Booksthatmakeyoudumb

Of course it’s not scientific, but it’s fun. Virgil Griffith: Ever read a book (required or otherwise) and upon finishing it thought to yourself, “Wow. That was terrible. I totally feel dumber after reading that.”? I know I have. Well, like any good scientist, I decided to see how well my personal experience matches reality. How might one do this? Well, here’s one idea. Get a friend of yours to…

Friend Game

Lauren Collins (The New Yorker) Teen-age identities mutate so quickly online, and can be masked so easily, that by the morning after Megan was pronounced dead Josh Evans had vanished from MySpace. It wasn’t until a month after her death that a neighbor named Michele Mulford told the Meiers that Curt and Lori Drew, who lived four houses down, had created “Josh” in concert with their thirteen-year-old daughter, a longtime…

Lower-cased initialisms

Via Language Log: It is a small but not insignificant recent change in written English that in Britain the newspapers have started spelling acronyms in lower case with capital initial instead of all in caps. The Universities and Colleges Employers Association and the the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are not UCEA and DEFRA, but (at least fairly often) Ucea and Defra. Another recent example: Figwit.

Rejlander, Oscar Gustave

Interesting historical anecdote of an early attempt to make an artistic statement with photography, using visual elements that were acceptable in painting, but considered controversial in photography: Rejlander’s “Two Ways of Life.”  (via Metafilter). Useful, perhaps, as a point of comparison for what happens when video games cross the line, and attempt to make serious, or shocking, or deliberately provocative, treatments of issues that are, if not universally accepted, nevertheless…

''The Balloon Hoax'' by Edgar Allan Poe

When steampunk was speculative fiction, not charmingly retro… Edgar Allan Poe pulbished this mock news story in the New York Sun. The Atlantic has been actually crossed in a Balloon; and this too without difficulty — without any great apparent danger — with thorough control of the machine — and in the inconceivably brief period of seventy-five hours from shore to shore! By the energy of an agent at Charleston,…

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Blog Comments and Peer Review Go Head to Head to See Which Makes a Book Better – Chronicle.com

Jeffrey R. Young (Chronicle): The idea was to tap the wisdom of his crowd. Visitors to the blog might not read the whole manuscript, as traditional reviewers do, but they might weigh in on a section in which they have some expertise…. “We are a peer-review press–we’re always going to want to have an honest peer review,” says Mr. Sery, senior editor for new media and game studies. “The reputation…