Friday, June 20, 2014

My big partners

Twitter, Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft are my amateur intellectual partners: share book bits on twitter by way of iPad, Gmail and windows.

As a student, I never got in the habit of marking in books, turning down page corners or making notes in the front of the book.  In grad school, I did make notes of important parts that I wanted to quote since I couldn't quote without the author, title, publisher and date of publication.  Having a Kindle changed that.  It encouraged me to highlight really good passages since doing so put those parts into a file that could be downloaded and printed or used somewhere else.

Now, it works a little differently.  My actual Kindle Paperwhite is still an excellent device to read from.  But the Kindle app on an iPad is better, faster and more versatile.  On either device, I can read a good book, such as "The Compass of Pleasure" by David J. Linden, professor of neurobiology at Johns Hopkins med school.

I come to a summative passage I want to be able to find again.  I highlight it and tap "Share".  It offers Twitter or Facebook as sharing mechanisms.  I use Twitter.  The internet, the Apple device, the Amazon coding and computers, the Microsoft Windows computer and my Google email team up to share the passage with my Twitter followers.  The passages are also shared on Amazon's special book passage sharing computers.  I have done this sharing many times, in my living room and from the rim of the Grand Canyon.  It is a good way to keep track of valuable comments.

Profs. John McWhorter and Anne Curzan have convinced me that language changes, often a bit slowly to notice, but it changes all the time.  Eric Berne, a psychiatrist, author of Games People Play and Sex in Human Loving, says that the very famous "f" word in our cussing language stems from an Arabic word meaning to beat or pummel.  When I was young, the f word was never heard in polite company or in the media.  That has changed, sometimes to the point of being ridiculous, as this passage from Donald Westlake's novel "Watch Your Back!" emphasizes

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