In Memoriam: Michael S. Hart, E-Book Pioneer
The book world was saddened last week by the death of Michael S. Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, at the age of 64. Project Gutenberg represented the first significant attempt to digitize literature, having been launched in 1971 when Hart typed the text of the Declaration of Independence into a computer. Accordingly, Hart is credited with the invention of the e-book. His project's website remains to this day a popular, convenient source for free electronic editions of public-domain literary works.
I’ve always been a fan of Project Gutenberg, which may have the distinction of being the only major Web resource to retain a distinctly ‘90s-era look and feel. Though its features have changed with the times (you can now download e-texts for Kindle or share them via Facebook and Twitter), its design remains proudly square—right down to the Times New Roman and Courier fonts. (Courier dominated even more in older versions; the site used to look like it had been created by typewriter.) Maybe it’s no surprise, then, that Project Gutenberg has never abandoned its ‘90s spirit either. Together with Wikipedia, it seems to me the site that best embodies the mission of the early Web: to serve as a kind of superlibrary, distributing knowledge widely and freely for its own sake. That idealism was bound to have its limits, but Hart helped ensure that it wouldn't die out completely. He’ll be much missed.
A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.
- Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
- The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
- The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.
- A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
- Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
- New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.