Academic journal article et Cetera

The Pinball Effect: How Renaissance Water Gardens Made the Carburetor Possible-And Other Journeys through Knowledge

Academic journal article et Cetera

The Pinball Effect: How Renaissance Water Gardens Made the Carburetor Possible-And Other Journeys through Knowledge

Article excerpt

James Burke. The Pinball Effect: How Renaissance Water Gardens Made the Carburetor Possible - and Other Journeys Through Knowledge. Boston: Little Brown, 1996.

James Burke shows us, in an instructive and entertaining way, that knowledge has many unforeseen and surprising effects. The book, for example, owes its existence to a mistake made by German jeweler Johannes Gutenberg in the fifteenth century. The lamp you may be using started life four hundred years ago, thanks to Italian miners whose problems ultimately resulted in the vacuum inside early light bulbs. And, as the subtitle indicates, renaissance water gardens made the carburetor possible.

The author states his book has two principal aims. One is to conjure up the pinball nature of change in order to make the reader aware of the complexity involved in a processoriented world. The book's other aim is to warn the reader that in the coming information age, when multimedia, interactive networking, personal communicators, virtual reality and unlimited bandwidth will all become everyday matters, we will need to think in different ways about knowledge and how it should be used.

Burke makes his case in twenty chapters which represent twenty different journeys across the "great web of change. …

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