From Publishers Weekly
Noise, USC professor Kosko (Fuzzy Thinking) says, may be properly defined as "a signal we don't like," but as his book shows, there's much more to noise than idling buses and loud neighbors. The author makes the claims that the universe itself may be no more than noise, and that life might not have evolved without it. And though white may be the most widely recognized color of noise, Kosko describes others, including pink and black. Particularly informative are his passages on the development and use of noise-canceling technology (used as commonly by racecar drivers to block out engine noise as by physicians to listen to a fetus's heartbeat). Kosko's book will appeal mainly to science buffs; despite the author's accessible prose, swaths of the book assume an acquaintance with physics and electrical engineering. However, passages on topics such as actress Hedy Lamar's patent for a WWII-era "secret communication system," hold some attraction for a wider audience.
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*Starred Review* From the author of the hugely popular and influential Fuzzy Thinking
1993) comes this exploration of what seems like a fairly simple concept: noise. Well, it ain't that simple, folks. Noise can be aural, but it doesn't have to be. Noise can be loud, but not always. Noise can be bad, but sometimes it's good. What is noise? It is, simply, an unwanted signal that disrupts a wanted signal. You're in a restaurant, and you're having a conversation. Next table over, someone else is talking, too loud for your comfort. Your conversation is the signal, theirs is the noise; although, to the person at the other table, his conversation is the signal, and yours may be the noise. Noise, in other words, can be a very subjective thing. This is an endlessly fascinating book; in fact, it's one of those books that, while reading it, keep you lifting your head from the page and muttering "Wow!" to yourself as you absorb something else you had never thought of before. Kosko is an engaging writer, and he makes the science seem simple without ever dumbing it down (yes, there are equations in the book, but don't panic). David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved