Tuesday News: print books, Google cell phone service, early 20th C women, and zombie-defeating vehicles
As Hannah Arendt observed, mankind is homo faber: man as maker. We are tool-makers, art-makers, and respond to what we make, especially those things that are well made. What makes an object attractive, desirable — in a word, beautiful — if not each detail that reveals the care, the close attention of its maker? The evidence is all around us, from coveted Apple products hyper-designed by an obsessive Steve Jobs to luxury handbags and brushed-steel German kitchens. Nor is the pleasure we derive from such beautiful objects only aesthetic. Beauty is a kind of cognate for excellence: we are also viscerally responding to the maker’s attention to quality, which signals a certain kind of seriousness. Decades later I still recall the Heritage Library set of classics in my parents’ living room. Handsomely set in type, stamped with gold embossing and illustrated with powerful black woodcuts, these books sent the clearest message with their heft and beauty: pay attention, this is good. I should mention here that the gorgeous black textura letters of The Gutenberg Bible were not the first metal letters in the world; Gutenberg’s first efforts were crude, unlovely. It took time and extraordinary focus and skill to craft those letterforms we so admire, most likely the work of Gutenberg’s apprentice, Peter Schoeffer, a gifted calligrapher. –The Millions
The Information reported last month that Google plans to become an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator), reselling Sprint and T-Mobile network capacity to consumers rather than building out its own cell towers. “Google is preparing to sell mobile phone plans directly to customers and manage their calls and mobile data over a cellular network, according to three people with knowledge of the plans,” the site reported at the time.
When asked if Verizon Wireless and AT&T will object, Pichai said, “We’ve talked with them about all this, we’re working with some partners to do what we’re doing. Carriers in the US are what powers most of our Android phones and that model works really well for us.” –Ars Technica
Women want things harder than men, they are more ardent, more focussed, and if they can keep that ardor warm enough in their hearts, and yet sufficiently in check not to forego realizable ideals, they will be of immeasurable value in the future life of our great nation. –JSTOR/The North American Review
More than a few members of Quora.com – the online question and answer community – asked themselves the same thing, and created a diverse list of potential escape pods. Some opted for brute off-road capabilities, others for optimal energy efficiency and a few went truly off the grid. . .
For some Quora users, a road vehicle simply would not be a viable choice. “Get a bike. You could easily, and silently, outrun zombies on a bike, while consuming little energy,” Chris Everett writes. “Bikes can also be easily carried over terrain that they can’t be ridden on, can easily be repaired, and don’t require fuel.”
Some choices eschewed engines and motors altogether. “If I must absolutely move, I’d go for a horse, rather than a car. Horses are built for speed, have huge amounts of stamina and run on plants, which, as you know, are renewable and abound plenty, even in cities,” Diego Noriega Mendoza writes. –BBC Autos