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What Borges Learned from Cervantes

Borges reinvented Don Quixote as a playful novel, full of surprises and unexpected anticipations of the way we read today. Across genres and over decades, his varied meditations opened new paths for readers. The following conversation took place during January 2016 between Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College, author of Quixote: The Novel and the World (2015), and publisher of Restless Books, and…

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For News Outlets Squeezed From the Middle, It’s Bend or Bust

Hundreds of thousands of people on Facebook followed BuzzFeed’s live video of two people putting rubber bands around a watermelon until it burst. We should all reflect on how journalism can make the news that is truly important interesting enough to compete with exploding fruit. Traditional media companies face the increasingly daunting task of hooking already-inundated audiences, but they also have more tools than ever to lure them. Videos, podcasts,…

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“Know that I glory in this nose of mine.”

Was browsing YouTube for a few of my favorite movie swordfights. Yes, the left-handed thing from Princess Bride was clever, and sure, the upgrading from foils to sabres in The Great Race added tension. You might be cool with the quips, but you’ll never be “Cryano de Bregerac dueling Valvert while simultaneously composing a ballad about his victory in a duel with Valvert” cool. Watch the epic “nose speech” first.…

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Jimmy Maher’s Appreciation of Infocom’s Classic Sherlock Text Adventure

I learned a lot while reading this enjoyable essay by Jimmy Maher. Looked at today, however, Sherlock certainly wasn’t a bad note to go out on. Being built on the sturdy foundation of everything Infocom had learned about making text adventures to date, it’s not notably, obviously innovative, but, impressively given that it is a first-timer’s game, it evinces heaps of simple good craftsmanship. We may celebrate the occasional titles…

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Lawyers who won Happy Birthday copyright case sue over “We Shall Overcome” 

“We Shall Overcome,” a song that was the “unofficial anthem to the civil rights movement,” was wrongly placed under copyright and should be put in the public domain, according to a lawsuit filed today in federal court. The complaint (PDF) was filed by the same group of lawyers who succeeded at putting the world’s most famous song, Happy Birthday, into the public domain after years of litigation. It’s a proposed class action that seeks the…