The Knowledge Web: From Electronic Agents to Stonehenge and Back -- And Other Journeys Through Knowledge
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In "The Knowledge Web," James Burke, the bestselling author and host of television's "Connections" series, takes us on a fascinating tour through the interlocking threads of knowledge running through Western history. Displaying mesmerizing flights of fancy, he shows how seemingly unrelated ideas and innovations bounce off one another, spinning a vast, interactive web on which everything is connected to everything else: "Carmen" leads to the theory of relativity, champagne bottling links to wallpaper design, Joan of Arc connects through vaudeville to Buffalo Bill. Illustrating his open, connective theme in the form of a journey across the web, Burke breaks down complex concepts, offering information in a manner accessible to anybody -- high school graduates and Ph.D. holders alike. The journey touches more than one hundred interlinked points in the history of knowledge, ultimately ending where it began. Gateways, set at various points in the narrative, allow readers to jump through literary hyperspace to other different but related concepts throughout the book. At once amusing and instructing, "The Knowledge Web" heightens our awareness of our interdependence -- with one another and with the past. Taking Burke's webbed approach to knowledge is one way that we can manage our information overload as we approach the ever-more-complex world that awaits us in the twenty-first century. Only by understanding the interrelated nature of the modern world can we hope to identify complex patterns of change and direct the process of innovation to the common good.
relationship with his sovereign, the Sun King. Le Nôtre’s Versailles gardens, built for an absolute monarch and unequalled in their size and complexity, were intended to reflect the concept of the king’s supreme control. At a time when exploration was opening up the world and science was revealing the secrets of the cosmos, Versailles represented another aspect of man’s newfound power. Untamed countryside no longer surrounded society with mysterious and uncontrollable chaos as it had done since
of Emma’s past, her marriage to Hamilton made quite a furor. Emma had begun life as Emma Lyon, daughter of a humble smith. Brought up in Wales, at the age of twelve she was already employed as a nursemaid. A year later Emma was in London, maid to Mrs. Kelly, a well-known madame, and soon thereafter became one of Mrs. Kelly’s “girls.” By the age of sixteen she was living with a “protector,” Harry Featherstonehaugh, who then passed her on to William Hamilton’s nephew, Greville. In London Emma was
England, married and became a journalist. Success finally came when he published his Life of Byron in 1830. Meanwhile one other side effect of the Anglo-French blockade was causing trouble elsewhere. In answer to wartime needs for more sailors the British navy had for some decades resorted to press-ganging. By 1806 the navy had eight hundred ships and keeping them staffed required up to 150,000 men. Press-ganging usually involved sending raiding parties ashore to find and drag unwilling men off
to Denver as head of the local agency there (as well as to recover his health). Meanwhile, partly because of McParlan’s work, the Mollies were rounded up and thirteen of them hanged. In 1913 William Burns (at that time America’s greatest detective, with his own agency) visited London and recounted the tale of McParlan’s adventures to a fellow crime enthusiast whose own detective methods were to become so well-known that in 1924 the Illustrated London News referred to him as the man who had
named August Toepler. It was called “schlieren [‘smear’] photography” and it revealed the bands of different protein concentrations because of the changes caused by the bands to the refraction of light passing through the glass tube. In the 1880s Toepler’s original use of the schlieren technique had been to show the shock-wave patterns caused by explosions or created by the movement of projectiles. It was this latter capability of schlieren photography that was to interest a Hungarian mechanical