Seattle's win could transform NFL

But the far larger concern is censorship. Books contain information the White House or some big company doesn't want the public to know. What if those passages mysteriously disappear? ("We did it for the public's own good," the Justice Department may tell a judge in secret.) Books that upset some rich person: The person may hire lawyers, and the electronic publisher may cave rather than fight the suit, electronically altering the text. The model for Office 365 -- software continuously altered via Internet connections, whether the user wants it or not -- may be a good model for workplace productivity. But it's a horrible precedent. Books containing controversial political opinions, books with erotica, books that have any words some censor thinks people should not be allowed to read could lead to alterations of literature. In the early 19th century, Henrietta Bowdler famously went through Shakespeare expurgating all references to sex. It's a horrible precedent that remote electronic commands can alter not content as presented to the market by someone but content already owned by someone else.

If you're thinking, "My party holds the White House right now so I like the idea of electronic control of what people are allowed to read" -- remember how often control of political and academic institutions changes. Remember that a monster might one day sit in the White House. The framers' solution, the First Amendment, was to protect all speech, period. Remote alteration of electronically stored books, articles and art may be the next First Amendment frontier.

If you have an electronic book that might be altered remotely, the only way to be sure would be to print it out and keep the printed copy. Which may be the best case for the future of printed books.

But No One Thinks 13 Is an Unlucky Number: With the Seahawks' victory, now there are 13 teams, of 32, that have not won Super Bowl: Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Philadelphia, San Diego and Tennessee.

Hidden Play of the Super Bowl: Hidden plays are ones that never make highlight reels, but help win championships. Denver threw a quick sideways screen to the tailback -- and the play was run down in the flat for a gain of only 1 yard by Seattle defensive tackle Michael Bennett. When a defensive tackle is catching a tailback in the flat, your defense has speed and your mind is in the game.

Season-Ending Book Recommendations: At the close of each season, TMQ recommends recent meritorious books that deserve more attention than they so far have received. Among them:

"The Upside of Down" by Charles Kenny. Shows that for the United States' position in the world to decline somewhat because China, India, Indonesia and Brazil are growing is not bad: rather, the morally desirable outcome for all parties, including America. Demolishes the argument -- made mainly by wealthy elitists of the west -- that increasing resource consumption by the developing world will destroy the planet.

"Probably Approximately Correct" by Leslie Valiant. Speculates on whether naturally occurring algorithms are a factor in evolution.

"The Center Holds" by Jonathan Alter. Not a football book! Alter's second volume detailing the inner workings of the Obama White House. Invaluable to anyone interested in the American presidency.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...