The Truth about Knowledge

“I think the Net generation is beginning to see knowledge in a way that is closer to the truth about knowledge — a truth we’ve long known but couldn’t instantiate. My generation, and the many generations before mine, have thought about knowledge as being the collected set of trusted content, typically expressed in libraries full of books. Our tradition has taken the trans-generational project of building this Library of Knowledge book by book as our God-given task as humans. Yet, for the coming generation, knowing looks less like capturing truths in books than engaging in never-settled networks of discussion and argument. That social activity — collaborative and contentious, often at the same time — is a more accurate reflection of our condition as imperfect social creatures trying to understand a world that is too big and too complex for even the biggest-headed expert.

“This new topology of knowledge reflects the topology of the Net. The Net (and especially the Web) is constructed quite literally out of links, each of which expresses some human interest. If I link to a site, it’s because I think it matters in some way, and I want it to matter that way to you. The result is a World Wide Web with billions of pages and probably trillions of links that is a direct reflection of what matters to us humans, for better or worse. The knowledge networks that live in this new ecosystem share in that property; they are built out of, and reflect, human interest. Like our collective interests, the Web and the knowledge that resides there is at odds and linked in conversation. That’s why the Internet, for all its weirdness, feels so familiar and comfortable to so many of us. And that’s the sense in which I think networked knowledge is more “natural.” ”

– “What the Internet Means for How We Think About the World” by Rebecca J. Rosen, January 5, 2012.

First published by The Atlantic.

via Google Reader.

Guelph Waste Management Now Includes Bomb Disposal

Has this ever happened to you? You’re surfin’ the net, trying to find the recipe for Glazed Turnips you saw on Canada AM, when you stumble across a recipe for a homemade bomb.

“Wow,” you think to yourself,  “is that ever cool! I wonder if they’re hard to make?”

Checking out the instructions you discover it’s much easier than you had previously imagined. Thinking this would make a great science experiment for the kids you’re homeschooling you downoad the pdf, print out the instructions and before you can say “homeland security” you’ve got a nifty little extreme-urban-renewal device complete with digital timer. Now what?

I mean it’s not like you intended to use it, right? You weren’t going to actually blow up anything were you?  Okay, for a moment you thought about your neighbour with the yappy little dog-wanna-be that barks at every bird, butterfly and snowflake that comes near it’s yard, but in reality you just built it to see if you could. Now you need to get rid of it. So what do you do? Where do you turn?

Well this year in Guelph, Ontario (and most other parts of the province I suspect) you need look no further than your brand new community phonebook from Bell Canada. I’ll admit, I’m not much of a phone book user these days, finding all the information I need on the web. In fact, I can’t even tell you exatly where ours is at home right now. However, when the new phone books arrived at the shop today, I took a few moments to flip through and check that they spelled my name right. (Oh Come on; don’t be like that! You do it too, you know you do.)

Right at the front of the book I noticed a rather large section on waste management, recycling and Guelph’s 3 bags-of-separation curb pick-up program. Now, let me say that I was somewhat impressed as it is the most thorough explaination of what goes where, when  and how that I think I’ve ever seen. There’s not only sections on what can go curbside in which colour of bag and what can’t; there is also a lengthy list of various corporations, businesses and organizations that will help you get rid of all the refuse of our overly consumptive lives that pose a threat to good ol’ Mother Nature and can’t be put curbside, including homemade bombs.

Section L8 Page 17 Guelph Phone Book

Section L8 Page 17

Yes friends, it surprised me too; but there it was, in Section L8 on page 17 of the Green Pages, complete with photo illustration (see pic at right) – a handy tip on what to do with Homeschool Science Experiment #235 –  drop it off at your Local Police Station!

And while you’re at it why don’t you take those unspent shotgun cartridges Uncle Fred left between the cushions of the sofa when he fell asleep after Thanksgiving dinner. Or better yet, if I may offer a suggestion, why not have your lawyer drop it off for you and avoid all those pesky questions I’m sure the officer on the front desk will have as you strive to be a greener citizen.

It certainly is good to know that all our bases are covered when it comes to Guelph’s Waste Management program. Why, even urban terrorists can do their part in creating a greener tomorrow. But then what else would you expect from a government as thorough and efficient as ours?

BTW.. did you also know there’s a line for reporting “bribes” on your income tax return?

Until next time…

To Much Time on Thier Hands

Okay,  I’m beginning to understand why the cattlemen in the US protested the introduction of sheep.  Shepherds obviously don’t have nearly enough to do.  This is weird on sooo many levels.

The floor is now open for attempts to connect this video to shepherding the Christian flock.  Best attempts will be acknowledged in a future post.

Until next time… try not to get fleeced.


Give It a Second…

Came across this video today at The Long Now Foundation.  It is a great commentary of increasing impatience with technology.

I’ll be the first to admit I have an obsession with technology.  There is little that gives me more satisfaction than finding the right technology to simplify a task.  But as Louis CK points out, I think my fascination is born out of the fact that I remember when we had the dial phones. I remember my aunt who was on a party line and I had to wait until the neighbour was finished before I could make my call. I remember going to Malton Airport in Toronto for an afternoon to do nothing other than watch the planes come and go, amazed that something that big and heavy could actually fly.

Yeah. I know. I’m showing my age. But that’s okay. I’ve waited a long time to be this old and experienced and I’m going to relish every minute of it. So have a little patience, it wasn’t all that long ago the cell phone in your hand was the stuff of science fiction.
Till next time… give it a second!

Samson in the 24th 1/2 Century?

This just in…

Variety reports that Warner Bros. is planning a futuristic retelling of the story of Samson & Delilah. The full article can be read here.

I have mentioned before that I enjoy looking at the gospel and the stories of the Bible from different perspectives because it causes you to take a fresh look at things you might be taking for granted. So in some regards this project intrigues me. It has a strong director, Francis Lawrence (I am Legend), and a good writer, Scott Silver (8 Mile, X-Men:Origins), so as a movie it likely won’t be a complete disaster. The question is; how well will the original point of the story come across? Or if you like; how much will the sub-plots created to support the Sci-Fi environment get in the way?

Biblical movies, or movies inspired by Biblical stories are usually a mixed blessing. As I said, while they can provide a fresh vision of the story allowing us to rethink some of our preconceived notions, they can also, and this happens a lot, get so caught up in the subplots design to make a “better story” out of it that the real purpose of the tale is lost in translation.

Cecil B. DeMille’sTen Commandments‘ is a good example. So much time is spent on the love triangle story involving Moses (Charlton Heston) and the Egyptian princess Nefretiri (Anne Baxter) and Rameses (Yul Brynner) that the 40 years wandering in the desert is reduced to a single line of dialog in the last moments of the film. Despite this drawback however, I must give DeMille his due. He doesn’t mess with the basic Biblical story, he either had to much respect for the Scriptures to do that or he knew he’d have the combined wrath of Christian and Jewish clergy to deal with if he did. He did however, love to embellish the story with as much extra material as he could get away with; after all, nothing sells a movie like a good love triangle.

He did the same thing seven years earlier when he made ‘Samson and Delilah‘ starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lemarr. It’s done in true DeMille style, great costumes, lavish sets, lots of special effects, and excellent casting. Though to be fair Mature was not his first choice, but Burt Lancaster and Steve Reeves both turned the part down. Even so, it still stands today as the most watched cinematic treatment of the story.

Over all Demille did a great job of telling the stories of the Bible in ways that captured peoples imaginations and, more often than not, respected the integrity of the Biblical narrative. And I think that is why they succeeded as well as they did. Yes, all star casts and lots of pomp and slendor helped, but respect for the story itself I think is the most important aspect of his approach. When you look at his additions to the narrative most of them are completely in keeping with the times and do not contradict the biblical narrative. Just because the Bible doesn’t mention a romantic connect for Moses in Egypt doesn’t mean he was celebate, it just means it didn’t affect the story God wanted in the scriptures.

There is one other movie version of the story from the book of Judges that I know about but haven’t seen as of yet. Part of a late 1990s Bible Movie Collection produced in Germany (which also contains films about Moses, Abraham and Jeremiah) it starred Eric Thall and Elizabeth Hurley as Samson and Delilah (respectively – wouldn’t want any confusion. lol). From the reviews I’ve read it appears to do a more than reasonable job of presenting the Biblical story with culturally accurate additions to fill out the three hours of film. I’m told it takes a few shortcuts on the special effects, but I guess they didn’t have DeMille’s budget. It sounds like one I’d like to see and add to my collection. On a purely movie fan note, another reason I want to see this film is it also contains performances by Dennis Hopper and Diana Rigg.

A sci-fi version of the Samson story could indeed provide some insights, especially if Lawrence and Silver protect the integrity of the Biblical narrative. And this doesn’t mean that Samson has to spout dialog straight from the book of Judges, I’ll be happy if he acknowledges the source of his power is God, or at least a higher power outside of himself. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, if any of you know of other worthwhile examples of how to do a biblical movie right I’d love to hear about it. Drop me a line in the comments section. Likewise ,if you know of a classic example of just how bad it can get drop me a line in the comments about that as well.

Until next time… Shalom.

And pass the popcorn.