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In an age when computers process immense amounts of information by the manipulation of sequences of 1s and 0s, it remains a frustrating mystery how prehistoric Inka recordkeepers encoded a tremendous variety and quantity of data using only knotted and dyed strings. Yet the comparison between computers and khipu may hold an important clue to deciphering the Inka records. In this book, Gary Urton sets forth a pathbreaking theory that the manipulation of fibers in the construction of khipu created physical features that constitute binary-coded sequences which store units of information in a system of binary recordkeeping that was used throughout the Inka empire.
Urton begins his theory with the making of khipu, showing how at each step of the process binary, either/or choices were made. He then investigates the symbolic components of the binary coding system, the amount of information that could have been encoded, procedures that may have been used for reading the khipu, the nature of the khipu signs, and, finally, the nature of the khipu recording system itself-- emphasizing relations of markedness and semantic coupling. This researchconstitutes a major step forward in building a unified theory of the khipu system of information storage and communication based on the sum total of construction features making up these extraordinary objects.
The quest for enlightenment has occupied mankind for millennia. And from the depictions we’ve seen—monks sitting on meditation cushions, nuns kneeling in prayer, shamans communing with the universe—it seems that this elusive state is reserved for a chosen few. But now, neuroscientist David Perlmutter and medical anthropologist and shaman Alberto Villoldo have come together to explore the commonalities between their specialties with the aim of making enlightenment possible for anyone.
A very unusual book...the results are coherent and timely, adding a different voice to concerns over enviromental degradation. Trees are highly rhythmical and the book makes clear that we disturbed many of their rhythms' -- The Scientific & Medical Network, Winter 2009/10