We are not nouns, we are verbs

Stephen Fry was interviewed in this weeks Radio Times. The following snippet caught my attention:

Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it - that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing - an actor, a writer - I am a person who does things - I write, I act - and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.

When things start to think

by Neil Gershenfeld is an excellent book (isbn 0-340-75039-1). As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages:
The fibres that make up a sheet are actually translucent. Light striking the paper gets bent as it passes through a fiber, and since there are so many fibres this happens many times in many directions. The result of all this scattering is that the light spreads through the paper much like the spread of a drop of ink, eventually leaking back out. ... This phenomenon, called optical weak localization, is what makes the paper (or a glass of milk) appear to be white.
There are deep reasons why the old technologies in a book work so well... What jumps out the first time you see a Gutenberg Bible is the glossiness of the ink. It turns out that Gutenberg made his inks by cooking a stew of oil and copper and lead that precipitated out little platelets that act like tiny mirrors, paradoxically reflecting light from a black background.
Freed from the constraint of duplicating manuscripts, Aldus Manutius in Venice around 1500 then settled on the dimensions of the modern book. It was designed to fit in the saddlebags of traveling scholars, and his Press developed the italics font, to fill the pages more efficiently than did fonts that imitated handwriting.
If you're offered a better computer program, it's not possible to peer inside and judge how it works.
It requires great discipline to put just enough of the right kind of information in the right place to communicate the desired message rather than a printer demo.
Like all good scientific discoveries, the seeds of Lorenz's observation can be found much earlier.
Good help is as hard to find in the digital world as it is in the real one.
Naming the solution is not the same as obtaining it.
It's all too easy to defer thinking to a seductive computer program.
The brain's internal representation is not designed for external consumption.
The world is the next interface.