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Puppies, Politics, and Gay Dinosaur Sex in Space

August 25, 2016

So … this is still going on:

The Hugo Award℠ logo.Watching Hugo voters choose “no award” instead of their nominees did not teach the Puppies Catholic virtues like humility or grace, however. Instead, many became consumed with rage. If they couldn’t take over the Hugos, the next step was to destroy them.

(Marcotte)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Not Now, Martin

August 21, 2016

Detail of xkcd #1722, by Randall Munroe, 18 August 2016.Sometimes this comes up with my sense of humor and the necessity of explaining a joke derived from the stories of Steven Brust. Randall Munroe presents his own version of the question: Just how many novels must I read in order to receive the joke at its intended value?

To wit, I can’t explain the not/now joke properly insofar as it seems difficult to decide just what, between five hundred and, oh, say, two thousand pages is required in order to receive the full punch, and in truth, by the time it gets to twenty-four novels with no guarantee that the final tally won’t get larger, is it really worth it just to know why “not now” is one of the funniest jokes in literature?

Meanwhile, yeah, good luck with the sword.

-bd

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Image note: Detail of xkcd #1722, by Randall Munroe, 18 August 2016.

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Timeless Artless: The Plot Twist

August 18, 2016

It’s not quite a mystery of the Universe, but still:

Huh?• In order to accomplish a task one must forget the fact of being about it.

And that’s the thing: I cannot actually tell you what that means at the stake of paradoxical nullification.

Okay, okay, that last might be at least a shade toward the superstitious.

Zen pollution.

Fresh nothing.

-bd

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Coffee Quotes

July 6, 2016

Okay, this is fun. (Ha!)

Er … uh … (ahem!)

Right. Anyway, I’m going to give you three quotes―

photo by bd“In order to answer this question, it seems that immigrants in Queens and New Jersey, Catherine the Great, Russian oligarchs, Imperial relics and top auction houses had to all get involved.” (Irina Reyn)

“Someone on Goodreads took the time to write out “Meh” as their whole review. I admire that dedication to sharing your indifference with the whole Internet forever.” (Bob Proehl)

“In my heart, I’m a comedian—not a successful comedian, but one who is both sad and deeply committed to the art.” (Hannah Pittard)

―and then you’re going to go read the rest of Teddy Wayne’s July Q&A with five authors: Jennifer Armstrong, Patrick Flanery, Hannah Pittard, Bob Proehl, and Irina Reyn.

Sound good?

Excellent! Thank ye!

―bd

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Wayne, Teddy. “Life of an author on the internet: ‘Someone on Goodreads took the time to write out ‘Meh’ as their whole review'”. Salon. 5 July 2016.

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You Always Knew

June 4, 2016

Thu-Huong Ha, for Quartz:

Detail of frame from Ergo Proxy, episode 11, "Anamnesis (In the White Darkness)".Economists from Italy’s University of Padova compared data on 5,820 European men to see if longer compulsory childhood education could increase kids’ earnings over a lifetime. It does: Averaged across nine countries, boys who attended an extra year of school due to changing age requirements eventually returned an additional 9% of income.

But the researchers were surprised to find that, among kids who benefited from an extra year of school, those who grew up with more than 10 non-school books (that is, books they weren’t forced to read) at home eventually doubled that lifetime earning advantage, to 21%. Factors like whether the boys’ fathers had white-collar jobs, and whether their homes had running water, did not seem to make a difference.

Crucially, there was no significant difference between whether participants reported having 50, 100, or 200 books growing up. The key was whether they grew up with any number of books greater than 10.

The 2015 study from Brunello, Weber, and Weiss, published in The Economic Journal, is presently posted for open access.

Thus we find a scrap of evidence supporting something I think we all have known, instinctively at least, is true.

Keep reading. Keep teaching. Keep learning.

―bd

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Brunello, Giorgio, Guglielmo Weber, and Christph T. Weiss. “Books are Forever: Early Life Conditions, Education and Lifetime Earnings in Europe”. The Economic Journal. 25 April 2016.

Ha, Thu-Huong. “Economists show that boys who grow up around books earn significantly more money as adults”. Quartz. 2 June 2016.

(h/t Science of Us)

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Can You Imagine the Rumble?

February 25, 2016

In truth I was not aware of any particular rivalry ‘twixt authors of novels and memoirs, but neither is that definitive … or indicative of pretty much anything. Nonetheless, here we go:

Salon.comBy the end of this treatise on “appropriate choice of vocabulary” and the human impulse to “relativise” emotions, the reader still has no clear sense of how [Catherine] Millet feels about her mother’s suicide or what, if anything, this suicide has to do with her pained relationship with her husband. We learn more in one sentence of [Edouard] Levé’s about both the precise nature of the narrator’s feelings for his dead friend and the complications of intimacy in general.

And while I will not take a side―nor even try to figure out what the sides are, or if they actually exist at all―in Hannah Tennant-Moore’s introspection, I would at least go so far as to note she would seem to have a point with that paragraph.

Yeah, I know. Everybody’s a critic. Doesn’t mean a one of us has an answer. The answer. I mean, you know. An answer? Do I need an umbrella today? “Nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nineteen! Nineteen!” Yeah, you know? It’s an answer.

―bd

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Tennant-Moore, Hannah. “Too real for reality TV — or even memoir: The new novels that dare use fiction to reveal secret truths”. Salon. 14 February 2016.

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Murmur and Buzz: A Wrinkle in Time

February 25, 2016

Via Deadline:

'A Wrinkle in Time' ― original 1963 dustjacket (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)Selma director Ava DuVernay has just been set by Disney to direct A Wrinkle In Time, an adaptation of the 1963 Newbery Medal-winning Madeleine L’Engle fantasy classic novel that has a script by Oscar-winning Frozen writer and co-director Jennifer Lee. Deadline revealed February 8 that DuVernay had been offered this film and was also in the mix at DreamWorks for Intelligent Life, a sci-fi thriller scripted by Colin Trevorrow and his Jurassic World collaborator Derek Connolly. DuVernay now has the offer on that film and is in negotiations on a pic that has 12 Years A Slave Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o attached to a fable about a UN worker in a department designed to represent mankind if there was ever contact with aliens, who falls for a mystery woman who turns out to be one. That film is produced by Frank Marshall, Trevorrow and Big Beach principals Peter Saraf and Marc Turtletaub.

I would imagine this is good news.

―bd

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Fleming Jr., Mike. “Ava DuVernay Set To Direct Disney’s ‘A Wrinkle In Time’; Script By ‘Frozen’s Jennifer Lee”. Deadline. 23 February 2016.

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