Quick: are the spacesuits worn by the Apollo astronauts more like medieval suits of armour, diving suits or the girdle my mother wore in 1960? (If you need a refresher course on what girdles were really like, allow me to recommend the TV show Mad Men, whose costume designer is meticulous in all such foundation details.
ZDNet UK Book Reviews
Essential reading for technophiles
What can someone find out about your tweets, and the people who retweet and respond to them? Rather a lot: despite being limited to 140 characters, tweets include metadata such as what kind of character encoding they use, and a great deal more.
Bad things that can happen to kids online have been the stuff of tabloid stories for some years now. Frederick Lane's new book, Cybertraps for the Young, is more intelligent and more subtle than that.
Over the last 20 years or so, there have been intermittent moves by the EU and the UK government to implement various levels of online surveillance — first by requiring ISPs to install equipment to facilitate wiretapping, and second by storing the masses of communications data created by all of us.
The National Academies of Science has posted free PDFs and online reading versions of the more than 4,000 science books it publishes, and also provides code so you can host individual titles on your own site. Many of these are workshop reports, policy documents and the like, rather than textbooks.
The 34 interviews and articles that make up this book may be familiar to long-time readers of Gallup Management Journal; they will, however, be new to the rest of us. The decade in question is September 2001 to January 2011 — the range of publication dates of these pieces.
It's not complexity that drives people mad, argues Donald A. Norman in his latest book; it's confusion.
First the early adopters, then the kids, then everyone you know, finally businesses. Isn't that the usual spread pattern of a new technology?
Westerners, in particular, seem to like to believe in the myth of the lone inventor: the mad scientist who after much agony comes up with the Next Big Thing. Or unlocks the secrets of the universe — it doesn't much matter which.
The position of Chief Information Officer (CIO) hasn't existed for all that long, and so there aren't a lot of manuals explaining how to do it. The CIO Edge attempts to be that manual.
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.
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?
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.
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).
Who's innovative? Who's not? Newton? Apple? Henry Ford?