[narcissism, vanity, exhibitionism, ambition, vanity, vanity, vanity]


One Eye on the Winter

A moving series of photos from Pripyat -- sentinel photographs really, telling us this, too, is a human possibility, showing us one version of the future -- 20 years downstream from Chernobyl.

(Photo: Pedro Moura Pinheiro via:villageofjoy.com)

(The subject line's from Shona Laing's 1987 Soviet Snow.)

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Yet More Hot Type! READING HYPERTEXT available on 15 August

It's official: READING HYPERTEXT, a collection of essential papers about literary hypertext, edited by Mark Bernstein and Her Nibs, will be available on August 15. I'm biased, of course, but I think this anthology fills an important gap in the hypertext literature. We don't yet know nearly enough about how links change reading, but over the last twenty years, some very smart and thoughtful people have tried to map the territory, and this book brings a number of those essays together in one place.

Mark has posted the lowdown, including the table of contents, on his blog. Snippet: "Today, we all read on the screen, and we find what to read by following links. The Web is continuing to transform the world, artistically, commercially, technically, and politically. But the Web is not print, and it's certainly not television. What makes new media new? The link: the most important new punctuation mark since the comma. How do we write for a medium when we can't predict what the reader might click? How do we read well, when we cannot read exhaustively?"

If you're attending HT09 in Turin, you'll get a sneak peek!

You can preorder a copy online -- the first copies will ship on August 15.

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The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana Annotation Project, initiated by Eric Ketzan, is an online concordance to the novel, organized by page and chapter. This site is a godsend, since the annotations in the print novel are skeletal and there is a great deal for allusion-hunters (allusionists?) to track down. Anyone may contribute. Brilliant.

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The Original Motion Picture

Brown's breathtaking digitization of an 1860 panorama of the life of Garibaldi gives a sense of what the original experience must have been like. I wonder what Walter Benjamin would make of this example of remediation, which breathes a kind of life into a dead media form ...

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via JoanBeach4

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Ken Lee, Two Chinese Characters, Kiki and Bubu

The Internets coughed up three fab things recently:

First: Bulgarian Idol contestant Valentina Hazan sings with her heart, adding a whole new dimension to whatever the hell we are talking about, when we talk about love.

In the process, she spawns the dance hit of the summer, inspires a raft ofYoutube imitators, and even Mariah Carey responds by saying the right thing.

Ken lee, tulibu dibu doutchu...

Then, just in time for the Olympics, Two Chinese Characters teach you how to say "Beijing," and to cheer on your team in Chinese.

And, finally, there's Kiki and Bubu, the world's only classical Marxist sock-puppets. In a series of videos, they take on the contradictions of the "new" economy, explore surveillance as a bourgeois privilege by means of a reading of Orwell's 1984, and deconstruct copyright and identity while helping their friend, the Online Porn Monster, avert a psychological crisis when he is accused of being a plagiarism. ("Want to be .... SOMETHING ELSE ...")

Oh, okay. Just one more: An Engineer's Guide to Cats.

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Field Notebook

Oooh! Mark just sent me a new notebook for my field notes. Hard not to hold this baby and think, the whole world is my field. But that will not do. Specificity! There are crops to predict (easy: 1 ear of corn, 100 zukes, a bean), landscaping and further renovation plans to make, wish lists to compile, trips to the beach, French classes, afternoons at the Ath, sweaters to dream about, and lots of new things to cook with our fresh farm-share vegetables. Oh, summer! Thank you, Mark!

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Rx for Joy, Way Better Than Zoloft

Happy day! I just learned that the Saint Ann's Review will be including one of my stories in their Spring 08 issue. And, Mark liked my post about hypertext at if:book so much that he reposted it on his blog! Oh, I'm just one big silly grin right now. Thanks!

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I See Dead People['s Books] (LibraryThing)

LibraryThing has a group dedicated to the topic: I See Dead People['s] Books. Despite the ghoulish name, what they're chasing is important from a scholarly point of view -- and a business one, too, I think.

One of the most intriguing books I used for my dissertation was a catalogue of Carl Friedrich Gauss's library. Even though I kept coming back to it, I was never able to solve the basic historiographic problem that it posed: What sort of evidence is this? Evidence of what? What kinds of conclusions can be drawn from these data? (LT has just finished a similar project, a catalogue of Thomas Jefferson's library.)

Current academic historiographical conventions disallow, or at least frown upon, claims like "He was a wit, open-eyed and realistic, but susceptible to the epic kinds of romantic enthusiasms you find in his favorite authors, Walter Scott and Jean Paul."

But people in the business of hand-selling -- booksellers and literary agents -- make these calls all the time.

Library data encode important information. We just don't know what sort of information it is. Is it information about mentalities? Literary influences? Certainly, we learn something about what publishers think is worth publishing at any given time. But it's the decision to own that poses the problem -- and the opportunity.

Reflecting on the Jefferson project, LT's founder Tim Spalding put it this way: "Books are a sort of mental world, and shared books a shared mental space."

It's the "sort of" that gets me. Sort of this, sort of that -- we just don't know what to do with this information. We don't even know what to call it. I like Spalding's spatial metaphor, though. Instead of talking about some vague collective consciousness, we're actually talking about something real, even topographical. A shared library.

I have a feeling when big money gets behind LibraryThing (and it will), the idea will be to automate the hand-selling process. Amazon's "If You Like...Then You'll Like" algorithm isn't nearly as precise as LT's library data because the former is based on what you buy (for yourself, yes, but also for your kids, your mother, who likes how-to manuals, your neighbor who likes Tom Clancy, your nephew who really likes obscure poets, etc. etc.) rather than what you love enough to own, meaning make space in your life (on your shelf) for. In contrast, LT's got the data set that publishers really want, and it's been unavailable until now because people don't make their libraries publicly available. But LT could easily aggregate and anonymize the data, circumventing privacy concerns...

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The Daniel O'Brindle (Not Quite a Kindle)

Good for a larf: Daniel O'Brien spoofs the Kindle.

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Curieux univers/ A Curious Universe

From the University of Montréal: Curieux univers lets you sort and classify (images of) dozens of objects, from beetles to artworks, according to your own scheme. Later, you can register your classification and see what others have done with the same material. A fun experiment in curation, with a folksonomy aspect that could be worth exploring. How would you organize life, the universe...?


"Finally" "!!!!" """"

The Blog of Unnecessary Quotation Marks.

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History Not What You Think. Uh. Thought. Uh. Thunk!

I don't even know where to start with this YouTube gem. The idea that all of classical history is merely an early modern fabrication is stunning enough, but then there's the presentation: the monotonous-yet-urgent synthesized speech, the weird powerpoint transition that looks like some kind of masonic emblem, the repeated instructions to buy the book at Amazon... And what is that music playing in the background?

First LOLCats, now this. Life before the innernets was truly impoverished.

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Hypertext LOLcat

The LOLcat bug bit Mark, too.



april hates u, makes lilacs, u no can has!!!

Of all the wonderfully strange media objects -- Hamster Dance, All Your Base -- for which we can thank the innernets, this one's got to be one of the best: a LOLcats version of "The Waste Land." Thanks for the laugh, ET.

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Those That From A Great Distance Look Like Flies

Interesting thread over at LibraryThing's blog: "What does tagging do to knowledge?"



Hypertext at the NewYorker.com

It's very late-90s, but still, how interesting: Larry Doyle's Share Our Joy at the New Yorker.