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RE: If You Had Data Like We've Got Data ...

From: Eric D. Pierce <>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 12:47:36 -0700
Message-Id: <>

On 12 Sep 2000, at 20:45, MacGregor, Ian A. wrote:

Date sent:      	Tue, 12 Sep 2000 20:45:40 -0800
To:             	Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L <>
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From:           	"MacGregor, Ian A." <ian_at_SLAC.Stanford.EDU>
Subject:        	RE: If You Had Data Like  We've Got Data ...

> OID looked good as a way of managing access to resources, until the pricing
> was announced. Oracle has profitted handsomely from work done at
> High-Energy Physics Labs. The Web was "invented" by Tim Berners-Lee
> formerly of Cern. Perhaps Larry E. will pay the community back by making
> OID free.
> Ed Pierce's claim that the "Web as we know it" was invented at the National
> Supercomputing Center at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champagne, or
> is it Champagne-Urbana? was really a claim that, mosaic, the first of the
> breed of modern Web browsers was invented there.

Exactamundo Jefe!

One of the points I made to the libertarians that want to get lawyers off MS' back is that, ironically, a great deal of the technology that is making the new techies (like Bill Gates and Larry Ellison) ultra rich originated in huge central-state sponsored research projects such as the space program, and defense department projects back in the 50s/60s. In other words, the new tech billionaires have to answer the question of their obligations to function cooperatively with society (as opposed to seeing the world strictly in terms of competition/consumption) in the context of public sponsorship of the creation of the technologies they are getting rich from.

For an even deeper historical perspective on the relationship between government sponsorship of science and the entrepenurial-capitalist elites, see Wallace Stegner's "Beyond the Hundredth Meridian" (as you may know, Stegner was the founder of the Creative Writing program at Stanford).


Stegner's concern with the influence of the past on the present and 
with a personal and societal sense of identity is most obvious in his 
nonfiction books, many of which deal with Western history and 
historical figures. In his essay, "On the Writing of History," 
included in The Sound of Mountain Water: The Changing American West, 
Stegner defines the best history writing as a branch of literature, 
combining historical fact with the narrative prose of fiction. The 
proper blending of history and fiction "should help to unveil those 
continuities between past and present which have remained obscure," 
as Forrest G. Robinson and Margaret G. Robinson explain in their 
study, Wallace Stegner. Speaking to Dillon in the Southwest Review, 
Stegner explained his attraction to the writing of history: "I think 
to become aware of your life, to examine your life in the best 
Socratic way, is to become aware of history and of how little history 
is written, formed, and shaped. I also think that writers in a new 
tradition, in a new country, invariably, by a kind of reverse twist 
of irony, become hooked on the past, which in effect doesn't exist 
and therefore has to be created even more than the present needs to 
be created."  

The nineteenth-century Western explorer and naturalist John Wesley 
Powell is the subject of Stegner's biography Beyond the Hundredth 
Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West. 
Powell led the first expeditions on the Green and Colorado rivers and 
conducted some of the earliest geological surveys of the West. 
"Ethnology and Indian policies, public land policy and the 
***structure of government science*** stem back to his trail blazing 
efforts," a Kirkus reviewer explains. Stegner sees Powell, he writes 
in the book, as "the personification of an ideal of public service 
that seems peculiarly a product of the American experience."  

Critical reaction to Beyond the Hundredth Meridian was favorable. A 
New Yorker reviewer calls it "an important book and, what is more, an 
exciting one." Mari Sandoz of Saturday Review finds it a "complex 
story, but no man is better fitted by understanding and artistry to 
tell it than Wallace Stegner." The Robinsons, looking back on the 
book in 1977, find it to be "the longest, the most scholarly, perhaps 
the best written, and certainly the most valuable of Stegner's 
contributions to historical nonfiction."  

---end excerpt---

In the following, you get a sense of the strong sense of the 
"civilizing" influences that ideas about social collectivism and 
mutual reciprocity had on Stegner's "conservative" world view. This 
is a major element in Stegner's analysis of the great conflict 
between John Wesley Powell's populist post-civil war work building 
the federal science research infrastructure, and the 
individualists/capitalists that fought Powell's collectivism while 
they were plundering vast areas of the western ecosystem and 
concentrating wealth and natural resources (monopolies).

In short, I seriously doubt that the current ascent of anglo-imperial 
global techno-capitalism is capable of sustaining itself under the 
challenges that exist in terms of the inevitable emergence of more  
Received on Wed Sep 13 2000 - 14:47:36 CDT

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