William Gibson's Spook Country on laws and nations


“A nation,” he heard himself say, “consists of its laws. A nation does not consist of its situation at a given time. If an individual’s morals are situational, that individual is without morals. If a nation’s laws are situational, that nation has no laws, and soon isn’t a nation.”

This has been cited here couple of times so far.

Towards a bigger public for books


Today I had an opportunity to speak before a group of high-school students at the National debate championship organized by Youth Educational Forum. I gave a short introduction on the topic of availability of universities' research to the general public.

I borrowed a lot from elsewhere for the talk. First I used this memorable scene from Good Will Hunting to point out the importance of libraries for dissemination of knowledge. Of course, it is a scene that draws few laughs as well.

After that, using some of Marcell's ideas, I talked about the importance of having a public library in the digital world.

Books, research, literature and other works, are available to the general public, at almost no marginal cost, via the public library. It is probably one of the most important institutions that were set up in the enlightenment era. Universities already make their work public. In Macedonia, lectures are open for the public, and all published material is cataloged in the national libraries. It is not perfect, but it works [for now]. We need to figure out how to preserve the library tradition on the Internet, and use the connectivity and storage to share further.

The event, by chance, took place at a school's library, which was nice. I thank YEF for the opportunity.