Crappy Weather; Staying Inside to Blog and Do Laundry
- Timothy Noah of Slate discusses the potential removal of the Wikipedia entry on himself. Excerpt: Talk about humiliating! Wikipedia does not, it assures readers, measure notability "by Wikipedia editors' own subjective judgments." In other words, it was nothing personal. But to be told one has been found objectively unworthy hardly softens the blow. "Think of all your friends and colleagues who've never been listed," a pal consoled. Cold comfort. If you've never been listed in Wikipedia, you can always argue that your omission is an oversight. Not me. I've been placed under a microscope and, on the basis of careful and dispassionate analysis, excluded from the most comprehensive encyclopedia ever devised. Ouch!
- Here's Susie Bright on the Great Scrotum Debate of '07, a debate with which those of you in the world of publishing or libraries are likely already familiar. For those not in the know, the current recipient of The Newbery Medal, the Oscar of children's books, features the word
"Nutsack""Scrotum" on the first page. This accomodates those who enjoy objecting to books without reading them (as opposed to those like me who defend books without reading them) in that they only have a few paragraphs to sift through. Excerpt: Squeamish school librarians, screaming at a single word they deemed "offensive," have put the screws to a scrumptious award-winning children's book called, of all things, The Higher Power of Lucky. Have our public-knowledge custodians lost their scruples? ...This story has pushed the Flying Spaghetti Monster envelope. Ever since Kansas ruled against evolution, and our current President encouraged a world-view that was created in seven days, there is a sense among scientific and empirically-minded Americans that our educational system has lost its marbles. These people, including myself, are the majority, not the Sunday School of the Week Club. We're easily alarmed by any evidence that we've have been swallowed into a Jonah's Whale of a fairy tale that never stops spouting off.
- TBSATIOAAE has three thought-provoking posts on The Wisdom of Clouds -- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Excerpts from Part 3 -- The thesis: The world is cloudier. Proposition 1: There are more people, objects and ideas. Subproposition 1.3: There are more ideas. There are more ideas? What a ludicrous proposition. For one thing, it’s impossible to test. Actually, it’s impossible to think. What is an idea? What’s an idea part, what’s an idea whole? How many “ideas” exist in Pirates of the Caribbean? How many ideas are there in the average email or telephone conversation? How would we count them even if we could identity them. It’s a completely jello-y problem, fraught with difficulty, and several times on the train back from Cambridge, I found myself thinking, "it's a very bad idea to say that there are more ideas. How would we know? ...The internet is a new urbanization. It changes what we think and multiplies the ideas with which we think. Come to that the internet actually makes for a globalization. Ready access to sites like Wikipedia and about.com allow us to deepen our understanding of any one of idea and to cast the net in search of new ideas. Even as we become ever more urban, I can be more global, traversing intellectual continents, sailing opinion seas that would otherwise have taken more substantial investments of time and energy. The internet makes me a citizen of worlds outside my own, and this too must multiply the ideas at my disposal. At the very least, it will renew the urbanization effect by which I am exposed to more difference and obliged to offer more explicitness. Access to people and difference of opinion forces me to be more explicit. Access to more intellectual resources empowers my internal hedgehog to cultivate what I do know and it empowers my internal fox to find out things I don't know, in both cases multiplying the ideas I call my own.