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Ian Stewart, 4 November 1993

The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier 
by Bruce Sterling.
Viking, 328 pp., £16.99, January 1993, 0 670 84900 6
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The New Hacker’s Dictionary 
edited by Eric Raymond.
MIT, 516 pp., £11.75, October 1992, 0 262 68079 3
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Approaching Zero: Data Crime and the Computer Underworld 
by Bryan Clough and Paul Mungo.
Faber, 256 pp., £4.99, March 1993, 0 571 16813 2
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... On 29 June 1989, a security manager for the US telephone company Indiana Bell received an anonymous telephone call. In a menacing tone a young man’s voice informed him that he had planted bombs in several switching systems known as 5ESSs. ‘They’re set to blow on a national holiday. They could be anywhere in the country – it’s a sort of competition, a security test ...

Who’s that out there?

Ian Stewart, 14 May 1992

The Mind’s Sky 
by Timothy Ferris.
Bantam, 281 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 593 02644 6
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... Science does not customarily pose big questions. It poses small questions.’ It may seem odd to find such a statement in a book whose main questions have to do with Mind and the Cosmos, the twin mysteries of human existence, and whose answers are based upon current scientific understanding. The statement, however, embodies an important truth, upon which the entire book rests ...

Sea-shells and Tigers

Philip Kitcher, 18 March 1999

Life’s Other Secret: The New Mathematics of the Living World 
by Ian Stewart.
Penguin, 320 pp., £20, June 1998, 0 7139 9161 5
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... they might think that Thompson’s tentative answers are the quaint curiosities of a bygone age. Ian Stewart thinks that such dismissals are wrong, the product of an obsession with biochemical detail that can become myopic. Life’s Other Secret is intended to display the many possibilities for the mathematical analysis of nature, and pays homage to ...

Badoompa-doompa-doompa-doom

Graham Coster, 10 January 1991

Stone Alone 
by Bill Wyman and Ray Coleman.
Viking, 594 pp., £15.99, October 1990, 0 670 82894 7
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Blown away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties 
by A.E. Hotchner.
Simon and Schuster, 377 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 671 69316 6
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Are you experienced? The Inside Story of the Jimi Hendrix Experience 
by Noel Redding and Carol Appleby.
Fourth Estate, 256 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 1 872180 36 1
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I was a teenage Sex Pistol 
by Glen Matlock and Pete Silverton.
Omnibus, 192 pp., £12.95, September 1990, 0 7119 2491 0
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Bare 
by George Michael and Tony Parsons.
Joseph, 242 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 7181 3435 4
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... important. ‘No group is any better than its drummer,’ the Rolling Stones’ late piano player Ian Stewart tells A.E. Hotchner. ‘Drummers are the heart of a group,’ confirms Noel Redding of the Jimi Hendrix Experience: ‘a good one is worth his weight in gold.’ And here is the Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock on drummer Paul Cook: ‘that steady ...

Forget the Klingons

James Hamilton-Paterson: Is there anybody out there?, 6 March 2003

Evolving the Alien: The Science of Extraterrestrial Life 
by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart.
Ebury, 369 pp., £17.99, September 2002, 0 09 187927 2
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XTL: Extraterrestrial Life and How to Find It 
by Simon Goodwin and John Gribbin.
Weidenfeld, 191 pp., £12.99, August 2002, 1 84188 193 7
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... are combative on this point, and so united that they frequently refer to themselves as ‘Jack&Ian’. To this winsome dyad the notion of astrobiology is limiting in that it stands for astronomy as seen from Earth plus Earth-style biology, so that its thinking is governed by anthropic concerns such as the search for ‘habitable zones’ elsewhere in our ...
Killing Time: The Autobiography of Paul Feyerabend 
Chicago, 192 pp., £18.25, June 1995, 0 226 24531 4Show More
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... it’s popular even among some scientists. In The Collapse of Chaos, Jack Cohen (a biologist) and Ian Stewart (a mathematician) argue that the laws of nature are not ‘true’ in any real sense: ‘Our prized laws of nature are not ultimate truths, just rather well-constructed Sherlock Holmes stories.’ This view might have made good sense back in the ...

Hooked Trout

Geoffrey Best: Appeasement please, 2 June 2005

Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry and Britain’s Road to War 
by Ian Kershaw.
Allen Lane, 488 pp., £20, October 2004, 0 7139 9717 6
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... Charles Stewart Henry Vane-Tempest-Stewart, the seventh Marquess of Londonderry, who died in 1949, will not be moved up the scale of historical significance even by so accomplished a book as this. Its author is unlikely to be disappointed. Ian Kershaw’s purpose has not been to write a full biography, or to rehabilitate a politician he considers to have been unjustly neglected ...

Squealing

Ian Buruma, 13 May 1993

Gower: The Autobiography 
by David Gower and Martin Johnson.
Collins Willow, 256 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 00 218413 3
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... Canterbury), and Certainly not mediocre. But neither were Dennis Compton, Freddy Trueman or Ian Botham, or indeed Graham Gooch, and they were (are) all very much Players. In his autobiography, breezily ghost-written by Martin Johnson, the joker of the Independent’s back page, Gower plays up his Cavalier image for all its worth. And he makes no bones ...

Browning Versions

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 July 1984

Oscar Browning: A Biography 
by Ian Anstruther.
Murray, 209 pp., £12.50, October 1983, 9780719540783
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... injudicious love-affair with a boy called George Nathaniel Curzon, later to be Viceroy of India. Ian Anstruther in his new biography aims to set the record straight in this regard – although not, it may be said at once, at the expense of a full account of O.B.’s career as a teacher of near-genius and a far-sighted educational reformer. To some extent he ...

Call me unpretentious

Ian Hamilton, 20 October 1994

Major Major: Memories of an Older Brother 
by Terry Major-Ball.
Duckworth, 167 pp., £12.95, August 1994, 0 7156 2631 0
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... and so on. On this reading, Major could be presented as a drearier-than-either cross between James Stewart and J. Alfred Prufrock. He was prime minister by accident, or for-a-day. He’d won the premiership in a raffle, or had it laid on for him by Jim’ll Fix It. There was of course a brutal snobbishness in this approach, as there had been in all the sneers ...

A Country Emptied

Ian Jack: The Highland Clearances, 7 March 2019

The Scottish Clearances: A History of the Dispossessed 1600-1900 
by T.M. Devine.
Allen Lane, 464 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 241 30410 5
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... little comment or censure. In 1824, for example, a rich Edinburgh spinster called Christina Stewart bought land in Morvern, a peninsula south-west of Fort William, from the Duke of Argyll’s estates and soon afterwards evicted 135 people from their smallholdings to make way for two large sheep farms. Nothing suggests Miss ...

Presto!

James Buchan, 14 December 1995

The Life of Adam Smith 
by Ian Simpson Ross.
Oxford, 495 pp., £25, October 1995, 0 19 828821 2
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... and housekeeper, seem to have broken his heart and he died, greatly mourned, in July 1790. Dugald Stewart, the Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh and Smith’s first biographer, made an exceptionally acute observation about Smith’s thought: that all his works are presented in the form of a machine in which a connecting principle – gravity in ...

I met murder on the way

Colin Kidd: Castlereagh, 24 May 2012

Castlereagh: Enlightenment, War and Tyranny 
by John Bew.
Quercus, 722 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 0 85738 186 6
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... continues to promote the flat-earth doctrines of its founder, the Free Presbyterian minister Ian Paisley, as well as to provide ample opportunity for satire. The DUP’s Nelson McCausland, Northern Ireland’s culture minister, who believes that Ulster Protestants are descended from the lost ten tribes of Israel, has campaigned against the geological ...

Diary

Ian Hamilton: The World Cup, 30 July 1998

... been influenced by that player’s unseemly links with showbiz, in the shape of Danny Baker, Rod Stewart and Chris Evans. Like David Beckham, Gazza seemed to believe that there were prizes more glamorous than those which were in Hoddle’s gift. He, too, was unfocused; he, too, needed to be realigned. Gazza’s expulsion was, for me, a bitter ...

The Miners’ Strike

Michael Stewart, 6 September 1984

... for thirty years or more. Thus it was that the hard-headed Scottish-American business tycoon Ian MacGregor was appointed to sort out British Steel, and sort it out he did: after a doomed 13-week strike, the men accepted new manning procedures which in plants such as Port Talbot raised productivity overnight by far more than had been achieved in a decade ...

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