The Newtonian Casino

by Thomas A. Bass | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 0140145931 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingfuturecatwing of Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on 9/30/2006
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingfuturecatwing from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Saturday, September 30, 2006
From a second-hand bookshop in Rotorua.

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Journal Entry 2 by wingfuturecatwing from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Friday, October 06, 2006
The true story of a group of physicists, computer scientists, and assorted hangers-on who devise "The Project", a scheme to build a computer capable of predicting the spin of a roulette wheel and thus beating the casinos. They quickly establish that it's theoretically possible, but the practicalities prove a little trickier.

As well as the story of the Project itself (which, contrary to what the cover blurb implies, he wasn't involved with until near its end), the author takes his tale down many side-tracks, among them the histories of computing, chaos theory, Las Vegas, Silicon Valley, probability and roulette itself. All that makes for interesting reading, but the side-tracks do tend to mean that when he gets back to the main story, he often has to repeat details to remind his readers where he was in the story, which can get a bit annoying.

A point of interest for me was that in 1985, when this book was published, the author felt the need to explain what are now everyday terms, like "hacker", "nerd", "number-crunching", and "digital". It's weird to think that only 20 years ago, most people hadn't heard of those things.

You'll have to read the book yourself to find out whether the Project was successful or not, but really, that's not really the point of this book - it's more about the story of a group of people following their dream, and finding a lot of value along the way.

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Journal Entry 3 by wingAnonymousFinderwing on Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I'll pass this on to a teacher friend to give to one of her computer savvy whizz-kids to read.

CAUGHT IN CHRISTCHURCH CANTERBURY NEW ZEALAND

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