Books

Dirty Old Books

Wear and tear is another way in which the manuscript shows that it was used a lot – that it had been popular among a group of medieval readers. It is not uncommon to see pronounced discolouration at the lower left corner of the page. The dark patches that can sometimes be observed there result from generations of fingers turning the page. Pages with such dirty lower corners usually also turn quite easily, as if the structure of the parchment is loosened up by the repeated turning of pages. Occasionally one encounters a page like the one seen in Fig. 4, which is dirty all over its surface. One wonders how clean the readers’ hands were – also after consulting such a dirty book.

From Dirty Old Books | medievalbooks

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Aritst renders eerie police sketches of famous literary characters

Via Comic Book Resources, Aritst Brian J. Davis has rendered famous literary characters in the form of police sketches — ensuring that if you run into one of these characters on the street, you know exactly what to expect.

Using “commercially available law enforcement composite sketch software,” Daivs drew accurate sketches based on the characters’ descriptions in their respective books. Take a look at even more on Brian's Tumblr page.

Here's Hannibal Lecter from the novels of Thomas Harris,

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What books were taken to the Antarctic 100 years ago?

When Sir Ernest Shackleton set off for Antarctica on his ship Endurance, he made sure he had plenty of reading material. But details of precisely what books he took have remained hidden in this photograph - until now.

From What books were taken to the Antarctic 100 years ago? - BBC News

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Van filled with $350,000 in rare books stolen in Oakland

That novel, once a prized possession of Van De Carr’s, is now gone, along with around 400 of his other books worth well over $350,000. Someone stole his van while it was parked outside a friend’s Oakland home this week.
“The thing about that book is it was as new as the day it was published. Just a perfect, perfect copy. It glistened,” Van De Carr lamented.
“It’s my livelihood, it’s how I make a living,” added Van De Carr, owner of Booklegger’s Books in Chicago. “Now, I have nothing.”

From Van filled with $350,000 in rare books stolen in Oakland - SFGate

You Could Look It Up

Book that has just been released: You Could Look It Up: The Reference Shelf From Ancient Babylon to Wikipedia

"Knowledge is of two kinds," said Samuel Johnson in 1775. "We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it." Today we think of Wikipedia as the source of all information, the ultimate reference. Yet it is just the latest in a long line of aggregated knowledge--reference works that have shaped the way we've seen the world for centuries.

You Could Look It Up chronicles the captivating stories behind these great works and their contents, and the way they have influenced each other. From The Code of Hammurabi, the earliest known compendium of laws in ancient Babylon almost two millennia before Christ to Pliny's Natural History; from the 11th-century Domesday Book recording land holdings in England to Abraham Ortelius's first atlas of the world; from Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language to The Whole Earth Catalog to Google, Jack Lynch illuminates the human stories and accomplishment behind each, as well as its enduring impact on civilization. In the process, he offers new insight into the value of knowledge.

See: http://amzn.to/1Q05Jj5

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Charting Literary Classics’ Punctuation, From Austen to Twain

Calhoun was curious to see how the punctuation in his favorite books stacked up, so he wrote a script that strips the words from the pages. Next to Rougeux’s swirling posters, Calhoun’s visualizations are less abstract, more straightforward. In one, he simply leaves them as-is—a block of periods, commas and dashes in all their geometric, grammatical beauty. In another, he assigns each glyph a color, creating glowing heatmaps that show which marks are most prevalent.

From Charting Literary Classics’ Punctuation, From Austen to Twain | WIRED

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What it looks like to process 3.5 million books in Google’s cloud

What did it look like to process 3.5 million books? Data-mining and creating a public archive of 3.5 million books is an example of an application perfectly suited to the cloud, in which a large amount of specialized processing power is needed for only a brief period of time. Here are the five main steps that I took to make the invaluable learnings of millions of books more easily and speedily accessible in the cloud:

From Google Cloud Platform Blog: What it looks like to process 3.5 million books in Google’s cloud

Wikimedia Foundation removes The Diary of Anne Frank due to copyright law requirements

Today, in an unfortunate example of the overreach of the United States’ current copyright law, the Wikimedia Foundation removed the Dutch-language text of The Diary of a Young Girl—more commonly known in English as the Diary of Anne Frank—from Wikisource.[1]
We took this action to comply with the United States’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), as we believe the diary is still under US copyright protection under the law as it is currently written. Nevertheless, our removal serves as an excellent example of why the law should be changed to prevent repeated extensions of copyright terms, an issue that has plagued our communities for years.

From Wikimedia Foundation removes The Diary of Anne Frank due to copyright law requirements « Wikimedia blog

Open-source textbooks gain in push for college affordability

An early adopter of open source textbooks, Neth said he turned to the new technology out of frustration with spiraling prices of commercial textbooks.
"It's seeing the costs go up every semester and almost feeling powerless," Neth said.
Universities and state governments are lining up behind the cause as a way to make college more affordable. The open textbooks, produced with publicly available material, are issued to students for free or a small fraction of the hundreds of dollars they typically spend annually on books.

From Open-source textbooks gain in push for college affordability

Fistfights and Beggars: Found Street Life in Old Prints

All we see of teh bridge though is is decking, though we do see a huge rise, which gives us a hint of teh bridge's nature--it turns out that this is the oldest elliptic arch bridge in the world.  While the architecture is beautiful and teh perspective intersting, teh characters populzting the foreground are sometimes even more interesting. In general figures like this were used to take up empty bits of space and to provide perspective, and were depicted in the standard ways in which walking/riding humans are represented. In this case, however, there is a lot of social drama going on amidst the simple space fillers. 

From JF Ptak Science Books: Fistfights and Beggars: Found Street Life in Old Prints (1757)

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