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Archive for the ‘essays’ Category

>Print Media’s Moribund, Digitalize Me!

>Introduction by Don White

Mark Morford Believes As I do — Let the Newspapers Die, We Won’t Miss Them, We Have The Net.

Newspapers are passe. It’s like when people abandoned the horse and buggy for automobiles. The Internet’s so much better, more flexible, powerful, and empowering. . . than newspapers ever were. Besides, I never did cotton to the ink all over my fingers when I read a complete paper all at once, I’d feel dirty and have to wash my hands. And since I don’t drink coffee, I’ll be among the millions who won’t miss nuzzling sweet rolls down with a cup of coffee each morning — as kind of a ritual, it isn’t!
The Net never gets my hands dirty — but it allows me a chance to differ with the writer and see my words in print seconds after I type. Yep, the old fashioned ways are coming to an end — you’d have to call or write (lately you could get on the paper’s web site and emote) your comments and see them in print a few days later. 

Click This: <—Click this link ________________________________________________

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Speed — that’s always better — but don’t kill yourself– at least for me. Quantity — that’s always better on the Net. Infinite quantity, that’s it! And I can travel to Finland, Japan, Alaska, and Iraq all in a few minutes, and read their newspapers for free. What an education! As long as we stear clear of all that immorality on the Net, some of which we call Porn. Some of which is reall scumball stuff I call scams, half truths, and pitiful lies that are titilating your weaker self, the prideful and worldly you, the desire to make some real money on your computer.
Me? I stick to writing for HUB pages, Affiliated Content, Ezines, or something of the kind. They pay, but don’t expect to get rich unless your name is Morford and you write a nationwide column.
Here’s Morford, the more sinful and liberal of the two of us:

+++++++++++++++++++Don White++++++++++++++

Die, newspaper, die?
The geek gurus all weigh in on the end of dead-tree media. Are they wrong?
By Mark Morford

The gurus are all aflutter. Shirky, Winer, Johnson et al, a smart, motley crew of big-name, big-brained tech seers and programmers and futurists have weighed in, guys you’ve probably never heard of unless you’re a Slashdot regular or a co-founder of Digg or have a fetish for hardcore database programming, or maybe if you were stargazing at this year’s big SXSW Interactive event in Austin, Twittering your thumbs off as the digiterati elite strolled around like minor deities. Mark Zuckerberg! Nate Silver! Bruce Effing Sterling! OMG!
It’s all fascinating stuff, sort of. In the wake of the hugely depressing shutdown of the Rocky and the Seattle P.I., and with recent death threats to the SF Chronicle and what looks to be a savage year indeed for print newspapers everywhere, these big guns have all stepped away from their normal discussions of deep tech arcania and turned their attention to a 500-year-old technology undergoing its first epic, bloody revolution.
Each has fired off his own high-profile, widely disseminated, well-Twittered and blogged and cross-posted essay and counter-essay (or in Johnson’s case, a speech at SXSW), each analyzing and prognosticating about what’s to become of print newspapers and the classic, centralized newsroom model. If you have any interest in the future of news media, I highly recommend reading all three.
The grand upshot? They don’t really have any idea. But they have some curious, slippery, hopeful, but ultimately disappointing theories. Theories that, to my mind, consistently miss the mark, in at least one or two vital ways. …
(click here to read the rest)

>A Marriage of Science and Humanities


It wasn’t until 1981 that Alan Lightman began publishing essays about science, the human side of science, and the “mind of science,” beginning with Smithsonian Magazine and moving to Science 82, The New Yorker, and other magazines. Since that time, Lightman’s essays, short fiction, and reviews have appeared in The American Scholar, The Atlantic Monthly, Boston Review, Daedalus, Discover, Exploratorium,ta, Harper’s, Harvard Magazine, Inc Technololgy, Nature, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Science 86, The Sciences, Smithsonian, Story, Technology Review, and World Monitor.

In 1989, Lightman was appointed professor of science and writing, and senior lecturer in physics, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1991 to 1997, he headed the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at MIT. During this period, he helped create a new Communication Requirement at MIT (first instituted in 2001), which requires all MIT undergraduates to have a course equivalent in writing or speaking each of their four years. In 1995, he was appointed John E. Burchard professor of humanities at MIT, a chair named after the first dean of humanities at MIT (1948 – 1964). In 2001, Lightman cofounded the Graduate Program in Science Writing at MIT, which accepted its first students in the fall of 2002. In the same year, he resigned his chair to allow more time for his writing and became adjunct professor at MIT. In 2004, Lightman cofounded the Catalyst Collaborative at MIT, which is a collaboration between MIT and the Underground Railway Theater of Boston. The Catalyst Collaborative aims to convey science and the culture of science through theater. CC@MIT commissions new plays and produces existing plays that involve science or scientists.

As both a distinguished physicist and an accomplished novelist, Lightman is one of only a small number of people who straddle the sciences and the humanities. He was the first professor at MIT to receive a joint appointment in the sciences and the humanities. His essay “In the Name of Love?” was the first article about love and language published in Nature, the prestigious international science journal (October 8, 2001), and his “The First Law of Thermodynamics” was the first short story published in the physics journal Physics Today (May 2005). He has lectured at more than 100 universities nationwide about the similarities and differences in the ways that scientists and artists view the world.

In his scientific work, Lightman has made fundamental contributions to the theory of astrophysical processes under conditions of extreme temperatures and densities. In particular, his research has focused on relativistic gravitation theory, the structure and behavior of accretion disks, stellar dynamics, radiative processes, and relativistic plasmas. He is best known for his discovery, with Douglas Eardley, of a secular instability in accretion disks, which have wide application in astronomy; for his proof, with David Lee, that all gravitation theories obeying the Weak Equivalence Principle must be metric theories of gravity; for his discovery of the negative heat behavior of optically thin, hot thermal plasmas dominated by electron-positron pairs; and for his work on unsaturated inverse Compton scattering in thermal media, also with wide application in astrophysics. His research articles have appeared in The Physical Review, The Astrophysical Journal, Reviews of Modern Physics, Nature, and other journals of physics and astrophysics. For his contributions to physics, he was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1989 and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science the same year. In 1990, he chaired the science panel of the National Academy of Sciences Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee for the 1990s. He is a past chair of the High Energy Division of the American Astronomical Society.

Lightman has also been interested in science education and the philosophy of science. His work in science studies and in science education has been published in The American Scholar, The Physics Teacher, Science, Science and Children, The Science Teacher, and Social Studies of Science.

Lightman’s novel Einstein’s Dreams was an international best seller.
D.White (material from his web site)