A demystification of blockchain and cryptocurrency coupled with a wide-ranging assessment of its transformative potential.
Depending upon whom you ask, blockchain is either a promising technology, the foundation of an emergent sociopolitical revolution, or a flash in the pan. Debut author and consultant Radocchia not only meticulously clarifies blockchain as a technological innovation, but also sheds light on where it came from and asserts that it will result in seismic changes in commerce and other fields. First, she straightforwardly defines blockchain as an “accounting tool”—a “distributed ledger” that facilitates peer-to-peer transactions, independent of any governing middleman. Because this ledger records each transaction and can’t be revised or erased, the need for such policing authority is eliminated, she says—and by extension, the need to trust such an authority. In fact, Radocchia contends, blockchain is a “trustless” system in which verification is no longer supplied by “centralized clearinghouses.” If blockchain is the “operating system of the future,” she asserts, it can also become the “means of facilitating decentralized trust on a global scale”—an agent of change for both traditional and emerging industries. The author goes on to discuss the technology’s many possible applications, and she furnishes a particularly compelling look at the ways in which it might solve problems in the pharmaceutical industry. The best part of this impressively lucid and provocative study, however, is its appraisal of the technology as a response to the dislocations of globalization and the ensuing, pervasive suspicion of governing bodies. The author has graduate school experience in anthropology and technology, and her eclectic knowledge shines through in her thoughtfully cogent analysis of blockchain’s geopolitical promise. However, her effort does suffer from repetition—she never tires of explaining the concept of decentralization, for instance—and as a consequence, it’s considerably longer than it needs to be.
An accessible primer for beginners and an astute treatment of blockchain’s future promise for others.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)