(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘PBS

I forget…

 source: Flickr/Lord Rex

As we worry about the skills being lost in our growing dependence on new technologies, we might contemplate Plato’s recounting of Socrates’ dialogue with Phaedrus:

Socrates: Among the ancient gods of Naucratis in Egypt there was one to whom the bird called the ibis is sacred. The name of that divinity was Thoth, and it was he who first discovered number and calculation, geometry and astronomy, as well as the games of checkers and dice, and above all else, writing.

Now, the king of all Egypt at that time was Thamus, who lived in the great city in the upper region that the Greeks call Egyptian Thebes; Thamus they call Amun. Thoth came to exhibit his arts to him and urged him to disseminate them to all the Egyptians. Thamus asked him about the usefulness of each art, and while Thoth was explaining it, Thamus praised him for whatever he thought was right in his explanations and criticized him for whatever he thought was wrong.

The story goes that Thamus said much to Thoth, both for and against each art, which it would take too long to repeat. But when they came to writing, Thoth said, “O king, here is something that, once learned, will make the Egyptians wiser and will improve their memory; I have discovered a potion for memory and for wisdom.” Thamus, however, replied, “O most expert Thoth, one man can give birth to the elements of an art, but only another can judge how they can benefit or harm those who will use them. And now, since you are the father of writing, your affection for it has made you describe its effects as the opposite of what they really are. In fact, it will introduce forgetfulness into the soul of those who learn it: they will not practice using their memory because they will put their trust in writing, which is external and depends on signs that belong to others, instead of trying to remember from the inside, completely on their own. You have not discovered a potion for remembering, but for reminding; you provide your students with the appearance of wisdom, not with its reality. Your invention will enable them to hear many things without being properly taught, and they will imagine that they have come to know much while for the most part they will know nothing. And they will be difficult to get along with, since they will merely appear to be wise instead of really being so.”

Via Lapham’s Quarterly. (C.f. also Josh Mostel’s hysterical dramatization on Media Probes, if you can find it…)

As we chill, we might recall that it was on this date in 1982 that the final episode of The Lawrence Welk Show was taped (for syndicated release on April 17).  The series aired locally in Los Angeles for four years (1951–55), then nationally for another 28 years via the ABC network (1955–71) and– supported by anti-aging tonic Geritol,  sleep aid Sominex, and laxative Serutan–in first-run syndication (1971–82).  Then in 1986, lest a generation of Americans forget the polka, Oklahoma Public Television acquired the rights and began redistributing the programs to PBS stations…  on which they run to this day.

And a one, and a two…

 source

Written by LW

February 24, 2012 at 1:01 am

And information wants to be expensive*…

Finally it’s here!

Eager enthusiasts dressed as “tops” waited anxiously at bookstores  until midnight, January 12, to grab their copies of Jean Demaison’s and Jürgen Vogt’s Asymmetric Top Molecules, Part 2 (Landolt-Börnstein: Numerical Data and Functional Relationships in Science and Technology – New Series / Molecules and Radicals) (English/English Edition).

But readers needn’t brave the crush; the volume is available at Amazon… for $4,719.00.  And of course, it’s eligible for free shipping with Amazon Prime.

* While many quote Stewart Brand’s observation that “information wants to be free,” most have either forgotten or never known that what Stewart actually said was that “information wants to be free and information wants to be very expensive.”

As we take advantage of one-click, we might remember that not all valuable information is pricey, as we recall that it was on this date in 1970 that National Public Radio was founded (replacing the National Educational Radio Network).  Its signature show, All Things Considered, premiered the following year.

Your correspondent will, as it happens, be attending an NPR Board meeting today, where a central topic is bound to be the current assault on federal support for public broadcasting.  Readers who share the sense that public broadcasting– NPR, PRI, PBS, PRX, APM, and the local stations that carry them– return much more to our country than they consume (or readers who would like better to understand why so many of us feel that way) should visit 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting.

source

Take a letter…

From Letterheady, a collection of interesting and amusing letterheads…

For others– including examples from such celebs as Elvis, Adolph Hitler, The Rolling Stones, and Kurt Vonnegut (before he was “Kurt Vonnegut”)– visit Letterheady.

As compose ourselves, we might recall that on this date in 1967, the first educational television network in the U.S.– National Educational Television (NET)– signed on as a network, when 70 independent educational stations interconnected for the first time to broadcast Lyndon Johnson’s inaugural address. (Prior to this, NET had simply circulated tapes of shows to stations, which broadcast them when they arrived– “consult your local listings.”)  Lest we doubt that the pace of advance is brisk, it was on this same date only four years later (1971) that public television’s signature prime time show, Masterpiece Theater, premiered on what by then was PBS (the successor to NET).

The original logo

Written by LW

January 10, 2010 at 1:01 am

%d bloggers like this: