How many people have ever lived? (estimate: 106 billion)
A fine rant from George Siemens, "Open isn’t so open anymore", with this Aux Armes: "We need some good ol’ radicals in open education. You know, the types that have a vision and an ideological orientation that defies the pragmatics of reality. Stubborn, irritating, aggravating visionaries…"
First Look at Blio, Ray Kurzweil's Tablet-Friendly Ebook Format (via Gizmodo)
via BoingBoing, and a heretofore unimagined spectrum of urban hostility
Anthony McCarthy's year-end rant is well worth thinking about: "…The sales pitch of lap tops in the schools, of online access was that it was supposed to provide children (and adults) with a hugely expanded source of important information. What I’m seeing is that it is the worst of TV raised to a staggering power… The results of the absolute freedom to entice, seduce, lie, steal, use and profit are going to prove to incompatible with democracy, they are going to prove incompatible with civil society. The truth will not be able to compete with intentionally entertaining lies and fluff. A world inhabited by entertainment addled adolescents will never grow up. That is what we are on the verge of living with, a plugged in dark age. "
nice summary of the year
I’ve been reading the Marcus and Sollors A New Literary History of America article by article, and this morning came athwart Daniel Albright’s on Gertrude Stein (“1903: Gertrude Stein moves to Paris, and neither is ever the same again”), in which is quoted this bit from Stein’s Three Lives:
…there was a constant recurring and beginning there was a marked direction in the direction of being in the present although naturally I had been accustomed to past present and future, and why, because the composition forming around me was a prolonged present… I created then a prolonged present naturally I knew nothing of a continuous present but it came naturally to me to make one.
Hmmm, I thought, how very like the Web in which we live more than a century later.
Albright ends his article with this food for thought, quoting an unknown-to-me
peculiar piece from Jonathan Swift called A Compleat Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversation (1738), full of passages such as this:
Neverout. Miss, what spells b double uzzard?
Miss. Buzzard in your teeth, Mr. Neverout.
Lady Smart. Now you are up, Mr. Neverout, will you do the the favour to do me the kindness to take off the tea-kettle?
Lord Sparkish. I wonder what makes these bells ring.
If Gertrude Stein had never been born, this would seem a freakish and incomprehensible text. It still seems freakish and incomprehensible, but as an anticipation of Stein it is made familiar, assimilated into a canon that she caused to exist.
Hmmm, I thought again, how very like the Web in which we live more than a century later…
from back in the day
the Crux, if you ask me: "…mandating unaffordable private health insurance is a way to cast in stone one of the things that is most wrong with US health care, its total submission to the goals and objectives of the private health insurance industry… people forced into the arms of the benevolent insurance industry who will then violate them further with increased premiums and a legal requirement that people buy their shoddy wares"
(via Neil Gaiman’s equally wonderful blog, and NB the Tim Minchin video at the bottom of the posting)
"Resources for Virtual Ethnography… Cyberanthropology… a central hub for those interested in ethnography of the internet"