A whimsical primer on space exploration from 1953 – long before the first man on the moon – written and illustrated by a female author, a remarkable feat for the era.
“He might ask you … whether you think a computer could ever enjoy strawberries and cream or could make you fall in love with it.”
An uncommon portrait of Alan Turing, godfather of modern computing.
From janitor to chemist, the women of Oak Ridge worked hard and talked little.
“Light had come to the American city. And it was just awful.”
A brief history of giving the people what they wanted, or why the lightbulb was a mere cog in the machinery of total illumination.
Astronauts vs. cosmonauts, Apollo vs. Sputnik, and what Gagarin had to do with JFK – a lovely illustrated chronicle of the Space Age.
“Bad data in equals bad data out. Algorithms that dating sites have spent millions of dollars to refine aren’t necessarily bad. They’re just not as good as we want them to be, because they’re computing our half-truths and aspirational wishes.”
From the camera obscura to the iPhone, or why photography is an art of continuous reinvention.
“There is no reason why this web of hypertrophied consciousness cannot spread to the planets and, ultimately, beyond the stellar night to the galaxy.”
Neuroscientist Christof Koch explores how subjective feelings, or consciousness, come into being, and why we should expect the Internet to become sentient.
Writer and illustrator Jonathan Fetter-Vorm suggests that the story of the atomic bomb is perhaps something told best not through thousands of government documents, but instead drawn on a chalkboard. The result is a concise and beautiful grasp on one of the most complex and essential events of the twentieth century — and a fine testament to the power of graphic storytelling in serious nonfiction.
A visionary lens on how social, political, and economic power structures are changing at the dawn of the information age, presaging many of today’s cultural paradigms and touching on other timely topics like networked knowledge, the role of intuition, and the value of adding context.
“Talk to Me is an opportunity to anchor design’s new dimension and highlight innovative interfaces that can inform designers in the future. Whether they use the skin and shell of objects as an interface or animate them from within, designers are using the whole world to communicate and are set on a path that is transforming it into an information parkour and enriching our lives with emotion, motion, direction, depth, and freedom.”
A fascinating look at the evolving definition of design in the age of sensors, data, and responsive interfaces. At its heart, Talk to Me is the essence of what true curation is: Context, conscience, cultural curiosity, and, above all, a point of view of what matters in the world and why.
Images and videos at the link.
A journey to the center of the Internet uncovers what few of consider and even fewer understand — the jarringly tactile, material nuts and bolts of an intricate architectural system we tend to see as an abstract, amorphous blob.
“As everyone from Odysseus on down has pointed out, a journey is really understood upon arriving home. […] What I understood when I arrived home was that the Internet wasn’t a physical world or a virtual world, but a human world. The Internet’s physical infrastructure has many centers, but from a certain vantage point there is really only one: You. Me. The lowercase i. Wherever I am, and wherever you are.”
A remarkable “digital pop-up book” that tells the love story of the letters P and S through minimalist, wordless black-and-white geometric patterns that spring to life and summon the text when looked at through a webcam. You suddenly see yourself projected on the screen, holding in your hands the paper pages from which the living language of digital text unfolds into the story. And what a story it is — full of wordplay and innuendo, the narrative flows with equal parts humor and poetic sophistication as words morph into one another with your every movement, a visceral metaphor for the longing of the two alphabetical lovers.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Thomas Edison was the most famous inventor in the world. He hoarded useful materials, from rare metals to animal bones, and through careful, methodical testing, he made his new inventions work, and previous inventions work better. Churning out patent after patent, Edison’s particular form of innovation was about the what, and not about the how — the latter he could outsource and hire for.
“In 1910, few Americans knew the difference between a scientist, an engineer, and an inventor” explains Jon Gertner at the beginning of his lively book about a place that fostered a home for all three, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation.
What books computing pioneer Alan Turing borrowed from his school library.