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March 10, 2011

Ursula K LeGuin on "fucking"

BOOK VIEW CAFE BLOG -- Would You Please Fucking Stop?
I keep reading books and seeing movies where nobody can fucking say anything except fuck, unless they say shit. I mean they don’t seem to have any adjective to describe fucking except fucking even when they’re fucking fucking. And shit is what they say when they’re fucked. When shit happens, they say shit, or oh shit, or oh shit we’re fucked. The imagination involved is staggering. I mean, literally. There was one novel I read where the novelist didn’t only make all the fucking characters say fuck and shit all the time but she got into the fucking act herself for shit sake. So it was full of deeply moving shit like, “The sunset was just too fucking beautiful to fucking believe.” I guess what’s happened is that what used to be a shockword has become a noise that’s supposed to intensify the emotion in what you’re saying. Or maybe it occurs just to bridge the gap between words, so that actual words become the shit that happens in between saying fucking? . . .

March 09, 2011

Calvin & Hobbs on writing

Life of Lois: Calvin & Hobbs about Writing

March 02, 2011

"Backbone," a new short story by David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace: “Backbone” : The New Yorker
Every whole person has ambitions, objectives, initiatives, goals. This one particular boy’s goal was to be able to press his lips to every square inch of his own body. His arms to the shoulders and most of his legs beneath the knee were child’s play. After these areas of his body, however, the difficulty increased with the abruptness of a coastal shelf. The boy came to understand that unimaginable challenges lay ahead of him. He was six. . . .

Goodnight Dune

Yes, it's a remake of the beloved kids book. Goodnight Dune

The Plagiarism Plague

BBC News - Plagiarism: The Ctrl C, Ctrl V boom
It's been a bad week for honest educational endeavour. The German defence minister has stepped down after being stripped of his 2006 university doctorate thesis for copying large parts of it. The University of Bayreuth had decided Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg had lifted whole sections without attribution. And the LSE is looking into allegations that Colonel Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam plagiarised his PhD thesis. These are very high-profile cases, but in the worlds of academia and publishing, the issue of plagiarism has been a problem for many years. The internet now offers students unparalleled opportunities to duplicate and to fabricate, says Jude Carroll, of Oxford Brookes University, the author of A Handbook for Deterring Plagiarism in Higher Education.

March 01, 2011

The University of Michigan now has a Quidditch team

My alma mater has gone deeply nerdy it seems. Click through for an annoyingly designed photo gallery. College of Literature, Science, and the Arts: Alumni & Friends - Wire
Passion (PASH-uhn) n. Every Sunday afternoon, the team meets at their Quidditch Pitch, the field in Nichols Arboretum, for that week’s match. The team consists of different ages and skill levels. Byl, announcer for the matches, speaks in a British accent and team members make quips about details from the books. Danielle Dubois, a sociology major, jokes that Quidditch “combines nerdiness with athleticism.” Although adapted from a work of fiction, the injuries athletes sustain are all too real. Bloody noses, scraped knees, and cut legs are common. Pride (prahyd) n. In Michigan Quidditch, there are no fancy uniforms, pep rallies, or ESPN reporters standing on the sidelines. Teammates wear maize and blue Quidditch t-shirts with individual numbers outlined in tape. Spectators wander in while hiking through the Arb, usually without knowing anything about the game being played. Goalposts, made of PVC piping, and brooms, found in parents’ garages, often break during the game. Even so, players shout “Hail to the Victors” in time with a cowbell after goals, and triumphant cheers erupt when a Seeker returns with the Snitch.

February 25, 2011

HarperCollins' new e-books will expire after 26 reads, librarians are pissed

HarperCollins Puts 26 Loan Cap on Ebook Circulations
In the first significant revision to lending terms for ebook circulation, HarperCollins has announced that new titles licensed from library ebook vendors will be able to circulate only 26 times before the license expires. Mention of the new terms was first made in a letter from OverDrive CEO Steve Potash to customers yesterday. He wrote [emphasis in original]: [W]e have been required to accept and accommodate new terms for eBook lending as established by certain publishers. Next week, OverDrive will communicate a licensing change from a publisher that, while still operating under the one-copy/one-user model, will include a checkout limit for each eBook licensed. Under this publisher's requirement, for every new eBook licensed, the library (and the OverDrive platform) will make the eBook available to one customer at a time until the total number of permitted checkouts is reached. Though the letter leaves the publisher unnamed, HarperCollins confirmed today to LJ that it is the publisher referred to. The publisher also issued a short statement: "HarperCollins is committed to the library channel. We believe this change balances the value libraries get from our titles with the need to protect our authors and ensure a presence in public libraries and the communities they serve for years to come."