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Movie review: Astroturf Wars

The great thing about social media is that they allow a very small number of people to create a potentially very large movement: those overlapping social circles give even just one or two people a surprising amount of leverage. Which is how two guys in a pub in Merseyside managed to launch a worldwide demonstration of the ineffectiveness of homeopathic remedies.

February 11, 2011 by Book Reviews

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Book review: Texture

If we're drowning in email and past the point of keeping up with everyone we've reconnected with on Facebook, why are we flocking to Twitter? If we can't settle down to work because instant messages keep popping up on top of the document, why are we adding to the load by uploading videos to YouTube and answering questions on Quora?

January 31, 2011 by Book Reviews

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Book review: The Master Switch

There is a mythology about the internet, going back to its earliest days, that says it cannot be controlled. As evidence to support this idea, adherents point to a long line of rebellions, from the renegade propagation of the alt Usenet hierarchy — after the newsgroup creator gods refused to allow groups for discussing sex and drugs — to peer-to-peer file-sharing and Wikileaks.

January 24, 2011 by Book Reviews

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Book review: Cooking for Geeks

Cooking and geekery should go together like strawberries and cream or bacon and chocolate. A recipe is just an algorithm, but few cookbooks do the equivalent of defining standards and functions — like telling you why you don't want to over-mix pancakes (cross-linked strands of glutenin and gliadin from the flour will make the pancakes chewy), or what temperature a hot frying pan should actually be (154 degrees C for the Maillard reaction, 180 degrees for caramelisation and browsing).

January 4, 2011 by Book Reviews

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Book review: Law and the Internet

WikiLeaks, network neutrality, internet service provider liability for copyright infringement...at the moment, the headlines are full of the kinds of cyberspace issues that geeks have been debating for years.

December 8, 2010 by Book Reviews

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Book review: Being Geek

Want to understand the technology industry? Then you need to understand geeks, because they're responsible for it.

November 23, 2010 by Book Reviews

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Book review: The Silent State

The thing about immigrants is, they don't get the joke. Heather Brooke arrived in the UK fresh from a career in the American South as an investigative journalist covering murders and other nasty stuff.

November 11, 2010 by Book Reviews

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Facebook: the film and the books

"You're going to be successful and rich," Erica (Mara Rooney), the departing girlfriend of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), tells him after a conversation of escalating intensity and social dysfunction at the beginning of The Social Network, which is based on Ben Mezrich's book The Accidental Billionaires. "But you're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a tech geek.

October 19, 2010 by Book Reviews

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