Weekly Roundup for Jan 20, 2012

This is my first attempt at something like a weekly roundup like I said I should try in To Blog Or To Share?. Hopefully I can maintain it.

  • Martin Luther King Jr on education:
    1. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the ligitimate goals of his life. Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking… We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living.”
  • More quotes:
    • Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
    • I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
    • Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
  • Apple to announce tools, platform to “digitally destroy” textbook publishing

Tumblr

I’m not a fan of Tumblr. At the moment I use it for a partial life stream (a chronological aggregated view of your life activities both online and offline – thanks Krynsky). It is just publishing a feed of several of my blogs. It a very limited public view.

The one main thing I dislike about Tumblr is the lack of comments. While my blog doesn’t have a lot of comments, I like that it offers the opportunity. Tumblr not having the opportunity means publishing in a vacuum. Which I think defeats the purpose. So I’d never use Tumblr to replace this or any other blog unless comments appear or comments become less important to me.

A confusing aspect of their service is the “Re-blog”. It wasn’t clear to me for some time items re-blogged were not created by the person doing so. Unlike most other services making life streams, there is not an indicator an item did not originate from another site other than in many cases they are abbreviated and have a link to the source.

I probably will continue to use it for some time to come. It just is not something I use. Stuff just flows there from the places I do use.

Are Books the Only Way to Learn?

Is the Internet really a bad invention? According to Doris Lessing, yes.

We are in a fragmenting culture, where our certainties of even a few decades ago are questioned and where it is common for young men and women, who have had years of education, to know nothing of the world, to have read nothing, knowing only some speciality or other, for instance, computers.

What has happened to us is an amazing invention – computers and the internet and TV. It is a revolution. This is not the first revolution the human race has dealt with. The printing revolution, which did not take place in a matter of a few decades, but took much longer, transformed our minds and ways of thinking. A foolhardy lot, we accepted it all, as we always do, never asked: “What is going to happen to us now, with this invention of print?” In the same way, we never thought to ask, “How will our lives, our way of thinking, be changed by the internet, which has seduced a whole generation with its inanities so that even quite reasonable people will confess that, once they are hooked, it is hard to cut free, and they may find a whole day has passed in blogging etc?”

Very recently, anyone even mildly educated would respect learning, education and our great store of literature. Of course we all know that when this happy state was with us, people would pretend to read, would pretend respect for learning. But it is on record that working men and women longed for books, evidenced by the founding of working-men’s libraries, institutes, and the colleges of the 18th and 19th centuries. Reading, books, used to be part of a general education. Older people, talking to young ones, must understand just how much of an education reading was, because the young ones know so much less.

We all know this sad story. But we do not know the end of it. We think of the old adage, “Reading maketh a full man” – reading makes a woman and a man full of information, of history, of all kinds of knowledge. A hunger for books

Certainly I understand the perspective. We take the astounding availability of knowledge for granted. Instead of stuffing our brains with more and more information, we are content to waste our time online. I think creating a love of life long learning should be the goal.

Books are great. I love to read. Reading is important, yes. I also love to talk to others about what I’ve been reading. The prevalence of books created the Intellectual Movement in which people published books to discuss ideas. Except for Divine knowledge, ideas are refined through challenging weaknesses or problems. The printing press made it easier for people to publish books and get these ideas to the masses so more can read them and respond by publishing their own books. The Internet and especially blogging has improved the response latency from day to years to minutes.

Collaborative philosophical inquiry helps kids at an early age. These skills serve them well even into high school. This strikes me as similar to how the Intellectual Movement worked. Should this be adopted more broadly, then maybe our kids won’t embarrass Doris?

Espionage vs. First Amendment

Gonzales Says Prosecutions of Journalists Are Possible – New York Times

The government has the legal authority to prosecute journalists for publishing classified information, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said yesterday.

“There are some statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility,” Mr. Gonzales said on the ABC News program “This Week.”

“That’s a policy judgment by the Congress in passing that kind of legislation,” he continued. “We have an obligation to enforce those laws. We have an obligation to ensure that our national security is protected.”

Asked whether he was open to the possibility that The New York Times should be prosecuted for its disclosures in December concerning a National Security Agency surveillance program, Mr. Gonzales said his department was trying to determine “the appropriate course of action in that particular case.”

“I’m not going to talk about it specifically,” he said. “We have an obligation to enforce the law and to prosecute those who engage in criminal activity.”