andrewlb notes

Snow Crash

Snow Crash

Metadata

Highlights

  • He uploads it to the CIC database—the Library, formerly the Library of Congress, but no one calls it that anymore. Most people are not entirely clear on what the word “congress” means. And even the word “library” is getting hazy. It used to be a place full of books, mostly old ones. Then they began to include videotapes, records, and magazines. Then all of the information got converted into machine-readable form, which is to say, ones and zeroes. And as the number of media grew, the material became more up to date, and the methods for searching the Library became more and more sophisticated, it approached the point where there was no substantive difference between the Library of Congress and the Central Intelligence Agency. Fortuitously, this happened just as the government was falling apart anyway. So they merged and kicked out a big fat stock offering. (Location 396)
  • They were designed on a computer screen by the same aesthetes who designed the Dyna-Victorian houses and the tasteful mailboxes and the immense marble street signs that sit at each intersection like headstones. Designed on a computer screen, but with an eye toward the elegance of things past and forgotten about. Fire hydrants that tasteful people are proud to have on their front lawns. (Location 541)
  • When Hiro learned how to do this, way back fifteen years ago, a hacker could sit down and write an entire piece of software by himself. Now, that's no longer possible. Software comes out of factories, and hackers are, to a greater or lesser extent, assembly-line workers. Worse yet, they may become managers who never get to write any code themselves. (Location 675)
  • I don't know how my face conveyed that information, or what kind of internal wiring in my grandmother's mind enabled her to accomplish this incredible feat. To condense fact from the vapor of nuance.” (Location 1037)
  • “I was coming up with all kinds of elaborate technical fixes like trying to implant electrodes directly into the brain. Then I remembered my grandmother and realized, my God, the human mind can absorb and process an incredible amount of information—if it comes in the right format. The right interface. If you put the right face on it. Want some coffee?” (Location 1043)
  • Metaverse is a fictional structure made out of code. And code is just a form of speech—the form that computers understand. (Location 3768)
    • Note: wee test of kindle social functions
  • “He believed that Babel was an actual historical event. That it happened in a particular time and place, coinciding with the disappearance of the Sumerian language. That prior to Babel/Infocalypse, languages tended to converge. And that afterward, languages have always had an innate tendency to diverge and become mutually incomprehensible—that this tendency is, as he put it, coiled like a serpent around the human brainstem.” (Location 3884)
  • “Yes. Apparently, they are like algorithms for carrying out certain activities essential to the society. Some of them have to do with the workings of priesthood and kingship. Some explain how to carry out religious ceremonies. Some relate to the arts of war and diplomacy. Many of them are about the arts and crafts: music, carpentry, smithing, tanning, building, farming, even such simple tasks as lighting fires.” “The operating system of society.” “I'm sorry?” “When you first turn on a computer, it is an inert collection of circuits that can't really do anything. To start up the machine, you have to infuse those circuits with a collection of rules that tell it how to function. How to be a computer. It sounds as though these me served as the operating system of the society, organizing an inert collection of people into a functioning system.” (Location 4612)
    • Note: The operating system of society
  • “We are all susceptible to the pull of viral ideas. Like mass hysteria. Or a tune that gets into your head that you keep on humming all day until you spread it to someone else. Jokes. Urban legends. Crackpot religions. Marxism. No matter how smart we get, there is always this deep irrational part that makes us potential hosts for self-replicating information. But being physically infected with a virulent strain of the Asherah virus makes you a whole lot more susceptible. The only thing that keeps these things from taking over the world is the Babel factor—the walls of mutual incomprehension that compartmentalize the human race and stop the spread of viruses. (Location 7149)

public: true

title: Snow Crash longtitle: Snow Crash author: Neal Stephenson url: , source: kindle last_highlight: 2010-09-09 type: books tags:

Snow Crash

rw-book-cover

Metadata

Highlights

  • He uploads it to the CIC database—the Library, formerly the Library of Congress, but no one calls it that anymore. Most people are not entirely clear on what the word “congress” means. And even the word “library” is getting hazy. It used to be a place full of books, mostly old ones. Then they began to include videotapes, records, and magazines. Then all of the information got converted into machine-readable form, which is to say, ones and zeroes. And as the number of media grew, the material became more up to date, and the methods for searching the Library became more and more sophisticated, it approached the point where there was no substantive difference between the Library of Congress and the Central Intelligence Agency. Fortuitously, this happened just as the government was falling apart anyway. So they merged and kicked out a big fat stock offering. (Location 396)
  • They were designed on a computer screen by the same aesthetes who designed the Dyna-Victorian houses and the tasteful mailboxes and the immense marble street signs that sit at each intersection like headstones. Designed on a computer screen, but with an eye toward the elegance of things past and forgotten about. Fire hydrants that tasteful people are proud to have on their front lawns. (Location 541)
  • When Hiro learned how to do this, way back fifteen years ago, a hacker could sit down and write an entire piece of software by himself. Now, that's no longer possible. Software comes out of factories, and hackers are, to a greater or lesser extent, assembly-line workers. Worse yet, they may become managers who never get to write any code themselves. (Location 675)
  • I don't know how my face conveyed that information, or what kind of internal wiring in my grandmother's mind enabled her to accomplish this incredible feat. To condense fact from the vapor of nuance.” (Location 1037)
  • “I was coming up with all kinds of elaborate technical fixes like trying to implant electrodes directly into the brain. Then I remembered my grandmother and realized, my God, the human mind can absorb and process an incredible amount of information—if it comes in the right format. The right interface. If you put the right face on it. Want some coffee?” (Location 1043)
  • Metaverse is a fictional structure made out of code. And code is just a form of speech—the form that computers understand. (Location 3768)
    • Note: wee test of kindle social functions
  • “He believed that Babel was an actual historical event. That it happened in a particular time and place, coinciding with the disappearance of the Sumerian language. That prior to Babel/Infocalypse, languages tended to converge. And that afterward, languages have always had an innate tendency to diverge and become mutually incomprehensible—that this tendency is, as he put it, coiled like a serpent around the human brainstem.” (Location 3884)
  • “Yes. Apparently, they are like algorithms for carrying out certain activities essential to the society. Some of them have to do with the workings of priesthood and kingship. Some explain how to carry out religious ceremonies. Some relate to the arts of war and diplomacy. Many of them are about the arts and crafts: music, carpentry, smithing, tanning, building, farming, even such simple tasks as lighting fires.” “The operating system of society.” “I'm sorry?” “When you first turn on a computer, it is an inert collection of circuits that can't really do anything. To start up the machine, you have to infuse those circuits with a collection of rules that tell it how to function. How to be a computer. It sounds as though these me served as the operating system of the society, organizing an inert collection of people into a functioning system.” (Location 4612)
    • Note: The operating system of society
  • “We are all susceptible to the pull of viral ideas. Like mass hysteria. Or a tune that gets into your head that you keep on humming all day until you spread it to someone else. Jokes. Urban legends. Crackpot religions. Marxism. No matter how smart we get, there is always this deep irrational part that makes us potential hosts for self-replicating information. But being physically infected with a virulent strain of the Asherah virus makes you a whole lot more susceptible. The only thing that keeps these things from taking over the world is the Babel factor—the walls of mutual incomprehension that compartmentalize the human race and stop the spread of viruses. (Location 7149)