Saturday, November 25, 2017

One Dumb Note?

I know I got burned criticizing OneNote some time ago, but, I can't help my self. See here. Even if you like OneNote, it might be interesting reading.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Does Social Media Endanger Knowledge?

If you believe this article, knowledge is endangered by social media:
Social networks, though, have since colonized the web for television’s values. From Facebook to Instagram, the medium refocuses our attention on videos and images, rewarding emotional appeals—‘like’ buttons—over rational ones. Instead of a quest for knowledge, it engages us in an endless zest for instant approval from an audience, for which we are constantly but unconsciouly performing. (It’s telling that, while Google began life as a PhD thesis, Facebook started as a tool to judge classmates’ appearances.) It reduces our curiosity by showing us exactly what we already want and think, based on our profiles and preferences. Enlightenment’s motto of ‘Dare to know’ has become ‘Dare not to care to know.’

It is a development that further proves the words of French philosopher Guy Debord, who wrote that, if pre-capitalism was about ‘being’, and capitalism about ‘having’, in late-capitalism what matters is only ‘appearing’—appearing rich, happy, thoughtful, cool and cosmopolitan. It’s hard to open Instagram without being struck by the accuracy of his diagnosis.
I believe all of this is essentially correct, but it is not knowledge that is endangered or threatened. Rather it is the role of knowledge in society. It is not that this threat is new, but rather that it has grown stronger. We will ignore it at our own peril, and, judging by recent developments, we will ignore it. And it will not be the first time.

Nabokov's Dream Diary on Index Cards

It's well know that Nabokov wrote many of his novels on index cards (see here). The Guardian reports that a 1964 dream diary of his will soon be published. It consists of 128 index cards like this:



Apparently, one of Nabokov's main purposes in recording his dreams was recording experiments in "backwards time flow," a rather questionable notion developed by John Dunne. His book An Experiment With Time presents the view that "the human mind has the ability to rove back and forth along the time-line so that precognition is a physical possibility."[1] Not surprisingly, Nabokov's dream diary fails to establish that possibility, but it does shed light on his own rather strange theories about time in the novel Ada, for instance.

I find his use of index cards more interesting than his musings about time.

1.The book can be had at Amazon. Before you buy it, you might also look here.