Pinpoint How GPS is Changing Technology Culture and Our Minds

Author: Greg Milner
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393244997
Format: PDF, Kindle
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“One of the most mesmerizing and exhilarating, yet alarming modern technology books . . . an extraordinary tale.”—Gillian Tett, Financial Times Over the last fifty years, humanity has developed an extraordinary shared utility: the Global Positioning System. Even as it guides us across town, GPS helps land planes, route mobile calls, anticipate earthquakes, predict weather, locate oil deposits, measure neutrinos, grow our food, and regulate global finance. It is as ubiquitous and essential as another Cold War technology, the Internet. In Pinpoint, Greg Milner takes us on a fascinating tour of a hidden system that touches almost every aspect of our modern life. While GPS has brought us breathtakingly accurate information about our planetary environment and physical space, it has also created new forms of human behavior. We have let it saturate the world’s systems so completely and so quickly that we are just beginning to confront the possible consequences. A single GPS timing flaw, whether accidental or malicious, could bring down the electrical grid, hijack drones, or halt the world financial system. The use, and potential misuse, of GPS data by government and corporations raise disturbing questions about ethics and privacy. GPS may be altering the nature of human cognition—possibly even rearranging the gray matter in our heads. Pinpoint tells the sweeping story of GPS from its conceptual origins as a bomb guidance system to its presence in almost everything we do. Milner examines the different ways humans have understood physical space, delves into the neuroscience of cognitive maps, and questions GPS’s double-edged effect on our culture. A fascinating and original story of the scientific urge toward precision, Pinpoint offers startling insight into how humans understand their place in the world.

Pinpoint

Author: Greg Milner
Publisher: Granta Books
ISBN: 1847087108
Format: PDF, ePub
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Over the last fifty years, humanity has developed an extraordinary global utility which is omnipresent, universal, and available to all: the Global Positioning System (GPS). A network of twenty-four satellites and their monitoring stations on Earth, it makes possible almost all modern technology, from the smartphone in your pocket to the Mars rover. Neither the internet nor the cloud would work without it. And it is changing us in profound ways we've yet to come to terms with. Pinpoint tells the remarkable story of GPS, from its conceptual origins as a bomb guidance system to its present status as one of the most important technologies in the world. Yet while GPS has brought us breathtakingly accurate methods of timekeeping, navigation, and earthquake tracking, our overwhelming reliance on it is having unexpected consequences on our culture, and on ourselves. GPS is reshaping our thinking about privacy and surveillance, and brings with it the growing danger of GPS terrorism. And neuroscientists have even found that using GPS for navigation may be affecting our cognitive maps - possibly rearranging the grey matter in our heads - leading to the increasingly common phenomenon 'Death by GPS', in which drivers blindly follow their devices into deserts, lakes, and impassable mountains. Deeply researched, inventive and with fascinating insights into the way we think about our place in the world, Pinpoint reveals the way that the technologies we design to help us can end up shaping our lives. It is at once a grand history of science and a far-reaching book about contemporary culture.

Perfecting Sound Forever

Author: Greg Milner
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9781429957151
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In 1915, Thomas Edison proclaimed that he could record a live performance and reproduce it perfectly, shocking audiences who found themselves unable to tell whether what they were hearing was an Edison Diamond Disc or a flesh-and-blood musician. Today, the equation is reversed. Whereas Edison proposed that a real performance could be rebuilt with absolute perfection, Pro Tools and digital samplers now allow musicians and engineers to create the illusion of performances that never were. In between lies a century of sonic exploration into the balance between the real and the represented. Tracing the contours of this history, Greg Milner takes us through the major breakthroughs and glorious failures in the art and science of recording. An American soldier monitoring Nazi radio transmissions stumbles onto the open yet revolutionary secret of magnetic tape. Japanese and Dutch researchers build a first-generation digital audio format and watch as their "compact disc" is marketed by the music industry as the second coming of Edison yet derided as heretical by analog loyalists. The music world becomes addicted to volume in the nineties and fights a self-defeating "loudness war" to get its fix. From Les Paul to Phil Spector to King Tubby, from vinyl to pirated CDs to iPods, Milner's Perfecting Sound Forever pulls apart musical history to answer a crucial question: Should a recording document reality as faithfully as possible, or should it improve upon or somehow transcend the music it records? The answers he uncovers will change the very way we think about music.

GPS Declassified

Author: Richard D. Easton
Publisher: Potomac Books, Inc.
ISBN: 1612344089
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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GPS Declassified examines the development of GPS from its secret, Cold War military roots to its emergence as a worldwide consumer industry. Drawing on previously unexplored documents, the authors examine how military rivalries influenced the creation of GPS and shaped public perceptions about its origin. Since the United States’ first program to launch a satellite in the late 1950s, the nation has pursued dual paths into space—one military and secret, the other scientific and public. Among the many commercial spinoffs this approach has produced, GPS arguably boasts the greatest impact on our daily lives. Told by the son of a navy insider—whose work helped lay the foundations for the system—and a science and technology journalist, the story chronicles the research and technological advances required for the development of GPS. The authors peek behind the scenes at pivotal events in GPS history. They note how the technology moved from the laboratory to the battlefield to the dashboard and the smartphone, and they raise the specter of how this technology and its surrounding industry affect public policy. Insights into how the system works and how it fits into a long history of advances in navigation tie into discussions of the myriad applications for GPS.

Metallica This Monster Lives

Author: Joe Berlinger
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 1466866969
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Metallica is one of the most successful hard-rock bands of all time, having sold more than ninety million albums worldwide. Receiving unique, unfettered access, acclaimed filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky followed Metallica over two and a half years as they faced monumental personal and professional challenges that threatened to destroy the bands just as they returned to the studio to record their first album in four years. While the documentary itself provides an insider's view of Metallica, the two and a half years of production (and more than 1,600 hours of footage) garnered far more than can be expressed in a two-hour film. Berlinger's book about the experience reveals the stories behind the film, capturing the energy, uncertainty, and ultimate triumph of both the filming and Metallica's bid for survival. It weaves the on-screen stories together with what happened off-screen, offering intimate details of the band's struggle amidst personnel changes, addiction, and controversy. In part because Berlinger was one of the only witnesses to the intensive group-therapy sessions and numerous band meetings, his account of his experience filming the band is the most honest and deeply probing book about Metallica - or any rock band - ever written. This is the book both Metallica and film fans have dreamed of - a stark and honest look at one of rock's most important bands through the eyes of the most provocative documentary filmmakers working today.

Eccentric Orbits

Author: John Bloom
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 0802192823
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In the early 1990s, Motorola, the legendary American technology company developed a revolutionary satellite system called Iridium that promised to be its crowning achievement. Light years ahead of anything previously put into space, and built on technology developed for Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars,” Iridium’s constellation of 66 satellites in polar orbit meant that no matter where you were on Earth, at least one satellite was always overhead, and you could call Tibet from Fiji without a delay and without your call ever touching a wire. Iridium the satellite system was a mind-boggling technical accomplishment, surely the future of communication. The only problem was that Iridium the company was a commercial disaster. Only months after launching service, it was $11 billion in debt, burning through $100 million a month and crippled by baroque rate plans and agreements that forced calls through Moscow, Beijing, Fucino, Italy, and elsewhere. Bankruptcy was inevitable—the largest to that point in American history. And when no real buyers seemed to materialize, it looked like Iridium would go down as just a “science experiment.” That is, until Dan Colussy got a wild idea. Colussy, a former head of Pan-Am now retired and working on his golf game in Palm Beach, heard about Motorola’s plans to “de-orbit” the system and decided he would buy Iridium and somehow turn around one of the biggest blunders in the history of business. In Eccentric Orbits, John Bloom masterfully traces the conception, development, and launching of Iridium and Colussy’s tireless efforts to stop it from being destroyed, from meetings with his motley investor group, to the Clinton White House, to the Pentagon, to the hunt for customers in special ops, shipping, aviation, mining, search and rescue—anyone who would need a durable phone at the end of the Earth. Impeccably researched and wonderfully told, Eccentric Orbits is a rollicking, unforgettable tale of technological achievement, business failure, the military-industrial complex, and one of the greatest deals of all time.

The Plateau Effect

Author: Bob Sullivan
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101624248
Format: PDF, Docs
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The Plateau Effect is a powerful law of nature that affects everyone. Learn to identify plateaus and break through any stagnancy in your life— from diet and exercise, to work, to relationships. The Plateau Effect shows how athletes, scientists, therapists, companies, and musicians around the world are learning to break through their plateaus—to turn off the forces that cause people to “get used to” things—and turn on human potential and happiness in ways that seemed impossible. The book identifies three key flattening forces that generate plateaus, two principles to guide readers in engineering a plateau’s destruction, and three actions to take to achieve peak behavior. It helps us to stop wasting time on things that are no longer of value and to focus on the things that leverage our time and energy in spectacular ways. Anything you want to do better—play guitar, make friends, communicate with your children, run a business—you can accomplish faster by understanding the plateau effect.

The Four Dimensional Human Ways of Being in the Digital World

Author: Laurence Scott
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393353087
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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You are a four-dimensional human. Each of us exists in three-dimensional, physical space. But, as a constellation of everyday digital phenomena rewires our lives, we are increasingly coaxed from the containment of our predigital selves into a wonderful and eerie fourth dimension, a world of ceaseless communication, instant information, and global connection. Our portals to this new world have been wedged open, and the silhouette of a figure is slowly taking shape. But what does it feel like to be four-dimensional? How do digital technologies influence the rhythms of our thoughts, the style and tilt of our consciousness? What new sensitivities and sensibilities are emerging with our exposure to the delights, sorrows, and anxieties of a networked world? And how do we live in public with these recoded private lives? Laurence Scott—hailed as a “New Generation Thinker” by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the BBC—shows how this four-dimensional life is dramatically changing us by redefining our social lives and extending the limits of our presence in the world. Blending tech-philosophy with insights on everything from Seinfeld to the fall of Gaddafi, Scott stands with a rising generation of social critics hoping to understand our new reality. His virtuosic debut is a revelatory and original exploration of life in the digital age.

Mapping the Heavens

Author: Priyamvada Natarajan
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300204418
Format: PDF, Kindle
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For all curious readers, a lively introduction to radical ideas and discoveries that are transforming our knowledge of the universe This book provides a tour of the "greatest hits" of cosmological discoveries--the ideas that reshaped our universe over the past century. The cosmos, once understood as a stagnant place, filled with the ordinary, is now a universe that is expanding at an accelerating pace, propelled by dark energy and structured by dark matter. Priyamvada Natarajan, our guide to these ideas, is someone at the forefront of the research--an astrophysicist who literally creates maps of invisible matter in the universe. She not only explains for a wide audience the science behind these essential ideas but also provides an understanding of how radical scientific theories gain acceptance. The formation and growth of black holes, dark matter halos, the accelerating expansion of the universe, the echo of the big bang, the discovery of exoplanets, and the possibility of other universes--these are some of the puzzling cosmological topics of the early twenty-first century. Natarajan discusses why the acceptance of new ideas about the universe and our place in it has never been linear and always contested even within the scientific community. And she affirms that, shifting and incomplete as science always must be, it offers the best path we have toward making sense of our wondrous, mysterious universe.