Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Interesting read

The good thing about the internet is, it's not just for porn. I know some of you may find this hard to believe, but it can actually carry information in the form of words, rather than pictures! I've compiled a short list of links to some articles and essays I found to be particularly stimulating. They're long enough to be interesting but short enough to print off and read when you're not at your computer.

Paul Graham (the man who suggested using Bayesian filtering techniques to reduce the amount of spam we receive in our inboxes) made his millions in the DotCom era. I recommend you read How To Do What You Love and How To Make Wealth as both are well written and thought-provoking. More of his essays here.

Isaac Asmimov was one of my favourite sci-fi authors and he once wrote a very haunting short story. I don't want to give anything away, but have a read of it here and tell me what you think. From reading people's opinions of the story online, I guess it's like marmite - you either love it or hate it.

While more sci and less fi, the late Carl Sagan was rare amongst scientists in that he was able to convey a sense of awe and wonder about the universe to lay people yet still enrich their knowledge at the same time. My favourite piece of his writing is from 1996 when he talks about the Pale Blue Dot we all inhabit. Sadly, he died later that year.

Being slightly unpalatable was probably the author's intention of the next piece. A highly sophisticated alien intelligence discover the human race and are most disgusted to discover that we're made out of meat. Pretty gross when you think about it, yet sadly true all the same.

Finally, if you're still hungry for more, I've put some links down the right-hand side of this blog which will most likely stay here permanently. Check out James Randi's past newsletters (he's ill at the moment so not writing the current ones), Digg is a technology-based news blog which is very popular and is updated many times a day and saving the best 'til last...the awesome Wikipedia.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow...funny you mention Carl Sagen....:)

I was at a friends house the other week, waxing lyrical with him about social commentary, and he was (as per usual) giving me the historical slant (N.B. I am USELESS at history, always have been). My friend ear-marked Aristophones, for me, and as my interest in all things Ancient Greek has always been high (in inverse proportion to actual acquired knowledge, as it happens), I decided to look into this further when round at another friends house...THIS friend, seeing my wide-eyed enphusiasm, put on a programme by Carl Sagen, who consequently, single-handedly, has taught be more about the Greeks in one sitting, than anyone else. And to see him rock a classroom, and to see the wide-eyed look on the students faces as he taught them, was a true moment :) And now you tell me he died in '66? :( All the same, maximum respect, all round...

Rooby said...

(sorry forget to add my name to this post...here it is again)
Wow...funny you mention Carl Sagen....:)

I was at a friends house the other week, waxing lyrical with him about social commentary, and he was (as per usual) giving me the historical slant (N.B. I am USELESS at history, always have been). My friend ear-marked Aristophones, for me, and as my interest in all things Ancient Greek has always been high (in inverse proportion to actual acquired knowledge, as it happens), I decided to look into this further when round at another friends house...THIS friend, seeing my wide-eyed enphusiasm, put on a programme by Carl Sagen, who consequently, single-handedly, has taught be more about the Greeks in one sitting, than anyone else. And to see him rock a classroom, and to see the wide-eyed look on the students faces as he taught them, was a true moment :) And now you tell me he died in '66? :( All the same, maximum respect, all round...