Lest We Forget – a repost in honour of Remembrance Day

poppy350.JPGIN FLANDERS FIELDS

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Lt. Col. John McCrae

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New Content at GAS: In the Spirit of Gutenberg: Blogs and the Democracy of Ideas

I’ve added a new post over at Geeks are Sexy on blogging. Check it out … here’s an excerpt …

Johannes GutenbergBy Lyle Bateman
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

From a perspective of some six centuries later, it’s pretty easy to see the revolution inherent in the idea of movable type, and the printing press. Once a hugely expensive endeavor confined to the scriptoriums of only super-wealthy patrons, book production was suddenly a fraction of the cost.

Read the rest of the post at GAS …

50 years of space @ GeeksAreSexy.net

Scale model of Sputnik 1, from the Muzeum Tekniki, Warsaw, PolandBy Lyle Bateman
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Today marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most significant events of the 20th century. Technology never exists in a vacuum … no matter what technical advancement we think of, there are always social, political, and ideological currents swirling around it as well as the technical currents. But, from time to time, a technical achievement happens that is so significant, it makes others pale in comparison. Such is the story of Sputnik 1, the first human object ever to orbit the earth.

Check out the rest of the article at GeeksAreSexy.net

The Birth, and Abandonment, of the Modern PC

Xerox Star/8010Xerox AltoMost people see the history of the modern PC as an epic battle between Microsoft and Apple, and in many ways, thats exactly what it is. Those two companies have certainly been the most influential over the longest period, and their implementations of technology and ideas have shaped what we see today as a modern computer. What most people don’t realize, I think, is that “the modern PC” actually started with a company that we tend to think of far more closely associated with photocopiers than computers.

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Microcircuits and the future

Its been awhile since I’ve posted about anything from Modern Mechanix, but recently he posted an interesting article from Time Magazine about “The Computer Society.” Published in 1978, the special section contained several articles about the specifics of the new microprocessor revolution going on, including a fascinating look at early “smart home” automation work and a discussion of how deeply computers will extend into our lives. One of the most fascinating aspects of the article is how accurate the predictions are in some cases … ““In schools, computers will be more common than carousel slide projectors, movie projectors and tape recorders. They’ll be used from the moment school opens, through recess, through lunch period, and on as far into the day as the principal will keep the school open.”” While that may seem to a common sense observation from the perspective of 2007, its hard to overstate how revolutionary the notion of schoolroom computers was in 1978. At a time when there was a huge debate about the use of basic pocket calculators, the idea that students might use computers “from the moment school opens, through recess, through lunch period, and on as far into the day as the principal will keep the school open” was seen by some as unthinkable.

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The Emperor’s Old Clothes

Bill Moyers has long been one of the sharpest and most in-depth voices in American Media, a journalist who can take us deeper into a story than almost any other. In his recent look at American media failures in the run up to the Iraq war in 2002 and 2003, Buying the War, he demonstrates that even in 2007, he is still one of the sharpest tools in the shed. It’s a relentlessly detailed time line of the media reporting of the case for war in the last part of 2002 and early 2003 that would be comical to watch were it not frighteningly true, chronicling the misstatements, exaggerations, and spin of media pundits as the Bush administration laid out the case for the Iraq war. Its a long piece, but definitely well worth the time.

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Pacifism does not mean peace

Police attack marchers, Selma Ala, March 7, 1965This week marks the 42nd anniversary of Selma’s Bloody Sunday march, where State Troopers and Sheriffs brutally attacked a crowd of peaceful marchers in the full glare of the national media. For the first time, really, the brutality of the segregationist movement was put on display for the country on March 7, 1965, and in stark contrast, the pacifism of Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers was also laid bare for the country and world to see. That Bloody Sunday march, 42 years ago, is an ideal example of one of the most misunderstood aspects of pacifism, the notion that pacifists are passive, peaceful people who avoid confrontation, that they are somehow more cowardly than people who confront brutality with brutality. Bloody Sunday in Selma puts the lie to that notion, in luxurious black and white imagery.

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