In last year’s election campaign we were reminded that images can overpower words. The U.S. military prohibited the taking of pictures of flag-draped coffins arriving from Iraq even as it freely shared statistics on the number of American dead. It knows that the images are more powerful than the numbers.
In Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg's film AI: Artificial Intelligence David is an android, created in the image of a human boy and designed to provide a couple with an emotional substitute for a gravely ill child. Once the phrase that activates him to love is read to him, David has no choice but to love the activater, even if his love is not reciprocated.
Although many of us may be unfamiliar with the name Donald Knuth, not so computer scientists and programmers. According to the Online hacker Jargon file (Jargon File 4.2.3), "Knuth" is "mythically, the reference that answers all questions about data structures or algorithms.
According to Canadian sociologist David Lyon, the theory of secularization based on Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism--a "metanarrative" of the secularized academy--is dead.
People don’t read on the Web—they scan. Researchers Jakob Nielsen and John Morkes found that 79 percent of their test users always scanned Web pages and only 16 percent read them word-by-word (www.useit.com/alertbox/ 9710a.html).
"Here we have a multifaith, multi-approach, multi-ideological site flourishing—at a time when we’re supposed to be getting more fragmented, more contentious, more divided.” So wrote Steve Waldman, editor-in-chief and cofounder of Beliefnet (www.belief.net) at the beginning of the year on the first anniversary of the site.
Brenda Brasher believes that each generation must articulate ideas of the divine that make sense against the backdrop of its own time. Today's backdrop has been shaped by computers and computer-mediated communication, which have redefined many people's self-understanding and view of community.
In the early 16th century, Martin Luther, assisted by enterprising printers unhandicapped by copyright laws, swamped the market with five pamphlets for every one put out by his Catholic opponents. Other Protestant writers poured out their own flood of sermons, treatises, polemics and devotional writings. For more than three decades Protestants dominated the recently invented printing press.
Science writer Margaret Wertheim suggests in The Pearly Gates of CyberSpace: A History of Space from Dante to the Internet that cyberspace has become for some a technological substitute for the heaven of Christian aspiration. “The Heavenly City of the New Jerusalem was the great promise of early Christianity,” she writes.
"There is no There there,” said Gertrude Stein about Oakland, California. “There is a different there there,” say I, an Oaklandite by birth, about virtuality. “Virtual” presence differs from “real” presence in propinquity—time, place and relationship—as well as vividness and interactivity.
In Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut (1997) David Shenk tells of “technostress” researcher Philip Nicholson’s practice of asking his audiences, “Pretend that you were forced to make a choice between giving up one of your fingers and giving up use of your computer for the rest of your life.
Martin Luther: Exploring His Life and Times, 1483-1546, by Helmar Jughans (CD-ROM)
Written biographies of Martin Luther abound, but only one multimedia, hypertext CD-ROM attempts the tale. As a Luther scholar and sometime software designer, I find this production's media more interesting than its message.
As a president of a church-related college, I find much criticism of church-related higher education to be well-intentioned but wistful nostalgia. Critics such as James Burtchaell, whose book The Dying of the Light was reviewed in these pages by Ralph C.
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