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Pournelle Interview (from long ago) 
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NitroForum Oldster

Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:40 am
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Post Pournelle Interview (from long ago)
Hey guys, its been awhile since I've been around. Glad to see the forum is alive and well.

I am interested in the topic of life extension and periodically read articles, with a skeptical but open minded attitude, that are related to the topic. Durk Pearson is a scientist whose focus is this particular topic. I found the interview with Pournelle because, for whatever reason, Pearson and Pournelle were interviewed together by Tom Snyder...back in 1979.

It is quite interesting to me how on point Pournelle was in regards to his predictions for the future as well as amusing to hear his description of his use of early home computer technology to write his books combined with the wonder and awe in Snyder's voice that it's actually possible to move blocks of text around on a screen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJ7lHBnlKQM

It also cracks me up that 2 of the 3 people on screen smoke during the interview. Not something you would typically see today - not on American TV anyway.


Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:22 am
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NitroForum Oldster

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Post Re: Pournelle Interview (from long ago)
PS - I started with part 2 of a 3 part interview because the last two parts cover technology (the first part is more on the health side of things).


Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:30 am
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Post Re: Pournelle Interview (from long ago)
Absolutely delicious. I can almost taste Pournelle's pipe smoke. And his predictions.

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Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:59 pm
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Post Re: Pournelle Interview (from long ago)
Thanks for posting this. It is kind of amazing and also nostalgic. And it did remind me that I enjoyed watching Tom Snyder because he was enthusiastic about technology and science and was a very good interviewer. His show actually examined topics that were deeper than the latest movie or TV show or personality.

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Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:37 am
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Post Re: Pournelle Interview (from long ago)
Blackhawk wrote:
Thanks for posting this. It is kind of amazing and also nostalgic. And it did remind me that I enjoyed watching Tom Snyder because he was enthusiastic about technology and science and was a very good interviewer. His show actually examined topics that were deeper than the latest movie or TV show or personality.

Absolutely, Blackhawk. I stayed up an extra hour for years to watch Snyder's show. It was simply one SD more intelligent than anything I see around today. Truthfully, I am a 50-year-old father of a seven-year-old so I can barely stay awake until 11 pm anyway, but you get the point.

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Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:51 am
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Post Re: Pournelle Interview (from long ago)
I didn't see many of the old Tomorrow shows he did on NBC, but when was on CNBC and CBS in the 1990s and beyond, he sure did an excellent show. The first time I became exposed to John Stewart was as a guest host on the show, and he did a quite good job.

Another excellent interviewer is Bob Costas, who had a late night interview show in the late 1980s.

If you remember Pat Sajak's talk show, you may recall his sidekick Dan Miller. Sajak and Miller had worked together on WSM tv in Nashville in the 1970s (Miller was news anchor, and Sajak did weather). After Sajak's show was cancelled, Miller returned to Nashville and hosted a weekly talk show on WSM (but I think it was also carried on TNN when it was still a country music channel). Again, an excellent interviewer.

All of these guys were intelligent people who new the value of a good conversation -- not trying to upstage the guests, or use the guests as a springboard for their own views.


Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:37 pm
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Post Re: Pournelle Interview (from long ago)
And Snyder didn't mind spending time with a guest. He didn't have to squeeze an interview into a few minutes. You still find that on a few shows, like Charlie Rose, but it's rare now.

Back to the original post, it is cool to watch them talk about the internet before it existed, on the internet. And Pournelle's invention of the iPad right there in front of our eyes, decades before it became a reality. I am not familiar with the other guest but he was obviously a very sharp guy who knew what the then state of the technology was and had a good vision of where it ended up going.

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Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:06 pm
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Post Re: Pournelle Interview (from long ago)
Blackhawk wrote:
Pournelle's invention of the iPad right there in front of our eyes, decades before it became a reality.

See: Foundation trilogy, TOS Star Trek, any number of '50s sf movies... the idea has been around a long, long time. It was just awaiting technical possibility. Even in 1979, we couldn't have crammed a CRT into a book.

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Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:23 am
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Post Re: Pournelle Interview (from long ago)
This arguably goes back at least to the '40s.


Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:31 pm
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Post Re: Pournelle Interview (from long ago)
It depends on how loose your idea of an iPad is. I haven't read Foundation in many decades so I don't remember what it had but I've just watched the remastered Star Trek TOS. It did have hand-held screens that displayed documents, but nothing seen on the show ever suggests the sort of wireless interconnectivity that is the key feature of an iPad or similar Android devices. I don't remember now if Pournelle suggested a wireless connection. Maybe not since they were talking about connection over the phone system. But he had the idea of an interconnected device that accessed a distributed system. Sure, I doubt too that was the very first mention of such a thing but it was a very early presentation of such an idea to the general TV viewing public and not just to us science fiction reading nerds.

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Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:22 am
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