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Monday, June 02, 2003

I recall a certain day, about 4 years ago, I was sitting at my computer desk, listening to "One of These Days" by Pink Floyd on some fancy vibrating headphones. I laid back my head and closed my eyes and had a truly massive satori about the nature of the universe.

Not that it was anything new to me, or philosophy in general, heck, the Buddha said it thousands of years ago, but, in that very moment, I realized that everything (every single thing) in the universe was linked together. And no, it had nothing to do with the music or artificial brain stimulants, it was just one of those thoughts that "happen".

Like most "cosmic" and "philosophic" thoughts, this concept has a firm basis in rational scientific thought. Much like the perceived reality which I discussed in relation to Stephen Hawking books previously on my blog.

The basis for everything in our universe being linked can be as simple as believing that we all started out as the same mass of energy at the big bang. While such a concept leaves much room for speculation and other concerns, a far simpler approach to the interconnectedness of everything in the universe is presented in the excellent book "Linked" by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi.

Written in a very accessible manner, Linked starts out by introducing the basic concepts of how network concepts were first developed in mathematics. Then, chapter by chapter, the complexity of our understanding of network concepts grows, until we are presented with some truly fascinating possibilities for the growth the networks that currently influence so much of our lives, such as the Internet and World Wide Web.

Of personal interest were the fractal relations of microscopic to macroscopic networks, it's absolutely fascinating to find that the structures of proteins in our body relate perfectly to the structure of the Internet. Or, that mathematical predictions for the behaviour of gases at certain temperatures follow the same laws as the interconnectedness of human relationships.

I really enjoyed the way this book presented such concepts through their natural evolution of thought, it lent excellent prospective to the entire science of attempting to understand networks. At the same time the book is light and humorous, deftly avoiding the pitfalls of a purely scientific tome.

Anyhow, if you have any interest in networks or philosophy or how virii take advantage of human networks to spread or even how to bring the Internet to its knees, this is the book for you!

Until Next Time!

posted by Kusari 10:55 PM

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