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December 28, 2011

So you want to check out a sample chapter of George RR Martins next Ice & Fire book?

Click and see. GRRM - Wild Cards Sample

December 25, 2011

Publishers move to stop libraries from offering e-books

My local library here in Oakland has ebooks, but you cannot read them on your portable devices. They open in a proprietary browser add-on on computers only. This makes them less than useful, except as reference. For Libraries and Publishers, an E-Book Tug of War - NYTimes.com
And that is a source of great worry for publishers. In their eyes, borrowing an e-book from a library has been too easy. Worried that people will click to borrow an e-book from a library rather than click to buy it, almost all major publishers in the United States now block libraries’ access to the e-book form of either all of their titles or their most recently published ones. Borrowing a printed book from the library imposes an inconvenience upon its patrons. “You have to walk or drive to the library, then walk or drive back to return it,” says Maja Thomas, a senior vice president of the Hachettte Book Group, in charge of its digital division. And print copies don’t last forever; eventually, the ones that are much in demand will have to be replaced. “Selling one copy that could be lent out an infinite number of times with no friction is not a sustainable business model for us,” Ms. Thomas says. Hachette stopped making its e-books available to libraries in 2009. E-lending is not without some friction. Software ensures that only one patron can read an e-book copy at a time, and people who see a long waiting list for a certain title may decide to buy it instead. . . .

December 23, 2011

One teachers approach to preventing gender bullying in a classroom

This is the sort of story I would have found interesting in a theoretical way before I had a kid, but now that I have a son this sets off giant white flares of importance in my head. Gender is all around us, it's part of the socio-cultural water in which we swim. And it's never too early to start subverting rigid gender definitions, is it? Read the whole thing. One teachers approach to preventing gender bullying in a classroom
Allison was biologically a girl but felt more comfortable wearing Tony Hawk long-sleeved T-shirts, baggy jeans, and black tennis shoes. Her parents were accepting and supportive. Her mother braided her hair in cornrows because Allie thought it made her look like Will Smith’s son, Trey, in the remake of The Karate Kid. She preferred to be called Allie. The first day of school, children who hadn’t been in Allie’s class in kindergarten referred to her as “he.” I didn’t want to assume I knew how Allie wanted me to respond to the continual gender mistakes, so I made a phone call home and Allie’s mom put me on speakerphone. “Allie,” she said, “Ms. Melissa is on the phone. She would like to know if you want her to correct your classmates when they say you are a boy, or if you would rather that she just doesn’t say anything.” Allie was shy on the phone. “Um … tell them that I am a girl,” she whispered. The next day when I corrected classmates and told them that Allie was a girl, they asked her a lot of questions that she wasn’t prepared for: “Why do you look like a boy?” “If you’re a girl, why do you always wear boys’ clothes?” Some even told her that she wasn’t supposed to wear boys’ clothes if she was a girl. It became evident that I would have to address gender directly in order to make the classroom environment more comfortable for Allie and to squash the gender stereotypes that my 1st graders had absorbed in their short lives.
*via Violet Blue*

December 19, 2011

NYU prof fired for giving James Franco a D

He gave Franco a D because Franco skipped class too much. Sounds reasonable to me. NYU acting teacher claims he was fired for giving James Franco a D
Jose Angel Santana said he slapped the “127 Hours’’ star with the bad grade because he missed 12 of his 14 “Directing the Actor II” classes while pursuing a master’s in fine arts [at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts]. Santana said he then suffered all kinds of drama — first from Franco, who publicly ridiculed him [video of that below], then from his department, which axed him over the “D.” “The school has bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment, that’s for sure,” Santana, 58, told The Post. “The university has done everything in its power to curry favor with James Franco.” After his student gig, Franco, 33, wound up teaching an NYU course this past fall on adapting poetry into short films. Santana suggested that the good grades Franco received were payback to the actor for hiring one of his other professors, Jay Anania. Franco hired Anania to write and direct the film “William Vincent,” which starred Franco, the suit states. The film was featured at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. “In my opinion, they’ve turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco’s purposes, a possession, something you can buy,” Santana said.