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Bloggingheads 08-05-2010 08:01 PM

Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 

Winspur 08-05-2010 09:03 PM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
27:00 But instead of cutting down trees, we must remove mountaintops in West Virginia for coal for energy to recharge our Kindles.

StillmanThomas 08-05-2010 10:17 PM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Winspur (Post 173818)
27:00 But instead of cutting down trees, we must remove mountaintops in West Virginia for coal for energy to recharge our Kindles.

Good point. The problem with so much high tech energy use is that it seems invisible, or free. Here's an interesting article about the environmental impact of Google. It's a little dated, but the underlying idea is vital. Google consumes an absolutely obscene amount of energy, as do Kindles, iPads, and all of our "low impact" gadgets.

chamblee54 08-05-2010 11:36 PM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
Why does Mr. Grossman have a pitchfork behind him?

http://chamblee54.files.wordpress.co.../0805-06bh.jpg

chamblee54

graz 08-05-2010 11:42 PM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chamblee54 (Post 173843)

http://chamblee54.files.wordpress.co.../0805-06bh.jpg

chamblee54

Why does Mr. Grossman have a pitchfork behind him?

In service to your art?

nikkibong 08-06-2010 12:43 AM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
les grossman? sweet!
http://images.rottentomatoes.com/ima...s_grossman.jpg

oh, er, sorry lev.

uncle ebeneezer 08-06-2010 02:11 AM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
Lev and Reihan are both distantly trailing this guy for bald/headset coolness.

CHUD 08-06-2010 03:04 AM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
I wonder what Lev's gamerscore is?

JonIrenicus 08-06-2010 05:16 AM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chamblee54 (Post 173843)
Why does Mr. Grossman have a pitchfork behind him?

http://chamblee54.files.wordpress.co.../0805-06bh.jpg

chamblee54

Until proven otherwise, I'm going to assume he is some sort of high priest of scientology.

Kevin 08-06-2010 06:24 AM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
I enjoyed this diavlog but I wished for some acknowledgment of tech's potential complicity in harmful or mismanaged war-on-terror projects targeting the general public, with AT&T wiretapping as my basis in precedent. AT&T said yes when asked. I think the big tech companies would as well, including the big five or six household word companies discussed in the dv and seen as "cool."

So what if they do cooperate - did any innocent person have their life disrupted or harmed due to warrantless wiretapping? I don't know, I'd like to know, but at a bare minimum it colors what I feel about AT&T - lingering resentment, no trust, their published privacy policies weren't worth shit so I doubt anyone else's are either. I don't see any big difference in the Darth Vader quotient of a telco and of Apple, Facebook, etc.

DenvilleSteve 08-06-2010 09:27 AM

In other news ...
 
There was a shooting in Connecticut this past week. Does anyone think Obama will attend the funeral of the victims?

Don Zeko 08-06-2010 12:46 PM

Re: In other news ...
 
Why is this important, exactly?

stephanie 08-06-2010 12:52 PM

Re: In other news ...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 173885)
Why is this important, exactly?

I knew I wasn't listening carefully to every bit, but how did I miss the entire discussion of this crucial issue?

Fun diavlog. Talk about books and publishing and book technology is a nice change.

nikkibong 08-06-2010 02:20 PM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
'never let me go' was abysmal -- boring, predictable, unbelievably dry and lifeless. postively parching.

the guardian memorably lampooned it:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardia...orpressreview7

that was absolutely hilarious to anyone who had the misfortune of reading the actual book.

uncle ebeneezer 08-06-2010 02:56 PM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
Totally disagree. I thought it was a pretty amazing novel. I would encourage people to check it out and see for themselves.

fred66 08-06-2010 05:16 PM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by graz (Post 173844)
In service to your art?

I wondered the same but realised after the first 15 minutes or so it was a prop especially prepared for the Amazon discussion.
Damn, I've been so delighted at the ease and price at which I can buy books through Amazon, after Lev's comments I'll always feel guilty now when I click the buy button.

fred66 08-06-2010 05:32 PM

In celebration of paper
 
So rare to find myself nodding with virtually everything someone says. Lev speaks for me when talking about how books should exist physically, even if not being read. How his library is a map of his mind. This comment struck me "Be conscious of what is evaporating when we make something ephemeral".

I disagree though with this idea that we have been data starved and are now getting a rich diet. I feel like I'm getting, to use the food analogy, lots of junk food. I used to get gourmet cooking (along with some bad cooking), now I get tons of McDonalds dumped on me every day, and it needs a big effort to screen the rubbish out. Somedays I'd be better off getting no data, and going to the park and seeing if that tree has changed.

Reihan's comments about the "time preference problem" make me despair. It used to be called discipline,or just basic life skills, but now someone suggests we need tools to teach people how to live?

I'll stop because I'm sounding like an old grump, which I'm not, but thanks to both for a great discussion, and I guess I better go and buy Lev's book now. Not on Amamzon.

stephanie 08-06-2010 06:15 PM

Re: In celebration of paper
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fred66 (Post 173914)
So rare to find myself nodding with virtually everything someone says. Lev speaks for me when talking about how books should exist physically, even if not being read. How his library is a map of his mind. This comment struck me "Be conscious of what is evaporating when we make something ephemeral".

Unlike Reihan, I remain attached to books physically, but I'm not willing to see that as more than a subjective preference. For me, perhaps merely because I grew up with them, books are something I enjoy as physical objects, for the physical experience of holding and reading them, as well as for the information within. But the information within is, really, primary, even for me, and I can totally understand how people might not feel the same way I do. I don't claim that my way of experiencing books is superior to, say, Reihan's, just as I wouldn't concede that someone who loves collecting books and has a lot of first editions and the like (which I have little interest in) has a superior experience of books or reading than I do.

So I guess this is my long-winded way of saying that I don't agree that we'd necessarily be losing anything, although -- more importantly, maybe -- I also don't think it's a real worry, as I see no signs that physical books will stop existing, certainly not anytime soon. And as far as books being a map of the mind, that assumes you have them. I have lots of books now, some of my childhood ones included, but most of the books I read as a child were library books, and I don't think there's any lesser experience as a result (in fact I think I should read more from the library now). On the other hand, I logged most everything I read last year on Goodreads (and know some people who have done similar things for years, which I will not). I would argue that something like this -- or the lower tech keeping a list on paper version -- is more informative of a particular year, but I still don't think you lose much if you don't do it (or sell books after you read them rather than keep them).

No real point, just thinking these things over.

On amazon, what that Lev said made you want to avoid them? That they drive a hard bargain? I don't think publishers are other than businesses (especially these days), so I'm not bothered by that, or really any of the aggressive practices of amazon. They are a powerful business and not saintly.

JonIrenicus 08-06-2010 07:05 PM

Re: In celebration of paper
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fred66 (Post 173914)
...
Reihan's comments about the "time preference problem" make me despair. It used to be called discipline,or just basic life skills, but now someone suggests we need tools to teach people how to live?
....

It is about basic discipline, the problem though is that it varies between individuals and can be seen as early as childhood. Worse, the lack of said discipline ripples throughout a kids life and seems to have stacking effects on school performance outlooks and other areas.

(i.e. getting work done earlier rather than later, general delayed gratification, holding off on junk food etc.)


This is not a new problem, it is probably as old as the human species, the hope though is that we find a better way of increasing human discipline and our capacity to delay and plan. One issue seems to be the older you get, the harder the lessons to increase discipline "stick"

So far I think most games could have the opposite effect for many people, the reward/punishment cycles our brains are naturally attuned to are so rapid in video games, and this comes from someone who still enjoys them.

You can FEEL a positive emotion when you have done something right or well, feel a negative ping when you mess up or die, it's tailor made to play on our dopamine system, so could we tap into that type of system to improve performance?

Not sure, but worth a look.

fred66 08-06-2010 07:47 PM

Re: In celebration of paper
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 173921)
Unlike Reihan, I remain attached to books physically, but I'm not willing to see that as more than a subjective preference. For me, perhaps merely because I grew up with them, books are something I enjoy as physical objects, for the physical experience of holding and reading them, as well as for the information within. But the information within is, really, primary, even for me, and I can totally understand how people might not feel the same way I do. I don't claim that my way of experiencing books is superior to, say, Reihan's, just as I wouldn't concede that someone who loves collecting books and has a lot of first editions and the like (which I have little interest in) has a superior experience of books or reading than I do.

So I guess this is my long-winded way of saying that I don't agree that we'd necessarily be losing anything, although -- more importantly, maybe -- I also don't think it's a real worry, as I see no signs that physical books will stop existing, certainly not anytime soon. And as far as books being a map of the mind, that assumes you have them. I have lots of books now, some of my childhood ones included, but most of the books I read as a child were library books, and I don't think there's any lesser experience as a result (in fact I think I should read more from the library now). On the other hand, I logged most everything I read last year on Goodreads (and know some people who have done similar things for years, which I will not). I would argue that something like this -- or the lower tech keeping a list on paper version -- is more informative of a particular year, but I still don't think you lose much if you don't do it (or sell books after you read them rather than keep them).

No real point, just thinking these things over.

On amazon, what that Lev said made you want to avoid them? That they drive a hard bargain? I don't think publishers are other than businesses (especially these days), so I'm not bothered by that, or really any of the aggressive practices of amazon. They are a powerful business and not saintly.

Thank you for your nice response.
I also did lots of my reading from library books I didn't own. It enriched my youth. I live in an apartment now and physically can't have many books around, most are buried in the cellar. But Lev's comments about mind mapping made me gaze at the few in view and remember where they came from and what they meant to me. When I'm rich they're all be in view.

I guess there is something physical and fundamental about books that I can't let go of. Even though i get most of my information, and connect with the world alot digitally, I still could not contemplate reading myself to sleep with a kindle.

I agree the content is more important than the form, but if I empathise when you say that "I don't claim that my way of experiencing books is superior to, say, Reihan's," but really, that's just because I'm being tolerant. I actually think paper is more satisfying than plastic. I think fountain pens are more satisfying than ball point pens. I think wood furniture is better than plastic furniture. I love the capability of the digital tools but still find printed media fundamental. When I reach a state of consciousness where I can leave my body behind and live in my mind, then I will give up printed books too. Until then I want to hold it and feel it. It's part of being human.

I picked up my first ipad yesterday. You know, this revolutionary thing that that is an object of beauty and is a breathtakingly sublimely sensual object of desire? And guess what, it was a nicely weighted piece of metal and plastic with a shiny surface, with sensitive touch buttons. Very underwhelmed. It's great that Apple lead the way in digital tools, but lets not get carried away.

Cotton sheets, wild asparagus pan fried in olive oil, barefoot on the beach, sex, cello, a good thunderstorm, books I can't put down, laughing children, wooden furniture, a sea breeze, a city at ease with itself: these are the things that uplift my soul. Technology has helped me do lots of things, but it hasn't uplifted my soul yet.

Re Amazon, I just reacted to the idea presented by Lev that Amazon was bad for publishers, but I'm not informed so I shouldn't say anything. I'd just be happy if I can continue to see the worlds library online and buy what I like quite cheaply.

bjkeefe 08-06-2010 09:52 PM

Re: In celebration of paper
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fred66 (Post 173937)
Cotton sheets, wild asparagus pan fried in olive oil, barefoot on the beach, sex, cello, a good thunderstorm, books I can't put down, laughing children, wooden furniture, a sea breeze, a city at ease with itself: these are the things that uplift my soul. Technology has helped me do lots of things, but it hasn't uplifted my soul yet.

Sex, a sea breeze, and possibly laughing children I'll give you. But without technology, you would not be able to enjoy cotton sheets, a cello, books, or wooden furniture. It is likely that the same applies for "a city at ease with itself," since a city -- at ease or not -- could hardly exist without technology. Nor would you have much of a chance of enjoying wild asparagus and olive oil at the same time, let alone in a pan.

I agree that technology proselytizers are tiresome. But let's not forget that grumps such as yourself take for granted virtually every aspect of technology that was developed before last week.

testostyrannical 08-06-2010 11:51 PM

The experience of reading.
 
There are a lot of legit attitudes about books that I think are all fine, but I find the physicality of books to have little bearing on the relationship a person has with their contents, and to me that relationship is what matters. The example I think of is a friend of mine who was tediously concerned about caring for them, but not terribly into actually reading them. I have a different attitude, which is that a book is only really a book if you're reading the thing, and when you aren't, it's just a senseless chunk of ink and dead tree matter. We had some unusual disagreements. A good sign for a book is how well-worn it is-if you aren't fucking it up a little bit, you're probably not engaging as well as you could with it. This concern about image projection seems to me to be in some tension with authentic acts of literacy.

bjkeefe 08-07-2010 04:34 AM

Re: The experience of reading.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by testostyrannical (Post 173996)
There are a lot of legit attitudes about books that I think are all fine, but I find the physicality of books to have little bearing on the relationship a person has with their contents, and to me that relationship is what matters. The example I think of is a friend of mine who was tediously concerned about caring for them, but not terribly into actually reading them. I have a different attitude, which is that a book is only really a book if you're reading the thing, and when you aren't, it's just a senseless chunk of ink and dead tree matter. We had some unusual disagreements. A good sign for a book is how well-worn it is-if you aren't fucking it up a little bit, you're probably not engaging as well as you could with it. This concern about image projection seems to me to be in some tension with authentic acts of literacy.

I used to think much like you (and still mostly do -- "I'm all about the content," I like to say, because I am a dork) but I was somewhat persuaded to accept books as objects purely to be treasured by reading John Dunning's incredibly good "Bookman" books. In these, his first-person character, Cliff Janeway, is a retired cop who owns a used book store (and solves crimes, of course), and while he hasn't yet completely turned me into a book scout, or a collector of first editions, he has made me see what other people see in doing these things.

Even if you're saying, "Nah, no way," these are great reads. I own thoroughly battered paperback copies of each, and I encourage you to do the same.

badhatharry 08-07-2010 10:31 AM

Re: In celebration of paper
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 173921)
Unlike Reihan, I remain attached to books physically, but I'm not willing to see that as more than a subjective preference. For me, perhaps merely because I grew up with them, books are something I enjoy as physical objects, for the physical experience of holding and reading them, as well as for the information within. But the information within is, really, primary, even for me, and I can totally understand how people might not feel the same way I do. I don't claim that my way of experiencing books is superior to, say, Reihan's, just as I wouldn't concede that someone who loves collecting books and has a lot of first editions and the like (which I have little interest in) has a superior experience of books or reading than I do.

Bookshelves lined with books I've read and want to read...ahh!

fred66 08-07-2010 10:41 AM

Re: In celebration of paper
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 173962)

I agree that technology proselytizers are tiresome. But let's not forget that grumps such as yourself take for granted virtually every aspect of technology that was developed before last week.

Yes good point. If I was there at the time I probably would have objected to the first round stone wheel, saying the square one we had be using was perfectly adequate, and actually quite nice. :)

But. I love technology, and use alot of it. I responded to the book issue because I respond to physicality, and consider it a part of my human being. I'm not ready to live in my head. Lev made some comment about this being where The Matrix starts. I don't believe you can separate humans from their physical reality, and anything that takes us in that direction impoverishes us. We are not only physical, but we partly are, and I want physical beauty in my life. I read lots of things on my computer for work, and indeed for pleasure such as Bloggingheads, but I just can't curl up in bed with a computer. I've tried, but it just doesn't work.

fred66 08-07-2010 10:55 AM

Re: In celebration of paper
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 173962)
Sex, a sea breeze, and possibly laughing children I'll give you. But without technology, you would not be able to enjoy cotton sheets, a cello, books, or wooden furniture. It is likely that the same applies for "a city at ease with itself," since a city -- at ease or not -- could hardly exist without technology. Nor would you have much of a chance of enjoying wild asparagus and olive oil at the same time, let alone in a pan.

On reflection, I disagree. Cotton sheets, cellos, vibrant cities, wooden furniture, etc. all involve technology devoted to sensuality. That's the difference, digital ereaders say that form is irrelevant, only content matters.

badhatharry 08-07-2010 11:01 AM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by nikkibong (Post 173892)
'never let me go' was abysmal -- boring, predictable, unbelievably dry and lifeless. postively parching.

the guardian memorably lampooned it:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardia...orpressreview7

that was absolutely hilarious to anyone who had the misfortune of reading the actual book.

I have liked everything Ishiguro has written, even 'Never Let Me Go'. What you perceive as dry and lifeless may have been his conscious attempt to relate the mindset of someone whose life means nothing beyond providing parts for someone else and how that person copes with that knowledge. The thing I am most amazed at is how different all of his works are from each other. The Unconsoled is a masterpiece

badhatharry 08-07-2010 11:11 AM

Re: In celebration of paper
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fred66 (Post 174049)
On reflection, I disagree. Cotton sheets, cellos, vibrant cities, wooden furniture, etc. all involve technology devoted to sensuality. That's the difference, digital ereaders say that form is irrelevant, only content matters.

I like your soaring rhetoric, but I need to quibble since I actually make wooden furniture. I wonder what technology devoted to sensuality is.
It seems to me that the technology involved in making wooden furniture is devoted to practicalities such as cutting wood to length, width and thickness and joining it so it doesn't fall apart.

..and then there's this: I don't believe you can separate humans from their physical reality, and anything that takes us in that direction impoverishes us.

What would be an example of something that takes us in that direction and then could you explain how that impoverishes us?

Just wondering.

fred66 08-07-2010 12:11 PM

Re: In celebration of paper
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 174053)
I like your soaring rhetoric, but I need to quibble since I actually make wooden furniture. I wonder what technology devoted to sensuality is.
It seems to me that the technology involved in making wooden furniture is devoted to practicalities such as cutting wood to length, width and thickness and joining it so it doesn't fall apart.

..and then there's this: I don't believe you can separate humans from their physical reality, and anything that takes us in that direction impoverishes us.

What would be an example of something that takes us in that direction and then could you explain how that impoverishes us?
Just wondering.

And what is "length, width and thickness" if not physical and sensual? Sawing timber is fundamental. Making gestures on an ipad screen is conceptual. I'm not being deep or clever or sophisticated here, I'm just talking about sensuality.

An example of something that takes us in the direction of physical separation and impoverishes us? Watching porn on a computer instead of meeting a girl at a bar. Answering your mobile phone when something important is happening in front of you. Perfectly formed but tasteless food from a supermarket instead of real meat and fruit. And yes, communicating with someone over the internet instead of at a table or bar. This conversation would be so much easier if I could see and smell and feel you.

Computing technology is about disembodying us. I love to live just in my mind sometimes, but I won't give up my body.

badhatharry 08-07-2010 12:32 PM

Re: In celebration of paper
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fred66 (Post 174060)
And what is "length, width and thickness" if not physical and sensual? Sawing timber is fundamental. Making gestures on an ipad screen is conceptual. I'm not being deep or clever or sophisticated here, I'm just talking about sensuality.

An example of something that takes us in the direction of physical separation and impoverishes us? Watching porn on a computer instead of meeting a girl at a bar. Answering your mobile phone when something important is happening in front of you. Perfectly formed but tasteless food from a supermarket instead of real meat and fruit. And yes, communicating with someone over the internet instead of at a table or bar. This conversation would be so much easier if I could see and smell and feel you.

Computing technology is about disembodying us. I love to live just in my mind sometimes, but I won't give up my body.

I was just coming back to put a link of my stuff and lo and behold, you answered. The slideshow for some reason is running slow, so be patient!

I'm glad you answered. I guess when I read sensual, I think senses. For me the technology of cutting wood is something other than that although the sense are involved. I think the word physical works better for what you are expressing.

But also, the sense are involved in computer tech. Certainly the eyes and hands and/or voice. I remember the first time I sat in front of a computer screen and wondered how to communicate with it. It was really weird and interesting to think back on now that I know about the mouse.

I think one of the things that makes some people different than others is that some people actually know and understand what is going on inside the computer to make it do what it does. Most of us don't and get impatient when something takes a while to download.

As far as porn ( which I don't like at all) do you feel differently about going to a porn theatre or reading porn? If it is all the same to you, it would seem that what you are talking about is not technology but the human inability to pay attention or stay in the now for very long.

fred66 08-07-2010 02:09 PM

Re: In celebration of paper
 
Lets just dismiss the porn issue first off: it was just an example to illustrate the idea of real versus virtual. No importance, I don't like porn either, however it's delivered.

Very beautiful things on your website. I have cunning plans to make lots of money, and when I do I will be coming back your way! Solid wooden furniture seems inevitable to me. Jarrah is my favorite wood.

However, back to the discussion: cutting wood is physical, but it's also very sensual: the vibration of the saw in your hand, the smell of cut wood, the sound, the rhythm, the need to work with the grain.

The difference between hand made wooden furniture and an ipad seems very simple and clear to me. Doesn't seem like anyone agrees, but there you go.

johnatthebar 08-07-2010 10:25 PM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
I think this was my favorite diavlog in the last year or so.

bjkeefe 08-08-2010 06:07 PM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by johnatthebar (Post 174129)
I think this was my favorite diavlog in the last year or so.

I don't know if I'd go quite that far, but it certainly was one of my favorites in recent memory, yes. I can only rue not having gotten around to listening to this one while the thread was still lively. Ah, well, I'll just hope there are a few thread necrophiliacs to join back in!

Here are some scattered comments.

First, thanks to Bh.tv -- I have been asking for more tech diavlogs. Let's hope this is the start of an uptick in frequency.

Google Wave: I played around with it for a while shortly after it had been released. I thought it was interesting ... -seeming, I guess I'd say. I could imagine using it if I were working on a collaborative project with a team that wasn't geographically close, but other than that, it struck me either as a solution in search of a problem or an attempt to build yet another Swiss Army knife of software packages. I guess I don't much like* the offer to be able to do "everything in one place." (And not just in the software realm.) It always seems as though there are certain things that aren't done as well as single-purpose tools do them, and either I end up going back to them, or I stick with the all-purpose tool until frustration overwhelms me. Ultimately, I did not see what 95% of Wave offered me that email could not already do, and everything else seemed easily enough handled by blogging, forum, and IM software.

Starting around the 43-min mark: I don't at all agree with Lev that we evolved in an environment of "information scarcity." To see that, I have only to spend some time with an outdoors-person, a forest ranger, a river guide, a farmer, a fisher, a gardener, a biological/zoological researcher, etc. Or someone who spends a lot of time doing one very narrowly focused project (an artist or computer programmer, say). Or I can see it in myself, say, just by hanging out at Joshua Tree for a couple of days -- to give but one small example, it never fails to amaze me how many different shades of light brown I start being able to distinguish after the first 24 hours or so have passed. There is a near-infinite amount of information available in practically any environment I can think of. We are forever ignoring almost all of it, just to be able to stick to one or a few matters at hand.

What I might agree with is that we're not as inherently good at NOT noticing some things as we are at not noticing other things. So maybe things like flashing lights, or the bing of incoming email, or vibration in a pocket make it seem like we're wallowing in "information." There's an easy enough prescription for all those things, of course. (Until They won't let you have an Off button, I mean.)

On a somewhat related note, the stress people like Reihan and Lev appear to display, related to all this electronically-connected lifestyle stuff, strikes me less as an aspect of new technology than it does a familiar characteristic of younger people, especially the sort who are attracted to living in big, fast-moving cities, and/or who are attracted to moving in social circles where it is considered a Good Thing to have seen the latest, read the most, listened to the newest, etc. Or people who place great stock in maintaining relationships with as many people as possible. Whether it's that I'm older enough than these two, or more quickly got to the point where I decided I didn't actively need dozens of friends, I dunno. But I suspect, one way or another, that the odds are Reihan and Lev, and most other people, will grow out of this feeling of things are too hectic, there's nothing anyone can do about it, OMG stop the madness.

I'll close by registering a pet peeve: this new (?) habit of referring to science fiction and fantasy as "genre." I first noticed this on Poli-Sci-Fi Radio. This is like calling (just) bluish shades "color," it seems to me. I mean, westerns are a genre. War stories are a genre. Ditto hard-boiled fiction, romance novels, lad lit, chick lit, and so on. What is wrong with SF&F? Or perhaps, "speculative fiction?" (I guess one worry with the latter would be that the likely verbal shorthand would inevitably lead to a Spoonerism that could be construed as offensive by people living in Madrid and Mexico City.)

==========

* [Added] And speaking of everything in one place = jack-of-all-trades/master-of-none: Facebook. I guess I can see why some people (n00bs) succumb to spending most of their online time there, but as Lev or Reihan pointed out, FB does seem like a dumbed-down, child-proof version of the Web writ large, and I don't see what the attraction is to hanging out there for long stretches of time. Other than the reality that "all" your friends are on it, I mean, and you like the idea that any of them can jump in at any time.

Alexandrite 08-09-2010 12:39 AM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
There was a great discussion at dice this year that got a bit of attention that's relevant to what Reihan and Lev talked about in the middle on video games and achievements. I highly recommend it.

http://gigaom.com/2010/02/22/video-r...ts-all-a-game/

popcorn_karate 08-10-2010 07:39 PM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 174194)
Starting around the 43-min mark: I don't at all agree with Lev that we evolved in an environment of "information scarcity." To see that, I have only to spend some time with an outdoors-person, a forest ranger, a river guide, a farmer, a fisher, a gardener, a biological/zoological researcher, etc. Or someone who spends a lot of time doing one very narrowly focused project (an artist or computer programmer, say). Or I can see it in myself, say, just by hanging out at Joshua Tree for a couple of days -- to give but one small example, it never fails to amaze me how many different shades of light brown I start being able to distinguish after the first 24 hours or so have passed. There is a near-infinite amount of information available in practically any environment I can think of. We are forever ignoring almost all of it, just to be able to stick to one or a few matters at hand.

great point.

stephanie 08-10-2010 08:34 PM

Re: In celebration of paper
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fred66 (Post 173937)
I guess there is something physical and fundamental about books that I can't let go of. Even though i get most of my information, and connect with the world alot digitally, I still could not contemplate reading myself to sleep with a kindle.

As a personal matter, I agree with you, and am somewhat surprised about how non-widely-held this seems to be, even among many of my book-loving friends.

Quote:

I agree the content is more important than the form, but if I empathise when you say that "I don't claim that my way of experiencing books is superior to, say, Reihan's," but really, that's just because I'm being tolerant. I actually think paper is more satisfying than plastic. I think fountain pens are more satisfying than ball point pens. I think wood furniture is better than plastic furniture. I love the capability of the digital tools but still find printed media fundamental. When I reach a state of consciousness where I can leave my body behind and live in my mind, then I will give up printed books too. Until then I want to hold it and feel it. It's part of being human.
Privately, I am more sympathetic to your side of this than Reihan's. I just can't figure out a way that this is other than my personal preference, as I said.

But since others jumped in, I wanted you to know that at least sentimentally I share your feelings.

pod2 08-13-2010 08:43 PM

Re: Realms of Hazy Phenomenology (Reihan Salam & Lev Grossman)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Alexandrite (Post 174237)
There was a great discussion at dice this year that got a bit of attention that's relevant to what Reihan and Lev talked about in the middle on video games and achievements. I highly recommend it.

http://gigaom.com/2010/02/22/video-r...ts-all-a-game/

Yes!! That Jesse Schell guy is brilliant, charming, and completely terrifying! Anyone who is interested in the topic has to see this powerpoint. It is all the more powerful, because Schell is not talking only to bloggers or academics, he is addressing people in the industry who are already making it happen.


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