“I have to report that M. Blériot, with his monoplane, crossed the Channel from Calais this morning. I issued to him a Quarantine Certificate, thereby treating it as a yacht and the aviator as Master and owner.
—The Collector of Customs, Dover
July 25, 1909
1909. Less than 100 years ago, an airplane crossing the English Channel was unprecedented. What will the future hold?
For my latest of my backlist story collections (until a large and rather complete collection of my backlist of SF stories next year), while making review copies available on BookFunnel, I came up with this tagline:
An imaginary journey from ancient Archaeopteryx to aircraft under distant stars.
Knowing I’d be on a panel about Libraries of the Future at the Texas Library Association Conference in Dallas this Spring, I read up on libraries of the PAST, and found this book. Yes, it tells about the evolution of the Card Catalog through history. The book is richly illustrated with reproductions of cards from the Library of Congress catalog, which they have NOT done away with. Hand-written on the old cards are scraps of bibliographic information that never made it into on-line cataloging. Recommended!
“A scholar is just a library’s way of making another library. ” – Daniel Dennett, philosopher, writer, and professor (b. 28 Mar 1942), quoted in A Word A Day.
A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.
“The direction of escape is toward freedom. So what is ‘escapism’ an accusation of?”
Ursula K. LeGuin
The past is another country – and it doesn’t issue passports.
“I would go on writing even if I know I would not be published.”
—John Le Carré
“There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” – Ansel Adams
This quote from the wonderful A Word A Day:
“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into. ”
-Jonathan Swift, satirist (1667-1745)
Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows quotes George Dyson (author of Darwin among the Machines), who was invited to give a talk at the Googleplex – Google’s corporate headquarters. George Dyson found the experience troubling. It made him recall a remark made by a perceptive friend who had visited the Googleplex. Said Dyson’s friend: “I thought the coziness to be almost overwhelming. Happy Golden Retrievers running in slow motion through water sprinklers on the lawn. People waving and smiling, toys everywhere. I immediately suspected that unimaginable evil was happening somewhere in the dark corners. If the devil would come to earth, what place would be better to hide?”
Nine-Eleven is observed again today, this time with as much or more politics and contention as ever before. It’s regarded by so many as such a defining moment in U.S. history that it’s hardly possible to be unaware of the date. It IS possible to welcome a reminder that this day is a part of the human world, not apart from it.
I have a perpetual calendar with a quote for every day of the year. I’ve kept it since the 1990’s, because I like most of the the quotes (and have replaced the few I don’t like.) For September 11, the calendar’s quote is this:
“What is Love? I have met in the streets a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, the water passed though his shoes and the stars through his soul.” – Victor Hugo.