How Well-Read Are You in Science Fiction?

If a university offered a master’s degree in science fiction, how many novels would it expect a graduate student to know to pass comps? The number of books would have to be small enough to study in a few years. Wouldn’t the Canon of Science Fiction, books scholars of the genre designate as the most noteworthy, be this side of 200? What about a well-read amateur? Wouldn’t reading just 50 books, but of course, the defining 50, give anyone an excellent grasp of the genre?
From How Well-Read Are You in Science Fiction?
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42 Douglas Adams quotes to live by

7. “All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.”
From BBC Radio 4 - Dangerous Visions - 42 Douglas Adams quotes to live by
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The Open Data Delusion

These legal difficulties should not hide the fact that Open Data is ultimately powerful when it represents a conversation between data experts inside the system and data users who access that system. And to see the system become mature and produce better services, it needs to keep that conversation alive, learn from it, and use its lessons to change.
From The Open Data Delusion - Broken Toilets
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Title Fights: Who Gets to Name an Author’s Book?

So what kinds of titles do publishers prefer? For starters, according to Garnett, they naturally favor “titles that are memorable and striking and, of course, that manage to communicate the flavor or feel of the book’s content and writing and sensibility,” though these are subjective criteria—both she and my own editor, Margaux Weisman at William Morrow, concede that the titling process amounts mainly to a gut feeling, informed by trial and error. (And it’s hard to imagine that they aren’t influenced by the desire for Google-friendliness or e-retail “discoverability”—think of the Twitter-friendly #GIRLBOSS—though nobody I spoke to claimed these were heavy considerations.) Titles are hashed out in biweekly meetings with the publisher, editor-in-chief, deputy publisher, digital and paperbacks publisher, and managing editor, and later in the process, marketing, design, and publicity departments, as well as the author and their agent.
From Title Fights: Who Gets to Name an Author’s Book?
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Out with bourgeois crocodiles! How the Soviets rewrote children's books

From the capitalist ice cream eater who came to a sticky end to the Malevich-inspired adventures of two squares, Bolshevik kids’ books sparked an avant garde revolution in illustration
From Out with bourgeois crocodiles! How the Soviets rewrote children's books | Art and design | The Guardian
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Canadian Libraries feel the eBook pinch

The book worm has turned. Local libraries are making noise about eBook prices, saying that they pay multinational publishers up to five times more than average consumers do for the same titles. And libraries — including ones in Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and Vancouver — say they’d like things to change, so that they can pay according to their size and needs, rather than using the current one-size-fits-all model.
From Libraries feel the eBook pinch | Toronto Star
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Sherman Alexie On His New Kids' Book ('Thunder Boy Jr.') And The Angst Of Being A 'Jr.' : NPR

Alexie tells NPR's David Greene that he found inspiration for the book in a surprising place: his own father's funeral. "As they lowered the coffin into the grave, his tombstone came into view and on the tombstone is Sherman Alexie — his name, my name," Alexie says. "And I'd always struggled with being named after him, but the existential weight of being named after your father really, really becomes clear when you're looking at a tombstone with your name on it."
From Sherman Alexie On His New Kids' Book ('Thunder Boy Jr.') And The Angst Of Being A 'Jr.' : NPR
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China’s scary lesson to the world: Censoring the Internet works

Indeed, China’s Firewall is far more sophisticated and multi-tiered than a simple on-off switch: It is an attempt to bridge one of the country’s most fundamental contradictions — to have an economy intricately connected to the outside world but a political culture closed off from such “Western values” as free speech and democracy.
From China’s scary lesson to the world: Censoring the Internet works. - The Washington Post
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How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet

...but censorship using the DMCA is common online. The act allows web hosts a certain amount of immunity from claims of copyright infringement through what is known as the “safe harbour” rules: in essence, a host isn’t responsible for hosting infringing material provided they didn’t know about it when it went up, and took it down as soon as they were told about it. In practice, however, this means that web hosts (and the term is broadly interpreted, meaning sites like YouTube, Twitter and Google count) are forced to develop a hair-trigger over claims of copyright infringement, assuming guilt and asking the accused to prove their innocence.
From Revealed: How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet | Technology | The Guardian
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97% of Research Library Searches Leak Privacy... and Other Disappointing Statistics.

Over the weekend, I decided to try to quantify the extent of privacy leakage in public-facing library services by studying the search services of the 123 ARL libraries. These are the best funded and most prestigious libraries in North America, and we should expect them to positively represent libraries. I went to each library's on-line search facility and did a search for a book whose title might suggest to an advertiser that I might be pregnant. (I'm not!) I checked to see whether the default search linked to by the library's home page (as listed on the ARL website) was delivered over a secure connection (HTTPS). I checked for privacy leakage of referer headers from cover images by using Chrome developer tools (the sources tab). I used Ghostery to see if the library's online search used Google Analytics or not. I also noted whether advertising network "web beacons" were placed by the search session.
From Go To Hellman: 97% of Research Library Searches Leak Privacy... and Other Disappointing Statistics.

Retro video games invade space at university libraries

Braydon Beaulieu stares intently at a screen as he plays a game on the Nintendo Entertainment System inside the U of C library. The 27-year-old PhD student wasn't even born when the system was released in 1983. "These things are like ancient artifacts to me, something I would expect to see in a museum, so it is really fun to play them." 
From Retro video games invade space at university libraries - Calgary - CBC News

People are hungry for real bookstores - Judy Blume on why US indie booksellers are thriving

Blume doesn’t have to write because, at 78, she has embarked on a new career: she’s an independent bookseller. Together with her husband, George Cooper, she has opened a small, nonprofit bookshop in Key West, Florida, where she’s working almost every day. And she’s loving it. She had planned “to take a gap year” after she finished writing and promoting her last novel, In the Unlikely Event. “I was going to relax and read and have this whole time with no pressure. And then bingo – the chance comes along to open a bookshop, and there you go. I guess I like that in my life … To learn something new like this, at 78, makes it all the more exciting.”
From 'People are hungry for real bookstores': Judy Blume on why US indie booksellers are thriving | Books | The Guardian
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The Delicate Task Of Restoring One Of The World's Oldest Libraries

Called the medina, neighborhood streets lined with domes and archways take you back through the history of the dynasties and occupiers that ruled Morocco from the 9th century on. At the center of the square is the Qarawiyyin Library, founded more than a millennium ago.
From The Delicate Task Of Restoring One Of The World's Oldest Libraries : Parallels : NPR
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Renegade Librarian Jessamyn West On Information, Access And Democracy

Meet Jessamyn West, the radical librarian. She just got a big award from the Vermont Library Association for her role in the selection process for the next Librarian of Congress. She's behind one of the first librarian blogs, she's annoyed the FBI, and she's a crusader for keeping both sides of the digital divide in mind as we move further into the information age. Cory Doctorow of "Boing Boing" has called her an "internet folk hero."
From Renegade Librarian Jessamyn West On Information, Access And Democracy | Vermont Public Radio
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It’s the Data, Stupid: What Elsevier’s purchase of SSRN also means

The data produced by SSRN is not terribly sophisticated stuff: number of papers and authors, number of downloads, number of citations, per paper and per author. Lots of other companies and services attempt to collect the same kind of data. But what makes SSRN specific is that it is a well known node in the network—we might say, in the discourse or mind-space—of social science.
From It’s the Data, Stupid: What Elsevier’s purchase of SSRN also means | Savage Minds

Can text in different colors help you tackle the most difficult books?

Is an annotated version the best way to read The Sound and the Fury for the first time? Not necessarily. It takes away some of the challenge – and reward – of wrestling with the text alone, and it also inadvertently provides spoilers. I found out a major plot line involving Quentin long before I would have worked it out on my own. Colored text itself, on the other hand, feels like a breakthrough for publishing. It's a playful approach perfectly attuned to our era. Learning in general has already moved away from dusty tomes of monochrome text to brighter, shinier and more interactive methods.
From Can text in different colors help you tackle the most difficult books?
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New library shelves 3,400 bottles of wine at Cornell

The newest library on campus contains no books and offers no borrowing privileges. Located in the basement of Stocking Hall, it lacks the soaring windows and grand views of other locations. Students can’t access the library, and since it’s kept at a constant 54 degrees, it would not offer much of a study refuge anyway.
From New library shelves 3,400 bottles of wine | Cornell Chronicle

13 Classic Works of Literature With Upworthy Titles

On a rainy Thursday morning, Contently’s editorial staff cleared our calendars for an hour to dive down the rabbit hole of sensationalism. What we did wouldn’t make any of our old English teachers proud: We retitled 13 classic works of literature and did our best to rid of them of all prestige.
From 13 Classic Works of Literature With Upworthy Titles
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Rethinking Knowledge in the Internet Age

This would be a source of pure despair if the internet were not also enabling us to see that before it existed we never agreed about anything either. Before the net, what we read and saw was so tightly controlled by cartels of well-intentioned professionals that dissenting voices were barely heard. True, many of those dissenting voices were wrong and sometimes they were spouting lunacy, but we marginalized all but the one percent of the epistemically privileged. We achieved great science but at a high price throughout the rest of the cultural landscape, and sometimes within science, too. This fragmentation of knowledge is a fact that knowledge cannot overcome. How, then, do we best live with it? How do we flourish now that we can’t reason ourselves back together?
From Rethinking Knowledge in the Internet Age - Los Angeles Review of Books

Archiving a Website for Ten Thousand Years

Hi.co, a website that allows its users to post “moments” with a photo and annotation, plans a similar trip to the distant future. The operators, Craig Mod (who has also previously written for The Atlantic) and Chris Palmieri, announced today that the site will freeze service in September 2016. However, all posts present in the site’s database at that time will be microprinted onto a two-by-two-inch nickel plate. The entire site—2,000,000 words and 14,000 photos—should fit on a single disk. Several copies will be made and distributed across the globe; the Library of Congress has already been secured as a repository. The plates have a lifespan as long as 10,000 years, and they may be viewed with a 1,000-power optical microscope.
From Archiving a Website for Ten Thousand Years - The Atlantic
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