[Humanist] 23.414 regeneration through radio

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Nov 5 08:37:05 CET 2009

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 414.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2009 20:34:22 -0500 (EST)
        From: Francois Lachance <lachance at chass.utoronto.ca>
        Subject: Regeneration through Radio (metaphors)


It may seem odd but I find myself in my readings of late turning up passages
that could supply a typology of roles for the various players involved in
humanities computing. The latest of these is a passage in Allen S. Weiss
_Phantasmic Radio_ which is unrelated to typologies, humanist or otherwise.
It is yet very suggestive. In the passage from the preface to his book,
Weiss signals the importance of "a momentous yet aesthetically unheralded
event: the creation of the first feedback in electrical circuitry." He

On 31 January 1913, Edwin H. Armstrong had notarized his diagram of the
first regenerative circuit, an invention which was to be the basis of radio
transmission. his discovery was that the audion (vacuum tube) could be used
not only as a detector of electrical waves but also, through regeneration or
feedback, as a signal amplifier. Furthermore, as a generator of continuously
oscillating electromagnetic waves, it could be used as a transmitter.
It is simple to read off of this: detection, amplification and transmission.
And see therein three possible activities of/for the scholar of the twenty
first century. Detection and transmission seem obvious descriptions of the
work of the scholar. Amplification less so. Yet is not part of the work of
the scholar to amplify what has been detected and transmitted i.e. boost the

--Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large

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