"It would be naïve to identify the Internet with the Enlightenment. It has the potential to diffuse knowledge beyond anything imagined by Jefferson; but while it was being constructed, link by hyperlink, commercial interests did not sit idly on the sidelines. They want to control the game, to take it over, to own it. They compete among themselves, of course, but so ferociously that they kill each other off. Their struggle for survival is leading toward an oligopoly; and whoever may win, the victory could mean a defeat for the public good. ...We could have created a National Digital Library—the twenty-first-century equivalent of the Library of Alexandria. It is too late now. Not only have we failed to realize that possibility, but, even worse, we are allowing a question of public policy—the control of access to information—to be determined by private lawsuit."—Robert Darnton
on what the proposed Google Book Settlement
could mean for the pursuit of knowledge—Google and the Future of Books
posted by Toekneesan
on Jan 23, 2009 -
Let boys make their own kites and bows and arrows; they will find a double pleasure in them, and value them accordingly, to say nothing of the education involved in the successful construction of their home-made playthings. -- The American Boy's Handy Book
In the late 19th- and early 20th-century, the Beard family—Daniel Carter, Lina, and Adelia Belle—wrote a number of books on outdoor activities, woodcraft, and other recreational activities for boys and girls. Many of these books are in the public domain now:
(The American Boy's Handy Book
The Field and Forest Handy Book
The Outdoor Handy Book
The Jack of All Trades
The American Girl's Handy Book
On the Trail: An Outdoor Book for Girls
). Others, such as Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties
and Boat-Building and Boating
, are excerpted online.
Some highlights include throwing tomahawks
, making candy
, and building tree houses
, and rafts
. [more inside]
posted by Upton O'Good
on Oct 29, 2008 -
Shantaram is the story of a violent man's search for the man of peace within himself
. Gregory David Roberts, clip 1
, clip 2
, is an ex-junkie, former gun runner; drugs, forged passports and black market currency dealer; was a member of the Bombay Mafia and close with a Mafia don there; acted in Bollywood movies; fought with the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan; imprisoned in an Australian maximum security prison with a 19 year sentence and escaped to the Bombay slums, where he set up a free clinic. His semi-autobiography
is called Shantaram, which means man pf peace. Review on Shunya
. His website
due out in 2009. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye
on Oct 21, 2008 -
Was there anything he had never been asked? He paused for a few moments and answered, “Well, that I’m gay.”
"Maurice Sendak’s 80th year — which ended with his birthday earlier this summer and is being celebrated on Monday night with a benefit at the 92nd Street Y — was a tough one. He has been gripped by grief since the death of his longtime partner; a recent triple-bypass has temporarily left him too weak to work or take long walks with his dog; and he is plagued by Norman Rockwell.
Or, to be more accurate, he is plagued by the question that has repeatedly been asked about Norman Rockwell: was he a great artist or a mere illustrator?"
posted by Astro Zombie
on Sep 12, 2008 -
The Weird-Ass Picture Book Awards, WAPB,
are given to the books that make you go “Huhhh?” Awards are given for story, illustration, and cover art. The highest award goes to the picture book achieving outstanding weirdness in both illustration and text. The 2007 WAPBA went to The Fuchsia Is Now, by J. Otto Seibold, for its strange story and artwork. The interesting use of condoms as hats was clearly a deciding factor in this book’s selection. Dear Fish, by Chris Gall, won for both illustration and cover art. For storyline, My Father the Dog, by Elizabeth Bluemle, took the prize.
posted by Fizz
on Jul 7, 2008 -
"Bishop contends that as Americans have moved over the past three decades, they have clustered in communities of sameness, among people with similar ways of life, beliefs, and in the end, politics. There are endless variations of this clustering—what Bishop dubs the Big Sort—as like-minded Americans self-segregate in states, cities—even neighborhoods. Consequences of the Big Sort are dire: balkanized communities whose inhabitants find other Americans to be culturally incomprehensible; a growing intolerance for political differences that has made national consensus impossible; and politics so polarized that Congress is stymied and elections are no longer just contests over policies, but bitter choices between ways of life.
Article about the book from the Economist
. Book's Website
. A review.
posted by wittgenstein
on Jun 22, 2008 -
H.A.R.O., or "Help A Reporter Out,"
is the brainchild of Peter Shankman (aka skydiver
on Twitter). Embracing the philosophy that "Everyone is an expert on something," HARO matches reporters and authors up with sources through the simple process of a sign-up form. Seems like a good match for all the experts here on MeFi. [more inside]
posted by misha
on Jun 18, 2008 -
Would you like a latte while I print that up for you?
The Espresso Book Machine
) that was in the New York Public Library
has just moved to the Northshire Bookstore
in Vermont. The beta versions of this portable book-making machine are pumping out paperbacks around a book a minute at the Open Content Alliance, The Library of Alexandria, The New Orleans Public Library, and the University of Alberta. The mass produced commercial version of the machine is scheduled to roll off the assembly line within the year and will be priced between $50,000 and $20,000. Combined with one of these
, publishing as we know it may never be the same. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan
on Mar 7, 2008 -
. Hundreds of homeless people eke out a living scavenging books from dumpsters and sidewalk trash in Manhattan. Sidewalk
is a book about the subculture of sidewalk book scavengers and vendors.
posted by stbalbach
on Jan 20, 2008 -