"Writing about metaphor is dancing with your conceptual clothes off, the innards of your language exposed by equipment more powerful than anything operated by the TSA. Still, one would be a rabbit not to do it in a world where metaphor is now top dog, at least among revived rhetorical devices with philosophical appeal." [What's a Metaphor For?
posted by vidur
on Jul 12, 2011 -
Most of us know and love Dailylit
. But, if you want to have more current book snippets emailed to you every day, you can upload your own ebooks to Dripread
. [more inside]
posted by reenum
on Jul 3, 2011 -
Hobo Lobo of Hamelin
is a thing by a dude, who’s all like, “I’m Gonna Make a Thing.” And then he did. Or is doing. Or, you know, whatever. This dude can be found on the internet. He websites to put food on his family. A wonderfully crafted and designed illustrated book for the digital age.
posted by netbros
on Jul 2, 2011 -
"The conventional wisdom, promoted by government and echoed
by the subservient media, is that UFOs are mysterious objects
which by definition are unknowable. Anyone attempting to explain
them is a charlatan perpetrating a hoax and using 'junk physics' .
That may not be so.
" [more inside]
posted by Obscure Reference
on Jun 19, 2011 -
, Stanislaw Lem's 1961 masterpiece, has finally been translated directly into English
. The current print version
, in circulation for over 4 decades, was the result of a double-translation
. Firstly from Polish to French, in 1966, by Jean-Michel Jasiensko. This version was then taken up by Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox who hacked together an English version in 1970. Lem, himself a fluent English speaker
, was always scathing
of the double translation. Something he believed added to the universal misunderstanding of his greatest work. After the relsease of two film
versions of the story, and decades of speculation, a new direct English translation has been released
. Translated by American Professor Bill Johnston
'The Definitive Solaris
' is only available as an audiobook for the time being. Copyright issues, hampered by several, widely available
, editions of the poor English translation may mean it is some time yet before a definitive print edition makes it onto our bookshelves
posted by 0bvious
on Jun 19, 2011 -
is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe
(later The Cartoon History of the Modern World
), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies
) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit
. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn
chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States
, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides
to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment
, and (yes!) Sex
. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention
, assorted math comics
), the Muse magazine
mainstay Kokopelli & Co.
(featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"
), and more
. See also these lengthy interview snippets
, linked previously
. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 6, 2011 -
is a free political simulation game founded by author Max Barry
back in 2002 (previously
). Loosely based on his dystopian corporate thriller Jennifer Government
, the game starts
by asking players to provide some national trappings and answer a few civics questions, then generates a virtual country with a matching political outlook. Periodic policy decisions
like mining rights and compulsory voting allow players to further modify their country along axes of social, political, and economic freedom
, arriving at one of twenty-seven colorful government types
like Tyranny By Majority or Scandinavian Liberal Paradise. There's also a healthy roleplaying community -- players can discuss current events in the General forum
, practice wargaming in International Incidents
, form cooperative Regions to debate internal affairs (many of which form their own communities
), and elect Delegates to send to the World Assembly
(so renamed after an amusing cease-and-desist from the real-world U.N.
). Their collective history is thoroughly recorded in the 35,000-article NSWiki
, which provides a detailed legislative record
, gameplay guide
, and profiles on many of the 90,000 active nations
, 8,000 player regions
, and countless characters
that currently make up the game world.
posted by Rhaomi
on May 9, 2011 -
Swimming around in a mixture of language and matter, humans occupy a particular evolutionary niche mediated by something we call 'consciousness'. To Professor Nicholas Humphrey we're made up of "soul dust
": "a kind of theatre... an entertainment which we put on for ourselves inside our own heads." But just as that theatre is directed by the relationship between language and matter, it is also undermined by it
. It all depends how you think it.
posted by 0bvious
on Feb 4, 2011 -
Badass Lego Guns
, a short YouTube video (1.55) showing five working guns built from instructions from the book of the same name by Martin Hudepohl. [more inside]
posted by bwg
on Jan 27, 2011 -
John Park Finley
, American meteorologist, wrote the first known book on tornadoes
, 1887). Though some of his "safety" guidelines for surviving a tornado have since been refuted as dangerous (seek shelter on the side of a house facing an oncoming tornado!), the book remains a seminal work in tornado research. [more inside]
posted by Wossname
on Jan 25, 2011 -
The book “Traumgedanken
” (“Thoughts about dreams”) contains a collection of literary, philosophical, psychological and scientifical texts which provide an insight into different dream theories. To ease the access to the elusive topic, the book is designed as a model of a dream about dreaming. Analogue to a dream, where pieces of reality are assembled to build a story, it brings different text excerpts together. They are connected by threads which tie in with certain key words.
posted by chavenet
on Dec 29, 2010 -
"Sometimes I can almost visualize parts of myself, the ones I’m most proud of, atrophying. I wish I had an app to monitor it! I notice that my thoughts are homeopathic, that they mirror content I wish I weren’t reading." Sad as Hell
: n+1 on the internet's effect on the self and the book Super Sad True Love Story (which has an damn good book trailer
). The novel is set in a dystopian future where constant access to the internet results in a world “dense with panic and media.” [more inside]
posted by The Devil Tesla
on Dec 10, 2010 -
Nearly three decades ago, folklorist Alvin Schwartz
published Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
, the first of three horror anthologies that would go on to become the single most challenged book series of the 1990s
. But most of the backlash
was against not the stories themselves (which were fairly tame), but rather the illustrations of artist Stephen Gammell
. His bizarre, grotesque, nightmarish black-and-white inkscapes suffused every page with an eerie, unsettling menace. Sadly, the series has since been re-issued
with new illustrations by Brett Helquist
, of A Series of Unfortunate Events
fame. Luckily for fans of Gammell's dark vision, copies of the old artwork abound online, including in these three image galleries: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones
. Interested in revisiting the stories themselves? Then don't miss the virtual re-enactments of YouTube user MoonRaven09
, or the dramatic readings of fellow YouTuber daMeatHook
posted by Rhaomi
on Oct 29, 2010 -
El Quijote Interactivo
is a site from the Biblioteca Nacional de España displaying the 1605 edition of Miguel Cervantes' Don Quixote.
You can of course turn pages and zoom in and out. But, you can also search text, get a map of Don Quixote's travels, read associated books and expert commentaries, forward through 50 editions of the book, listen to music referenced by Don Quixote and, yes, share pages with your Facebook friends. This Youtube video
walks you through it.
posted by vacapinta
on Oct 28, 2010 -
Chris Kimball prepares a 12-course meal from Fannie Farmer's 1896 cookbook.
Using only a coal stove and other authentic Victorian-era kitchen staples, the chef, who lives in Fannie Farmer's former home
, recreated a classic holiday Victorian meal from her iconic 1896 cookbook.
The twelve courses included: "rissoles (filled and fried puff pastry), mock turtle soup with fried brain balls, lobster à l’Américaine, roast goose with chestnut stuffing and jus, wood-grilled salmon, roast saddle of venison, Canton punch, three molded Victorian jellies and a spectacular French-inspired Mandarin cake."
Chris Kimball is the creator of public television's America's Test Kitchen
) and Cook's Illustrated
. Naturally, he chronicled the experience in a book, aptly titled, Fannie's Last Supper
. In it, he offers some moden adaptations of Fannie Farmer's recipes. A film depicting the difficulties of authentically re-creating the meal airs this Fall.
posted by misha
on Oct 6, 2010 -