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February 11, 2012

Defective or enlightening?

Whiteboard with layers of words still showingIt's not the best whiteboard in the world, because nothing is ever truly erased.

Here our class sketch for a mobile app is the latest overlay on countless earlier class discussions.

I really like that. Today's work builds on what came before. Then when we're done, a trace of what we did remains.

This sub-par piece of technology may have something to teach us about life.


Old manuscriptAccording to Wikipedia, a palimpsest is a manuscript page from a scroll or book from which the text has been scraped off and which can be used again.

Romans wrote on wax-coated tablets that could be smoothed and reused in a similar way. A child's Magic Slate is a modern version of the same idea. As is our whiteboard.

At right a digitally processed image of a page from a 13th century manuscript called the Archimedes Palimpsest looks a lot like our whiteboard.

Thanks, Google, for pointing this out, along with a book called Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente that I just ordered to take on my long flight to Austin, TX next month. Ain't the Internet grand?

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