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    The Big Picture "Namespaces will collide. Let them."
    posted by tbyfield on Saturday March 27 2004, @06:06AM

    I was recently directed to a reader's review of Sussman and Wisdom's Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics, in which the reviewer noted...
    Among the horrors of modern education is the production of vast quantities of poorly written, error ridden science text books. This is in spite of the fact that many if not most of the great scientists of the 20th century have been excellent writers and lecturers. Einstein and Feynman are important examples: brilliant in their discoveries, they were equally brilliant in their abilities to describe and explain some of the most difficult concepts of science. We should be asking why these people can write about their work with such perfection while the "professionally produced" text books in our high schools and colleges are so mediocre.




    Sadly, that question was more or less answered twenty-five years ago by Frances FitzGerald when she wrote America Revised: History Schoolbooks in the Twentieth Century: one of the more toxic by-products of competition in the textbook industry is systemic and systematic pandering to local prejudice. Granted, American history and science are (or were) different fields; but the "culture wars" have eroded even that distinction with local school-boards voting to strike evolution from science curricula and the like. Thus, even though there are brilliant science writers like Carl Zimmer dashing off dazzling books that could inspire new generations with cultural histories of science (disclaimer: Carl's an old friend) -- which, BTW, would be much better for The Economy than a rentier class of marketers vaporizing about their "brands" and "marks" -- committees labor away at every level to ensure that No Child Gets Inspired.

    What's this got to do with ICANN? Lots. After a decade of policy drones beating the horse of living language into an "exclusive" sheetrock condominium to be asymptotically McParceled, McSubdivided, McBought, and McSold, leave it to a science writer to tackle the root question around which, among other things, ICANN has staked out out a tawdry little plot to erect its potemkin policy apparatus: "traditional namespaces [that] are overlapping and melting together." James Gleick's conclusion: "Namespaces will collide. Let them."

     
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      Related Links  
    · ICANN
    · America Revised: History Schoolbooks in the Twentieth Century
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    · "Namespaces will collide. Let them."
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    · Also by tbyfield
     
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    "Namespaces will collide. Let them." | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 2 comments | Search Discussion
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    Feynman and text books
    by aufflick on Thursday April 01 2004, @04:32PM (#13298)
    User #3965 Info

    Interestingly, Richard Feynman discusses this issue of poor textbooks in his semi-autobiographical collection of short anecdotes "Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman":

    Feynman was for a time on a government board that made textbook reccomendations and bemoaned the poor approach and quality of the textbooks and the selection process itself.

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