[Beowulf] how Google warps your brain

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Mon Oct 25 17:15:17 EDT 2010


On Mon, 25 Oct 2010, Kilian CAVALOTTI wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 4:53 PM, Robert G. Brown <rgb at phy.duke.edu> wrote:
>> the <i>mean</i> lifetime of <i>most</i> books
>
> With all due respect (and a lot is due), using HTML tags to mark
> emphasis using a console-only email client, *this* /is/ quite
> _twisted_. :)

Perhaps you'd prefer \emph{\latex}?  Look, my fingers know only two
kinds of markup at the point where the bot can touchtype them.  And I'm
trying to {\em retrain} the bot because {\em \bf certain kinds} of
latexisms are so, like, yesterday and I'm getting in trouble with pandoc
as it absolutely \textbf{chokes} on them.

> I would add that being able to easily reconstruct a (physical or
> logical) codec system is a mandatory requirement, but that being able
> to decode content with no other physical device than the mere support
> is a big plus. That's precisely the huge advantage of printed books
> over any electronical support you can imagine: you don't need anything
> but your eyes and candle light to extract content from them.

Yes, if civilization ever collapses, we'll really miss AM radio and
books and we might have to play actual music ourselves on analog devices
like "trumpets" and "drums".

> About physical supports: optical media gets scratched, magnetic media
> gets demagnetized, electronic media gets obsoleted, paper media
> degrades, stone engraved media takes a lot of room on your shelves.
> There's no such thing as a universally good and eternal support.
> Ever-going duplication is probably the only way to preserve content on
> the long run.

That seems to be the principle adopted by biological evolution, at any
rate.  Works great until you break the chain of transmission, and the
accumulated bit errors can work to your advantage or against it, if you
implement them in a suitable selective environment....

That would be a very interesting project, actually.  What would a
cross-breeding of Shakespeare and Rebel without a Cause look like?

Oh, wait, that would be West Side Story.

    rgb

>
> Cheers,
> -- 
> Kilian
>
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Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu


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