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Science, Fiction, and points in between

§ The New Yorker Dec. 6, 1999
A digitally-themed issue includes:

  • A Book Currents column (page 40) on books about zero;
  • An idiosyncratic list of favorite websites (page 146);
  • An article by Michael Specter (page 96) reporting on his investigation of what happens to e-mails that disappear;
  • A Talk of the Town piece by Adam Gopnik (page 49) celebrating the Internet as the triumph of the word over visual media:
    The Internet is the first new medium to move decisively backward, for it is, essentially, written. ... E-mail is the literary event of the late century. We have become a nation not of Philip K. Dicks but of Horace Walpoles. ... E-mail has succeeded brilliantly for the same reason that the videophone failed miserably: what we actually want from our exchanges is the minimum human contact commensurate with the need to connect with other people. ''Only connect.'' Yes, but only connect.
    And this:
    Two of the most popular Web forms--the rant and the quote page, a miscellany of epigrams--are pure eighteenth-century revivals.
  • A cartoon (page 50) showing a priest with a webcam on his head speaking to a couple he is marrying: ''If there is anyone who objects to this union, either here or on the Internet, speak now or forever hold your peace.''

    § Time December 6, 1999

  • An article by Paul Hoffman wonders how mathematicians (cf. Good Will Hunting, Andrew Wiles, and books about zero) got to be so sexy these days.
  • Novelist Reynolds Price concocts a new Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth based on archaeology, biblical scholarship, and his imagination.
    (Fri 3 Dec 1999)

    § Newsweek December 6, 1999
    The cover feature about searching for life on Mars -- timed to coincide with the imminent arrival of the Mars Polar Lander -- includes an essay by Kim Stanley Robinson about Why We Should Go to Mars. Also: a summary of the various Mars projects underway in Hollywood, by James Cameron, Brian De Palma, and others.

    (Wed 1 Dec 1999)

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