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George Gilder's new book is to be released soon!!!! "Telecosm"---Coming Soon!

Telecosm
By George Gilder
Free Press, September 2000 ( 368 pages, \$25.50 )
Hardcover, ISBN: 0-684-80930-3

Chapter 1: Maxwell's Rainbow

"Nothing is too wonderful to be true."
— James Clerk Maxwell, discoverer of electromagnetism
"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful."
—Mae West

The supreme abundance of the telecosm is the electromagnetic spectrum, embracing all the universe of vibrating electrical and magnetic fields, from power line pulses through light beams to cosmic rays. The scarcity that unlocks this abundance is the supreme scarcity in physical science: the absolute minimum time it takes to form an electromagnetic wave of a particular length. Set by the permeability of free space, this minimal span determines the speed of light.
Read all of the first chapter >>@ GILDERTECH SITE.

No. of Recommendations: 1
Thanks...I just jumped over to Amazon and bought it - one-click!

Interactive, baby!

rex
No. of Recommendations: 67
OK, I went to Gildertech site. Here's what I find:

The scarcity that unlocks this abundance is the supreme scarcity in physical science: the absolute minimum time it takes to form an electromagnetic wave of a particular length. Set by the permeability of free space, this minimal span determines the speed of light.

What on earth does this mean??? "Permeability of free space" sets absolutely nothing because it's not a property of free space, but rather a proportionality constant that you can set equal to anything you want, depending on what units you are using. I usually set it equal to one, for simplicity.

Another word for oscillation is temperature.

Give me a break. Oscillation is oscillation. Temperature is the average kinetic energy of the stuff you are talking about.

Maxwell's genius was to realize that all waves are mathematically identical.

This is complete nonsense. I can write down a dozen different wave equations in no time at all, all of them representing different physical waves.

... shrieking gamma rays that can penetrate a planet ...

Shrieking gamma rays have no chance of "penetrating a planet". Shrieking gamma rays turn into electromagnetic showers (consisting of electrons, positrons, and photons) within the first radiation length of the stuff they are trying to penetrate.

... Stephen Weinberg's grand unification ...

I know Steve Weinberg and his work. There is no such thing as Steve Weinberg's grand unification - essentially all of his work is on electroweak theory.

And woven uniquely into the warp of nature was the resonating speed of light.

What the hell is "resonating speed of light"???

Frequencies and wavelengths may change, but light speed delay -- the time it takes to propagate an electromagnetic wave -- never changes.

Give me a break. And what the hell is "light speed delay" anyway???

All of this, and more, on just one page. Now, this guy is supposed to be some kind of guru, right? Some people actually take him seriously, right? Honestly, folks - I just don't know whether to laugh or cry.

"If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS."

hem
No. of Recommendations: 5
And what the hell is "light speed delay" anyway???

Hem, I don't know about the rest but the light speed delay is the delay caused by the less than infinite speed of light. For example if you put satellites into a high orbit and then use them for satellite phone communication there is a very annoying few second delay between transmission and reception. This problem is resolved by LEO (low earth orbiting) satellites such as used by Globalstar.

Maybe others can help on the rest.

Tinker

No. of Recommendations: 37
Regarding Gilder's latest book, "Telecosm", squark wrote:

"If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS."

I believe you're really missing the point, here.

Gilder writes in a prose that makes the physical underpinnings of modern telecommunication accessible to the rest of us....he is waxing eloquent about a decidedly difficult subject.

Let me see if I can help you translate his lexicon:

.....permeability of free space...

Remember, it was not until the last 100 years (or so) that science & scientists understood that:

1) light has a finite speed that is inviolable regardless of the speed of the underlying light source (from whence came Einstien's Relativity breakthroughs).

2) light (...er...all electromagnetic radiation) can travel though a vacuum. Space is not permeated by an "ether" which carries this radiation (whereas sound needs a medium....as does electricity). In other words, space is permeable to light.

Another word for oscillation is temperature..

Gilder is merely referencing the fact that all molecules vibrate....absolute-zero is, as yet, unobtainable.

Maxwell's genius was to realize that all waves are mathematically identical.

Here, Gilder is referencing the fact that all electromagnetic radiation differs only by its underlying frequency/wavelength. Radio waves are the same "stuff" as light waves in a fiber-optic bundle...or x-rays in a Radiology Dept...etc.

... shrieking gamma rays that can penetrate a planet ...

High energy gamma rays can certainly pass through the planet without collision....it all depends on the energy (frequency) of the wave in question. You know this.

And woven uniquely into the warp of nature was the resonating speed of light.

Light certainly does resonate...a laser, for example, has a fixed, coherent wavelength...or oscillation...or resonance. He is trying to get a point across....not satisfy photonics experts.
And, this electromagnetic nature of light (its speed...as well as other characteristics) are certainly woven into the make-up of nature...or the universe...or whatever you want to call it.
He is merely repeating the fact that the speed of light is independent of the velocity of the underlying source....truly one of the breakthroughs in modern scientific thought.

Give me a break. And what the hell is "light speed delay" anyway???

TinkerShaw is correct. There is no question that one of the problems with the transport of data is the limit of the speed of light. I believe it was the Swede's who were frustrated with the inherent delays in requesting data across the Atlantic, and developed mirroring sites....caches....to overcome this limitation.

MirrorImage is a company making a lot of money by intelligently caching data around the world.

Read the book...not just an excerpt. I have, and have found it an emminently understandable work on the business (and some science) underpinnings of the Telecosm.

Alan

No. of Recommendations: 24
alevine: Gilder writes in a prose that makes the physical underpinnings of modern telecommunication accessible to the rest of us....he is waxing eloquent about a decidedly difficult subject.

I understand your point. But I'm a scientist, and I don't much care about "waxing eloquence". I care about facts and communicating those facts clearly and concisely. There is no better way to hide one's ignorance than to use "waxing eloquence".

High energy gamma rays can certainly pass through the planet without collision....it all depends on the energy (frequency) of the wave in question. You know this.

ABSOLUTELY NOT! Get serious. High energy gamma rays pair-produce, i.e. they turn into e+e- pairs in the Coulomb fields of heavy nuclei, thereby initiating an EM shower. This is precisely how they are detected! Pair production dominates gamma-ray interactions at energies above a few MeV. The rate is determined by the radiation length ot the material in question (typically a few cm). A few radiation lengths of anything will guarantee that a big fat EM shower is initiated. And so on, and so forth.

I've done experiments with MeV-GeV-TeV range gamma rays for 20 years. One of my graduate students (Q. Zhu) wrote his Ph.D. thesis about interactions of 400 GeV photons (that's 10^26 Hz) with nuclei ranging from He to Pb. I certainly don't need advice from Gilder or from anyone on this board on how gamma rays interact with matter!

Space is not permeated by an "ether" which carries this radiation ...

Don't be so sure about that either, my friend. Many of us are starting to feel pretty comfortable with the idea of the Higgs field filling the universe - in fact many of us think we know the Higgs boson mass by now, more or less, given the latest data from CERN. Early next year we'll start a new major data run at Fermilab, and with any luck ... You'd be among the first to know, I promise, well before it hits the front page of New York Times.

Again, I get your drift. But that doesn't change the fact that Gilder doesn't know his physics. He merely pretends that he does.

hem

No. of Recommendations: 2
Squark thank you for your insight. After reviewing the first chapter on his site, I agree, it does take more then a couple college science courses to decipher.

You have pointed out we must always take the Wise with a grain a salt. Be it Gilder or Moore or Kippola or Johnson. I do think, however, Gilder has helped many of us enept in physics, to open are minds to new ideas.
QCOM and JDSU are the first to come to mind.

Forgive me, but for those like myself interested in his views, but not having purchased the book ....

onthebrink put the following radio link to a Marketwatch interview on the Gilder board on the Telecosm subject;

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=13318652

Again, Squark, for myself and other lurkers, thanks for the physics lesson ... hopefully it will "spark" me to do more then take everything I read and hear for granted.

HoF@ridingtheNGNwave.com
No. of Recommendations: 1
Squark:

This is my first post at GG.
I share your sentiment with the Gilder Technology Report; the language is almost sophomoric hyperbole.
The Gilder Tech Report is a "tough read," and I will re-read it several times, trying to weed through
the excessively florid language.
I have been investing for about thirty years, and the GTR reminds me of those "ananlyst reports" generated by the investment houses, that began appearing about fifteen years ago. They rattle on for several pages, never really saying anything. However, they always included the latest "new" terminology: "get our arms around the problem", "doesn't take a rocket scientist, etc.". The GTR difference is that the hyperbole is more technical.
In defense of Gilder though, I got into JDSU about two years ago, partly because of the GTR.
No. of Recommendations: 6
squark wrote:

....I'm a scientist, and I don't much care about "waxing eloquence". I care about facts and communicating those facts clearly and concisely. There is no better way to hide one's ignorance than to use "waxing eloquence".

I certainly appreciate your viewpoint....and perhaps Gilder is not for you. The "Telecosm" is by no means a textbook on Physics/Photonics. However, there are many of us who can begin to get a glimpse of this arcane world when it is presented in "our language"....and not merely the "clearness & conciseness" of equations.

BTW....let me ask you: Given your scientific accumen, did you invest in JDSU (then UNPH) and QCOM back in 1998, as suggested by Gilder??....or not?? The amount of money Gilder's writings has made me in nothing short of remarkable.

Regarding gamma rays penetrating the Earth, you wrote:
ABSOLUTELY NOT! Get serious.

Ouch!! You got me (...er...us) here. It is high-enery neutrinos that can traverse the planet unscathed....at least I hope that's right!! Thank you for the correction. I guess I should know better than to "argue" with someone smarter than me.

Space is not permeated by an "ether" which carries this radiation ...

Don't be so sure about that either, my friend.

Uh....you're missing the point, again (I think!). This discourse isn't really about the esoterics of modern Physics. It is supposed to be about somehow coming to terms with some business models that deal with a very complicated subject matter.

It is not unlike the emerging fields of genomics & proteonics. You do not need to have a Phd. in protein chemistry in order to begin your investment in the likes of CRA, etc. Minor errors & simplifications of the subject matter at hand to not (for many of us) reduce the impact what is trying to be conveyed.

But, hey....the "Telecosm" can be read in a day. Why not read it, and let us know if it was an entire waste of time. I found it quite interesting, myself.

Alan
No. of Recommendations: 2
squark-
great post -- made me want to both laugh and cry at the same time. I say cry because I've seen one of Gilder's reports and, viewing through my non-techie lenses, it looked fairly informative and useful. Thanks for the clarity

So what troubles me most is the fact that he's got people like steve forbes, nathan mhyrvold, adn nicholas negroponte stamping their approval onto the home page of gildertech how's a liberal arts major suppose to separate the nonsense from the useful when delving into the world of high-tech investments?

sorry to go off on a tangent here, but is anyone else troubled by the apparent fact that famous businessmen and/or scientists are indiscriminate when tossing their seals of approval on new websites and books? What sort of high-level backscratching do you suppose goes on when an author goes looking for an endorsement?

MK
No. of Recommendations: 7
WOW---I just checked the Board and "whew" I'm amazed (and learned alittle)in the responces...FYI Squark, Guilder may not be a 'on the frontier scientist'...but not many of us FOOL'S are. Surely you can see, as Alan so politely and adeptly pointed-out, Gilder is niether a funds manager nor a 'cutting-edge' reasearch scientist----He's an effective communicator that understands enough science to know the difference between an electron and a neutrino, but more importantly he is able to "paint tech. advances into a mural of our global societies future" and thus help many of us Ordinary FOOLS to see more clearly the subjects and activities portrayed in that mural. Granted, his writing style is abit unique, as well it ought to be---It is his 'signature' as an author! I believe we should all be able to acknowledge the contributions that Gilder, Johnson,et.al. give to us in our personal investor journeys, NOT OUR OWN SCIENTIFIC JOURNEYS (we can leave that for the scientists),...Most of us are journeying as investing FOOLS.....In the meantime--THANKS for your dialogue and insight---It's helpful. And I'll add that your knowledge is more than alittle humbling from this surgeon's point of view. Caio, Cary
No. of Recommendations: 2
RIGHT ON CARY! There's room for all our voices here...& I like seeing "the science BRAINS" duke-it-out. Liz
No. of Recommendations: 5
I'm with squark.

An author who writes wrong stuff with great eloquence and a unique voice is still wrong. With a little more effort, and a physicist consultant, Gilder could probably have gotten the physics right and still have communicated well.

Of course, I'm by definition another curmudgeon, since I also have a Ph.D. in (theoretical) physics, and I believe in getting things right if at all possible.

Is it only physics that outsiders can get dead wrong and not have most people care?
No. of Recommendations: 0
I must be on the wrong website. I really thought this was TMF. Guess the physics in my HD is backwards. Whatever happened to the DJIA, or the NASDAQ? Oh well better luck next time....
Cut the blarney and get back on course.....
No. of Recommendations: 24
FWIW, here's my thoughts on Gilder:

He's an effective communicator that understands enough science to know the difference between an electron and a neutrino, but more importantly he is able to "paint tech. advances into a mural of our global societies future" and thus help many of us Ordinary FOOLS to see more clearly the subjects and activities portrayed in that mural.

I've got to disagree with simonds6348--I don't think Gilder's all that great of a communicator. While I admire him for his occassionally good stock picking (UNPH and QCOM especially), I think he's too caught up in his own grandiosity to communicate effectively. The physics behind the technology revolutions of our time is definitely NOT beyond the ability of us non-techies. I'm a social sciences major, but I know enough about hard sciences that I can--with plenty of research and thought--make what I think is a reasonably well informed decision regarding my tech investments.

That said, there's definitely a place for somebody like Gilder. We need people to bring stocks to our attention so that we can research them, and having the opinions of others is valuable. But, but but but, and this is key, they've got to be honest about what they know and they've got to write with simplicity and elegance. Gilder's prose is florid, it is prolix, it is even high-falutin' but it certainly isn't elegant. As Squark has so well shown, some of his writings are pure hogwash. The danger of this is that people with no prior introduction to current science will mistake Gilder's ramblings for scientific truth.

As a contrast, look at some of the science writing from some of our best scientist/authors, the experts who are kind enough and smart enough to share their insights and the state of their art to intelligent readers of all backgrounds. You can get a remarkably detailed introduction to physics by reading Richard Feynmann, a humbling glimpse of the universe from Carl Sagan, and an edifying reinterpretation of biology and evolution from Stephen Jay Gould.

In the world of investing, one need look no further than The Gorilla Game itself as an example of simple, straightforward advice for intelligent investors. Further reading takes you to such good teachers as Clayton Christensen, Warren Buffett, the Gardner Brothers, et. al.

Just for comparison's sake, read some of Gilder's lines from the release of his book:

The supreme abundance of the telecosm is the electromagnetic spectrum, embracing all the universe of vibrating electrical and magnetic fields, from power line
pulses through light beams to cosmic rays. The scarcity that unlocks this abundance is the supreme scarcity in physical science: the absolute minimum time it
takes to form an electromagnetic wave of a particular length. Set by the permeability of free space, this minimal span determines the speed of light.

Now compare this to a great analyst talking about another difficult topic, namely data storage in the networked world:

Companies are being forced to toss large amounts of money and personnel to manage and maintain these
storage networks. Although LAN and WAN networking speeds increased 1000 times in the 90's thanks to
advances in ethernet and ATM, the storage-to-server data transmission speeds increased by less than ten
times during the period. The SCSI (small computer systems interface) was the traditional way of linking a
server with a liimited number of storage systems in close proximity due to the nature of SCSI (12 meters or
less). Speed was limited, distance was limited and the number of devices on a single bus was limited. What's
broken? We've got a bottleneck between the LAN/WAN and business-critical storage systems and servers.
A bottleneck problem indeed.

That great analyst, of course, is our own Bruce Brown. The difference is startling. The educational value of the latter is much higher than the former.

In any case, I'll continue to read Gilder, because a good stock pick or two might come out of it. I'll close by saying, read Gilder for what you will, but his "vision" must certainly be suspect if this board can pick apart his purple prose in a day's worth of posts.

FWIW,
Alex
No. of Recommendations: 3
JBlue wrote:

An author who writes wrong stuff with great eloquence and a unique voice is still wrong....Is it only physics that outsiders can get dead wrong and not have most people care?

Oh, come on now! Just because a book has some factual errors that are, at most, obtuse to the matter at hand, does not mean you should negate the entire work.

I realize that to some, these sorts of errors call the entire treatise into question, but (and I'll say it again)...I think you're missing the larger picture that the "Telecosm" is attempting to convey.

But, again, read the whole book.....we'd love to hear your opinion & impressions. I find Gilder's overview of the telecommunications arena enlightening, despite some inaccuracies in his prose.

As to the poster who asked me to "quit the blarny", I also suggest that the companies that Gilder explicitly discusses in this book are right on target for those interested in Gorilla Gaming.

Alan
No. of Recommendations: 1
In the last 50 years from France came a new wave of literary criticism 'dis-structuralism" (ok they got another name for it, but one sub theme suggests anybody got a right to get into the act). It's been really big; and, recognize it or not, it affects us all. Present thread a good example. Any book is potentially subject to it; and rightfully so!

But, cmon. We gotta due do DD. Can we find value in hyperbole? Well, several respected posters here claim yes; and convincingly so. Is G. F.O.S.? (or does he have a moderate dose?) maybe/probably so. But in his relativistic way, he's gotta live too. Can we get over it and go on. Why, yeah, we always have!

vive le physiques; vive le relativitism; vive le GG.

bonne chance, matson
No. of Recommendations: 1
hem,

Thanks for posting this. I wanted to say something similar but was afraid I'd need a flak jacket. There's no way I'm buying a book with an introduction like that. This is such a line of metaphysical crap for non-technical people that I find the psychic network more believable.

Visionary. humphh.

darryl
No. of Recommendations: 0
Alan said:

He is trying to get a point across....not satisfy photonics experts

Alan,

If this is the way of getting a point across, how do you expect to learn anything from him? The point of this page is beautiful prose to pull the wool over the readers eye's, not explanation. It reads like science fiction, not like an investment newsletter, nor like an explanation of how things work.

I'm not convinced. Oscillation is not temperature, unless of course you want to define oscillation as kinetic motion. There is a relationship between temperature and the rate of intramolecular vibrations, but the referred to statement is misleading, to be most generous, and false, to be sincere.

darryl
No. of Recommendations: 0
hem said:

But that doesn't change the fact that Gilder doesn't know his physics. He merely pretends that he does.

Exactly. And this is exactly why most people should avoid him. His is just another WISE guiding the uninitiated.

I was all set to get this book based on the popularity of the GTL, and am flabbergasted at how this thing sounds.

darryl
No. of Recommendations: 2
Alex asks us: Just for comparison's sake, read some of Gilder's lines from the release of his book:

LOL! I agree that Gilder has a corner on rapturous turns of phrase, but it's only fair to point out that many of his passages that seem so extravagant when taken from context are actually Gilder's code phrasing for ideas he developed fully in prior work. You have to go back to MICROCOSM or LIFE AFTER TELEVISION to understand his unique world where notions like "abundance" and "scarcity" have serious implications for engineering. When Gilder says (as he often does) "Listen to the technology," he's asking us to visualize a form or function in its most elegant design and to consider which economies must be met for that design to succeed. There is a note of triumphant determinism that runs through all this stuff, but if you can get past the florid hallelujahs, you have to admit that he has a knack for devining Big Pictures amid the noise.

Bob Sutton

No. of Recommendations: 12
Gilder is niether a funds manager nor a 'cutting-edge' reasearch scientist----He's an effective communicator that understands enough science to know the difference between an electron and a neutrino, but more importantly he is able to "paint tech. advances into a mural of our global societies future" and thus help many of us Ordinary FOOLS to see more clearly the subjects and activities portrayed in that mural. Granted, his writing style is abit unique, as well it ought to be---It is his 'signature' as an author!

Hmmm... I personally find his writing needlessly complex and unclear and stylistically something that makes unlikely to come back for more - this is not good if you make your living writing. I had assumed this was because he was one of those people who likes waving their hands around and speaking but I regret to say that the one time I saw him speak in person (at a Nortel Networks customer event) he made our CEO (John Roth - not normally a spellbinding speaker) look eloquent.

Yes he is a great publicist but no he does not make his vision unambiguously clear to the world and he is very often wrong in those niggling details. This doesn't matter if you want someone to push the idea that investment in "the internet" is good or even that investment in "photonics" is good but its bad if you want his insight into exactly what sort of "internet" or "photonics" is coming next.

My main criticism is that he appears to have very little idea of scale and complexity - admittedly, this applies to many people even certified network designers and the like - but it is IMO a major weakness that permeates a number of his more weird predictions. The problem is that GG seems to have no appreciation of the rise in difficulty that pertains when you try to deal with millions instead of 10s or 100s. An example (not tech based) of what I mean is train timetabling. If you have 1 train and one track then the timetable is basically "Start at A. Go to B. Wait N minutes. Go to A. Wait N minutes. Repeat" If I have 2 lines which cross at point C then - since I'd like to have connections I have to ensure that the A-B train and the D-E train both arrive at C at about the same time. Now consider what happens when you have 20 routes and 10 intersections. Now what about 200 routes and 400 intersections?... Of course you can work around this issue using hub and spoke techniques (e.g. the way airlines do) but even so you hit a scaling issue (number of flights/hour in thta case) so you have to have multiple hubs and then you have the issue of whihc hub to go to etc etc. There are analagous scaling problems in the internet (and analagous solutions sometimes) but the numebrs are very very much larger. Gilder often seems to have no concept of this. For example his optical everywhere thing seems to have the idea that everyone has a wavelength to everyone else - if I have 100 people thats 5000 separate connections. If I have 10,000 people thats 50,005,000 separate connections etc.

DD
No. of Recommendations: 3
Gilder is an entertainer and a celebrity, for him there are certain rules to follow to continue to be both of these things.

Bruce is also an entertainer but not in regards to investments, he is probably the finest writer on these boards, some people have the ability to write and teach in a way that makes complex subjects easier to understand.

Gilder is not a teacher, Bruce Brown is and thats my highest complement...Pete/Goaltender95
No. of Recommendations: 0
Actually, it is already out--I have been reading it for the last 5 days. Love it, very good book.

Alain
No. of Recommendations: 0
Man, give me a break! It's a work of fiction, not a textbook! So why don't you peel your head out of you know where and stop being such an arrogant SOB.
No. of Recommendations: 0
No. of Recommendations: 43
I would just hope for your sake that you do not treat everything and everyone in life with the same narrow minded ignorance of purpose as you have this board and this book, because if you do, I would imagine you to be a very lonely sad little creature.

Come on gang. The potential to ruin one of the better message boards is looming. This type of comment simply should be handled on the back channel and has no place on the front for all to have to read.

We're here for a better reason....

BB
No. of Recommendations: 0
Kingtux,
Thank you for taking the words right out of my mouth. I was just about to post a message when I came across yours which perfectly and succinctly reflects everything I felt after reading Squark's Certain to be of Great Value. The orig. message reeks of pretentiousness and not of someone who cares about other people or community. Isn't this suppossed to be a community of people trying to help each other out to achieve various goals?
I agree, I too "would imagine him to be a very lonely sad creature."
You, on the other hand are very insightful about human nature,as well as investing and I look forward to future communication with you.
No. of Recommendations: 0
High energy gamma rays can certainly pass through the planet without collision....it all depends on the energy (frequency) of the wave in question. You know this.

Probably gone over by now, but anyway:
Neutrinos can pass through mostly unaffected, but gamma rays don't. The best they can do seems to be several inches of steel.

[to squark:] ...the Higgs field filling the universe...

Does that mean we have to do the Michelson-Morely experiment all over again (perhaps with different particles)?