Why Do We Love Henry David Thoreau?

This vision cannot survive any serious reading of “Walden.” The real Thoreau was, in the fullest sense of the word, self-obsessed: narcissistic, fanatical about self-control, adamant that he required nothing beyond himself to understand and thrive in the world. From that inward fixation flowed a social and political vision that is deeply unsettling. It is true that Thoreau was an excellent naturalist and an eloquent and prescient voice for the preservation of wild places. But “Walden” is less a cornerstone work of environmental literature than the original cabin porn: a fantasy about rustic life divorced from the reality of living in the woods, and, especially, a fantasy about escaping the entanglements and responsibilities of living among other people.

From Why Do We Love Henry David Thoreau? - The New Yorker


We Say We Want Privacy Online, But Our Actions Say Otherwise

As consumers spend an increasing amount of their time in cyberspace, companies are developing techniques to maximize the marketing capabilities afforded by cookies and other online surveillance tools. Yet companies first need to understand how consumers think about their privacy online, which isn’t entirely rationally. In an upcoming chapter of the Cambridge Handbook of Consumer Psychology, I draw on insights from behavioral psychology and the social sciences to explain the prevalence of the privacy paradox; I have summarized the reasons for consumers’ inconsistent views about privacy below

From We Say We Want Privacy Online, But Our Actions Say Otherwise

Google book-scanning project legal, says U.S. appeals court

A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday that Google's massive effort to scan millions of books for an online library does not violate copyright law, rejecting claims from a group of authors that the project illegally deprives them of revenue.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York rejected infringement claims from the Authors Guild and several individual writers, and found that the project provides a public service without violating intellectual property law.

From Google book-scanning project legal, says U.S. appeals court | Reuters


Hilarious Tweets for Book Nerds

From Buzzfeed Books.

Happy weekend! Anyone doing the #Deweyreadathon tomorrow?

Rushdie warns of new dangers to free speech in West

"It seems to me the battle for free expression was won 100 years ago," the 68-year-old told an audience at the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair, under heavy security.
"The fact that we have to go on fighting this battle is the result of a number of regrettable, more recent phenomena."

From Rushdie warns of new dangers to free speech in West - Yahoo News Canada

Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 211, William Gibson

From 2011...

You can tell the term still holds some magic for him, perhaps even more so now that it is passing into obsolescence. The opposite is true for ­cyberpunk, a neologism that haunts him to this day. On a short walk to lunch one afternoon, from the two-story mock-Tudor house where he lives with his wife, Deborah, he complained about a recent visit from a British journalist, who came to Vancouver searching for “Mr. Cyberpunk” and was disappointed to find him ensconced in a pleasantly quiet suburban patch of central Vancouver. Mr. Cyberpunk seemed wounded by having his work ­pigeonholed, but equally so by the insult to his home, which is quite ­comfortable, and his neighborhood, which is, too. “We like it quiet,” he explained.

From Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 211, William Gibson


Shelf Life: Comics Conning Their Way Into Libraries

This summer, like most summers, I appeared at a few comic conventions. I also appeared at two libraries; not terribly unusual, as I've done a number of library lectures before. But these appearance were actually for comic conventions at the public libraries in Saratoga Springs, NY and Utica, NY.

The connection between libraries and comics is strong and growing stronger. Where comics might have been frowned upon in bygone eras, now many libraries sport well-stocked graphic novel sections. The bond is also expanding to convention-style events held at the libraries, complete with guests, cosplayers, vendors and more.

From Shelf Life: Comics Conning Their Way Into Libraries - Comic Book Resources


Identity crisis: Downtown Omaha library's quest to be welcoming to all makes it unwelcoming to many

Holly Barrett has heard a lot of things on the sidewalk in front of Omaha’s downtown library.

“Hey, pretty lady, can I have your phone number?”
“Can I take you to dinner?”
Barrett said a man who hung out in front of the library’s steps for a few weeks last summer escalated to: “You know I don’t want to rape you, so why won’t you just give me your phone number?”

Barrett, who is the executive director of the Downtown Improvement District and lives downtown, said she walks by the W. Dale Clark Library often, and it’s not a comfortable place.

Full article:


Illegal to film in the library?

Illegal to film in the library? This video raises that question.

Library policies: https://multcolib.org/policies-manuals/behavior-rules-governing-use-multnomah-county-library

Flooding Threatens the NYT Picture Archives

From the New York Times:

A pipe burst in the Times’s morgue which occupies the sub-subbasement of the former New York Herald Tribune building on 41st Street. Morgue manager Jeff Roth is quoted as saying "this was the stuff of nightmares. It’s always been a worry."

Roth stated that most likely 90% of the photos could be salvageable. But it raised the question of how in the digital age — and in the prohibitive Midtown Manhattan real estate market — can some of the company’s most precious physical assets and intellectual property be safely and reasonably stored?

Week in Review photos protected the card catalog.

Here's the popular NYT Photo Archive tumblr account, the Lively Morgue.


Internet Companies: Confusing Consumers for Profit

The ubiquitous blue “Like” or “Share” buttons that you see all over the Internet are hiding an ugly secret. Starting this month, Facebook will use them to track your visit to every Web page that displays the buttons—even if you don’t click on anything. Facebook will use the data it collects to build a detailed dossier of your browsing habits, meticulously logging every site you visit, so it can finally learn those last few details about your life that it doesn’t already know. And there’s nothing you can do about it, short of staying totally logged out of the social media site or tracking down and installing a special browser extension to protect from this kind of sneaky behavior.

From Internet Companies: Confusing Consumers for Profit | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Crowdsourced research: Many hands make tight work

Crowdsourcing research can balance discussions, validate findings and better inform policy, say Raphael Silberzahn and Eric L. Uhlmann.

From Crowdsourced research: Many hands make tight work : Nature News & Comment

The Internet's Dark Ages

It is not just access to knowledge, but the knowledge itself that’s at stake. Thousands of years ago, the Library of Alexandra was, as the astrophysicist Carl Sagan wrote, “the brain and heart of the ancient world.” For seven centuries, it housed hundreds of thousands of scrolls; great works of philosophy, literature, technology, math, and medicine. It took as many centuries for most of its collections to be destroyed.

The promise of the web is that Alexandria’s library might be resurrected for the modern world. But today’s great library is being destroyed even as it is being built. Until you lose something big on the Internet, something truly valuable, this paradox can be difficult to understand.

From The Internet's Dark Ages - The Atlantic

Michael Ian Black on his surprising turn as a noted children’s book author

Generally speaking, nothing says “inessential” quite like “celebrity-written children’s book.” Jay Leno, Jeff Foxworthy, Katie Couric, Julianne Moore, Jamie Lee Curtis, Julie Andrews, Gloria Estefan, Whoopi Goldberg, B.J. Novak, Spike Lee, Tim McGraw, LeAnn Rimes... the list of stars who’ve delved into that world goes on and on. Scholastic even has a series of books called Little Bill, written by Bill Cosby, most of them available for a penny on Amazon. In a lot of cases, the authors get it out of their system after a couple books, but actor/comedian/author/podcaster Michael Ian Black has quietly reached the half-dozen mark with his latest, Cock-A-Doodle-Doo-Bop, out today.

From Michael Ian Black on his surprising turn as a noted children’s book author · Interview · The A.V. Club


Web design plays a role in how much we reveal online

How many people read online privacy warnings? Few probably do. Long, detailed and technical privacy notices are the current answer to one of the greatest privacy issues of our time: websites collect information about us all the time and we frequently allow it without really knowing or understanding the conditions. JRC scientists have found that web design, and the information shown on the screen, does influence how and whether a user discloses personal data.

From Web design plays a role in how much we reveal online

Library builder's monument of books

At some point this year, a child somewhere in the developing world became the ten millionth beneficiary of Room to Read, a non-profit organisation created 15 years ago after a high-flying Microsoft executive quit his job to help children in Nepal.

From Library builder's monument of books - BBC News


Library Patrons Can Now ‘Check Out’ A 7-Day Colorado State Parks Pass

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has teamed up with eight libraries across Colorado for the Check-Out Colorado State Park Program. The program offers residents the ability to check out one of two seven-day hang-tag park passes at each library. The pass is good for entrance to all 42 state parks.

From Library Patrons Can Now ‘Check Out’ A 7-Day Colorado State Parks Pass « CBS Denver


How Did Prison Change Oscar Wilde? On “De Profundis”

Prison, it might be fair to say, demanded this sort of writing from Wilde. It forced him to change out the voice of a snobbish aesthete for that of a survivor, that of a sufferer, that of a jilted lover, that of a prophet, and—another Emersonian voice—that of an educator. “You came to me to learn the Pleasure of Life and the Pleasure of Art,” Wilde tells Douglas in the letter’s lovestruck last sentence. “Perhaps I am chosen to teach you something much more wonderful, the meaning of Sorrow, and its beauty.”

From How Did Prison Change Oscar Wilde? On “De Profundis”


There's No DRM in JPEG - Let's Keep It That Way

The professional version of the JPEG format, JPEG 2000, already has a DRM extension called JPSEC. But usage of JPEG 2000 is limited to highly specialized applications such as medical imaging, broadcast and cinema image workflows, and archival, therefore the availability of DRM in JPEG 2000 hasn't affected the use of images online, where the legacy JPEG format remains dominant. Now, the JPEG Privacy and Security group is considering essentially backporting DRM to legacy JPEG images, which would have a much broader impact on the open Web.

From There's No DRM in JPEG—Let's Keep It That Way | Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Unseen Theft of America’s Literary History

This is a microcosm of the danger facing American archives. Because almost nothing is catalogued at the item-level, most of the unique material housed in these most important of repositories is particularly vulnerable to theft. When someone like Breithaupt steals a book, even a very old book, there is a catalog record that tells us it is missing—and likely some kind of duplicate copy somewhere else in the world. But when he steals a letter from Flannery O’Connor to John Crowe Ransom—unless that letter has been photocopied by another person—it basically ceases to exist. Not only do we not have the information in it, but we don’t even know that we don’t have the information in it.

From The Unseen Theft of America’s Literary History ‹ Literary Hub


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