16 September 2010

Readings, 2010.09.15

Wednesday's Readings

Making a Living Creatively

Julie Bosman at the Arts Beat blog at the NYT reports that Scribner is trying out an "iTunes model" for writers, making the essays of author Chuck Klosterman individually available through Amazon, Apple, and BN.com for 99 cents.  But we don't need Scribner to act as middleman to do that, do we?

Mike Masnick at TechDirt reports on yet another study showing that musicians are, in fact, financially benefiting from the world of digital distribution (including file sharing). In other words, musicians are actually making more money than they use to. It's the record companies that are crying "panic" over lost revenue...

Copyright

"When You Realize that Copyright Law Violates Free Speech Rights, You Begin to Recognize The Problems." Mike Masnick at TechDirt explains.  For those of you who haven't been following the story, Russia's recent use of IP law to stifle dissent is a good illustration.

And Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing reports on the draconian (and idiotic) consequences of the Digital Economy Act rammed through Parliament by the dying Labour government without debate just hours before the election.

Spin


Doctorow also writes "The US Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the FDA for permission to change the name 'High Fructose Corn Syrup' to the much more innocuous-sounding 'Corn Sugars'."  I guess they must finally have gotten around to reading Omnivore's Dilemma.

Jonathan Freedland at The Guardian is appalled by Lithuania's suppression of it's role in the Holocaust:
In my travels, visiting a whole clutch of sites, I did not encounter one that gave a direct, explicit account of this bald, harsh truth: that Lithuania's Jews were victims of one of the highest killing rates in Nazi Europe, more than 90%, chiefly because the local population smoothed the Germans' path. Indeed, they began killing Jews on June 22 1941, before Hitler's men had even arrived.
Science

Sam Geall at New Humanist (tagline "Ideas for Godless People") has an excellent article on Chinese science, and the debunkers who risk life and limb (literally, in some cases) to call to account the pseudoscience and plagiarism that seem epidemic:  "Lies, damn lies and Chinese science."

Genetics


The chocolate genome:  Rachel Ehrenberg at Science News reports "Competing teams announce impending completion of cacao DNA sequence."  One of the teams combines the efforts of the USDA, IBM, and ... Mars, Inc. 

It sounds like the other team has a more detailed draft.

Neuroscience

Brain Posts reports on a Frontiers in Neuroscience lecture earlier this week by Walter Kaye, M.D. on the neurocircuitry of anorexia.

Brain Posts also writes on a new study out of Hong Kong on the common features in brain anatomy between autism and schizophrenia.

Literature


John Kenney at the L.A. Times has a very funny piece, "Jonathan Franzen, world's greatest writer, I guess."  Here is the first paragraph:
Once in a generation, or perhaps once every two generations, or twice in one generation, or even something longer than a generation time-wise (be it once or twice), a writer comes along and fundamentally changes not merely fiction or literature or the way words are linked together, but society and cognitive behavior and our understanding of time and sporting events, television and life on Earth and even the way animals mate and how humans use a debit or rewards card. That man is Jonathan Franzen.
Although you didn't read about it here, Franzen was everywhere in the German-language press last week (and still this week), turning up nearly as often as Thilo Sarrazin.  (Franzen also has a new book.)

Aditi Muralidharan at Text Mining and the Digital Humanities summarizes (and critiques) the paper "Extracting Social Networks from Literary Fiction," recently presented at the conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics.

Music

Irony-challenged Calvin College has canceled a scheduled performance by the band "The New Pornographers," because of the band's name.
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