11.0173 wired enthusiasms & plain speech

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Tue, 15 Jul 1997 20:27:21 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 173.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: "James W. Johnston" <johnston@wordcruncher.com> (43)
Subject: Re: 11.0168 wiring the schools

[2] From: Francois Crompton-Roberts <F.Crompton- (11)
Subject: Re: "self-paced learning unit"

[3] From: Francois Lachance <lachance@chass.utoronto.ca> (34)
Subject: accepting regeneration

[4] From: Carl Vogel <Carl.Vogel@cs.tcd.ie> (4)
Subject: what disease?

Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 05:07:19 -0600
From: "James W. Johnston" <johnston@wordcruncher.com>
Subject: Re: 11.0168 wiring the schools

> From: Tzvee Zahavy <zahavy@andromeda.rutgers.edu> writes ...

> By all means - wire all the schools in the US if the aim is to kill the
> Internet. Logical? See if you follow this line of deductive inquiry:
> - Apple is the leading computer in schools (1980s)
> - Children cannot wait to escape the utter irrelevance of schools
> - Apple now has about 3% of the PC market

I am afraid I disagree ... while it may be satisfying to poke the
bureaucratic eye, IMHO Apple's business troubles stem from one disastrous
decision ... they maintained a proprietary hardware architecture, and did
not provide an opportunity for other businesses to join in the party ...
Intel didn't. The Apple operating system (e.g. user interface -- check the
Mac vs WinEver) actually won ... unfortunately for Cupertino, some guy in
Redmond copied and promoted it more successfully.

As far as children wanting to escape the utter irrelavance of the schools
.... I am afraid that higher education carries the greatest guilt ...
undergraduates are considered a necessary evil, secondary education gets a
cursory glance, most of the technology in education graduates go to
business rather than to the educational trenches ... try to talk to
computing humanists about taking what they are learning and moving it into
the classroom, and the reactions run from an open sneer to a polite
dismissal. I'll save my Colleges of Education rant for another day!

> Date: Mon, 14 Jul 1997 08:24:45 -0500
> From: Patricia Galloway <galloway@mdah.state.ms.us>
> Subject: school-wirings
> A propos of Mr. Johnston's amazing revelations about the wiring of
> Utah schools: is this a result of Novell's contributions?

No, not really ... it is due to a technology initiative from the Utah
Legislature ... our state is in reasonably good financial shape, and they
put about $60M into technology for the schools. Having said that, one could
certainly argue the case that because Novell and WordPerfect (and 2,000 or
so other high-tech companies) are in the state, there is a certain
awareness that technology is important, but the initiative is the result of
cooperation between the Governor's Office, the Utah Department of Education
and the Legislature ...


Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 15:55:28 GMT0BST
From: Francois Crompton-Roberts <F.Crompton-Roberts@qmw.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: "self-paced learning unit"

> ... One day I was standing outside my
> office and spied a student walking toward me with a book in her hand and a
> look of wonderment on her face. She stopped and remarked with astonishment,
> "You know, the book was the first self-paced learning unit!"

Funny you should say that today of all days. I heard on my radio this
morning that, as well as being St Swithin's day which determines the
weather for the rest of the summer, today had been designated "Plain
English Day", on which we are told we should eschew all verbiage and
gobbledegook. We even heard one of our Professors of English, Lisa
Jardine, lending her support to the cause. Best wishes to her and all
plain speakers, I say...
Francois C-R

Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 10:12:30 -0400 (EDT)
From: Francois Lachance <lachance@chass.utoronto.ca>
Subject: accepting regeneration


Information transfers, if I recall correctly involve labour and many
if not most information transfers are labours of love. And if I read
my Ovid correctly love affairs are affairs of resistence. And if I am
permitted an observation on the nexus of reading and writing,
information transfers like many an entropic whirl are also information

Now "acceptance" and "assignation" may well be paired in many a
discourse on the future of codex technology. However I wonder if in
the following about the difference between their logical and syntactic

> As I think I said earlier, as soon as we accept such terms ("means of
> information transfer", "self-paced learning unit") as an adequate
> description of the codex, we have assigned it to the dustbin of progress.
> Is there a cure for the disease?

The cure may be homeopathic and Erasmian in nature. The <cite><short
title>De copia</short title></cite> offers readers and potential
writers a wonderful set of exercises in variation. It has been
suggested that the generation of lists of synomyms for the term
"books" is an excellent rhetorical exercise. Such exercises are of
course quite valuable in demonstrating the tenuousness of the link
between ways of speaking and affective states. The cherished word may
be anathema. The communicative power of a pedagogical statement may
miss its mark.

I am lead to ask about the nature of the codex in a situation where
there is a failure of (complete) transfer. Can an "adequate
description of the codex" account for the non-communicative
non-pedagogical aspects of the object? Do such aspects even exist?
Perhaps the discipline of computing in the humanities and
the field of transcoding studies remind us of the difficulty of
disentangling the tripartite functions of delighting, teaching and moving.

Rhetorically but adaquately quizzical,


--[4]------------------------------------------------------------------ Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 10:48:38 +0100 From: Carl Vogel <Carl.Vogel@cs.tcd.ie>

>Is there a cure for the disease?

I fail to perceive what the disease is. Was the questiion itself an example of its symptoms? Or does it have specific relation to creative application of terms from other fields to just books?