Cover image for Who gives a gigabyte? : a survival guide for the technologically perplexed
Who gives a gigabyte? : a survival guide for the technologically perplexed
Stix, Gary.
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Publication Information:
New York : John Wiley, [1999]

Physical Description:
iv, 300 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
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T173.8 .S75 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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An exhilarating chronicle of the most revolutionary advancements in recent-and future-technology

Which new technologies are bound to have the biggest impact on our lives in the years ahead? This groundbreaking book looks at the latest technological superstars destined to reshape the upcoming century and offers easy-to-understand, engaging explanations of what they are, how they work, and how they will affect our lives. Written by a senior editor of Scientific American, the world's premier science magazine, and based on in-depth interviews with today's leading innovators as well as extensive research of the latest scientific literature, Who Gives a Gigabyte? takes you on a fast-paced tour into the brave new world of gene therapy, quantum computation, designer drugs, and recyclable cars.

Surveying the wide range of technological wonders, the authors investigate such diverse realms of scientific advancement as computing, telecommunications, laser beams, bioengineering materials, and alternative energy sources. From the Human Genome Project, which aims to spell out every letter of our genetic inheritance, to the implications of altering genes in important agricultural projects, to new strategies for attacking malignant cancer cells without the damaging side effects of traditional treatments, to the startling but still unsuccessful attempts to make computer software more like the human mind, Who Gives a Gigabyte? demystifies the technology of today and provides an enlightening glimpse into the limitless possibilities of tomorrow.

""An enjoyable and rewarding book."" --Choice ""

An informative overview of new and emerging technologies."" --Booklist

""The reward for the reader is a solid grounding in technological literacy."" --Scientific American

Author Notes

Gary Stix is a senior editor for the National Magazine Award-winning Scientific American.
Miriam Lacob is a freelance journalist. Her articles have appeared in many publications and magazines, including Scientific American, Data Communications, and Computer Decision.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Stix, a senior editor for Scientific American, and Lacob, a freelance science writer, present an informative overview of new and emerging technologies. The authors first tackle the all-pervasive computers, explaining how they do the marvelous things they do, the mysteries of software programs, and a concise history of the Internet. There's also a long section about DNA and gene splitting, and the implications the latter has for the future of humanity--some good, some very troubling. The authors end on an environmental tack, examining the many problems high tech has created for the planet's air, water, and soil, but also how technology might ultimately be a boon to the environment. Although the writing is clear and jargon free, this isn't a book for those completely ignorant about the topics. Recommended readers will have at least a nodding acquaintance with the high-tech areas discussed. --Brian McCombie

Choice Review

Stix and Lacob's book belongs in every library's reference collection. Written by a senior editor at Scientific American and a freelance journalist, it is appropriate for the interested nonspecialist. The focus on important and relatively new technologies will be useful for beginning students in the physical sciences, and students at all levels in business and the social sciences. Faculty will find it useful for illustrating lectures. The authors trace the origins, scientific implications, and commercial applications of computing and software; the Internet, fiber optics and lasers; and biotechnology, chemistry, and materials science. They playfully include references to popular culture and history to illustrate how pervasive and relevant these technologies have become. They conclude the book with essays on the relationships between technology and society and the environment. The clear, readable text is supported by photographs, line graphics, and tables. Especially useful are miniglossaries of terms whose definition many readers may be uncomfortable asking for because of their widespread use both technically and metaphorically (e.g., "bandwidth," "RISC" and "CISC," "maser"). An enjoyable and rewarding book. General readers; undergraduates through faculty; two-year technical program students. E. J. Delaney; University of Wisconsin--River Falls

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. iv
Introduction: Microchips and the Millenniump. 1
1 Computers 101: From Bits to Gigabytes and Beyondp. 9
2 Software: Making a Computer Bend to Your Willp. 33
3 Wiring the World: Telecommunications and Data Networksp. 53
4 Lasers: The Light Fantasticp. 89
5 All in the Genes: DNA Becomes an Industryp. 107
6 Medicine and Molecules: New Approaches to Drug Developmentp. 149
7 Spare Parts and High-Tech Flashlights: Repair Kits and Diagnostics for the Human Bodyp. 165
8 Material Improvements: Better Living through Advanced Chemistryp. 191
9 Mother Earth, Wind, and Fire: Energy for a Small Planetp. 223
10 Clean Machines: Technology and the Environmentp. 255
Conclusion: Great Expectationsp. 285
Further Readingp. 291
Indexp. 295