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.: September 2010 --> September 2010

September 2010

» What's wrong with American espresso? Well, pretty much everything, really. A well made espresso is a balance of 5 elements - and most Americans just don't have the experience to judge. "Here in the U.S. the coffee they use is good, but the way they prepare it is bad. Fifty percent of the result of a good espresso is in the hands of the barista. And if consumers can't recognize that, we lose." - Giorgio Milos, the master barista at illy  [ 09.01.10 ]

» 12 Fish Every Eater Should Avoid: the most unhealthy, environmentally, and socioeconomically unsustainable seafood choices in the world. It's from the Smart Seafood Guide, which also lists your best and worst choices nationally and regionally (since where you are will define sustainability in certain cases).  [ 09.02.10 ]

» Take a walk through the world of fan-produced movie posters and fake peripheral properties. These are gorgeous works, ranging from Fake Criterion DVD Covers (scroll down for Star Wars), Aliens vs Pooh and The Poohing (a Winnie the Pooh/The Shining mashup), and this gorgeous Star Wars travel poster art - and those are just my top 3.  [ 09.02.10 ]

» I've always felt that language shapes our very perception of the world. In any language, what is named or not named, how things are framed, or what information is embedded (gender or tense - or, in Turkish, whether you witnessed an event yourself) - these things do more than color a narrative. They are the means by which humans construct reality. Language forms understanding. It dictates how we perceive the world, and how we convey our experience to others. One of the advantages of learning a new language is that it gives you a set of new eyes. A new language creates new brain spaces and connections, literally forcing you to step to the side and consider experience from a new perspective.

Or so it always seemed to me. Now psychologists are proving my thesis - and the effect language has on perception, memory, and cognition is startling even to these experts.

Update: This weekend the New York Times Magazine has a long article on the same subject.

Some 50 years ago, the renowned linguist Roman Jakobson pointed out a crucial fact about differences between languages in a pithy maxim: "Languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey." This maxim offers us the key to unlocking the real force of the mother tongue: if different languages influence our minds in different ways, this is not because of what our language allows us to think but rather because of what it habitually obliges us to think about.
 [ 09.03.10 ]

» This week: Otherworld literature, books for adventurous girls, and what to read for the rest of the year.

NPR: Ricks' Picks: Best Books About War In Iraq
NPR: Three Books For The Self-Help Skeptic
Guardian UK: Otherworld literature: From total believers to complete sceptics, the author of Mirage Men selects books that are 'informative, entertaining, puzzling or all three at once'
Guardian UK: Ten of the best religious zealots in literature

Children and Young Adults:
PBS: Series Books Featuring Adventurous Girls
PBS: Booklights: Thirty Summer Books, Tot to Tween

And for the Rest of the Year:
NY Magazine: The Twenty Our most anticipated fiction and nonfiction of fall
Guardian UK: David Grossman and the new publishing season: In this week's podcast we take a look at the new publishing season and open the betting on who this year's Christmas bestsellers will be

Thus endeth Summer Reading 2010.  [ 09.06.10 ]

» Behind the growing empire of quirky neighborhood grocery stores known as Trader Joes. I've always wondered where they sourced their products - from everywhere, it turns out, name brands included. Turns out there's much more to know about them than just that. (via w.o/l)  [ 09.07.10 ]

» Librarians at the College of Eastern Nevada have replaced the Dewey Decimal System with Netflix categories in order to allow students to more readily find the books they need. They've provided a handy cheat sheet for faculty who are accustomed to researching the old fashioned way. I was pretty neutral about this until I got to the part about classifying Wuthering Heights as "Romantic Comedy". Seriously, people, have you ever read any of the Brontes?  [ 09.08.10 ]

» Minas Tirith - made from matchsticks. Truly phenomenal. There's a certain kind of mind that loves working at this level of detail. They create letter art, lettering illustrations, knitted cities, paper art, and miniatures of all kinds. Reading them, one suspects a similar sort of mind in the most passionate typographers. (thanks, jjg!)  [ 09.09.10 ]

» 10 Reading Revolutions Before E-Books is a smart and subtle survey of the history of reading, and ways in which technological advances resonate beyond the book itself to realign individuals' thinking process and the culture itself.

In Elizabeth Eisenstein's account in The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe, print changed readers' expectations of texts, especially their universality and fidelity, since everyone everywhere was (in theory) reading an exact copy of an identical text. This assumption proved particularly instrumental in the subsequent Scientific Revolution. Benedict Anderson thought print helped readers of a common language in a highly fragmented Europe think of themselves as an "imagined community," crucial to forming the modern nation-state. Marshall McLuhan and Walter Ong thought print helped further reorient language from sound to vision, paving the way for our screen-fixated present. This is a reorientation that, as Ong argued extensively, begins with writing itself.

 [ 09.10.10 ]

» Transmedia hits the mainstream! Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television Entertainment have committed to a filmed version of Stephen King's Dark Tower series - 3 films and 2 television seasons to "connect the dots", with one television season's storylines to be "informed by a prequel comic book series that King was heavily involved in plotting".

"With this story, if you dedicated to one medium or another, there's the horrible risk of cheating material. The scope and scale call for a big screen budget. But if you committed only to films, you'd deny the audience the intimacy and nuance of some of these characters and a lot of cool twists and turns that make for jaw-dropping, compelling television. We've put some real time and deep thought into this." Ron Howard, director and producer of the series.

Transmedia has now officially moved from being "the future" to being "the present": In April the Producers Guild of America officially recognized the title of "Transmedia Producer". Here's a guide to creating a transmedia project of your own.  [ 09.13.10 ]

» If, like me, once you start canning, you just keep canning, please bookmark this page: 50 Ways to Use Preserves, Jams, Jellies, Marmalades & Fruit Butters. (via JMFF)  [ 09.14.10 ]

» Jonathan Franzen: 4 Books You Must Read.  [ 09.15.10 ]

» The trouble with Google Books is a surprisingly interesting article about the importance of metadata - and the ways in which Google's culture of innovation has potentially destroyed the value of the Last Library.

Google Books was conceived of in two ways. The first is as a new library -- I call it the "last library" -- an aggregate of all the libraries in the world. The second is as a big database, a storehouse of information that you could search the way you search Google. The idea behind that is that books are just stored information. If I want to know who wrote Roosevelt's inaugural speech, I can do a search and look it up.
But those two ideas are at odds with each other, which is something that Google didn't realize. The beauty of Google is that you don't need metadata, after all. You just barrel into the text and pull out what you want. So metadata -- information about the source text -- was not something they focused on.

More from Dr. Nunberg here and here.  [ 09.16.10 ]

» It is an honor merely to be nominated (twice!). Go vote for your 3 favorites! Update: Hey! I won!  [ 09.16.10 ]

» Why are books the size they are? Because of the sheep.  [ 09.17.10 ]

» Which science fiction book first published within in the last 10 years will be considered a classic? Nominations from SF authors and readers.  [ 09.22.10 ]

» Dick Lochte, President of The Private Eye Writers of America: The Top 20 Private Eye Novels, the Top 20 Private Eye Movies, and the Top 20 TV Private Eyes.  [ 09.29.10 ]



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