Moralizing Technology: Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things By Peter-Paul Verbeek (University of Chicago Press, 183 pp., $25) JUST WEST OF SEOUL, on a man-made island in the Yellow Sea, a city is rising. Slated for completion by 2015, Songdo has been meticulously planned by engineers and architects and lavishly financed by money from the American real estate company Gale International and the investment bank Morgan Stanley.
The fans who descended upon Baltimore in September 1983 for the forty-first annual World Science Fiction Convention hadn’t come to meet Newt Gingrich. They were there to see Isaac Asimov and the test pilot Chuck Yeager, to listen to Jim Henson hold forth on The Dark Crystal, to hear panel discussions like “Is There Pornography in the Future?” In this milieu, the gentleman from Georgia’s sixth district stood out mostly because of his conservative attire. “He was a novelty,” recalls the author Virginia Postrel, who met Gingrich at the convention. “People were wearing blue jeans.
There aren't many writers of popular fiction who've been a poorer fit with Hollywood over the years than Isaac Asimov. Though he wrote hyper-prolifically in the celluloid-friendly genre of science fiction and inspired several generations of nerdy boys (including this one), his books have rarely made the leap to the big screen--and when they have, they've been largely unrecognizable (yes, Bicentennial Man and I, Robot, I'm looking at you).
Dear Dr. Gingrich: Forgive the slightly formal mode of address. I know all the best people nowadays--phone salesmen, talk-show hosts, politicians--prefer a mode of instant intimacy, but I still find it hard to make bosom buddies out of people I don't know. There is also the matter of academic courtesy. You were once a professor. I still am. This is, in a manner of speaking, an academic letter. According to an article in The New York Times, you were inspired in your youth by Arnold Toynbee and Isaac Asimov but have as your "guide du jour" my study of the Hellenistic Age, Alexander to Actium.