Remember Farenheit 451, François Truffaut’s classic movie about a future world where the job of the Fire Department is to burn books? These days they’re not burning books they’re digitizing them. The reason is because if they don’t they will disintegrate before our eyes. And when they do, there goes our history. Only problem is the digital media they use is obsolete long before the books disappear. And human memory is appallingly short. So whatever it is you cherish, better enjoy it while it lasts. Oops, there goes another terrabyte…
The Internet Archive
DeepspeedMedia.com | Feb 13
This video features Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and his colleagues Robert Miller, director of books, and Alexis Rossi, director of web collections. On a mission to create universal access to all knowledge, the Internet Archive’s staff have built the world’s largest online library, offering 10 petabytes of archived websites, books, movies, music, and television broadcasts. The video includes a tour of the Internet Archive’s headquarters in San Francisco, the book scanning center, and the book storage facilities in Richmond, California.
Following is an excerpt from Steven Brill’s excellent Time Magazine cover article on the exorbitant cost of Medical care in America. The bottom line is that American’s are being robbed blind by the healthcare and medical insurance professions and there isn’t a damned thing they can do about it. If Congress and the republicans get your blood boiling you better not read this…
Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us
Steven Brill | Time Magazine | 21 Feb 13
Below is an excerpt of Steve Brill’s Special Report for TIME. Sean Recchi is a 42-Year-Old from Lancaster, Ohio, who was told last March that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
I got the idea for this article when I was visiting Rice University last year. As I was leaving the campus, which is just outside the central business district of Houston, I noticed a group of glass skyscrapers about a mile away lighting up the evening sky. The scene looked like Dubai. I was looking at the Texas Medical Center, a nearly 1,300-acre, 280-building complex of hospitals and related medial facilities, of which MD Anderson is the lead brand name. Medicine had obviously become a huge business. (In fact, of Houston’s top 10 employers, five are hospitals, including MD Anderson with 19,000 employees; three, led by ExxonMobil with 14,000 employees, are energy companies.) How did that happen? I wondered. Where’s all that money coming from? And where is it going? I have spent the past seven months trying to figure out by analyzing a variety of bills from hospitals like MD Anderson, doctors, drug companies and every other player in the American health care ecosystem.
Gary Wills has written a book questioning the legitimacy of priests in Catholic heirarchy. In light of their recent pedophilic history this question takes on greater relevance. This book joins a long list of others, including the works of Galileo and Luther, which raised uncomfortable questions about Catholic belief and its more extreme expressions. Like them, it will be condemned or ignored. Let one brick fall and the whole Gothic edifice may crumble…
Randall Balmer | NYTimes Book Review | 15 Feb 13
Garry Wills wants us to know that he really bears no animus toward priests. Truly. Some of his best friends, not to mention his mentors, are priests. His quarrel is not with priests but with the specious notion of the priesthood, which, he argues, finds no precedent in the early church and precious little warrant in the New Testament.
Jesus never claimed for himself the mantle of priesthood, nor did he, a Jew, hail from the priestly tribe of Levi. The sole reference to Jesus as priest in the New Testament, Wills says, occurs in the Epistle to the Hebrews, an enigmatic letter of unknown provenance. The writer of the letter introduces the notion of Jesus as priest not in the line of Aaron (Levite) but in the tradition of Melchizedek, the obscure Canaanite king of Salem who makes a cameo appearance in Genesis and is mentioned again briefly in Psalm 110.
10th-century Bible at St. Mary of Zion, Aksum, Ethiopia.
For those of you over 40, this is how books used to be produced. They called it “craftsmanship”. The goal was quality, not profit. Esthetic value, not mass-market expediency. You could take one of these things and put it on your shelf (called a “bookcase) where you and your guests could admire and read it any time you wanted. You could loan it freely or even give it away as a Christmas present. Maybe someday, when we reach a new level of technology, we will rediscover the wonder of these simple documents so lovingly made and beautifully designed…
John Carrera | Quercus Press | 2011
________________________________________________________________________________ John Carrera is Proprietor of Quercus Press: Letterpress and Bindery in Waltham, MA.
How do you read a two-thousand-year-old manuscript by Archimedes that has been erased, cut up, written on, welded with Elmer’s glue and painted over? With a particle accelerator, of course. Specifically the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource at Stamford University in Palo Alto, CA. And that was after scraping off all the wax. In an age when more and more of human communication is generated and stored in the form of electronic digital bits and bytes it’s useful to consider what the archivists of 3012 will do to unearth what we said and wrote in 2012…
Revealing the lost codex of Archimedes
William Noel | TED | May 12
________________________________________________________________________________ William Noel is the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books at the Walters Art Museum. Since 1999 Noel has spearheaded the conservation of a manuscript known as the Archimedes Palimpsest. The palimpsest is a unique Byzantine prayer book made up of parchments which contain hidden writings from three original previously-unknown texts: treatises written by Archimedes; works by the 4th-century B.C. Attic Orator Hyperides; and 3rd-century commentary on Aristotle’s Categories, by an unknown author. Using a powerful particle accelerator Noel and his team were able to uncover the hidden texts and publish all their images and findings on the Internet, available to anyone for free under a Creative Commons license. Noel currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where he curates at the Walters, working to ensure that the public has free digital access to his collection.
In a provocative new book, “The New Jim Crow”, law professor Michelle Alexander points to the disparity of how this nation has waged it so-called ‘War on Drugs’ and the resulting imbalance in the racial makeup of America’s prison system as evidence of a de-facto ‘Jim Crow’ policy toward non-whites in this country. There is no conspiracy afoot, no midnight meetings of hooded zealots. But the net effect of America’s drug laws and their enforcement is the disenfranchisement of a significant percentage of the non-white population of this country. In age of a black President and seeming colorblindness in all other aspects of our society this idea may rankle some who thought we had buried that hatchet a long time ago. But then, they’re not sitting in jail or dealing the consequences of their non-status as a drug felon…
Drug Policy as Race Policy: Best Seller Galvanizes the Debate
Jennifer Schuessler | NYTimes | 6 Mar 12
Garry McCarthy, a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, did not expect to hear anything too startling when he appeared at a conference on drug policy organized last year by an African-American minister in Newark, where he was the police director.
Now students, this video shows the manufacturing of a book. That’s “book”, defined as a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers. A book is something you read in order to gain knowledge, learn about history or ideas, to experience another’s dreams or share personal experience. Books are not a a digital gadget. They do not glow in the dark. They come in millions of colors and forms and they are often full of marvelous illustrations, drawings, photos or diagrams. If you ever have an opportunity to hold a book in your hands you should take the opportunity to see what a joyful invention they are. Unfortunately the opportunities for doing that are coming to a close…
This article is an introduction to Jonathan Alter’s reviews of books appealing to liberals in today’s Times Book Review section. Andre Agassi used to make a lot of money saying “image is everything.” Of course he wasn’t just talking about cameras. These days the image of so-called liberals is that they walk loudly and carry a small stick. Perhaps when they lose a third of their seats in Congress they’ll decide it’s time to toughen up…
The State of Liberalism
Jonathan Alter | NYTimes | 21 Oct 10
It’s a sign of how poorly liberals market themselves and their ideas that the word “liberal” is still in disrepute despite the election of the most genuinely liberal president that the political culture of this country will probably allow. “Progressive” is now the self-description of choice for liberals, though it’s musty and evasive. The basic equation remains: virtually all Republican politicians call themselves conservative; few Democratic politicians call themselves liberal. Even retired Classic Coke liberals like Walter F. Mondale are skittish about their creed. “I never signed up for any ideology,” he writes in his memoirs.
I was raised on words. They tumbled off the kitchen table onto the floor where I sat: grandfather, uncles, and refugees flung Russian, Polish, Yiddish, French, and what passed for English at one another in a competitive cascade of assertion and interrogation. Sententious flotsam from the Edwardian-era Socialist Party of Great Britain hung around our kitchen promoting the True Cause. I spent long, happy hours listening to Central European autodidacts arguing deep into the night: Marxismus, Zionismus, Socialismus. Talking, it seemed to me, was the point of adult existence. I have never lost that sense.