Tag Archives: Nicholas Carr

garden color

Color of course needs to be an important consideration in planning the garden. You may be familiar with Gertrude Jekyll’s important book devoted just to the subject, Colour Scheme in the Flower Garden. If you don’t know it—or if you your copy is falling apart—you can read it for free online via Google Books. Her selections of plants won’t apply to many locations since she lived in England, but her thought processes about choosing colors and staging processions of colors throughout the year colors are instructive and worth the read.

You can find plenty of other garden books online through Google books. If they’re out of copyright you can see the entire text. Even if they’re still under copyright control, you can skim through many others–usually enough to let you decide if you want to buy the book, and often enough to answer a specific question that might be your only reason for wanting to look at the book.

When Google started their massive project to digitize items in many of the world’s major libraries they raised more than a few eyebrows. What were they up to? What were they doing scanning all these books and potentially releasing for free the hard work of the world’s authors?

I’ve just finished The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google by Nicholas Carr. It’s definitely a work of journalism and not poetry, but a paragraph on page 223 made my jaw drop and just by itself made reading the book worthwhile:

George Dyson, a historian of technology…was invited to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, in October 2005 to give a speech… After his talk, Dyson found himself chatting with a Google engineer about the company’s controversial plant to scan the contents of the world’s libraries into its database. “We are not scanning all those books to be read by people,” the engineer told him. “We are scanning them to be read by an AI [Artificial Intelligence].”

Creepy. But at least in the end, when Google’s computers take over the world, they’ll at least be able to put together a color-coordinated English cottage garden.