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Eccentric Orbits

Author: John Bloom
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 0802192823
Size: 26.10 MB
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In the early 1990s, Motorola, the legendary American technology company developed a revolutionary satellite system called Iridium that promised to be its crowning achievement. Light years ahead of anything previously put into space, and built on technology developed for Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars,” Iridium’s constellation of 66 satellites in polar orbit meant that no matter where you were on Earth, at least one satellite was always overhead, and you could call Tibet from Fiji without a delay and without your call ever touching a wire. Iridium the satellite system was a mind-boggling technical accomplishment, surely the future of communication. The only problem was that Iridium the company was a commercial disaster. Only months after launching service, it was $11 billion in debt, burning through $100 million a month and crippled by baroque rate plans and agreements that forced calls through Moscow, Beijing, Fucino, Italy, and elsewhere. Bankruptcy was inevitable—the largest to that point in American history. And when no real buyers seemed to materialize, it looked like Iridium would go down as just a “science experiment.” That is, until Dan Colussy got a wild idea. Colussy, a former head of Pan-Am now retired and working on his golf game in Palm Beach, heard about Motorola’s plans to “de-orbit” the system and decided he would buy Iridium and somehow turn around one of the biggest blunders in the history of business. In Eccentric Orbits, John Bloom masterfully traces the conception, development, and launching of Iridium and Colussy’s tireless efforts to stop it from being destroyed, from meetings with his motley investor group, to the Clinton White House, to the Pentagon, to the hunt for customers in special ops, shipping, aviation, mining, search and rescue—anyone who would need a durable phone at the end of the Earth. Impeccably researched and wonderfully told, Eccentric Orbits is a rollicking, unforgettable tale of technological achievement, business failure, the military-industrial complex, and one of the greatest deals of all time.

Eccentric Orbits

Author: John Bloom
Publisher: Atlantic Books Ltd
ISBN: 1611859565
Size: 41.65 MB
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In the early 1990s, Motorola, the legendary American company, made a huge gamble on a revolutionary satellite telephone system called Iridium. Light-years ahead of anything previously put into space, and built on technology developed for Ronald Reagan's 'Star Wars,' Iridium's constellation of sixty-six satellites in six evenly spaced orbital planes meant that at least one satellite was always overhead. Iridium was a mind-boggling technical accomplishment, surely the future of communication. The only problem was that Iridium was also a commercial disaster. Only months after launching service, it was $11 billion in debt, burning through $100 million a month and bringing in almost no revenue. Bankruptcy was inevitable - the largest to that point in American history. It looked like Iridium would go down as just a 'science experiment.' That is, until Dan Colussy got a wild idea. Colussy, a former CEO of Pan Am, heard about Motorola's plans to 'de-orbit' the system and decided he would buy Iridium and somehow turn around one of the biggest blunders in the history of business. Eccentric Orbits masterfully traces the birth of Iridium and Colussy's tireless efforts to stop it from being destroyed, from meetings with his motley investor group, to the Clinton White House, to the Pentagon, to the hunt for customers in special ops, shipping, aviation, mining, search and rescue. Impeccably researched and wonderfully told, Eccentric Orbits is a rollicking, unforgettable tale of technological achievement, business failure, the military-industrial complex and one of the greatest deals of all time.

Evidence Of Love

Author: John Bloom
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 1504042646
Size: 79.16 MB
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Edgar Award Finalist: The “sensational” true story of two desperate housewives and the killing that shocked a Texas community (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore had a lot in common: They sang together in the Methodist church choir, their daughters were best friends, and their husbands had good jobs working for technology companies in the north Dallas suburbs known as Silicon Prairie. But beneath the placid surface of their seemingly perfect lives, both women simmered with unspoken frustrations and unanswered desires. On a hot summer day in 1980, the secret passions and jealousies that linked Candy and Betty exploded into murderous rage. What happened next is usually the stuff of fiction. But the bizarre and terrible act of violence that occurred in Betty’s utility room that morning was all too real. Based on exclusive interviews with the Montgomery Gore and families, Evidence of Love is the riveting account of a gruesome tragedy and the trial that made national headlines when the defendant entered the most unexpected of pleas: not guilty by reason of self-defense (Fort Worth Star-Telegram). Adapted into the Emmy and Golden Globe Award–winning television movie A Killing in a Small Town, this chilling tale of sin and savagery will “fascinate true crime aficionados” (Kirkus Reviews).

Code Warriors

Author: Stephen Budiansky
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 0385352662
Size: 58.43 MB
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A sweeping, in-depth history of NSA, whose famous "cult of silence" has left the agency shrouded in mystery for decades The National Security Agency was born out of the legendary codebreaking programs of World War II that cracked the famed Enigma machine and other German and Japanese codes, thereby turning the tide of Allied victory. In the postwar years, as the United States developed a new enemy in the Soviet Union, our intelligence community found itself targeting not soldiers on the battlefield, but suspected spies, foreign leaders, and even American citizens. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, NSA played a vital, often fraught and controversial role in the major events of the Cold War, from the Korean War to the Cuban Missile Crisis to Vietnam and beyond. In Code Warriors, Stephen Budiansky--a longtime expert in cryptology--tells the fascinating story of how NSA came to be, from its roots in World War II through the fall of the Berlin Wall. Along the way, he guides us through the fascinating challenges faced by cryptanalysts, and how they broke some of the most complicated codes of the twentieth century. With access to new documents, Budiansky shows where the agency succeeded and failed during the Cold War, but his account also offers crucial perspective for assessing NSA today in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations. Budiansky shows how NSA's obsession with recording every bit of data and decoding every signal is far from a new development; throughout its history the depth and breadth of the agency's reach has resulted in both remarkable successes and destructive failures. Featuring a series of appendixes that explain the technical details of Soviet codes and how they were broken, this is a rich and riveting history of the underbelly of the Cold War, and an essential and timely read for all who seek to understand the origins of the modern NSA.

A Telephone For The World

Author: Martin Collins
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 1421424835
Size: 37.69 MB
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The first book to tell the story of Iridium in this context, A Telephone for the World is a fascinating look at how people, nations, and corporations across the world grappled in different ways with the meaning of a new historical era.

Pinpoint How Gps Is Changing Technology Culture And Our Minds

Author: Greg Milner
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393244997
Size: 55.63 MB
Format: PDF
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“One of the most mesmerizing and exhilarating, yet alarming modern technology books . . . an extraordinary tale.”—Gillian Tett, Financial Times Over the last fifty years, humanity has developed an extraordinary shared utility: the Global Positioning System. Even as it guides us across town, GPS helps land planes, route mobile calls, anticipate earthquakes, predict weather, locate oil deposits, measure neutrinos, grow our food, and regulate global finance. It is as ubiquitous and essential as another Cold War technology, the Internet. In Pinpoint, Greg Milner takes us on a fascinating tour of a hidden system that touches almost every aspect of our modern life. While GPS has brought us breathtakingly accurate information about our planetary environment and physical space, it has also created new forms of human behavior. We have let it saturate the world’s systems so completely and so quickly that we are just beginning to confront the possible consequences. A single GPS timing flaw, whether accidental or malicious, could bring down the electrical grid, hijack drones, or halt the world financial system. The use, and potential misuse, of GPS data by government and corporations raise disturbing questions about ethics and privacy. GPS may be altering the nature of human cognition—possibly even rearranging the gray matter in our heads. Pinpoint tells the sweeping story of GPS from its conceptual origins as a bomb guidance system to its presence in almost everything we do. Milner examines the different ways humans have understood physical space, delves into the neuroscience of cognitive maps, and questions GPS’s double-edged effect on our culture. A fascinating and original story of the scientific urge toward precision, Pinpoint offers startling insight into how humans understand their place in the world.

Televisionaries

Author: Marc Tayer
Publisher: Mediatech Publishing
ISBN: 9780986384509
Size: 40.39 MB
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Televisionaries is the captivating inside story of the digital television revolution, featuring the engineers, entrepreneurs, and media titans who made it happen. During the 1980s, conventional wisdom held that "Japan Inc." would become the leading economic power, with its new HDTV technology dominating the next generation of consumer electronics. In response, European countries funded a billion-dollar HDTV activity designed to keep the Japanese at bay. But both solutions had a fatal flaw - they were based on analog technology. With the world's eyes diverted overseas, General Instrument (GI) harbored a secret project in its San Diego labs. The notion of transforming television from its analog roots to the zeros and ones of computers was deemed impossible at the time. Undaunted, GI boldly developed the world's first digital television system, upsetting the status quo on three continents. Digital TV soon became a reality for consumers throughout the world, and the media business was forever changed.

Blackett S War

Author: Stephen Budiansky
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307743632
Size: 35.74 MB
Format: PDF
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Documents the story of a small group of scientists who applied intellectual strategies to battle techniques and revolutionized the process of waging wars, citing the contributions of future Nobel winner Patrick Blackett.

The Political Spectrum

Author: Thomas Winslow Hazlett
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 030022110X
Size: 47.89 MB
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From the former chief economist of the FCC, a remarkable history of the U.S. government’s regulation of the airwaves Popular legend has it that before the Federal Radio Commission was established in 1927, the radio spectrum was in chaos, with broadcasting stations blasting powerful signals to drown out rivals. In this fascinating and entertaining history, Thomas Winslow Hazlett, a distinguished scholar in law and economics, debunks the idea that the U.S. government stepped in to impose necessary order. Instead, regulators blocked competition at the behest of incumbent interests and, for nearly a century, have suppressed innovation while quashing out-of-the-mainstream viewpoints. Hazlett details how spectrum officials produced a “vast wasteland” that they publicly criticized but privately protected. The story twists and turns, as farsighted visionaries—and the march of science—rise to challenge the old regime. Over decades, reforms to liberate the radio spectrum have generated explosive progress, ushering in the “smartphone revolution,” ubiquitous social media, and the amazing wireless world now emerging. Still, the author argues, the battle is not even half won.