"tree flakes encased in dead cow"

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In "From Papyrus to Pixels," The Economist looks at the books/ebooks imbroglio, and remarks that "to see technology purely as a threat to books risks missing a key point:"

Books are not just "tree flakes encased in dead cow", as a scholar once wryly put it. They are a technology in their own right, one developed and used for the refinement and advancement of thought. And this technology is a powerful, long-lived and adaptable one.

Books like de Officiis have not merely weathered history; they have helped shape it. The ability they offer to preserve, transmit and develop ideas was taken to another level by Gutenberg and his colleagues. Being able to study printed material at the same time as others studied it and to exchange ideas about it sparked the Reformation; it was central to the Enlightenment and the rise of science. No army has accomplished more than printed textbooks have; no prince or priest has mattered as much as "On the Origin of Species"; no coercion has changed the hearts and minds of men and women as much as the first folio of Shakespeare's plays.

Asserting that "Books read in electronic form will boast the same power and some new ones to boot" seems rather naïve given the amount of spying enabled by devices that is impossible with paper books.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on October 15, 2014 11:31 AM.

education, the bottom line, and lining one's pockets was the previous entry in this blog.

stoking the fear furnace is the next entry in this blog.

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