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Sunday, September 22, 2002
The Blank Slate (2002 Charles Simonyi Lecture, Pt 2)

Steven Pinker's '2002 Charles Simonyi Lecture' was delivered in the Oxford Playhouse. First, a bit about Charles Simonyi. He funds Richard Dawkins’s Professorship (good), he is responsible for the design of MS Word, for XL, for Hungarian Notation, for Wysiwig (ho hum) and he has just left Microsoft with their blessing (hmmm) to found Intentional Software (interesting...). Apparently, he was in the audience but they were too focused to ask questions about Microsoft. Not totally polite, though...

There were lots of questions for Pinker. There would have been more but several people asked ‘questions’ longer than Pinker’s book itself (500 pages). Bloody academics should learn to control their egomania: 'questions' doesn't mean 'declamatory diatribes' (Is that a tautology or an oxymoron?).

More later about the speech (oops, lecture) which I found strangely reassuring. It was also a good idea of Pinker's to have produced the book The Blank Slate (subtitled 'The Modern Denial of Human Nature') to publicise the lecture.

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