Dorion Sagan on the spirit of science and its necessary connection to philosophy.
Dorion Sagan, son of Carl, on why, at a time of increasing fragmentation into different micro-disciplines, science require synthesis more than ever.
Dorion Sagan, son of Carl, on the heart of science.
“Great works and great folly may be indistinguishable from the outset.” Wisdom from NASA’s Adam Steltzner, lead engineer at the Mars Science Laboratory and mastermind of the Curiosity rover landing system, at The New Yorker’s Big Story event.
Or, as Bertrand Russell famously put it, “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
It has been argued that a chronic fever of distraction and fascination arrives on waves of Wi-Fi to stunt our attention spans, encouraging writers to paddle about, tweeting and liking, instead of striking out for deeper waters. As a writer who writes about writers, I struggle with this surfeit of ideas and impressions myself, but I also can see this so-called malady from a different point of view, through the prism of history. Authors, after all, have always sought the means to build bridges between the world and the page. Wi-Fi, Google Docs, social networks and even smartphones and other gadgets are just the most recent means of doing so. While they can distract us with their bells and whistles, they also provide powerful tools for gathering information, tracking renegade thoughts and inspirations and disciplining the flow of words and ideas.
The impulse to connect to the outside world is an ancient one.
Writers have always welcomed this intervention and inspiration of the world in the work of composition. Early-modern European authors had their commonplace books: journals they filled with excerpts from classical and modern works, snippets of journalism and reflections gleaned from daily life. More than a mere journal, the commonplace book can be thought of as a paper-based interface for the social world of letters, in which Enlightenment-era writers continuously added, combined and swapped out snippets of found text gleaned from such new media as newspapers, broadsides and learned journals.
From parenting to dating, an illustrated explanation of conditioned human responses and how we behave like Pavlovian dogs. Also see what the genius of dogs reveals about human intelligence.
In witness whereof—hear my voice, Alexander Graham Bell.
Groundbreaking digital technology has allowed researchers to recover Alexander Graham Bell’s voice from a recording held at the Smithsonian. Complement with Bell on creativity, innovation, and the secret of success.
Wordsworth on the shared heart of poetry and science