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Stephen Jay Gould's Papers are coming to Stanford Libraries


"Objectivity cannot be equated with mental blankness. Rather, objectivity resides in recognizing your preferences and then subjecting them to especially harsh scrutiny — and also in a willingness to revise or abandon your theories when the tests fail (as they usually do)." Stephen Jay Gould

Stanford University Libraries announced Wednesday that the papers of famed evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould are coming to Stanford and will be housed in Special Collections.

Rhonda Shearer, Gould's widow, said that Stanford was chosen because "Stanford was the only institution really prepared to make a commitment to digitize and cross-link all of Steve's work, and this is something that Steve wanted. Even though he called himself a Luddite and really had anxiety about technology, he saw that for ideas to compete, they really had to be out on the Internet."

Mike Keller, Stanford University Librarian, said that the plan is to digitize Gould's articles, as well as the sources from which he drew both inspiration and information, and cross-link the source materials to the endnotes and citations in his writing. The goal will be to make all of Gould's papers freely available over the Internet to anyone who wants to see them, whether schoolchildren or scholars.

Anyone who found inspiration in items as disparate as a small piece of wood riddled with termite holes or the eye lenses of a flying fish (still stuffed into a small black tube with a tissue stuffed in the open end) probably had an interesting way of looking at things.

There is a great deal of interesting background material on Professor Gould at the Unofficial Stephen Jay Gould Archive.

Here is a list of Stephen Jay Gould's books at Stanford.

How They Got Game

Check out their new website of How They Got Game, a project which has focused on the history of interactive simulations and digital games since it began in 2000.

"The aim of the How They Got Game research project is to explore the history and cultural impact of a crucial segment of New Media: interactive simulations and video games. The current generation of video and PC games has established genres that effectively use narrative, competitive, and play structures for community-based interaction, performance and content development, and push the boundaries of computer-generated animation, graphics, and audio."

One of the key players, Henry Lowood, an instructor in gaming and virtual worlds, is the Curator for the History of Science and Technology Collections in Green Library.

Censorship: Internet Filtering

Documentation of Internet Filtering Worldwide, a project of the OpenNet Initiative, is seeking to document and analyze Web pages that have been blocked by, for example, countries wanting to restrict access to information for their citizens, or businesses that wish to disallow viewing leisure sites on company time.

"With this project we seek to document and analyze a large number of Web pages blocked by various types of filtering regimes, and ultimately create a distributed tool enabling Internet users worldwide to gather and relay such data from their respective locations on the Internet. We can thus start to assemble a picture not of a single hypothetical World Wide Web comprising all pages currently served upon it, but rather a mosaic of webs as viewed from respective locations, each bearing its own limitations on access. As various countries, companies and other entities employ or consider employing filtering software, documentation of the specific details, successes, and in some instances flaws of existing filtering efforts may prove helpful. (See European Union Internet Action Plan - Filtering & Rating, among other entities considering filtering.)"

Explore the Virtual Universe, in Vivid 3-D

Today Microsoft released a Website with free downloadable software called The WorldWide Telescope project. The rich images, animation and self-navigation allow for an experience of being in the universe.

Two months ago, Google released Google Sky, another tool to browse and explore the universe. To learn more, read the New York Times article Two New Ways to Explore the Virtual Universe, in Vivid 3-D.

A Guided Tour of Your Body

Is your iPod set too loud? Want to know how memory is formed? Try the 3D interactive map of the brain to learn how. See how UV photography reveals significant sun damage in a 17 year old. Check out your body from head to toe in this interactive special health section A Guided Tour of Your Body.

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