Monthly Archives: June 2007

Summary in medias res

I was answering some personal-narrative questions sent by a friend and got far enough into it (and had enough stuff to link) that it seemed most sensible to do it as a Web page. Take a look, if you’re so inclined.

Long Zoom at Long Now

If you have a long drive or other 1.5 hour block of time to listen to a really worthwhile MP3, I suggest Steven Johnson’s Long Zoom talk at Long Now Foundation (the link is to Stewart Brand’s precis, which offers this aperçu: “The value of a long zoom is in identifying and employing every scale between the very large and very small, noticing how they change each other when held in the mind at the same time”). Johnson’s recent book The Ghost Map explores the well-known story of Dr. John Snow’s epidemiological detective work (the Broad Street pump, etc.), but from the perspective of why it took so long to overcome the conventional wisdom that cholera was caused by “miasma”. The whole MP3 is here for your right-click download, and here are three bits to tempt you:

the Long Zoom perspective [0:29] and its quotidian manifestation [0:19]

[in re: complex questions] “you can’t answer [the question] convincingly unless you look at all those different levels”: on consilience [1:30]