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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Alarms and diversions for the thinking person

Saturday, August 05, 2017 12:01 am

The reading list

“In the 1990s, (David) Gelernter predicted that the internet would be a perfect environment for thinking, both serene and lively. 'My idea in Mirror Worlds was that the computer screen should be like the still surface of a moving pond,' he explained. That didn't happen. The internet gives us the news and assists our research, but it is mostly used for low purposes, a glorified fidget spinner, trolling device, and masturbation aid.

“Gelernter still hasn't given up on the internet — though, like any sane person, he thinks that children shouldn't be exposed to it too often or too much. 'The average kid doesn't even know one tenth of the books in the school library,' he scoffed. 'He doesn't need an information superhighway.' Young people should be trained to use the web properly: 'Push the button only when you're done; don't skip to the end. You don't skip to the end when you read a book.' 'The internet has a gigantic flaw,' Gelernter said. 'It should be structured like a recursive nest, so that you're encouraged to return to what you were looking at. Instead, the way it is, if you click you'll probably never go back.'

“I mentioned that children at my son's elementary school in Brooklyn are taking coding classes in third grade. '“It's absolutely asinine,' Gelernter scowled. 'You could also teach a third grader how to drive, using a miniature car, but why would you? Teach them discrete math, logic, graph theory, not baby coding. They have to work up to the coding.' ”

— From The Unabomber couldn't kill David Gelernter. Now Gerlertner supports Donald Trump” at tabletmag.com

A quiz

Which can humans survive longer without, food or sleep?

Wisdom of the ages

“Would the boy you were be proud of the man you are?” — Laurence J. Peter

 Current wisdom

“We have a country that has been led by people who have no business understanding. We are living off the success of the past – off the fat of the past – and we cannot continue to do this.” — President Trump, in a leaked phone conversation with Mexican President Enrique Peņa Nieto.

Quiz answer

Food.

Today in history

On this day in, 1861, the U.S. levied its first income tax — 3 percent of incomes over $800; so small, what harm could come from it?

Snob words

immiserate (ih-MIS-uh-reyt), v. — to make miserable, as in: “The editorial writer was happily unscathed by the politician's attempt to immiserate him.”

Now you know

The most literate city in the United States is Minneapolis, with Washington, D.C., and Seattle rounding out the top three.

Comments

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