Sci fi writer David Brin looks at J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings through the lens of Romanticism vs. the Enlightenment, nostalgia vs. optimism. And he finds Tolkien’s vision, not surprisingly, to be a surprisingly retrograde one. Why is this world, full of strict class and race divisions, kings and serfs, wizards and eternal orders, so appealing?… Read the rest
I’m a jaded tech journalist. It’s not often that a new Internet service can actually make me excited. But last week I discovered one that had me grinning all afternoon.
I don’t use instant-messaging software as a rule, and one reason I don’t is that it only exacerbates this “interruptive” condition of online life. Email itself is distracting enough that I’ve had to take serious measures to control its impact (filters, schedules, spam guards, and more).… Read the rest
I was watching “A Beautiful Mind” recently and was struck how much the mathematician John Nash’s schizophrenia, as portrayed in the movie, was like my online life: Ethereal voices constantly impinging on my attention, demanding responses, distracting me from the work (and people) at hand.… Read the rest
You don’t have to be a software programmer to be familiar with the principle. Since the early 1970s, Moore’s Law — named after Gordon Moore, one of the founders of Intel — has been universally touted within the computing industry. The law has many variants, but the gist of it is this: Computing power will increase exponentially, doubling every 18 to 24 months, for the foreseeable future.… Read the rest
Two early 90’s talks by Bruce Sterling:
Free as Air, Free As Water, Free As Knowledge: ‘What’s information really about? It seems to me there’s something direly wrong with the “Information Economy.” It’s not about data, it’s about attention. In a few years you may be able to carry the Library of Congress around in your hip pocket.… Read the rest
Where are the really good stories in magazines today? The ones that make you say to your friends: “Did you see that story about X?” Michael Shapiro examines the attenuated legacy of the New Journalism: “I had learned the essential lesson of those who wished to make magazines a career: write to form, or go to law school.… Read the rest
Game, set, and match.
 The Inquirer: Moore’s Law meets market saturation. “Today, accountants to video heads have enough horsepower at their fingertips to keep themselves sated. Why shell out $1500 in next year’s technology for a measly 3-5% performance bump on the most bleeding-edge applications?”… Read the rest