Naked ladies to the front is the third greatest line in world literature, and one of the top ten military orders in world history along with Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes (1775), England expects that every man will do his duty (1805), and Damn the torpedoes—full speed ahead (1864).
I came across this in a remembrance of Oliver Sacks by Atual Gawande:
Four weeks before Oliver Sacks died, I received a letter from him. In our all too brief correspondence, he never e-mailed. He wrote beautiful, longhand letters on heavy, cream-colored stationery with a blue fountain pen, the script slanting to the left. They were always peppered with cross-outs and insertions that gave a glimpse of his overflowing mind.
“I’m writing a piece on EYES—all sorts, from those of jellyfish and scallops and jumping spiders and octopi to our (vertebrate) eyes,” he reported. “I am also trying to write something about the (deadly) effects of ‘social-media’ when they absorb people, to the exclusion of everything else, throughout their waking hours.” He told of his delight in coming upon a century-old E. M. Forster short story called “The Machine Stops.” “Do you know it?” he asked. Forster, he said, had foreseen such possibilities.
I remember reading it in High School in English class - a class built around reading stories, short stories and poems about utopias and dystopias. Written in 1909, it is now free of copyright and worth reading.
A guest post on Kory Merritt's children's books by Sukie:
When I first found Kory Merritt’s work I felt just like I suspect I would have felt had I found Chas Addams early in his career. I knew that I was watching the budding of genius.
Strong words? Kory Merritt’s work is quirky, at times spooky without being too scary for grade school kids, and he can make even the most improbable characters multidimensional and endearing in his art work, wording, and plots. Besides, he has managed to come up with many of the most amazing ice cream flavor names ever devised, and some of the strangest characters. To see some of those characters just go to
Although I am a lot older than 14 and some of our relatives are younger than 11, we and they already have preorders for the book which will come out in early October.
So, if you enjoy moving characters with strange appearances, fun stories, and seeking unexpected hidden gems then definitely give _The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York, a Yarn for the Strange at Heart_ a try!
If you want to share info on a fun book with people who have children, classes, libraries, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, or others who are young at heart then pass along this post to them. Feel free! I do not mind being quoted about how marvelous Kory’s work can be and has been. With a first issue of 5,000 copies I expect them to sell out fast and do not want to wait for the second printing so have already ordered, an action I recommend.
Dan Gillmor sent a notice of a media literacy course he's been working on. A MOOC designed to help people manage information overload. Free unless you want a certificate.
Week 1 – How media have changed; key principles for becoming an active user of media; and why media/news literacy is so important in a data-saturated environment. What it means to be a critical thinker.
Week 2 – Be skeptical of everything, but not equally skeptical of everything. Why judgement is so important. More on why we all need a personal credibility scale. We’ll look at the two-sides fallacy, understanding risk (statistical), social media and the velocity of information.
Week 3 – BS detection with Howard Rheingold. Slant vs. opinion; astroturfing and native advertising, where to find credible information.
Week 4 – Opening our minds: Escaping echo chambers and filter bubbles. Recognizing “confirmation bias” in ourselves, not just others. Seeking out opposing views and other cultural worldviews.
Week 5 – Literacy is also creation: Principles of creating media with integrity: Ownership of media, tools for creating media, legal and ethical issues in media creation, integrity in creating media.
Week 6 – Trust and reputation in a saturated media landscape. How media providers engender trust (or mistrust), fact-checking, transparency, community. How we in the audience can help our information providers be more trustworthy. Why we – audiences and information providers alike – need to adopt a “slow news” approach.
Week 7 - Next steps: How you can put all of this into long-term action; why you should be a media literacy advocate (and how to do it). Plus: resources for parents and teachers.
1996 Charlie Rose interviews Carl Sagan prior to his death
We’ve arranged a society on science and technology in which nobody understands anything about science and technology, and this combustible mixture of ignorance and power sooner or later is going to blow up in our faces. I mean, who is running the science and technology in a democracy if the people don’t know anything about it.