James R. Beniger: The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society (1986)

26 April 2014, dusan

James Beniger traces the origin of the Information Society to major economic and business crises of the past century. In the United States, applications of steam power in the early 1800s brought a dramatic rise in the speed, volume, and complexity of industrial processes, making them difficult to control. Scores of problems arose: fatal train wrecks, misplacement of freight cars for months at a time, loss of shipments, inability to maintain high rates of inventory turnover. Inevitably the Industrial Revolution, with its ballooning use of energy to drive material processes, required a corresponding growth in the exploitation of information: the Control Revolution.

Between the 1840s and the 1920s came most of the important information-processing and communication technologies still in use today: telegraphy, modern bureaucracy, rotary power printing, the postage stamp, paper money, typewriter, telephone, punch-card processing, motion pictures, radio, and television. Beniger shows that more recent developments in microprocessors, computers, and telecommunications are only a smooth continuation of this Control Revolution. Along the way he touches on many fascinating topics: why breakfast was invented, how trademarks came to be worth more than the companies that own them, why some employees wear uniforms, and whether time zones will always be necessary.

Publisher Harvard University Press, 1986
ISBN 0674020766, 9780674020764
493 pages
via babyalanturing

Review (JoAnne Yates, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 1988)
Review (Krishan Kumar, Journal of American Studies, 1988)
Review (Kirkus Reviews)

Book-inspired website
Publisher
Google books

Download (no OCR)

Vladimir Vernadsky: The Biosphere (1926–) [RU, ES, EN]

21 March 2014, dusan

First published in 1926 but long neglected in the West, Vladimir I. Vernadsky’s The Biosphere revolutionized our view of Earth. Vernadsky teaches us that life has been the transforming geological force on our planet. He illuminates the difference between an inanimate, mineralogical view of Earth’s history, and an endlessly dynamic picture of Earth as the domain and product of living matter to a degree still poorly understood.

The 1998 edition, which is the first English translation of the entire text, features contributions by Mark A. S. McMenamin, Professor of Geology at Mount Holyoke College, who has written extensive annotations to explain the structure of Vernadsky’s arguments and their modern relevance, and Jacques Grinevald, an authority on the idea of the biosphere, who penned an introduction that places the book in historical context.

English edition
Foreword by Lynn Margulis, Mauro Ceruti, Stjepko Golubic, Ricardo Guerrero, Nubuo Ikeda, Natsuki Ikezawa, Wolfgang E. Krumbein, Andrei Lapo, Antonio Lazcano, David Suzuki, Crispin Tickell, Malcolm Walter, Peter Westbroek
Introduction by Jacques Grinevald
Translated by David B. Langmuir
Revised and Annotated by Mark A.S. McMenamin
Publisher Copernicus Books, 1998
A Peter N. Nevraumont book
ISBN 9781461272649
192 pages

Commentary on the concept (Alexej M. Ghilarov, The Quarterly Review of Biology, 1995)
Commentary on the translations (Mercè Piqueras, International Microbiology, 1998)

Publisher (EN)

Biosfera i noosfera (Russian, 1926/1989)
La Biosfera (Spanish, trans. María Victoria López Paño and Luis Gutiérrez Andrés, 1997)
The Biosphere (English, trans. David B. Langmuir, 1998), Alt link

Douglas Kahn: Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts (2013)

15 March 2014, dusan

Earth Sound Earth Signal is a study of energies in aesthetics and the arts, from the birth of modern communications in the nineteenth century to the global transmissions of the present day. Douglas Kahn begins by evoking the Aeolian sphere music that Henry David Thoreau heard blowing along telegraph lines and the Aelectrosonic sounds of natural radio that Thomas Watson heard through the first telephone; he then traces the histories of science, media, music, and the arts to the 1960s and beyond. Earth Sound Earth Signal rethinks energy at a global scale, from brainwaves to outer space, through detailed discussions of musicians, artists and scientists such as Alvin Lucier, Edmond Dewan, Pauline Oliveros, John Cage, James Turrell, Robert Barry, Joyce Hinterding, and many others.

Publisher University of California Press, 2013
ISBN 0520956834, 9780520956834
343 pages

Review (Alessandro Ludovico, Neural)

Publisher
Google books

Download (removed on 2014-3-19 upon request of the publisher)

Andrea Gleiniger, Angelika Hilbeck, Jill Scott (eds.): Transdiscourse 1: Mediated Environments (2011)

24 July 2012, dusan

- Encourages critical reflections that shed light on how combinations of art, architecture, technology and science could directly impact urban societies and their rural alternative
- Discusses the know-how-transfer between the arts and the sciences is facilitated

Mediated Environments addresses the problem that society interprets our environment through conditioned and constructed representations of mainstream media and not in a transdisciplinary way with the help of artists, architects, filmmakers, cultural theorists and scientists. The writers who come from these various backgrounds all wish to give media artists, designers and writers a new role in relation to the pressing issues of urban and rural life: ones that can address the challenges of human psychology, recycling, agricultural production, climate chaos and energy conservation. The main aims were to focus on the potentials of creative work to raise public awareness and to find new discourses that can be shared within the areas of mediated architecture, eco art, experimental documentary film, eco-emergent design and art and science collaborations. The editors believe that a closer transdisciplinary working relationship could encourage a more tangible approach to these problems of the future.

Publisher Springer, 2011
Producer Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
ISBN 3709102871, 9783709102879
216 pages

publisher
google books

Download

Barri J. Gold: ThermoPoetics: Energy in Victorian Literature and Science (2010)

22 July 2012, dusan

In ThermoPoetics, Barri Gold sets out to show us how analogous, intertwined, and mutually productive poetry and physics may be. Charting the simultaneous emergence of the laws of thermodynamics in literature and in physics that began in the 1830s, Gold finds that not only can science influence literature, but literature can influence science, especially in the early stages of intellectual development. Nineteenth-century physics was often conducted in words. And, Gold claims, a poet could be a genius in thermodynamics and a novelist could be a damn good engineer.

Gold’s lively readings of works by Alfred Tennyson, Charles Dickens, Herbert Spencer, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, and others offer a decidedly literary introduction to such elements of thermodynamic thought as conservation and dissipation, the linguistic tension between force and energy, the quest for a grand unified theory, strategies for coping within an inexorably entropic universe, and the demonic potential of the thermodynamically savvy individual. Victorian literature embraced the language and ideas of energy physics to address the era’s concerns about religion, evolution, race, class, empire, gender, and sexuality. Gold argues that these concerns in turn shaped the hopes and fears expressed about the new physics. With ThermoPoetics Gold not only offers us a new lens through which to view Victorian literature, but also provides in-depth examples of the practical applications of such a lens. Thus Gold shows us that in In Memoriam, Tennyson expresses thermodynamic optimism with a vision of transformation after loss; in A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens produces order in spite of the universal drive to entropy, and in Bleak House he treats the novel itself as series of engines; and Wilde’s Dorian Gray and Stoker’s Dracula reveal the creative potential of chaos.

Publisher MIT Press, 2010
ISBN 026201372X, 9780262013727
343 pages

publisher
google books

Download

Recent comments
Recent entries
More resources