Adonis Diaries

Archive for September 18th, 2009

I want my hard cover book; (September 19, 2009)


            There is a rush to join the bandwagon of Digital Libraries.  Many developed Sates are budgeting for digitizing their national libraries, their archives, and work of arts.  There are several reasons for this rush to digitizing: first, the need not to lose ground to the Americans (project Galica); second, to compete with the “organizations outsider of the book market (commission Alire-SLF); and third, to avoid being distanced by the Big Players like Google, e-book, Amazon, Sony, Philips, Cybook, and the PDA (pocket portables).

            The United Nations (UNESCO) and the American Congress have launched in last April the World Digital Library.  Google contributed 3 millions dollars.  This project is added to the projects of Europeana and Google Book.  Google has already a digital library of 7 millions manuscripts.

            There are advantages to digitizing world knowledge.  First, it is too costly to keep maintaining old books; second, no publishing houses are ready to re-edit old books; and third, my favorite advantage, is that books and manuscripts of the dying languages would be preserved and studied for later generations.  Researchers would not have to travel to forsaken location, in dark rooms in monasteries and abbeys to peruse dusty and falling apart “sacred” treasures of long dead cultures.

            There are many other advantages; millions of serious injuries of falling off ladders for retrieving or dusting books, never read or intended to read, will be saved.  Millions of extra irrelevant “Study rooms”, stacked with dusty books used as just show cases, will be saved for storing electronic gizmos that children will play with instead of Barbie dolls and electric trains. The man of the family can find a smaller corner for smoking his tobacco pipe or opium.

            Those against this rush to digitizing are librarians and middlemen in the book business. Millions in the hard copy business will have to find alternative means for continuing in a job they like. It would be nice if private libraries and public ones start oral reading to audiences who hate to read, who cannot read, or have no digital equipments to keep updated.  It was stated that the French Revolution was initiated because it was the fashion in the 18th century France to read to audiences in saloons, libraries, and assembling places. Oral reading is the best medium to encouraging critical thinking, to familiarize people to argumentative discussions, and to exchange opinions based on specific topics. It would nice to return to community oral reading and share common attention spaces.

            Google can digitize its head off and I won’t care. I want my hard copy book.  I don’t care of hyperlinks designed for speed in search, browsing, and excessive distractions.  I need to leisurely read my hard copy, preferable hard cover, book to cogitate upon anytime I like to return to it.

            I suggest inventing a digital book that is exactly like a book with leaflets and cover; a book that smells paper; the leaflets feels like paper, and flip like paper; oh, and I want it black on white background.  Instead of a book mark a sliding harder sheet, attached to the book, can be super-imposed on the corresponding page and the word processing functions furnished can do all the necessary manipulations for saving section, notes, and even transmissions.  The two hard cover pages may contain the flat batteries and slots for the small CDs and accessories. See? I told you it is feasible.

            I am pretty sure the binding will not be glue based.  It should be feasible and with added facilities. The chip could hold several books with tables of contents; you click on a selected book and when you resume reading it advance to where you stopped.  The added advantage is that you won’t need to retype sections but copy paste and then edit. And why not, we could still attach a pencil like gizmo for the touch buttons of the “book mark” sliding sheet.  See? It is already done. I wanted my hard cover book and I got it! Japan or India must be working on my idea as this post is published.

Today offspring are tomorrow monsters; (September 18, 2009)


            The optimist Biosphere/Earth has its own stabilizing mechanism; it is indifferent to power-avid pessimist man. This unattached earth/biosphere mechanism may burn, suffocate, or drown man and it would not even notice or care for its existence.   

            Through the ages earth/biosphere underwent changes and man either thrived and developed or died consequent to the environmental changes.  All the time, man got curious about his environment and wanted to understand and then uncover the mysteries of that power surrounding him and controlling his life cycle. By the bye, man formulated general laws of nature; then, before he could fathom a tiny portion of the complex mysteries and the multiple interactions among the sparse and conditioned laws this impatient and anxious man endeavored to modify and transform nature to his own wants and restricted interests.

            Man wants to alter earth and the biosphere with the tacit understanding that he will not be affected. Man keeps forgetting, intentionally, that he is what he is because of earth and biosphere. Man can alter earth and biosphere; biosphere will, imperturbably, react at its own pace; the offspring of today are the monsters of tomorrow; if the monster is permitted to exist at all.

            The Western “modern” mind insisted that “the genesis of man (species and child development) is a process of primarily interacting with things; human interactions are a secondary and not a significant factor”.  In fact, most early scientist and researchers lived in their islands of palaces or laboratories with little contact with people.  They were intent on mastering their material environment.  Ayn Rand’s writings incarnated the mentality of the individual attribute of spirit and intelligence. She wrote: “The spirit is an individual attribute. Collective brain does not exist.  Man living in relation to others has no reality.”  Ayn Rand was expressing the prevalent pre-supposition at the turn of the century and she was formulating their radical consequences.

            Jules Verne stories of individualistic heroes and his successors of visionaries, explorers, adventurers, exploiters, and colonial expansionists refused to admit limitations to their intelligence and undertaking power.  They had grand “destiny” to impose and prove: man is born to reign and dominate and not to complain. Something broke then we fix it. Something blocked expansion then we erased it: there are always solutions to difficulties. There are no inherent problems to the enterprising man; as Napoleon said “Impossible is not in my vocabulary”.

            Jules Verne never missed a good shooting spree story at savages; in “Five weeks in balloon” they are shooting at the African negros from the top of a balloon; in “The children of captain Grant” they are shooting at will on Maoris in New Guinea from the top of rocky hills; in “The travel around the world in 80 days” they are killing the Sioux Indians from the doors of moving wagons; in “From Earth to the moon” they are annihilating the Seminole Indians; in “Mathias Sandorf” the savage Senoussis of Libya are exterminated.     

            Colonialism was initiated and undertaken by “democratically” elected government; thus fascism, Nazism, and communism have nothing to do with the spirit of “modernizing” the “barbaric” people. Our current modern man is typified by “Hot Air” Charles Branson; I don’t means his cross Atlantic, Pacific, or around the world balloons and airliners but gases emanating from his ass hole. The Western heroes are children who do not want to be rebuffed from the game: the entire planet is their game land. “When we were children, we were told not to feel afraid or cry: it was shameful. It was a time, and still is pretty much, when growing up meant to vanquish fear; to live in the delusion of the all conquering man.”

            Human intelligence and know how are intrinsically community intelligence. It is the community that initiates man to things and behavior.  Man needs at least 16 years of inter-communal aid and secure before he gets aware of his individuality and begins to revolt and seek a semblance of independence.

            We are at a junction when man is capable of envisioning a limited earth (weight, circumference, volume, and extractable minerals) and limits to the biosphere (thickness, density, and constituents).  There are intersections at several levels of consciousness. We are beginning to comprehend the limitations of technology to containing the power of nature such as tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, and changing climates; the catastrophic consequences of mastering nuclear energy (Chernobyl is a striking example); the long term problems of gigantic projects such as deviating rivers, and building monster dams.  We realize that our survival is intrinsically linked to the biosphere.  It is a junction of the meeting of man’s brain with the limits of biosphere and our recognition that biosphere is much more complex and that it has indeed engendered our kind of intelligence.

            We are harassed with the dictum “Science is neutral; experiments are unbiased”. One of the urgent tasks of the United Nations is to investigate how science and research are financed or funded.  Everything has a political direction and I contend that sciences, research, and technologies are primarily driven by deep pocket political interest groups.  We can no longer keep fighting those biased and politically oriented “research” results instead of focusing on the reality of earth/biosphere degradations.




September 2009

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