Posts Tagged: wired

I Know What You Read Last Summer

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More and more, book publishers are turning to data studies and algorithms to predict which kinds of books will sell. Susanne Althof, in a piece for WIRED, interrogates the wisdom of such an approach, speaking with people in the industry who worry it will compromise the diversity of books being put out and the tech leaders who insist that this is simply the future:

What Archer and Jockers have done is just one part of a larger movement in the publishing industry to replace gut instinct and wishful thinking with data.

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GoDefundMe

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There’s no denying that crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have brought resources to artists and causes that wouldn’t have found support a decade ago. However, according to Emma Hoffman at WIRED, a dark side is emerging. Everything—from academic research projects, to elementary school classes, to parks and recreation departments—is seen as crowdfundable, meaning that institutions now have an excuse to opt out of granting reliable support.

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Photographing Crime

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It’s a paradox that many of the show’s images are strangely striking even if the crimes they represent are horrifying. Joseph Stalin had at least 750,000 executed between 1937 and 1938. A photographer made a portrait before each execution, shooting the condemned from the front and the side—something the Khmer Rouge did, too.

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The Rumpus Interview with Austin Bunn

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Austin Bunn talks about his new story collection, The Brink, his latest script for a short film, In the Hollow, working in multiple mediums, and why some novels read like early drafts of screenplays. ...more

Word of the Day: Amphigory

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(n.); a nonsense verse; specifically, a poem designed to look and sound good, but which has no meaning upon closer reading; from the French amphigouri.

“Just imagine a typeface that could inspire empathy inherently based on the softness of a letter’s apex or by increasing or decreasing negative space in characters.”

–Liz Stinson, “Can Typography Help Us Empathize with Others?”

Like a reflection in water that disintegrates at the drop of a stone, beautiful words can be a mask overtop murky shallows—most avid readers have experienced the disappointment that comes with finishing a book that, no matter how superficially pleasing, falls flat in terms of profundity.

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Reviewing the Absurd

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Wired is launching a book review section—of absurd self-published titles. Jason Kehe will in fact be judging books by their cover, selecting the books he reviews for the regular column by browsing the blog Kindle Cover Disasters. The first title in the series is Moira, The Zorzen War, The Divided Worlds Book 3:

If you’re confused, Moira probably is too.

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The Passage of Ideas

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Every day, we collectively produce millions of books’ worth of writing. Globally we send 154.6 billion emails, more than 400 million tweets, and over 1 million blog posts and around 2 million blog comments on WordPress. On Facebook, we post about 16 billion words.

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Our Brains On Art

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“While Rembrandt was an astonishingly talented artist, our response to his art is conditioned by all sorts of variables that have nothing to do with oil paint. Many of these variables are capable of distorting our perceptions, so that we imagine differences that don’t actually exist; the verdict of art history warps what we see.”

Jonah Lehrer explores how the brain perceives art.

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New School

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Wired’s got an article on technologically-informed education—Khan Academy, an educational website in which, “Students, or anyone interested enough to surf by, can watch some 2,400 videos in which the site’s founder, Salman Khan, chattily discusses principles of math, science, and economics.”

This website ostensibly aids in solving the “middle of the class teaching,” that neglects the specific needs of students.

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Depressed Creativity? Sort Of.

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When Martin Heidegger wrote his gargantuan Magnus opus, Being and Time, he posited that it was Angst, the fundamental human condition, that brought us into the most authentic relationship with our selves and our surroundings.

Angst, for Heidegger, is caused by coming face-to-face with the inevitability of our own death and is life in the state of agitation, unease—it’s the condition in which we realize just how strange the world is.

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The Ultimate in Recycling

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It’s just a coincidence that I’ll be teaching the Wendell Berry poem “Enriching the Earth” tomorrow, a poem which ends with the lines “And so what was heaviest / and most mute is at last raised up into song,” but I couldn’t help but think of Berry’s sentiment about the body being of use after death when I read this story from Autopia about cadaver testing in the auto industry.

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