Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion
Author: Harold Abelson、 Ken Ledeen、 Harry R. Lewis


this book one of CC licensed books
Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0.
PDF version
(デジタルパブリッシングテスト用です メモ
for digital-publishing memo test start 2019-06-28


Blown to Bits

Your Life, Liberty,and Happiness Afterthe Digital Explosion

Hal Abelson
Ken Ledeen
Harry Lewis


Upper Saddle River, NJ • Boston • Indianapolis • San FranciscoNew York • Toronto • Montreal • London • Munich • Paris • MadridCape Town • Sydney • Tokyo • Singapore • Mexico City



Digital Explosion

Why Is It Happening, andWhat Is at Stake?

On September 19, 2007, while driving alone near Seattle on her way to work,Tanya Rider went off the road and crashed into a ravine.* For eight days, shewas trapped upside down in the wreckage of her car. Severely dehydrated andsuffering from injuries to her leg and shoulder, she nearly died of kidney fail-ure. Fortunately, rescuers ultimately found her. She spent months recuperat-ing in a medical facility. Happily, she was able to go home for Christmas. Tanya’s story is not just about a woman, an accident, and a rescue. It is astory about bits—the zeroes and ones that make up all our cell phone conver-sations, bank records, and everything else that gets communicated or storedusing modern electronics.

Tanya was found because cell phone companies keep records of cell phone locations. When you carry your cell phone, it regularly sends out a digital "ping," a few bits conveying a "Here I am!” message. Your phone keeps "ping-ing" as long as it remains turned on. Nearby cell phone towers pick up the pings and send them on to your cellular service provider. Your cell phone company uses the pings to direct your incoming calls to the right cell phone towers. Tanya’s cell phone company, Verizon, still had a record of the last location of her cell phone, even after the phone had gone dead. That is how the police found her.

Claude Shannon (1916–2001) is the undis-puted founding figure of information andcommunication theory. While working at BellTelephone Laboratories after the SecondWorld War, he wrote the seminal paper, “Amathematical theory of communication,”which foreshadowed much of the subsequentdevelopment of digital technologies.Published in 1948, this paper gave birth tothe now-universal realization that the bit isthe natural unit of information, Alcatel-Lucent,

We offer seven truths about bits. We call them “koans” because they areparadoxes, like the Zen verbal puzzles that provoke