Thursday, September 18, 2008

stray bullets

Death of the bookworm Children are being taught to read at school – but not to love books' complexity and depth.

Looking at beautiful art can act as a painkiller Beauty is truth, the English romantic poet John Keats once wrote, but according to the latest scientific research it is also a painkiller. Looking at a beautiful piece of art has long been said to have the power to heal emotional wounds but the new research also claims it offers a distraction from physical pain.

Stealing History Over the last couple of months articles about the theft of items of historical significance have made there way into my reading queue. I didn’t seek these interesting pieces out on purpose, but the string of serendipity is too much to ignore so I though I would share them with you all.

Don’t Buy That Textbook, Download It Free In protest of what he says are textbooks’ intolerably high prices — and the dumbing down of their content to appeal to the widest possible market — Professor McAfee has put his introductory economics textbook online free. He says he most likely could have earned a $100,000 advance on the book had he gone the traditional publishing route, and it would have had a list price approaching $200. “This market is not working very well — except for the shareholders in the textbook publishers,” he said. “We have lots of knowledge, but we are not getting it out.” (via)

Print on demand with 'ATM for books' Imagine walking into a book store and knowing that even the most obscure or out of print books will always be in stock. Angus & Robertson today became the first Australian book chain to install the Espresso Book Machine (EBM), capable of printing, trimming and binding a paperback book on demand within minutes. I brought this idea up to some friends back in 2001. I thought it would be a good idea-- not unto itself but as a part of bookstore or coffeeshop or somesuch. People laughed at or just ignored me. I shouldn't listen to friends that don't read. (via)

Take a look at what Hurricane Gustav did to Grand Isle, LA. (stunning) (via)
The Digested Read podcast: The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon A podcast version of John Crace's wickedly satirical Guardian column, lampooning the literary style of leading authors by summarising their books in five minutes
IMDB Video Watch Full-Length Movies, TV Shows, and More — Free! (via)

2005 PBS NOW interview with Kurt Vonnegut (via)
Renoir painting (verb) (and puffin' somethin')
Why Schools Make You Tuck In Your Shirt! (wow)

Futility Closet - Elementary: Sherlock Holmes was based on a real man, Scottish surgeon Joseph Bell, whom Arthur Conan Doyle had served as a clerk in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. (read more)

Word Spy: secondhand drinking n. A negative effect that a drinker has on a non-drinker.

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