Monday, July 20, 2009

Is Bing the Next Thing?

I saw a commercial for today, the new Microsoft search engine. (It also bills itself as a "decision engine," which horrified me. But since I have some decisions to make, I went there immediately.)

"Bing" is a good choice of name. Everyone likes Bing Crosby. It's a name people warm to, no matter who has it. And it can easily become a transitive verb, as the name "Google" did, but as Yahoo did not.

The first thing I did was a video search. I wondered, will it come up with YouTube, and nothing else? Here is my first search result. It is Harvey Mansfield explaining his discovery of the thought of Leo Strauss and of the joys of ancient political philosophy. He explains the difference between the ancients and the moderns. "The modern political philosophers--even those like, say, John Locke who look rather conservative to us today--were all fundamentally revolutionaries."

Yes, this is a YouTube video (I found no embedding), but there are also videos from, Boston College, and Comedy Central (I kid you not).

The photo is that of Leo Strauss (1899-1973), German émigré, University of Chicago professor, and the political philosopher who rediscovered the careful reading of great books, and radically confronted the problem of modernity.

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