Google Studies Creation of Book Database

For the last few months, Google has been courting publishers, hoping to convince them to turn over book content that could be used in Google’s database, say people close to the discussions. | How that content would be presented is not clear, but it would likely not be provided in excerpted passages to customers, as it is on Amazon. Instead, the material would go into a database that Google spiders…

Celebrate Singlehood with the Gift of a Right-Hand-Ring

“Diamond retailers contend a little bling is just the thing to declare your independence this fall,” wrote Houston Chronicle reporter Liz Embry a few weeks ago. Her story was illustrated with a photo of Ms. Sarah Jess flashing the hottest new trend in the jewelry industry: the right-hand ring. | The rings have recently been spotted on the famous right hands of Madonna and Beyonce Knowles. A national advertising campaign…

The Price of Research

He never imagined just how unenthusiastic his research sponsors — and others with a financial stake in atrazine — would be about his discovery. | Six frustrating years later, Mr. Hayes and his defenders say they know only too well the lengths to which those companies will go to undermine his findings that atrazine may be harmful. –Goldie Blumenstyk –The Price of Research (Chronicle) The author of this article is careful…

Generic Candy Corn will Give You AIDS

Once again, Halloween season is upon us, and with it, the wonderful anticipation of dressing up and trick-or-treating for delicious Brach’s candy. With that in mind, it’s important to remember all the ways that you can make your Halloween safer and more fun. It won’t put a damper on anyone’s holiday spirits to wear high-visibility costumes when going from house to house, to have kids trick-or-treat with an adult, and…

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Knowing Poe [Annotated Version of 'The Raven']

Edgar Allan Poe’s most popular poem, “The Raven,” tells the story of a man who gets a late-night visit from a mysterious bird that speaks only one word: “Nevermore.” | Sounds like a pretty simple story, right? | Guess again! –Knowing Poe [Annotated Version of 'The Raven']Maryland Public Television) Once upon a Tuesday weary, while I pondered, bleak and bleary, Over many a quaint and curious entry of unblogged lore–…

Big Companies Add to Spam

The problem of spam or unwanted commercial e-mail is usually attributed to outlaws and hucksters – peddlers of pornography, get-rich-quick schemes and pills of dubious merit – who use hackers to send their fraudulent messages in ways that cannot be traced. | But the torrent of spam that is flowing into people’s electronic mailboxes comes not only from the sewers but also from the office towers of the biggest and…

The Trouble with MMORPGs

It begins to creep in, almost unnoticed. The levels are further apart. You begin to notice that newly acquired skills are carbon copies of the old ones, with a different coloured icon and a two percent damage increase…. You try out all the little distractions the developers have put in the game to make things ‘deep’, only to find they’re broken, bugged or plain pointless. But you’re a trooper. You…

College and the Fall

Why do so many graduate programs teach students to hate what made so many of us want to become teachers and scholars when we were undergraduates: reading literature — old and new, from every culture — as if it was more than symptomatic of deplorable cultural pathologies? –Thomas H. Benton –College and the Fall (Chronicle) I can’t exactly say I’m basking in the self-satisfied glow this professor projects — especially now…

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Author's Guild Question Amazon's Full-text Search Feature

[B]ooks at especially high risk include those that sell to the student (particularly college student) market as secondary reading. A student could easily grab the relevant chapter or two out of a book without paying for it. Students certainly have the time and most likely the inclination to do so, and, with the help of some willing colleagues, could print out the entire texts of books in the program. –Authors…

Maestro's moonshine found

Workers remodeling a 19th-century rehearsal hall at the Peabody Institute have found 10 dusty jugs of moonshine in an unlocked closet, where they apparently sat for nearly 60 years. Faded labels on the bottles suggest that the hooch was the handiwork of Gustav Strube, the first conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. –Heather Dewar –Maestro’s moonshine found (Sunspot) Thanks for the… *hic!* suggestion, Rosemary.