Edith Wharton on Facebook: What a horrible thought!

January 3, 2010

Nancy Sharon Colllins, reporting after her recent work at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, including reading some original letters and other writings of Edith Wharton, wonders what would be the effect on history and literary studies, had Edith Wharton used Facebook instead of keeping her journal and writing copious numbers of letters.

And that got me thinking: What if Edith Wharton had Facebooked? Had she lived in our time and communicated digitally, I wonder what her literature would be like. Looking at five days of cursive writing and personal letters made me realize that her compulsion to jot down her thoughts was no different than ours today when we tweet about what we had for lunch or share some fab link we just discovered. The difference between a letter written longhand and a Facebook post is that one takes a little bit longer (and leaves a more lasting trace), but the purpose is the same. Whether we live on a grand, Whartonian scale or a quieter, more ordinary one, we feel more significant when we share intimacies about ourselves with others.

There’s a good warm-up and/or journaling exercise in there for literature teachers.


STS-129: Shuttle launch ballet

January 3, 2010

From Vimeo, that wonderful Space Shuttle launch video that Phil Plait raved about, just over a month ago. Just for fun.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “STS-129 Ascent Video Highlights on Vimeo“, posted with vodpod

Bob Park is probably right (he usually is). The International Space Station doesn’t have enough science value to justify the expense of it. A lot of the work we do in space exploration could better be done by robots. But you know, I grew up in that era when a manned space launch was a school-stopping experience. I was still in high school when Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon. So I will be saddened when the shuttle launches come to an end.

Let’s hope the next chapter of space exploration will be at least as cool.


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