Main Street USA, digital watercolor

Copyright © 2014 Mike Frizzell

Noah Smith:

The human race is on the brink of momentous and dire change. It is a change that potentially smashes our institutions and warps our society beyond recognition. It is also a change to which almost no one is paying attention. I’m talking about the coming obsolescence of the gun-wielding human infantryman as a weapon of war. Or to put it another way: the end of the Age of the Gun.

Hammons Tower, Springfield, MO

Arthur C. Clarke pretty much wrote “Her”

From “The Fountains of Paradise”, chapter 21:

That beautiful, dispassionate voice, untouched by human glottis, had never changed in the forty years that he had known it. Decades, perhaps centuries, after he was dead, it would be talking to other men just as it had spoken to him. (For that matter, how many conversations was it having at this very moment?) Once, this knowledge had depressed Rajasinghe; now it no longer mattered. He did not envy ARISTOTLE’s immortality.

Double dipping in scholarly publishing

In fact, our current models of scholarly publishing place a growing financial burden on university and college libraries. In practice, faculty members effectively give away journal and book manuscripts to publishers for the privilege of seeing them in print. In turn, publishers sell faculty scholarship back to our academic libraries and charge them a price for the right to lend out print copies or disseminate digital copies on proprietary databases. As a result, higher education pays twice for scholarship produced by its own faculty: first, in the form of salary or sabbatical support for individual professors, and second, in fees for the right to distribute the work. (The financial burden is more extreme in the grant-funded sciences, where commercial publishers charge substantially higher journal subscription fees to libraries and publication fees to contributing authors.) The current business model benefits neither the average historian nor the institutions of higher education that employ many of us.

From "Writing History in the Digital Age", Kristen Nawrotzki and Jack Dougherty, eds.

Why Thomas Jefferson refused membership in The American Society for Promoting the Civilization and General Improvement of Indians:

In his lengthy letter, Jefferson brought up many reasons why he could not readily become a member of this society even though he strongly believed in the cause to help the American Indians. In his mind there was no need for this society to be formed as it seemed to be working toward the same ends as the government and intended to include many of the public officials themselves. (For example, the Vice President and the Secretaries of State, Treasury, War, and Navy were to be ex-officio officers in the Society.) He worried that, in the end, the overlap with the government both in people and purpose would only cause collision rather than aid. He wondered what a voluntary private organization could do that the government could not, with men that had their personal objectives as their motivation instead of the interests of the people as a whole:

The Government is at this time going on with the process of civilizing the Indians on a plan probably as promising as any one of us could devise; and with resources more competent than we could expect to command by voluntary taxation;…Is it that a plan, originated by a meeting of private individuals is better than that prepared by the concentrated wisdom of the nation, of men not self-chosen, but clothed with the full confidence of the people? Is it that there is no danger that a new authority, marching independently alongside of the government, in the same line, and to the same object, may not produce collision, may not thwart and obstruct the operations of the government, or wrest the object entirely from their hands?

Jefferson Ave. Footbridge bw (by Mike Frizzell)