For Your Consideration – 10

These “For Your Consideration” posts have been few and far between of late. The pace may pick up to something close to weekly, which was my original intent. Or, it may not. We’ll see. If only writing this blog were my full-time occupation. Alas, it is not, barring the unexpected appearance of some foolishly generous patron. That said, I have found it fairly easy to post about a link a day at the Facebook page I set up for The Frailest Thing. So if you’d like a more regular stream of suggested readings related to technology and society feel free to “Like” the page (that phrase persists in sounding rather ridiculous) by clicking the icon just to the right of this text.  I’ll only note that the links there will be more narrowly focused on matters technological while those I include in these posts tend to be a bit more eclectic. So without further ado …

“Synthetic double-helix faithfully stores Shakespeare’s sonnets”:

“DNA packs information into much less space than other media. For example, CERN, the European particle-physics lab near Geneva, currently stores around 90 petabytes of data on some 100 tape drives. Goldman’s method could fit all of those data into 41 grams of DNA.”


“The remedy for the problems created by information technology is more information technology.”

“In his 1689 De arte Excerpendi, the Hamburg rhetorician Vincent Placcius described a scrinium literatum, or literary cabinet, whose multiple doors held 3,000 hooks on which loose slips could be organized under various headings and transposed as necessary.2 Two of the cabinets were eventually built, one for Placcius’s own use and one acquired by Leibniz.”

“Google and the future of search: Amit Singhal and the Knowledge Graph”:

“‘We are maniacally focusing on the user to reduce every possible friction point between them, their thoughts and the information they want to find.’ Getting ever closer to Page’s brain implants, in effect.”

“The Pope’s Social Media Guru On @Pontifex’s First Tweet”:

“As Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Tighe is the Pope’s social media guy.”

“It’s almost like the equivalent of the old marketplaces where Jesus went to engage people. That’s where we have to be, with all of its ambiguities and difficulties, because that’s where the people are.”

“Why We Should Memorize Poetry”:

“My late colleague Joseph Brodsky, who died in 1996, used to appall his students by requiring them to memorize something like a thousand lines each semester. He felt he was preparing them for the future; they might need such verses later in life.”

‘I am what I am attached to’: On Bruno Latour’s ‘Inquiry into the Modes of Existence’:

“The Economy — the pride and joy of the Moderns and of the “hard” social sciences — illustrates this well. What a mad construction Latour shows it to be! It is Providence itself, a second Nature, a religion that presides over the distribution of all that is good and evil.”

“Speak, Memory”:

“It is startling to realize that some of our most cherished memories may never have happened—or may have happened to someone else. I suspect that many of my enthusiasms and impulses, which seem entirely my own, have arisen from others’ suggestions, which have powerfully influenced me, consciously or unconsciously, and then been forgotten.”

“SIRI RISING: The Inside Story Of Siri’s Origins — And Why She Could Overshadow The iPhone”:0

“This Siri — the Siri of the past — offers a glimpse at what the Siri of the future may provide, and a blueprint for how a growing wave of artificially intelligent assistants will slot into our lives. The goal is a human-enhancing and potentially indispensable assistant that could supplement the limitations of our minds and free us from mundane and tedious tasks.”

The Internet as seen from 1969:

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