1. This sentence tells us that we are slavishly tethered to, or bounded by electronic tools of communication and the more
tethered we become, the faster things change, because the tethers are plugging people into the very change-driving social collaboration. The change in science, technology, music, and politics is accelerated by the new electronic
2. Emerson’s web to weave refers to development in
mechanical machinery. He found modest machinery such as
corn grinders oppressive and dehumanizing. In contrast, when the author says we have a web to weave, he refers to the fact that the electronic inventions such as the Internet
and allied technologies make us neurons in a vast social
brain, a brain that keeps enticing us into making it bigger, stronger, faster.
3. Subsistence technology spurs the development and maturing of the social brain. With each advance in subsistence technology, survival grew more secure, hastening population growth, which, in turn, stimulates advances in subsistence technology. The larger the landmass and hence
the population, the faster subsistence technology progressed.
4. It refers to the severing of Tasmania from Australia and the New World from the Old World as a result of melting polar ice caps. This geographical upheaval underscored the
value of large social brains.
5. This “experiment” helped to form the New World of
Tasmania and the Old World Australia. The people of the Old World invented farming before the people of the smaller Australia. The Aborigines of yet smaller Australia never farmed. Modern explorers found tiny Tasmanians lacked such Australian essentials as fire, bone needles and boomerangs.
6. It is misunderstood because anthropologists sometimes call it an “energy technology,” since food does energize us. In
fact, farming may have originally been more important as a
kind of information-processing technology. By greatly increasing the human population, farming sped up the synergistic/collaborative exchange of cultural information, lubricating/facilitating/boosting innovation. It packed lots of neurons/people together, raising both the size and the efficiency of social brain.
7. While we enjoy the benefits the Internet brings to us, we may, like neurons, subordinate ourselves to the larger
whole—technology wins in the end and culture triumphs biology. For example, a phone call is already a poor substitute for face-to-face contact, but an e-mail can be an even worse one.
8. The main service of writing was to permit bigger, faster social brains; to allow neurons to be packed more densely, boosting intellectual synergy. Via writing royal bureaucracies kept large cities functioning, allowing clear,
precise legal codes to keep urban life peaceful. Distant cities became linked though commerce and much of it was orchestrated by written contract.
9. The author cites Emerson to introduce his own view. He disagrees with Emerson because he believes in the end, we are free to use/get the upper hand of the technology no matter how we want, even if it takes a lot of effort, inspired by a bit of resentment toward our would-be technological master.
10. The world’s data-processing system here refers to the spread of cultural memes. This sentence means as distant cities became linked through commerce, cultural memes spread from city to city, so it seems like culture acquired a
kind of disaster insurance. It existed in more than one place,
just as it is backed up in a computer, so it wouldn’t be easily destroyed.
register/file/lodge/make a complaint
Subtle change, dramatic change, Plug yourself
rewire your gray matter
… and allied technologies
What can we make of the situation?
make something of
in real time
A realization dawned on me that…
vivid, vivisection, survive, vitamin, vital, vitality, enterprises and institutions
Reform and opening up to the outside world has transformed China’s economic langscape.
code of conduct, code of behavior
code of dress, dress for success
punch a man in the face
verb + sb. + prep. + the + part of the body lead sb by the nose, slap sb across the face, hurt sb in the leg,
inspire, aspire, conspire, transpire, expire, expiry, expiration,
perspire, perspiration success
c’s and p’s
perseverance, perspiration sprout, bud, beurgon, cosm-
as the name suggests, as we are pressed for time,…
as I keep telling you,…
Where were we?
pick up where we left off
Entice sb. into doing sth. force /threaten/frighten/coerce/talk/persuade/Fool/cheat sb.
into doing sth.
make … of
what to make of such a situation
make something of yourself It dawned on me that…
It’s a dawning realization that…
flourish, prosper, thrive, boom, bloom,
become, grow into, blossom into
become, grow into
blossom into a young lady fade from the …scene
the mental sphere
revive = come back to life viv-: life, live
revive an old idea
survive an earthquake, survive his grandson vivisection, intersections
vitamin, vitality, vigor, vital, parallel: similarity
be conducive to
enterprises and institutions landscape
political landscape, economic landscape, military landscape
enterprises and institutions enterprising
The idea creeps the landscape. The thick carpet killed the sounds of his footsteps.
A new dignity crept into his walk.
Reform and opening up to the outside world has
transformed China’s economic landscape. The political/military landscape Hum with life
a.k.a. = also known as
stunning, startling, appalling giving, caring,
posterity, offspring, decendent forebear, forefather, ancestor, political correctness,
chink, Chinaman, pan face Jap, snow nigger,
Boycott, boycott the classes, girlcott,
Be politically correct
underscore, underline, stress, emphasize, lay importance
, attach importance to, lay stress on, highlight, give on…
spur, stimulate, spawn, ignite, spark, kindle,
densely populated, sparsely populated
family and friends
start a family
code of dress,
dress for success
punch a man in the face
lead sb. by the nose
slap sb. across the face hurt him in the leg.
He was hurt in the leg. Throb with life
Survive and thrive
Survive and succeed
Migration, movement, mobility Migrant worker, immigrant, emigrant,
Chains of inspiration