The Book Thieves

In the early 1990s my city erected a stunning new addition to our central downtown library, an architectural gem that more than doubled its shelf capacity. This expansion was made necessary not only by increased patronage but also by the explosion of publications brought about by the information age. What the city and the architect may not have fully anticipated then was the extent to which the newly evolving internet would revolutionize books. No sooner had this state of the art library been inaugurated than ominous changes began to occur.

I grimaced when the old, highly flexible manual card catalogue disappeared, replaced by sterile Continue reading

Immortality for Sale?

The Washington Post recently reported that a number of tech pioneers such as Google, Pay Pal, Facebook, eBay and other giants of Silicon Valley are plowing billions into biomedical research hoping to dramatically extend human life spans. Apparently these high-tech Ponce de Leons are on the prowl for their own 21st century “fountain of youth.” Although such a chimerical quest might provide amusement to those of us more pragmatically inclined, the fact is that a number of high-tech gurus are “dead serious” (pun intended) about defeating the ravages of aging and death, in their own lifetimes if possible.

Google’s Sergey Brin, for instance, has apparently donated $150 million for gene modification research, Continue reading