I have found the book  The Big Switch   fascinating. http://www.nicholasgcarr.com/bigswitch/ and recommend it. A bit off-topic for this list, but Henry's recent posting re http://www.shapeways.com relates precisely to one of the central themes of the book - that there is a growing "gift" economy (to which I personally, by the way, have been a big supplier, developing Jmol this way) - that involves a very few people making huge (and I mean HUGE) fortunes from people like us doing the labor for them. There's a real question as to what this means for the global economy, what it means for the middle class, and what it means for developing nations.

Just putting that out there.


Robert M. Hanson
Larson-Anderson Professor of Chemistry
St. Olaf College
Northfield, MN

If nature does not answer first what we want,
it is better to take what answer we get.

-- Josiah Willard Gibbs, Lecture XXX, Monday, February 5, 1900