Google Book Search settlement gives Google a virtual monopoly over literature – Boing Boing

Another thought-provoking link from BoingBoing. Maybe the language is a bit alarmist, but that’s what gets the linkers linking. The Authors Guild — which represents a measly 8000 writers — brought a class action against Google on behalf of all literary copyright holders, even the authors of the millions of “orphan works” whose rightsholders can’t be located. Once that class was certified, whatever deal Google struck with the class became…

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We Didn't Start the Flame War

We Didn’t Start the Flame War. (Don’t listen to this one with urchins underfoot.) College Humor does not pull its punches when it satirizes (and celebrates) the depths to which human nature can stoop when participating in discussion threads. (My favorite bit is the Rick Astley impersonator, a reference to an internet meme of the recent past.)

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Why Dead Authors Can Thrill Modern Readers

An interesting introduction to literary Darwinism, from LiveScience.com: Carroll hypothesized that modern readers would gravitate toward protagonists who displayed pro-social tendencies or promoted group cooperation — similar to how ancestral human hunter-gatherers valued such behavior. He joined forces with another Literary Darwinist, Jonathan Gottschall, as well as two evolutionary psychologists on the study. Their online survey asked respondents to identify characters from classic 19th century British novels as protagonists, antagonists,…

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The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow: Icelandic bromance, with weapons, secret panels, and justice

I try to read to my kids for an hour every night — sometimes two hours, if we time everything right.  Whenever I need about 20 minutes to do a load of laundry or make a phone call, I tell the kids “It’s time for the book game,” which involves each child picking a book for Peter to read to Carolyn. (Berenstein Bears and Magic School Bus titles are still…

Female man to female man

The always-interesting Language Log offers this detailed and thoughtful analysis of gender and sports terminology. Here’s just a snippet: I’ve never seen man used to refer to a female athlete in an expression like “guard her man” or “I had my man beat”. Nor, for that matter, have I ever seen woman used in such expressions. Instead, female athletes and their coaches seem normally to use girl.– Mark Liberman

Technology Review: Author of Play

There’s nothing terribly stunning or new in this interview with Steve Meretzky, but I’m happy to read his memories about the good old days of text adventuring. SM: It’s kind of hard to imagine, looking back on these text games now, but at the time, they were really the cutting edge–not just of games, but of any computer application. They pushed the limits of computing power. To be able to…

Archiving Writers' Work in the Age of E-Mail

And to think Charkes Kinbote had to make do with John Shade’s index cards… The influence of authors’ environments on their writing has always interested scholars. Marcel Proust, for example, is known to have been heavily influenced by the paintings he surrounded himself with when he penned the novel Remembrance of Things Past, between 1909 and 1922. Imagine if Proust had been writing 100 years later, on a laptop: What…

Huffington Post Launches Investigative Journalism Venture

The Huffington Post said Sunday that it will bankroll a group of investigative journalists, directing them at first to look at stories about the nation’s economy…. Work that the journalists produce will be available for any publication or Web site to use at the same time it is posted on The Huffington Post, she said. The Huffington Post Web site is a collection of opinionated blog entries and breaking news.…