Reviews by edwardvielmetti
puny humans are predictable
Pentland and his research group have appeared to have discovered a simple model of human behavior with great predictive power. By snooping on people's cell phones, they can reduce typical human interactions into a set of interacting finite state machines, and by noticing just how regular those behavioral patterns are they think they understand ideas. Quite evidently the populations they study live routine, predictable lives. (Perhaps we all do.)

My biggest criticism (& thus the non-recommendation for the book) is that the technologies for making these monitoring of human behavior that Pentland describes are dehumanizing and a grave insult to personal privacy. The authors vague promises of a personal data store that would broker our most personal information are unrealistic. If these plans pan out, we will always be watched over by machines that seek only to predict our patterns of behavior and exploit them. An algorithmic prison awaits us.

Every once in a while the author describes unexpected behavior by individuals thus modeled, and betrays an element of surprise that we might step out of our everyday paths into something his system doesn't contain. It's a glimmer of hope in a dystopian world that we might surprise our ever-present overseers and do something that their social physics does not anticipate.
2 DVD set with lots of extras
I've seen "Anatomy" a number of times, so I was attracted to this edition because of a whole DVD full of extras - including a "Making of" feature with lots of background scenes and stories.
The Monotron Delay is a cool little analog synth with a delay loop. I was able to get it to reliably generate sounds that reminded me of the rumble of frogs or crickets. You should be able to play around with it and get out all sorts of weird nifty effects that I'm not even sure how you'd start to try to generate on a big old computer.

a comfortable week
The author spends a week at London's Heathrow Airport, on a tab paid for by the company that owns the facility.

The first chapter sets out the conditions of the visit and explains that he was given comfortable accommodations, a meal allowance, and the run of the airport in exchange for his writing. As such it's a comfortable account of the place where nothing really goes wrong for him, and not the interminable journey that most people would experience if they were cooped up waiting in long lines for ever-delayed flights.
Detailed record of this newspaper is available at