by: Erik Larson
Publisher: Three Rivers Press, Crown Publishing Group, Random House, New York
Cover: Leonard Henderson
reviewed by: Lynard Barnes, 9/30/2011
Summary: Transmitting “electrical waves” through the air and a grisley murder usher in the age of a shrinking world. Guglielmo Marconi, Hawley Harvey Cripen and the death of Belle Elmore.
Guglielmo Marconi is credited with being the inventor of long distance radio transmission—the radio. It is amazing to consider how much we today take wireless communication for granted. For over a hundred years, words have been transmitted through the air via electrical emissions. At the time Marconi was experimenting with his transmission towers and receptors, the groundwork had already been laid by scientist such as Heinrich Hertz. As reported by Erik Larson, it was in reading an article about the funeral of Hertz in 1894 that inspired Marconi to take a leap beyond the then current understanding of electrical emissions. The first radio wave transmissions were most likely done by others before Marconi read Hertz’s obituary—including by Nicolas Telsa in 1893. But no one beat Marconi for his single-minded persistence in making radio wave transmission a tool of communication.
by: Gaiman, Neil
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd St New York
Cover: Betty Lew
reviewed by: Lynard Barnes, 09/5/2011
Summary: A distinctly American novel, the story of Shadow and his quest for spiritual relevancy in modern America.
A slight detour: There was a movie released in early 2011, Vanishing on 7th Street ], which, like AMERICAN GODS, is rooted in Americana. If you have never heard of Vanishing on 7th Street it is most likely because it was torpedoed by overacting-a condition in which actors “over-perform” and smother the story in emotive theatrics. The story however is intriguing. The storyline relied upon the history of Roanoke Island and the vanishing of ninety or so people in 1587. Three years after the colonization in 1590, when a supply ship returned, there was not a soul found. All ninety people had vanished. The only clue as to what happened to them was a word carved into a post of the fort they had erected. The word “Croatoan”. In 1590, John White, a friend of Sir Walter Raleigh, who discovered the word assumed that the people had moved to the nearby Croatoan Island (Hatteras Island). But this was not confirmed. No one knows for sure exactly what happened to those ninety people. So we have the story of the vanished colony of Roanoke Island and that word, “Croatoan”.
by: Kevin Poulsen
Publisher: CROWN, Random House, Inc. New York www.crownpublishing.com
Cover: Chris Sergio, Jonathan Kitchen
reviewed by: Lynard Barnes, 9/2/2011
Summary: Max Butler battles his way to the top of the world-wide, cyber-terrorists network of credit card thieves with inadvertent assistance from the credit card industry and law enforcement.
It is a safe bet to say that, at least in the early days of computer technology, most of us who developed computer applications started out with the BASIC Programming language (acronym meaning, Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), went on the Assembly (machine code) Language and finally settled in to C or Pascal (later Delphi). There were those who never really graduated to a full appreciation of “computer applications”. Instead they got caught up in the cyber-high where the how is more important than the why.