In eight essays, Rawlins (Mathematics/Indiana Univ.) speculates on the exciting, scary new world computers are bringing us. In some areas, such as military technology, Rawlins does not expand much on Howard Rheingold's study Virtual Reality (1991). And so much is written these days about the Internet that nothing Rawlins says, startling as it might have been even a year ago, seems surprising today. Rawlins's comments on book publishing, however, offer a fascinating scenario for the next 10 or 20 years. It is now cheaper to produce a book electronically than to print it, and publishers, Rawlins suggests, will soon offer inexpensive subscriptions to their lists of upcoming books, in much the way that the cable TV industry works. Many publishers will resist, as movie producers resisted video, but then will find that they cannot exist without electronic books. All that is needed to set this chain of events in motion is a cheap, user-friendly electronic reader. Rawlins is also insightful on the economics of computers: The frighteningly short cycle of invention and obsolescence, and the manner in which software climbs up the organizational charts, performing ever more complicated and vital functions, eliminating not just typists but executives, too. Careers will turn over and over, and few of us, he suggests, will know with any certainty what the rapidly evolving machines are doing. Rawlins also touches on the most vexing problem of all: the poor. Knowledge, expressed by technology, is power. The numbers of those left out of this equation are growing exponentially. Will the economic benefits of the computer ever trickle downward? Is there any way to avoid the creation of an increasingly small elite controlling access to many of technology's most important uses? Does utopia lie ahead—or endless poverty and war? Such questions have no answers, but Rawlins asks them brilliantly.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)