and mismanagement of funds. He succeeds in evoking the venality and crass materialism of the epoch but once again the details — like the 3,515 miles of steel wire in each cable — are tiresome and ultimately entangling. Workmanlike and thorough though it is, McCullough's history of the bridge has more bulk than stature.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1972

ISBN: 0743217373

Page Count: 652

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1972

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An intriguing meditation on the nature of the universe and our attempts to understand it that should appeal to both...

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SEVEN BRIEF LESSONS ON PHYSICS

Italian theoretical physicist Rovelli (General Relativity: The Most Beautiful of Theories, 2015, etc.) shares his thoughts on the broader scientific and philosophical implications of the great revolution that has taken place over the past century.

These seven lessons, which first appeared as articles in the Sunday supplement of the Italian newspaper Sole 24 Ore, are addressed to readers with little knowledge of physics. In less than 100 pages, the author, who teaches physics in both France and the United States, cogently covers the great accomplishments of the past and the open questions still baffling physicists today. In the first lesson, he focuses on Einstein's theory of general relativity. He describes Einstein's recognition that gravity "is not diffused through space [but] is that space itself" as "a stroke of pure genius." In the second lesson, Rovelli deals with the puzzling features of quantum physics that challenge our picture of reality. In the remaining sections, the author introduces the constant fluctuations of atoms, the granular nature of space, and more. "It is hardly surprising that there are more things in heaven and earth, dear reader, than have been dreamed of in our philosophy—or in our physics,” he writes. Rovelli also discusses the issues raised in loop quantum gravity, a theory that he co-developed. These issues lead to his extraordinary claim that the passage of time is not fundamental but rather derived from the granular nature of space. The author suggests that there have been two separate pathways throughout human history: mythology and the accumulation of knowledge through observation. He believes that scientists today share the same curiosity about nature exhibited by early man.

An intriguing meditation on the nature of the universe and our attempts to understand it that should appeal to both scientists and general readers.

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-18441-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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