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Science, Fiction, and points in between
§ The New Yorker Dec. 6, 1999 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:
A digitally-themed issue includes:
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.
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)