“In a moment of high drama, his aged father hurled himself on the ground at Gregory’s feet, and cried ‘My son, where are you going? Shall I ever see you again?’
‘It is written,’ Gregory answered, as he stepped over the obstacle, ‘ that thou shalt trample on the ass and the basilisk.’
Thus saying, he mounted his mule, which started to walk backwards. Eventually, another animal was brought, and the pope was able to start out for Marseille, the scribes, lawyers, engrossers, and bullatores of the Papal court dribbling along behind him with their piles of parchment, documents, seals, ribbons, and all the other material of the spider’s web that Avignon had woven around Christendom.”
— Frances Stonor Saunders, Hawkwood: Diabolical Englishman
An engrosser is either someone who seeks to obtain a monopoly in a limited market, or someone who makes illuminated manuscripts. In the context of this sentence I would say that either meaning is equally likely. After a little research, I have no idea what a bullatore is, though it’s probably related to a bulla, which is the round seal used to stamp papal documents (bulls).
“To forget that we are hemmed in by facts which are for the most part independent of our desires is a form of insane megalomania. This kind of insanity has grown up as a result of the triumph of scientific technique. Its latest manifestation is Stalin’s refusal to believe that heredity can have the temerity to ignore Soviet decrees, which is like Xerxes whipping the Hellespont to teach Poseidon a lesson.”— Bertrand Russell
In this case, the phrase ‘scientific technique’ refers to the theory of Marx, Dewey, et. al, that science is useful insofar as it allows us to exert power. So, ‘technique’ as the opposite of knowledge, curiosity, wonder, etc.
The Trillion Dollar Defense Budget is Already Here, by Robert Higgs.
The Defense Department’s budget is only a small part of the amount the United States spends on its military: hundreds of billions of dollars are hidden elsewhere, in the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the DHS, in interest payments on defense-related national debt, and so on.
Therefore, I propose that in considering future defense budgetary costs, a well-founded rule of thumb is to take the Pentagon’s (always well publicized) basic budget total and double it. We may overstate the truth, but if so, we’ll not do so by much.
In most people’s everyday life, the computer isn’t much more than a very fast adding machine. It tends to send you bills. But it is very much more than that. The modern world could not function without computers, because they operate everything from production lines, to telephone exchanges, to traffic systems, to international finance. But the reason computers matter to you, and me, and our future, is because they have perfect memories. They never forget anything they’re told about you and me. The kind of data, say, you have to give somebody if you want a bank account, or credit, or if you want to vote, or buy a house, or if you’ve been accused of a crime. And that’s why computers contain the future within them: if you tell a computer everything about a group of people, it’ll juggle the mix and come up with the one factor that is most likely to affect the decision that group will make about something, one way or the other. Knowing that is knowing the future, and that is power—but in whose hands?
Ours is the era of big data, so that observation is almost too trivial to make. You’d be laughed right out of your TED Talk if you proposed it as a novel insight.
However, Burke said this in 1978, when computers were still using punch cards, and the personal computing revolution was almost a decade away. The idea of doing computational analysis on consumer data wasn’t exactly new, but the idea that it would be used to wield thorough and casual power over people’s lives was.
Re-watching *Connections*, I’m finding that Burke only carves out occasional space in the program to wax paranoaic about the future of technology, but his batting average (from my position almost 40 years ahead) is unusually high, compared to other futurists.