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"If you want to understand the future before it happens, you'll love this book. If you want to change the future before it happens to you, this book is required reading." -Reed Hundt, former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission "There is no simpler or clearer statement of the radical change that digital technologies will bring, nor any book that better prepares one for thinking about the next steps." -Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law School and Author of Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace "Blown to Bits will blow you away. In highly accessible and always fun prose, it explores all the nooks and crannies of the digital universe, exploring not only how this exploding space works but also what it means." -Debora Spar, President of Barnard College, Author of Ruling the Waves and The Baby Business "This is a wonderful book-probably the best since Hal Varian and Carl Schultz wrote Digital Rules. The authors are engineers, not economists. The result is a long, friendly talk with the genie, out of the lamp, and willing to help you avoid making the traditional mistake with that all-important third wish." -David Warsh, Author of Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations "Blown to Bits is one of the clearest expositions I've seen of the social and political issues arising from the Internet. Its remarkably clear explanations of how the Net actually works lets the hot air out of some seemingly endless debates. You've made explaining this stuff look easy. Congratulations!" -David Weinberger, Coauthor of The Cluetrain Manifesto and Author of Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder. "Blown to Bits is a timely, important, and very readable take on how information is produced and consumed today, and more important, on the approaching sea change in the way that we as a society deal with the consequences." -Craig Silverstein, Director of Technology, Google, Inc. "This book gives an overview of the kinds of issues confronting society as we become increasingly dependent on the Internet and the World Wide Web. Every informed citizen should read this book and then form their own opinion on these and related issues. And after reading this book you will rethink how (and even whether) you use the Web to form your opinions..." -James S. Miller, Senior Director for Technology Policy and Strategy, Microsoft Corporation "Most writing about the digital world comes from techies writing about technical matter for other techies or from pundits whose turn of phrase greatly exceeds their technical knowledge. In Blown to Bits, experts in computer science address authoritatively the practical issues in which we all have keen interest." -Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Author of Multiple Intelligences and Changing Minds "Regardless of your experience with computers, Blown to Bits provides a uniquely entertaining and informative perspective from the computing industry's greatest minds. A fascinating, insightful and entertaining book that helps you understand computers and their impact on the world in a whole new way. This is a rare book that explains the impact of the digital explosion in a way that everyone can understand and, at the same time, challenges experts to think in new ways." -Anne Margulies, Assistant Secretary for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts "Blown to Bits is fun and fundamental. What a pleasure to see real teachers offering such excellent framework for students in a digital age to explore and understand their digital environment, code and law, starting with the insight of Claude Shannon. I look forward to you teaching in an open online school." -Professor Charles Nesson, Harvard Law School, Founder, Berkman Center for Internet and Society "To many of us, computers and the Internet are magic. We make stuff, send stuff, receive stuff, and buy stuff. It's all pointing, clicking, copying, and pasting. But it's all mysterious. This book explains in clear and comprehensive terms how all this gear on my desk works and why we should pay close attention to these revolutionary changes in our lives. It's a brilliant and necessary work for consumers, citizens, and students of all ages." -Siva Vaidhyanathan, cultural historian and media scholar at the University of Virginia and author of Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity "The world has turned into the proverbial elephant and we the blind men. The old and the young among us risk being controlled by, rather than in control of, events and technologies. Blown to Bits is a remarkable and essential Rosetta Stone for beginning to figure out how all of the pieces of the new world we have just begun to enter-law, technology, culture, information-are going to fit together. Will life explode with new possibilities, or contract under pressure of new horrors? The precipice is both exhilarating and frightening. Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, and Harry Lewis, together, have ably managed to describe the elephant. Readers of this compact book describing the beginning stages of a vast human adventure will be one jump ahead, for they will have a framework on which to hang new pieces that will continue to appear with remarkable speed. To say that this is a 'must read' sounds trite, but, this time, it's absolutely true." -Harvey Silverglate, criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer and writer Every day, billions of photographs, news stories, songs, X-rays, TV shows, phone calls, and emails are being scattered around the world as sequences of zeroes and ones: bits. We can't escape this explosion of digital information and few of us want to-the benefits are too seductive. The technology has enabled unprecedented innovation, collaboration, entertainment, and democratic participation. But the same engineering marvels are shattering centuries-old assumptions about privacy, identity, free expression, and personal control as more and more details of our lives are captured as digital data. Can you control who sees all that personal information about you? Can email be truly confidential, when nothing seems to be private? Shouldn't the Internet be censored the way radio and TV are? Is it really a federal crime to download music? When you use Google or Yahoo! to search for something, how do they decide which sites to show you? Do you still have free speech in the digital world? Do you have a voice in shaping government or corporate policies about any of this? Blown to Bits offers provocative answers to these questions and tells intriguing real-life stories. This book is a wake-up call to the human consequences of the digital explosion. Preface xiii Chapter 1: Digital Explosion: Why Is It Happening, and What Is at Stake? 1 Chapter 2: Naked in the Sunlight: Privacy Lost, Privacy Abandoned 19 Chapter 3: Ghosts in the Machine: Secrets and Surprises of Electronic Documents 73 Chapter 4: Needles in the Haystack: Google and Other Brokers in the Bits Bazaar 109 Chapter 5: Secret Bits: How Codes Became Unbreakable 161 Chapter 6: Balance Toppled: Who Owns the Bits? 195 Chapter 7: You Can't Say That on the Internet: Guarding the Frontiers of Digital Expression 229 Chapter 8: Bits in the Air: Old Metaphors, New Technologies, and Free Speech 259 Conclusion: After the Explosion 295 Appendix: The Internet as System and Spirit 301 Endnotes 317 Index 347
This story, which is told from the unique perspective of Shane’s mother, Mary, recounts the family’s painful, arduous, and unwavering endeavor to reveal the truth about what happened to Shane Todd in Singapore.
About this book
On June 24, 2012, Dr. Shane Truman Todd, a young American engineer, was found hanging in his Singapore apartment, just a week before his scheduled return to the United States. Although Shane had repeatedly expressed apprehension about his work with a Chinese company and fear his life was being threatened, authorities immediately ruled his death a suicide. His family initially didn’t know what to believe. However, upon arriving in Singapore, they realized the evidence suggested not suicide, but murder. Shane’s family later discovered that what they thought was a computer speaker was actually an external hard drive with thousands of files from Shane’s computer. The information in those files transformed this story from a tragic suicide to an international saga of mystery, deceit, and cover-up, involving three countries. “Hard Drive: A Families Fight against Three Countries” is the captivating story of Shane’s mysterious death and his family’s grueling battle to reveal the truth against powerful forces that have sought to conceal, destroy, or discredit evidence indicating homicide. This story, which is told from the unique perspective of Shane’s mother, Mary, recounts the family’s painful, arduous, and unwavering endeavor to reveal the truth about what happened to Shane Todd in Singapore.
Unique to this book is the way in which musical scholarship and biography are combined: in a style refreshingly free of pretentiousness, Jan Swafford takes us deep into the music--from the grandeur of the First Symphony and the intricacies ...
About this book
An illuminating new biography of one of the most beloved of all composers, published on the hundredth anniversary of his death, brilliantly written by a finalist for the 1996 National Book Critics Circle Award. Johannes Brahms has consistently eluded his biographers. Throughout his life, he attempted to erase traces of himself, wanting his music to be his sole legacy. Now, in this masterful book, Jan Swafford, critically acclaimed as both biographer and composer, takes a fresh look at Brahms, giving us for the first time a fully realized portrait of the man who created the magnificent music. Brahms was a man with many friends and no intimates, who experienced triumphs few artists achieve in their lifetime. Yet he lived with a relentless loneliness and a growing fatalism about the future of music and the world. The Brahms that emerges from these pages is not the bearded eminence of previous biographies but rather a fascinating assemblage of contradictions. Brought up in poverty, he was forced to play the piano in the brothels of Hamburg, where he met with both mental and physical abuse. At the same time, he was the golden boy of his teachers, who found themselves in awe of a stupendous talent: a miraculous young composer and pianist, poised between the emotionalism of the Romantics and the rigors of the composers he worshipped--Bach, Mozart, Beethoven. In 1853, Robert Schumann proclaimed the twenty-year-old Brahms the savior of German music. Brahms spent the rest of his days trying to live up to that prophecy, ever fearful of proving unworthy of his musical inheritance. We find here more of Brahms's words, his daily life and joys and sorrows, than in any other biography. With novelistic grace, Swafford shows us a warm-blooded but guarded genius who hid behind jokes and prickliness, rudeness and intractability with his friends as well as his enemies, but who was also a witty drinking companion and a consummate careerist skillfully courting the powerful. This is a book rich in secondary characters as well, including Robert Schumann, declining into madness as he hailed the advent of a new genius; Clara Schumann, the towering pianist, tormented personality, and great love of Brahms's life; Josef Joachim, the brilliant, self-lacerating violinist; the extraordinary musical amateur Elisabet von Herzogenberg, on whose exacting criticism Brahms relied; Brahms's rival and shadow, the malevolent genius Richard Wagner; and Eduard Hanslick, enemy of Wagner and apostle of Brahms, at once the most powerful and most wrongheaded music critic of his time. Among the characters in the book are two great cities: the stolid North German harbor town of Hamburg where Johannes grew up, which later spurned him; and glittering, fickle, music-mad Vienna, where Brahms the self-proclaimed vagabond finally settled, to find his sweetest triumphs and his most bitter failures. Unique to this book is the way in which musical scholarship and biography are combined: in a style refreshingly free of pretentiousness, Jan Swafford takes us deep into the music--from the grandeur of the First Symphony and the intricacies of the chamber work to the sorrow of the German Requiem--allowing us to hear these familiar works in new and often surprising ways. This is a clear-eyed study of a remarkable man and a vivid portrait of an era in transition. Ultimately, Johannes Brahms is the story of a great, backward-looking artist who inspired musical revolutionaries of the following generations, yet who was no less a prophet of the darkness and violence of our century. A biographical masterpiece at once wholly original and definitive.From the Hardcover edition.