“In Our Time” and the Two Cultures February 23, 2010Posted by Scott Campbell in : STV100 , comments closed
In STV100 (and several other STV courses), we begin with a quick lesson on C.P. Snow’s “Two Cultures”. In particular, we talk about the need for natural scientists and technicians to be able to communicate with the literary intellectuals, and vice versa. This requires a certain intellectual bilingualism and appreciation of what other people think is important and why. Similarly, no matter how specialized your field may be, you should be able to openly explain its importance and principles to anyone. There should be no excuses, no matter which culture you belong to. As Snow put it: “Not knowing the Second Law of Thermodynamics is like never having read a work of Shakespeare”.
With that in mind, readers may wish to brush up on either of those topics, so I present two relevant podcasts: The Second Law of Thermodynamics and Shakespeare’s Work from Melvyn Bragg’s “In Our Time” from the BBC. Bragg hosts two lively discussions with experts about the importance of the Second Law and its implications for our understandings of the universe, life and evolution, and about the role of Shakespeare yesterday, today and tomorrow: was he “not of an age, but for all time” (according to Ben Johnson), and why?
Listening to these may not make the world a better place, but apparently happiness is strongly correlated to education. Draw you own conclusions.
STV 302: Did a public school spy on one of its pupils at home? February 19, 2010Posted by Cameron Shelley in : STV302 , comments closed
Jonathan Zittrain uses the term “generative” to describe a technology that is easily repurposed (and thus hard to control). In this case, a camera was repurposed as an anti-theft device, which was then repurposed into a spying device (?).
STV 302: event of interest February 19, 2010Posted by Cameron Shelley in : Events, STV302 , comments closed
There will be a panel discussion on the topic “Open source democracy” at the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation on Monday, Feb. 22. See link for details: