Thursday, February 2, 2012

Google and Magic

Quite simply, the best opening para I read in a long long time.

" When the first Harry Potter book appeared, in 1997, it was just a year before the universal search engine Google was launched. And so Hermione Granger, that charming grind, still goes to the Hogwarts library and spends hours and hours working her way through the stacks, finding out what a basilisk is or how to make a love potion. The idea that a wizard in training might have, instead, a magic pad where she could inscribe a name and in half a second have an avalanche of news stories, scholarly articles, books, and images (including images she shouldn’t be looking at) was a Quidditch broom too far. Now, having been stuck with the library shtick, she has to go on working the stacks in the Harry Potter movies, while the kids who have since come of age nudge their parents. “Why is she doing that?” they whisper. “Why doesn’t she just Google it?”
That the reality of machines can outpace the imagination of magic, and in so short a time, does tend to lend weight to the claim that the technological shifts in communication we’re living with are unprecedented..."



Read more http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2011/02/14/110214crat_atlarge_gopnik#ixzz1lEPRsYNm

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