I just finished yet another Milan Kundera novel: Immortality.
He is, as always intense. I happen to be one of his fans, one who patiently understands the flow of his meandering style, knowing the poetic philosopher in him who needs us to read each and
It’s as if I’m in his head when I really listen
to his meanders, and can even sense where and
how he is sitting when he writes a passage, can feel the women he has known and
not known and all the intricate details which make up his life, or least the bit of his life which gives it meaning.
Although there were many, my favorite two excerpts and meanders were these.
The first is about image: A person is nothing but his image says a main male character of the novel. “Philosophers can tell us that it doesn’t matter what they world thinks of us, that nothing matters but what we really are. But philosophers don’t understand anything. As long as we live with other people, we are only what other people consider us to be. Thinking about how others see us and trying to
Ernest Freeberg is the author of “The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America.” He was recently interviewed at the Computer History Museum in Santa Clara on the legacy of Edison’s R&D approach, its visible impact on the tech industry today, the challenges of controlling IP, and the myth of the lone inventor.
You write that “Edison invented a new style of invention, a coordinated program of scientific research and product development.” Did that style impact the way that today’s technology companies pursue research and development?
That basic concept has been transformative. We live in a world where we assume invention is not just something that comes along when someone has a great idea, but this is a force that can be shaped and controlled with the proper investment of capital. That invention is something which is not a gift from the intellectual gods but is something that human beings can make happen.
It’s changed a lot since Edison’s day, of course. Universities have come to play a much more central role. University-trained researchers and the government play a role in directing…
I noticed that the book signings and book store seems to be expanding at South by Southwest (SXSW)
, the exceedingly large conference I embark upon every year in Austin Texas. Check out the We Blog the World Austin Events section
to get an idea of just how extensive it is as you’ll see from our dozens of write-ups on various films, musicians we discovered on and off the streets and Interactive panels and parties on topics that range from startup culture in Africa and South America and how to make video social to happiness, sustainability and gadgets. Al Gore was one of the keynotes but not far down the hall, science fiction geeks shared notes.
I had the opportunity to meet data guru, Stephen Wolfram
, who is the genius behind the seminal math software Mathematica, the book A New Kind of Science
, and the search engine Wolfram Alpha
. To get an idea on the varied topics and authors, Jeff Gothelf
signed copies of his book “Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience ”
and C.C. Chapman
showed up to talk about his latest: Amazing Things Will Happen
, which is more…
There have been a number of interesting articles spotlighting two growing/related trends that I have been following: robotics and drones. Most recent was Paul Rand’s filibuster calling attention to the risk of US drone strikes on US soil. As a result, I thought it would be timely to repost my book review on Wired for War, first posted on Venturebeat.
In the book, the author Peter Singer discusses how military funding is driving dramatic advances in robotics and robotic warfare. In turn, this is rapidly reducing the costs of robotics and drones for eventual commercial use. Recently, 60 Minutes did a piece
on the automation of the work environment through robots. They pose an interesting question: what will happen when robots displace more workers than can be reabsorbed by new jobs? How will we manage the economy when producers require little labor as well as a reduced number of skilled and white collar workers? Wired for War discusses how this reality is changing the military in a very real way today.
I tweeted a New York Times article
about a related trend: attempts and new rules against drones being used to monitor people (in the US!). We can expect more drone/people tracking activity as these and related technologies – sensors, cameras,…
Pablo Neruda the great Chilean poet stated in an interview, “Robert Frost says in one of his essays that poetry ought to have sorrow as its only orientation: ‘Leave sorrow alone with poetry.’ But I don’t know what Robert Frost would have thought if a young man had committed suicide and left one of his
books stained with blood.”
The book Neruda refers to in this quote is often called The Residencia Cycle but specifically part one of his Residencia en la tierra
. It was with this book that Neruda became internationally known and respected as a great new poet in the Spanish language.
Looking at this book of poetry and the Italian literary movement Hermeticism (Ermetismo), we will determine if it is adequate to place Neruda within this context. Our answer to this question will also move us towards a ‘Dionysius Materialism’ within the Neruda oeuvre.
Ermetismo was coined by the Italian critic Francesco Flora as a conception that pointed to the mystical element of the origin of poetry. This mystical element is related to the author of the Hermetic Corpus—Hermes Trismegistus.
As Frances A. Yates writes regarding this writer, “Hermes Trismegistrus, a…
I love reading books on trains, planes and buses as well as at airports and bus stations. This time it’s a novel by Michael Delwiche – The Liar’s Guide to South America. I found many real life parallels to my own trip round South America in a few years ago to that of Andrew Mozart.
Andrew Mozart is the lead character. Having been working in a busy UK office and fancying the pants off a woman named Sarah who sat near him, Andrew finds himself falling in love with her, but is too shy to tell her so. Sarah decides to ditch her job and head on an adventure around South America.
Bored and going nowhere, Andrew Mozart books a flight just a few days after Sarah’s flight is due to depart, dead bent on following her to tell her how much he loves her. Inspired by his father’s journeys and supplied with money from his father’s death, Mozart gets on the next plane to Rio.
Author Mike Delwiche uses wit and humour interspersed with his own travel inspiration to tell a tale of a man…
You’ll not be surprised to learn that books play an important part in my life. I’ve written posts about publishing and reading and books quite a bit lately. I did a short review of a fantastic sci-fi series just last weekend, and now I want to introduce a series of blog posts around a new book.
The book is People of the Bear Mother. The author is TD Austin. We emailed back and forth a bit and I asked if she would share her writing experience with us, as I read the book and prepare to write about it.
TD Austin wrote to me, “That the story of our Stone Age ancestors and their inner/spiritual lives should be told by a woman seems to me unremarkable because these hunting cultures were the most egalitarian in
human history. Scientists tell us that the women’s ‘gathering’ activities provided up to 80% of all food calories, that most of the shamans, spiritual leaders and healers were women and that the status of women was truly
equal to that of men in ways that even our modern societies have not yet attained to.
“Even those we now refer to
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of “The Feminine Mystique.”
It’s hard to underestimate the earthshaking effect Betty Friedan’s book had on American women’s lives back then. Many of you weren’t yet born, or were too young like me to grasp its significance, but gender roles were so firmly inscribed that women were expected to be content being mothers and housewives. Astonishingly, “homemaker” was considered an actual profession.
Working-class women, of course, had it even worse. Not only were they stuck in low-paying, dead-end jobs like waitressing, they were also expected to handle the cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the husband and kids.
What’s really shocking to remember is how few legal rights—much less “choices”–women had back then.
As New York Times
columnist Gail Collins
, who wrote the introduction to the anniversary edition of Friedan’s book, recalls:
In 1963, most women weren’t able to get credit without a male co-signer. In some states they couldn’t sit on juries; in others, their husbands had control not only of their property but also of their earnings. Although Friedan obsesses
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