Monday, April 09, 2007

Famous on Wikipedia (no, not me)

Wikipedia, probably the most popular web-based encyclopedia there is, prominently features a new topic every day. On Friday, the featured article was about The Turk, the chess-playing automaton. The 18th century machine fascinated people worldwide, mainly because people thought a machine couldn't be so smart. As it happens, the machine wasn't so smart, it was in fact (SPOILER ALERT!) a person inside who was so smart.

Why do I know so much about The Turk? Because my friend Tom Standage wrote a great book about it called, "The Turk: The Life and Times of the Famous Eighteenth-Century Chess-Playing Machine."

Wikipedia's featured article relied pretty heavily on Tom's book for source material, which was quite cool for Tom (though it didn't help his Amazon ranking much, unfortunately).

So read the featured article, and if that intrigues you, buy the book.

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