Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cyber Warfare and TUBES by Andrew Blum

Tubes By Andrew BlumWorking in academic marketing you get a firsthand look at how creative college courses can be. Our books are used in so many interesting and varied classes every day, oftentimes replacing the drier textbooks we were all forced to trudge through at one time or another. But every once in a while, we find a course that sounds so intriguing that we have to share (and makes us nothing short of envious of the students who get to take it). We just got notice that Penn State is using Andrew Blum's Tubes for such an upcoming course entitled "Using Serious Games to Promote Strategic Thinking and Analysis."

In the course description the instructors reveal that they will be using the Ancient Chinese game of "Go" to challenge their students to think strategically, analytically, and visually to preempt cyber attacks. In our world where cyber warfare has emerged as one of the greatest threats to national security, we need people who are able to understand and protect areas of the internet as we would protect physical spaces. This is where Andrew Blum's Tubes comes in—students "journey to the center of the internet" to understand the physicality of cyberspace in order to make decisions about best ways to protect the freedom, privacy, and security of the internet.

Blum's book has been adopted all over the country. It has had great success for us in specialized courses like this, but also in Freshman Common Read programs. The variety of its adoptions is a testament to Blum's ability to illuminate complicated, abstract material in a highly understandable and actually perceptible way. In his book, Blum brings the physical, visible infrastructure of the internet to life, and a clear picture of its reality emerges from the amorphous concept of the "web" that many of us have always had in our heads.

P.S. If you're interested in cyber warfare, you may also want to check out another great HarperCollins book, Cyber War by former presidential advisor and counter-terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke.

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