Remember the old "Two Cultures" Debate?

I don’t know how many people remember the book The Two Cultures, C.P. Snow’s meditation on the divide between the science-educated and the humanities-educated. The book created a sensation in the late 50’s when it was published, and has echoed down the years in a variety of cultural stereotypes.

Well, for my money, Jon Bosak’s closing keynote to the XML 2006 Conference puts to rest the idea that engineers don’t know the humanities. This is an erudite, funny, thoughtful speech that uses John Donne Ben Jonson and Immanuel Kant to reflect on some of the debates that framed the development of XML from its predecessor, SGML.

It’s a lovely, lovely piece, well worth a read even if you don’t care a fig for XML, but just want to see how our field of computer science is part of the grand edifice of our ongoing culture. Bravo, Jon! [via Keith Fahlgren]