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Peculiar Books Reviewed

Peculiar Books Reviewed: Grigori Medvedev's "The Truth About Chernobyl"

Brian Troutwine | Posted 09.05.2014 | Huffpost Code
Brian Troutwine

Let me tell you a joke. It's not a very funny, I'm afraid, but such were the jokes of the Liquidators, the soldiers and volunteers tasked with the cleanup of the Chernobyl Disaster.

Peculiar Books Reviewed: Henry S. F. Cooper Jr.'s "Thirteen: The Apollo Flight that Failed"

Brian Troutwine | Posted 10.01.2014 | Huffpost Code
Brian Troutwine

In the first Peculiar Books Reviewed we discussed David A. Mindell's delightful book "Digital Apollo" and, in particular, took from the book th...

Peculiar Books Reviewed: Francis Spufford's Backroom Boys

Brian Troutwine | Posted 08.31.2014 | Huffpost Code
Brian Troutwine

What is the soul of software engineering as a discipline? That is, who is it that the software engineer can esteem? It's on this difficultly that Francis Spufford's Backroom Boys: The Secret Return of the British Boffin ultimately runs aground.

Peculiar Books Reviewed: Alain de Botton's "Status Anxiety"

Brian Troutwine | Posted 08.02.2014 | Huffpost Code
Brian Troutwine

I went to a conference earlier this month and after a speaker admitted feeling like a fraud, folks began sharing their like feeling, admitting it with palpable relief. It was a singular experience. Throughout, I thought of Alain de Botton's "Status Anxiety".

Peculiar Books Reviewed: Charles Perrow's "Normal Accidents"

Brian Troutwine | Posted 07.01.2014 | Huffpost Code
Brian Troutwine

Can we build systems which function perfectly in all circumstances? Can we avoid all accidents with enough time, enough information, enough practice running the system or enough process around it?

Peculiar Books Reviewed: David A. Mindell's "Digital Apollo"

Brian Troutwine | Posted 05.31.2014 | Huffpost Code
Brian Troutwine

The US space program is a treasure trove of insight into engineering at the extremes of human ability. It is a field which concerns itself deeply with human-machine interaction. Spacecrafts are not fully automated, nor are they under the total control of the human operators (the astronauts "in the can" and the ground control crew).