Linkfest 2020-12-18: Shannon Edition
“Bit Player:” desecrating the memory of Claude Shannon
Scott Locklin has a bit to say about the legacy of Claude Shannon in his characteristically dyspeptic way.
I have never ceased to be amazed by the fundamental inventiveness of the 1930s. The transformation of America, and then the world, in the mid twentieth century was founded in the 30s, with an explosion of innovation that we’ve unsuccessfully chased ever since.
Tom Wolfe: The Tinkerings of Robert Noyce: How the Sun Rose on the Silicon Valley
The invention of the transistor came well after the 1930s, but it supercharged things that had been already developed in that prior decade. I hadn’t known about Noyce’s near-expulsion from college for stealing and roasting a pig as a college prank. I found Wolfe’s description of how Noyce ran Intel fascinating, especially when you compare it with another innovative company founded about the same time, that clearly took the same set of ideas in entirely different directions.
Another example of the fundamental inventiveness of the 1930s. Farnsworth didn’t develop it until the 1960s, but the technology was based on his own work with vacuum tubes in the 1930s.
Niall Gooch: First thoughts on the "burning lab" objection to Christian life ethics
Niall Gooch has some fun with a fundamentally unserious gotcha.
How Europe's night trains came back from the dead
Long train voyages make for great fiction, but unlike airships they don’t indicate your timeline has deviated from the main sequence.
Kipling: The Grave of the Hundred Head
Kipling tells us of the bonds of men who fight together, and the uses of that bond in Imperial policy.
Blackcollar and The Backlash Mission on Sale
Timothy Zahn’s Blackcollar and The Backlash Mission are on sale today on Amazon as a set for $3.99. A good example of Zahn’s blend of science fiction and political intrigue. If you come into this looking for space marine action, you will probably be disappointed. This is more like The Hunt for Red October than Rainbow Six, despite the titular supersoldiers known as Blackcollars.
The Long View: Soft Landings: "Generations," Tolkien & Preterism
I see some arguing on Catholic Twitter today about the merits of J. R. R. Tolkien’s work.
My contribution will be to point out that The Lord of the Rings is a romance, and not a novel, and one of the few genuinely apocalyptic works that is also deeply Catholic.