Walters researchers decode the secrets of the Archimedes Palimpsest

Of Archimedes, he who allegedly popularized the word “Eureka!”: “His cleverness is beautiful. Understanding Archimedes is like understanding the most elegant joke in the world.” The researchers paid their respects to the 10th-century scribe who copied down works by Archimedes of lasting importance. The palimpsest contains the only version of “On Floating Islands” in Greek — the mathematician’s native tongue. And it contains the only original versions anywhere of his…

Mistakes we made along the way blog.thoughtwax.com

The value of this essay is not specifically in the nostalgia for ye goode ole days of bloggynge, but rather the combination of work-ethic angst and the recognition of the value of investing effort in long-term projects, as opposed to seeking immediate rewards for clear-cut, predetermined actions. The philosophical reflections of the shovel-wielding ditch-digger are worth a read. I feel sorry for blogging. How could something so great just wither…

Our Blogs, Ourselves

[J]ournals ceased being a means of communication a long time ago – more than 20 years ago for sure. New research would be unveiled in seminars, circulated as NBER Working Papers, long before anything showed up in a journal. Whole literatures could flourish, mature, and grow decadent before the first article got properly published…. The journals have long served as tombstones, certifications for tenure committees, rather than a forum in…

Amazon Rewrites the Rules of Book Publishing

“It’s always the end of the world,” said Russell Grandinetti, one of Amazon’s top executives. “You could set your watch on it arriving.” He pointed out, though, that the landscape was in some ways changing for the first time since Gutenberg invented the modern book nearly 600 years ago. “The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader,” he said. “Everyone who stands between…

Outside In: Representations of Nature in Video Games | Not Your Mama’s Gamer

Caves and sandboxes are some kinds of game spaces I’ve explored in conversations (and an unpublished manuscript) with David Thomas, so I was very interested in these musings from Not Your Mama’s Gamer. In a landscape polluted by smog and litter, box stores, fast food chains, more subdivisions and ever more streets–it becomes harder and harder to find parks and patches of woods preserved for our enjoyment.  Many of us…

Wall Street Journal circulation scam claims senior Murdoch executive

Big, sad news in the world of big (sad) journalism. One of Rupert Murdoch’s most senior European executives has resigned following Guardian inquiries about a circulation scam at News Corporation’s flagship newspaper, the Wall Street Journal. The Guardian found evidence that the Journal had been channelling money through European companies in order to secretly buy thousands of copies of its own paper at a knock-down rate, misleading readers and advertisers…

Anti-Telemarketing Script | UCAN

Before you start answering questions from a telephone solicitor, you must “qualify” the company as a potential prospect for a law suit. If, during the introductory pitch, the telemarketer indicates that they are working for a non-profit firm, or a survey company, hang up immediately. They are not subject to the law and are a waste of time. Anti-Telemarketing Script | UCAN.

Seven things you should know if you’re starting out programming | Info | guardian.co.uk

As a print journalist, I’d always thought programming was a task undertaken done by awkward guys in loose-fitting T-shirts who rarely saw the sun. (I wasn’t altogether wrong about that.) With a little reluctance, I said yes. In the time since, I’ve learnt a lot about programming. I’m not a great programmer, I’m almost certainly not even a good programmer, but I’m better than I was, and I hope, too,…