Posts Tagged “Future Speculation”

07w42:5 Richard Rorty Selections

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I found these initially in the compilation Philosophy and Social Hope (1999) and was very happy to find them both online in order to share. – Timothy

The Humanistic Intellectual: Eleven Theses | Richard Rorty (1989)
“If one asks what good these people do, what social function they perform, neither ‘teaching’ nor ‘research’ is a very good answer. Their idea of teaching—or at least of the sort of teaching they hope to do—is not exactly the communication of knowledge, but more like stirring the kids up. When they apply for a leave or a grant, they may have to fill out forms about the aims and methods of their so-called research projects, but all they really want to do is read a lot more books in the hope of becoming a different sort of person. So the real social function of the humanistic intellectuals is to instill doubts in the students about the students’ own self-images, and about the society to which they belong. These people are the teachers who help insure that the moral consciousness of each new generation is slightly different from that of the previous generation. […] Philosophers of education, well-intended committees, and governmental agencies have attempted to understand, define, and manage the humanities. The point, however, is to keep the humanities changing fast enough so that they remain indefinable and unmanageable. All we need to keep them changing that fast is good old-fashioned academic freedom. Given freedom to shrug off the heresy-hunters and their cries of “politicization!,” as well as freedom for each new batch of assistant professors to despise and repudiate the departmental Old Guard to whom they owe their jobs, the humanities will continue to be in good shape. If you don’t like the ideological weather in the local English department these days, wait a generation. Watch what happens to the Nietzscheanized left when it tries to replace itself, along about the year 2010. I’m willing to bet that the brightest new Ph.D.’s in English that year will be people who never want to hear the terms ‘binary opposition’ or ‘hegemonic discourse’ again as long as they live.” [emp mine]

Fraternity Reigns | Richard Rorty (1996)
“Our long, hesitant, painful recovery, over the last five decades, from the breakdown of democratic institutions during the Dark Years (2014-2044) has changed our political vocabulary, as well as our sense of the relation between the moral order and the economic order. Just as 20th-century Americans had trouble imagining how their pre-Civil War ancestors could have stomached slavery, so we at the end of the 21st century have trouble imagining how our great-grandparents could have legally permitted a C.E.O. to get 20 times more than her lowest-paid employees. We cannot understand how Americans a hundred years ago could have tolerated the horrific contrast between a childhood spent in the suburbs and one spent in the ghettos. Such inequalities seem to us evident moral abominations, but the vast majority of our ancestors took them to be regrettable necessities. […] H ere, in the late 21st century, as talk of fraternity and unselfishness has replaced talk of rights, American political discourse has come to be dominated by quotations from Scripture and literature, rather than from political theorists or social scientists. Fraternity, like friendship, was not a concept that either philosophers or lawyers knew how to handle.”[emp mine]
// In the above named book, this was reprinted as ‘Looking Backwards from the Year 2096’.

07w07:1 The Podern

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The Cultural Environment at the turn of the 21st Century | Timothy Comeau
“The Podern was so called because P followed O which followed N which followed M; so wrote the historian who coined the term. But a rival school of thought argues that the Podern is specific to the autumn of 2001 when Apple Incoperated introduced the iPod, which became the defining artifact of the time. As the iPod allowed for the assembly and playback of a vast amount of files (which hadn’t been possible before, and the iPod’s storage capacity at the time was unique) it is seen to be an appropriate term for this period since its culture consisted to a large extant of reassembly and recontextualization.”

Apple Music Event 2001-The First Ever iPod Introduction | Apple Inc.

Original iPod Introduction | Apple Inc

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05w09:2 Future Followups

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 9 number 2 (future followups)

——————————————————————— Future Feed Forward
Thanks to Dana Samuel for letting me know about this.

Ten Years Later | Richard A. Clarke
“It is a great honor to be chosen to give this tenth-anniversary lecture. This year, more than at any other time since the beginning of the war on terror, I think we can see clearly how that war has changed our country. Now that the terror seems finally to have receded somewhat, perhaps we can begin to consider the steps necessary to return the United States to what it was before 9/11. To do so, however, we must be clear about what has happened over the past ten years. Thus tonight I will dwell on the history of the war on terror.”This appeared in The Atlantic in January, and is archived on this blog.

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 01 March 2005 @ 6:40 PM

05w06:3 Documents from the Future

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 6 number 3 (documents from the future)


Former President George W. Bush Dead at 72 | Greil Marcus
“Policy Review, October 5, 2018–George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, died today at Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. He was 72. The cause of death was announced as heart failure.”

“In the year 2014, The New York Times has gone offline. The Fourth Estate’s fortunes have waned. What happened to the news? And what is EPIC?”Flash presentation, 8 minutes

August 2009: How Google beat Amazon and Ebay to the Semantic Web | Paul Ford
“It’s hard to believe Google – which is now the world’s largest single online marketplace – came on the scene only a little more than 8 years ago, back in the days when Amazon and Ebay reigned supreme. So how did Google become the world’s single largest marketplace?”

The Microsoft Memo | Gary Wolf
“DATE: 10.31.2008 TO: BILL FROM: LINUS RE: Will Steve kill WinX? […] After all our technical and strategic conflicts, I bet you never guessed we’d be at each other’s throats over a matter of pronunciation. But the fact is, when Steve goes to a marketing meeting, as he did yesterday, and pronounces our desktop system ‘Winux,’ he jeopardizes not only my personal reputation, but, more important, the very foundation of our business and software approach for the next decade. The desktop system is not ‘Winux,’ as in Linux. As he knows very well. WinX is pronounced like ‘winks.’ “

Jon Stewart for President | Paul Matthews
“September 25, 2008 – During the foreign-policy debate, Stewart scores points by calling the Governor on his campaign and its promises: ‘Arnie is selling you a dream that Survivor: Iraq is finally going to end with the cute guy as the winner. And you?re all lapping it up. This is politics, people, not a movie!'”Future part here is from the article’s sidebar, printed at the end

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emailed by Timothy on Friday 11 February 2005 @ 2:57 PM (Permalink)

04w37:2 A Canadian Education

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 37 number 2 (a canadian education)

The article by Alanna Mitchell is on the Globe and Mail site, which recently instituted a registration policy, so you may be prompted. I’ll give you all a chance to register with them and ‘help them help us’ (as they say in their editorial on the subject) before providing a quicky password as I’ve done in the past. – Timothy

——————————————————————— Canada’s public schools attract foreign families willing to pay dearly | Alanna Mitchell
“Young Robert is part of a thriving new market for Canadian school boards, which are following the lead of universities that have long vied for high-paying foreign students. […] Mr. Wilson said Canada’s main attraction is the excellent international reputation of its publicly funded education system. Canadian students do well in international tests — a key factor for foreign parents considering sending their children abroad — and the school system is well-financed compared with other industrialized countries. […] For Robert Sun’s parents, buying a Canadian education for their boy serves several purposes. The first is to expose him to ideas beyond the scope of the Taiwanese education system. ‘Right now it’s a global world. We would like to have our son have a global mind,’ said his mother, Rebecca Tsang, 46. It’s also a great way for him to perfect his English, and with the Mandarin he already knows, he should be positioned well to find a good job, she said. Another big draw for Ms. Tsang and her husband, Frank Sun, 55, who jointly own a trading company in Taipei, is that the Canadian public-school system teaches children to think deeply and creatively, rather than the tough-minded rote learning that takes place throughout East Asia. “

Canada in the 24th Century | Timothy B. Brown
“A national effort began in the 22nd century to make Canada the higher education center of the world. A tremendous effort was put into motion at that time to attract great thinkers to Canada to teach, to build facilities which would draw students from around the world, and to build a worldwide reputation for superb education and positive results. Canada correctly recognized the economic potential in being a leader in education. Othe r nations eventually began sending students, as a matter of national policy, to Canada, not wanting to be left behind in the thinking of the age. By the end of the century Canada had achieved its goal and remains the uncontested master of higher education on Earth. ”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 07 September 2004 @ 4:52 PM

04w21:2 Thoughts on Painting

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Good Reads Mailing List 2004 week 21 number 2 (thoughts on painting)


The next big thing? There isn’t one | Adrian Searle
“Current art is marked, if anything, by its plurality. One might also talk about there being many art worlds: international and local, the world of alternative spaces and that of museums; and all those galleries that specialise in their different ways, and who sell to very different kinds of collector. And all those tribes of artists, with their friendship patterns, animosities, their competitiveness and career jealousies, their divergent beliefs and world views. There is less conformity than one might think. […] There are good figurative paintings and bad (often good or bad for very different reasons), just as there is good and bad video art, photography, sculpture and so on. The assumption that figurative painting in particular is under threat, or somehow ignored by public and private institutions[…]is actually a nonsense.”

Embracing the Art of Hacking | Michelle Delio
“…a new book by programmer Paul Graham gives the concept a fresh twist by advising hackers to improve their skills by borrowing creative techniques from other artists. Billed as a guide into the minds and motivations of hackers, Hackers & Painters, [is] due to be released by O’Reilly Media later this month […] Graham slams the artistic conceit that all art is good and taste is purely subjective, pointing out that if you aren’t willing to say that some creations aren’t beautiful then you’ll never develop the aesthetic muscles necessary to define and develop good work. Graham steers programmers, writers and other artists toward simplicity, making the point that ornate stylistic embellishments often cover up lack of substance, whether you are writing a computer application or a novel. He urges anyone who is involved in creative work not to get pretentious and to retain her or his sense of humor, noting that ‘good design may not have to be funny, but it’s hard to imagine something that could be called humorless also being good design.’ ”

Hackers and Painters | Paul Graham
“When I finished grad school in computer science I went to art school to study painting. A lot of people seemed surprised that someone interested in computers would also be interested in painting. They seemed to think that hacking and painting were very different kinds of work– that hacking was cold, precise, and methodical, and that painting was the frenzied expression of some primal urge. Both of these images are wrong. Hacking and painting have a lot in common. In fact, of all the different types of people I’ve known, hackers and painters are among the most alike.”

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emailed by Timothy on Friday 21 May 2004 @ 1:56 PM

04w10:2 History

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 10 number 2 (history)


The Reasons for the Current Upsurge in Memory | Pierre Nora
“It is of crucial importance, for it has shattered the unity of historical time, that fine, straightforward linearity which traditionally bound the present and the future to the past. In effect, it was the way in which a society, nation, group or family envisaged its future that traditionally determined what it needed to remember of the past to prepare that future; and this in turn gave meaning to the present, which was merely a link between the two. Broadly speaking, the future could be interpreted in one of three ways, which themselves determined the image people had of the past. It could be envisaged as a form of restoration of the past, a form of progress or a form of revolution. Today, we have discarded these three ways of interpreting the past, which made it possible to organize a ‘history’. We are utterly uncertain as to what form the future will take. And because of this uncertainty, the present-which, for this very reason no doubt, now has a battery of technical means at its disposal for preserving the past- puts us under an obligation to remember. We do not know what our descendants will need to know about ourselves in order to understand their own lives. And this inability to anticipate the future puts us under an obligation to stockpile, as it were, in a pious and somewhat indiscriminate fashion, any visible trace or material sign that might eventually testify to what we are or what we will have become. ”

Artifact: Visionary Art | Charles Paul Freund
“These spectacles, auctioned in the fall by Sotheby’s, are said to have belonged to J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), the British painter whose wholly original treatment of luminosity late in his career inspired the Impressionists and revolutionized art. But British eye surgeon James McGill, a student of Turner’s work, believes the glasses are evidence that Turner’s late style was actually a result of his deteriorating vision. Turner ‘was painting exactly what he saw,’ McGill told Britain’s Guardian. ”

Artifact: Webcam in the Round | Charles Paul Freund
“Behold the Tholos, where the webcam meets the circular, painted panorama of the 19th century. The device, which features a 23-foot wrap-around screen some 10 feet high, works in pairs: People gathered at one Tholos can see real-time, life-size HDTV images of people around a distant partner device, with microphones enabling users to converse.”

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emailed by Timothy on Wednesday 03 March 2004 @ 2:09 PM