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How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain asks how our culture came to frown on using books for any purpose other than reading. When did the coffee-table book become an object of scorn? Why did law courts forbid witnesses to kiss the Bible? What made Victorian cartoonists mock commuters who hid behind the newspaper, ladies who matched their books' binding to their dress, and servants who reduced newspapers to fish 'n' chips wrap?
Shedding new light on novels by Thackeray, Dickens, the Brontës, Trollope, and Collins, as well as the urban sociology of Henry Mayhew, Leah Price also uncovers the lives and afterlives of anonymous religious tracts and household manuals. From knickknacks to wastepaper, books mattered to the Victorians in ways that cannot be explained by their printed content alone. And whether displayed, defaced, exchanged, or discarded, printed matter participated, and still participates, in a range of transactions that stretches far beyond reading. -- Read More
FRONTLINE and ProPublica investigate the hidden cost that comes with the demand for better and faster cell phone service.
Thomas Pynchon, author of “Gravity’s Rainbow” and “The Crying of Lot 49,” characteristically declined to speak about his decision.
Houston librarians keep a wary eye for counterfeit bills
Waukegan needs Ray Bradbury museum, biographer says
A librarian friend of mine who makes thoughtful book recomendations said that - Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internetwas an excellent and timely read.
The Story of Ain't: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published
Humanities editor Skinner, who is on the usage panel for the American Heritage Dictionary, offers a highly entertaining and intelligent re-creation of events surrounding the 1961 publication of Webster’s Third New International Dictionary by G. & C. Merriam. The dictionary, assembled at a cost of $3.5 million, included a press release from Merriam’s president Gordon J. Gallan, which said the work contained “an avalanche of bewildering new verbal concepts.”
Starred review at Publisher's Weekly
Hachette returning e-book access to some libraries in pilot program
Libraries change with the digital times
Reddit debunks Wikipedia-fooling college class hoax in 26 minutes
As a Newsday journalist, Mr. McGrady led his colleagues in the creation of “Naked Came the Stranger,” a steamy parody novel.
About the book: As corporations and government agencies replace human employees with online customer service and automated phone systems, we become accustomed to doing business with nonhuman agents. If artificial intelligence (AI) technology advances as today’s leading researchers predict, these agents may soon function with such limited human input that they appear to act independently. When they achieve that level of autonomy, what legal status should they have?
Samir Chopra and Laurence F. White present a carefully reasoned discussion of how existing philosophy and legal theory can accommodate increasingly sophisticated AI technology. Arguing for the legal personhood of an artificial agent, the authors discuss what it means to say it has “knowledge” and the ability to make a decision. They consider key questions such as who must take responsibility for an agent’s actions, whom the agent serves, and whether it could face a conflict of interest.
Excerpt: If Amazon had wanted to go head-to-head with Apple a few years ago — a giant who enjoyed monopoly control over both the online music business and the market for related hardware like the iPod — it might have offered record labels the opportunity to cut a deal that would have guaranteed them higher prices, just as Apple has done with publishers and the agency-pricing model. And presumably Apple would have argued that it was trying to stimulate a burgeoning market, and Amazon would have protested to regulators about the horrible monopolist who was treating content producers so poorly.
Pocket Ref 4th Edition The concise all-purpose pocket-sized reference book featuring abundant information on many subjects, hundreds of tables, maps, formulas, constants and conversions. If you need to know it, it is in this book!
I’ll admit that I would have thought a few years ago that by the time we got to the point when more than a third of unit sales for major houses had gone digital — and perhaps more than half for fiction — that the future shape of the book business would be discernible. But, at least according to what I learned from one Big Six house last week, we have reached that level of ebook uptake and despite that, the business still looks very much as it has. It seems impossible to me that it will stay that way.
Opinion piece in the NYT - When a Parking Lot Is So Much More - by the author of ReThinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking