Monday, June 28, 2010

Links June 28

Steve Johnson in More On The Shallows:
"...was the intellectual revolution post-Gutenberg driven by the mental experience of long-form reading? Or was it driven by the ability to share information asynchronously, and transmit that information easily around the globe?
actually sitting down to write out a response to something makes you see it in a new way, often with greater complexity. And that of course is the crucial flipside to the decline of long-form reading in the digital age: the increase in short-form writing. If we are slightly less able to focus because of the distractions of electric text, I suspect it is more than made up for by the fact that we are much more likely to write out our responses to what we do read."
Interesting comments too. One response to the question above:
"And, I would add, for ordinary, craftspeople, to gain access to books, reading and importantly book-keeping. These people, in the Protestant countries, were able to use these new skills to change the way they produced goods. To invent the putting out system that is the forerunner of capitalist production.

If slow reading was all that was necessary capitalism would have been invented by the upper class Spanish who had capital, access to science, and a diverse cultural tradition.

But the inquisition restricted what books could be printed. Printers moved to the Protestant countries; the Spanish Netherlands, and England. This made these countries print intensive and comparatively, to use Kevin Kelly’s phrase, made information, ‘fast, cheap and out of control’.

Printers in Holland produced, pornography, ballads, broadsides, playing cards, children’s books, business books and “how to” books. Holland became print intensive in the same way as the United States is TV intensive.

Literacy which had been limited to the upper classes became the definition of adulthood. Where more common people read there was more innovation and therefore more growth of all kinds."
And more.

Robin Hanson revisits Bowles and Gintis in School Attitudes:
"Here’s one accounting of three more specific functions of school:

* Legitimization: Repeated contacts with the educational system, which seems impersonal and based on reliable criteria, convinces students (and their parents) that they are ending up in an appropriate place in society based on their skills and abilities. Thus, people accept their position in life: they become resigned to it, maybe even considering it appropriate or fair.
* Acclimatization: The social relationships in the schools encourage certain traits, appropriate to one’s expected economic position, while discouraging others. Thus,certain relationships are considered normal and appropriate. Subordination to authority is a dominant trait enforced for most students.
* Stratification: Students from different class backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and genders are overwhelmingly exposed to different environments and social relationships and thus are tracked and prepared for different positions in the hierarchy. The different experiences and successes lead each student to see her place as appropriate."
And his latest post on the topic Schools Aren’t Creative.

Real painstaking research Coral Transplantation the Simple and Cheap Solution to Reef Restoration
P.S. From Forbes India: the conscience of capitalism a Lincoln quote:
“I see in the future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the future of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavour to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

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