Readings and Novelties

You Can Judge a Man by the Poetry He Reads

by Lee Gesmer on October 30, 2007

According to the October 22, 2007 Time Magazine cover article on the Supreme Court (“Inside the Incredibly Shrinking Role of the Supreme Court, and Why John Roberts is O.K With That” (link)), every year, in January, Chief Justice John Roberts rereads the poem, “The Vanity of Human Wishes,” written by Samuel Johnson and first published in 1749. This is, the article says, a ritual John Roberts has followed since he was an undergrad at Harvard in the 1970s. The poem, according to Time, is “a devastating reflection on remorseless fate.” “Life protracted is protracted Woe,” quotes Time.

Here is the opening stanza of the full poem, and a link to the remainder of the poem, which is lengthy and, it almost goes without saying, challenging:

Remark each anxious Toil, each eager Strife,
And watch the busy Scenes of crouded Life;
Then say how Hope and Fear, Desire and Hate,
O’er spread with Snares the clouded Maze of Fate,
Where wav’ring Man, betray’d by vent’rous Pride,
To tread the dreary Paths without a Guide;
As treach’rous Phantoms in the Mist delude,
Shuns fancied Ills, or chases airy Good.

Read the full article

Party Like Its 1999

by Lee Gesmer on October 17, 2007

Xconomy.com is a well written and produced web site that describes itself thus –

the authoritative voice of on the exponential economy, the realm of business and innovation characterized by exponential technological growth …

Sounds a little Wired/Gilder-like, true, but this is the best way I’ve seen to keep up with developments in the Massachusetts technology markets. For example, their October 17, 2007 article, Boston: The Hidden Hub of Music and Technology, with its list of local music/technology companies, is an example of the kind of thing you would be unlikely to find elsewhere.… Read the full article

Supernova 2006: Connecting in Complex World

by Lee Gesmer on July 21, 2006

I usually find the Knowledge@Wharton reports and articles interesting. Here is a series of articles summarizing some of the topics discussed at their annual Supernova Conference, which was held in San Francisco in late June.

The topics include:

What’s the Future of Desktop Software — and How Will It Affect Your Privacy?

Kevin Lynch on Adobe‘s Plans for a New Generation of Software

The Rise of the ‘Videonet’

TantekRead the full article

What I’m Reading.

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, held in London on June 22, 1897, was one of the grandest fetes the world has ever seen: 46,000 troops and 11 colonial prime ministers arrived from the four corners of the earth to pay homage to their sovereign. The event was as much a celebration of Victoria’s 60 years on the throne as it was of Britain’s superpower status. In 1897, Queen Victoria ruled over a quarter of the world’s population and a fifth of its territory, all connected by the latest marvel of British technology, the telegraph, and patrolled by the Royal Navy, which was larger than the next two navies put together. “The world took note,” says the historian Karl Meyer. The New York Times gushed: “We are a part … of the Greater Britain which seems so plainly destined to dominate this planet’.”

Click here to continue reading this Newsweek article, entitled “How Long Will America Lead the World?”… Read the full article