4.30.2002

End of the Modern Age

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, April 26, 2002:

It's the End of the Modern Age
By JOHN LUKACS

   But now we arrive at the greatest and gravest duality -- indeed, the greatest and gravest
   problem looming before us at the end of the Modern Age. Now, for the first time in the
   history of mankind, dangers and catastrophes of nature are potentially (indeed, here and
   there actually) threatening nature and humanity together. Those dangers are man-made. They
   include not only horribly destructive atomic and biological weapons but many effects on
   the nature and on the atmosphere of the globe by the increasing presence and intrusion of
   the results of applied science. So, at the end of the Modern Age, the control and the
   limitation and even the prohibition of some of the applications of science -- including
   genetic engineering -- becomes a, sometimes global, necessity. At the same time, there
   exists no international or supranational (and in most cases not even a national) authority
   that would enforce such measures.


Found via Arts and Letters Daily.

4.29.2002

The Jefferson Muzzles

2002 Muzzles

Since 1992, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has celebrated
the birth and ideals of its namesake by calling attention to those who in the past year forgot
or disregarded Mr. Jefferson's admonition that freedom of speech "cannot be limited without
being lost."

Announced on or near April 13 -- the anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson -- the
Jefferson Muzzles are awarded as a means to draw national attention to abridgments of free
speech and press and, at the same time, foster an appreciation for those tenets of the First
Amendment. Because the importance and value of free expression extend far beyond the First
Amendment's limit on government censorship, acts of private censorship are not spared
consideration for the dubious honor of receiving a Muzzle.

Found via Booknotes.

4.23.2002

It's What's Off

Don't look! It's TV Turnoff Week April 23-29, 2001

International TV-Turnoff Week

   Maybe you think you can't live without TV. But last year five million people spent a week
   doing just that. The TV-Turnoff is a chance to be yourself, without a machine telling you
   what to think and feel. Take a healthy break from TV and you'll find out what you really
   enjoy doing. You'll be watching less, doing more.


As they say: Get out of the box for a week!

Found on Whitedot.org via FmH.

4.10.2002

Robocompanions for Granny?

Robot companions for the elderly? We are reminded of Woody Allen's character in "Sleeper,"
who is afraid that a robot pet will "leave batteries everywhere."

Why are the Japanese so hyped on robots? Don't they have each other? Or is this
just a hidden cultural affection for slavery?

Link found via Boing-Boing.

4.02.2002

Habeous Corpus

The mind/body problem, again. Dreyfus' new book, "On The Internet."

Philosopher's Critique of Online Learning Cites Existentialists (Mostly Dead)
By MICHAEL ARNONE

   Mr. Dreyfus takes pains to show he is neither a Luddite nor a categorical opponent of
   distance education. He has recorded his lectures as MP3's and has broadcast one of his
   courses on the Web. He argues that the structure of the Internet and distance education
   makes excellence in learning online potentially difficult to achieve, but not impossible.
   The obvious truth, he says, is that distance education is better than no education, or
   instructors and students bored in a classroom.


Ah, but he is a Luddite, for they asked long before him for a revolution to not
forget the body, that is, what is human.

Via FMH.