Bursts

Bursts

The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do

eBook - 2010
Average Rating:
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Outlines a theory of how to predict behavior, drawing on seven years of research while demonstrating the mathematical properties of seemingly random events, from the spread of epidemics to the history of wars.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Dutton, c2010.
ISBN: 9781101187166
1101187166
9781101182352
1101182350
Characteristics: 1 online resource (ix, 310 p.) : ill. (some col.).
Contents: The best bodyguard in the business
A pope is elected in Rome
The mystery of random motion
Duel in Belgrade
The future is not yet searchable
Bloody prophecy
Prediction or prophecy
A crusade at last
Violence, random and otherwise
An unforeseen massacre
Deadly quarrels and power laws
The Nagylak Battle
The origin of bursts
Accidents don't happen to crucifixes
The man who taught himself to swim by reading
An investigation
Trailing the albatross
"Villain!"
The patterns of human mobility
Revolution now
Predictably unpredictable
A diversion in Transylvania
The truth about LifeLinear
Szekler against Szekler
Feeling sick is not a priority
The final battles
The third ear
Flesh and blood.
Summary: Outlines a theory of how to predict behavior, drawing on seven years of research while demonstrating the mathematical properties of seemingly random events, from the spread of epidemics to the history of wars.

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v
VRMurphy
Dec 02, 2011

An intriguing read that makes you think (what more can you ask for?). The author tries to tie a few too many threads into his hypothesis, but they're each interesting nonetheless.

j
joshsmith
Jul 04, 2011

An interesting topic, presented terribly.
I think this is a "popular science" book. But there's only about 10 pages of science in the whole book. (A previous reader noticed that the author took 99 pages to get around to the topic alluded to by the title.) Half of the remainder is obscure Hungarian/Transylvanian history; the other half is the author gadding about to conferences.
The author is clearly aware that the presence of equations or graphs (or, for that matter, an attempt to explain his topic adequately) will scare away readers. As a result, this is a book about power laws with no graphs and only two equations in fine print in the footnotes (and I could swear that they're printed wrong.)
Let me know if you find a good book on the topic. It isn't this one.

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_42_
Oct 20, 2010

This is a strange book. It's central thesis - a collection of odd things obey a mathematical power law - itself appears uncertain. We are told stories of discoveries of power laws modelling data, and stories of power laws no longer modelling data after the data has been corrected. Even the explanation of what a power law is appears in a minor footnote.

Interspersed with this discussion is the story of a Hungarian popular uprising in the 16th century. I thought when reading it that some deep philosophical point would be made. If it was, I missed it.

A frustrating read.

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