On the recommendation of Bob Sprankle, I’ve been listening to Kevin Kelly’s amazing book, “What Technology Wants” this past week. This book far beyond what I expected and I am loving it. I am particularly enjoying the opportunity to listen to it on my iPad with the Audible application. I love how I can readily rewind thirty seconds to hear a passage again, and take “notes” as bookmarks while I listen.


I am really enjoying the opportunity to learn about the theory of directional evolution, convergent evolution, the “Goldilocks zone,” and the “complex, adaptive systems” which surround us on our blue planet. This book makes me want to hang out with biochemists and ask lots of questions which probably have answers way over my head! Kelly is challenging me to think about biology, life, AND technology in new ways and I’m really enjoying it!

Interestingly, my search for “directional evolution” in Wikipedia this evening took me first to an article refuting this theory, rather than one presenting both sides of the debate. Stephen Jay Gould is quoted in the first paragraph of the article, and his theories are those I just heard Kevin Kelly refute in chapter eight of his book. It is vital that we as well as our students understand the dynamic nature of science and scientific theories, and this book certainly brings that reality into sharp relief. Too often we present science in our schools as “merely” a set of facts to memorize, much like we teach social studies. Both tendencies are regrettable and avoidable. I’m looking forward to sharing some excerpts from Kelly’s book with my own kids. Lots of the ideas he discusses are challenging to fully comprehend, and I’ve had to replay several sections multiple times to try and get a better understanding of his points. Some of this is definitely attributable to new vocabulary to which he is introducing me. Even though I’m pretty sure my kids won’t fully understand the book excerpts I’ll share with them, they will likely provide some lively topics for conversation. The paraphrased statement, “If you want to study E.T., study DNA” is an example. Lots of great ideas here for our imaginations and minds to ponder as well as play with!

If you have not yet listened to a full audio book, I highly commend this experience to you. I was a doubter for many years, but now wouldn’t want to take a long car trip without one!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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  • http://www.mathewseigal.com mseigal

     Nice post about Audible. I’m a big fan of the service since I first setup a subscription over 3 years ago courtesy of a Twit recommendation.

    I’m currently listening to Steven Levy’s ‘In The Plex’ and I’d like to download ‘What Technology Wants’ but it’s not yet licensed for non US credit card holders. :( Over the last two years I’ve become more open to critics of Kelly such as Jaron Lanier and Sherry Turkle who want to change the message from “what technology wants” to “what we want technology to do for us as people”. I like Sherry Turkle’s idea that we have become technology’s killer app!

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