Jason Pontin

A View from Jason Pontin

Welcome

Victorian ladies and gentlemen of a literary bent sometimes kept what they called a “commonplace book.” Into a commonplace book went cuttings from journals and newspapers, scraps of prose or poetry that struck the compiler as relevant to her interests,…

  • May 12, 2005

Victorian ladies and gentlemen of a literary bent sometimes kept what they called a “commonplace book.” Into a commonplace book went cuttings from journals and newspapers, scraps of prose or poetry that struck the compiler as relevant to her interests, and fresh thoughts that might profit from further revision. The entries were dated as in a journal. Interestingly, commonplace books were public journals and quite distinct from any private diary the person might be keeping. Family members were free to jot helpful remarks in the margins–or indeed, pen their own entries or attach their own cuttings.

The parallels with blogging are amusing: commonplace books were “remixes” of commonly available materials, spiced with reflections on the day’s events. In any case, this blog of mine will be a kind of commonplace book: a public journal, responding to current events, or expressing thoughts that I would like you, my readers, to improve and polish with your comments.

I am the Editor-in-Chief of MIT’s Technology Review. In this blog, I will try out ideas that I am considering writing about or assigning to other writers. Please tell me what you think. Your ideas may appear in our magazine or Web site; and if you really hate something, maybe you can dampen my enthusiasms.

But not everything I write about here will be concerned with technology. I am interested in many other things, and I juggle a variety of projects. I hope some of you find those thoughts interesting also.

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.
Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium

$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.

  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Join in and ask questions as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

You've read of free articles this month.