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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Alarms and diversions for the thinking person

Saturday, May 20, 2017 12:01 am

The reading list

“Half a century ago ... an acclaimed young American science fiction writer, Roger Zelazny, published his third novel. In many ways, Lord of Light was of its time, shaggy with imported Hindu mythology and cosmic dialogue. Yet there were also glints of something more forward-looking and political. One plot strand concerned a group of revolutionaries who wanted to take their society 'to a higher level' by suddenly transforming its attitude to technology. Zelazny called them the Accelerationists.

“He and the book are largely forgotten now. But as the more enduring sci-fi novelist JG Ballard said in 1971, 'what the writers of modern science fiction invent today, you and I will do tomorrow.' Over the past five decades, and especially over the past few years, much of the world has got faster. Working patterns, political cycles, everyday technologies, communication habits and devices, the redevelopment of cities, the acquisition and disposal of possessions – all of these have accelerated. Meanwhile ... accelerationism has gradually solidified from a fictional device into an actual intellectual movement: a new way of thinking about the contemporary world and its potential.”

— From “Accelerationism: how a fringe philosophy predicted the future we live in” at theguardian.com

A quiz

On Aug. 28, 1991, the first what was sent to Earth by the crew of the space shuttle STS-43 Atlantis?

Wisdom of the ages

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Current wisdom

“This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” — President Trump, on investigations into alleged links between his 2016 campaign and Russia.

Quiz answer

The first true email message from space. 

Snob words

forgettery (for-GET-uh-ree), n. — a faculty or facility for forgetting; faulty memory, as in: “The editorial writer cynically applauded the convenient forgettery of the politician who denied his 'no new taxes' promise.”

Today in history

On his day in 1902, the US military occupation of Cuba ended; rats, wrong decision! 

Now you know

D.W. Griffith (1875-1948), a pioneering Hollywood film director, is credited with using the first close-up, the long shot, the fade-out, and other film techniques in his 1915 groundbreaking and highly racist film “The Birth of a Nation” (aka “The Clansman”), a film that portrayed the Ku Klux Klan in a positive way.

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