Here and There


KIDS AND VIDEO GAMES

Professor Henry Jenkins's comments on the impact of video games on kids were featured prominently in a February 3 story in the San Jose Mercury News. "For many... kids, electronic games functioned as a Head Start program, preparing them for entry into the Digital Age," Professor Jenkins, director of the graduate program in comparative media studies, told writer Mike Antonucci.

"Characters like Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog are as central to the imaginations of contemporary children as Fred Flintstone or Bugs Bunny were to the imaginations of baby boomers," he continued.

Mr. Antonucci's story, which ran in several papers in addition to the Mercury News, also plugged an MIT conference sponsored by Professor Jenkins's program. The event, held February 10-11, explored computer and video games as an "emerging entertainment medium" (see MIT Tech Talk, February 16, 2000).

RETIRING BOOMERS

What will happen when the baby boomers cash in their stock portfolios? According to some, including Professor of Economics James Poterba, disaster looms as those portfolios lose value amid the crush of selling.

"But that vision of the future is bunk, according to new research by James Poterba," writes Mike Meyers in a February 8 story in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. The story also ran in papers from Pittsburgh to Joliet, Illinois.

Professor Poterba believes that globalization will solve the problem. "While the United States could see a mismatch in the number of potential sellers and buyers of stock in the next two or three decades, in a global economy the demographic trends of the world may matter more," writes Mr. Meyers. According to Professor Poterba, he continues, "around the world, developing nations are producing millions of young middle-class workers who are likely to invest increasing portions of their economic gains in the stock market..."

"I may end up selling the shares I own to someone in Mexico or Malaysia," Professor Poterba said. "They may be more significant than our children as buyers."

CLIPS AND QUOTES

��������� "Using a PC today is like using a shovel before bulldozers came along." -- Professor Michael Dertouzos, director of the Laboratory for Computer Science, in an article on speech recognition technology in the February 16 issue of Electronics Weekly.

��������� "I don't think any library is big enough anymore." -- Director of Libraries Ann Wolpert in a February 1 Library Journal story about the increasing importance of consortia in helping libraries access electronic journals and more.

��������� "It's really cool stuff. We can learn something about nature by studying matter under such conditions." -- Physics Professor Wolfgang Ketterle, in a January 27 Salt Lake Tribune story about his work with supercold matter known as Bose-Einstein condensate.

��������� "In a place like MIT... the relative value of the Nobel Prize is lower because there are many Nobel Prizes." -- Biology professor and Nobel laureate Susumu Tonegawa in a profile of him in the January 24 issue of the Scientist.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 8, 2000.


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