The latest update to the Oxford English Dictionary is online and on its way to print. With more than 1,000 new words and nearly 2,000 revised or expanded entries, the latest additions include more of the "initialisms" either originated or popularized on the internet like tl;dr and ROFL as well as indicators of cultural direction like Starter Marriage, Goldilocks Economy and something that has been hanging around pop culture for over 45 years, the Scooby Snack. [more inside]
Susan Miller writes 40,000 words a month at Astrologyzone.com, perhaps the world's most popular horoscope website. She also writes for Elle, TIME, the Washington Post and various stars and CEOs. Recent delays have led to fan Twitter storms discussed in the Atlantic (Dude, Where's My Horoscope?), Jezebel (Susan Miller's Illness has Astrology Fans Losing Their Goddamn Minds), the NY Post (Groupies of famed astrologer Susan Miller can’t cope without her), the latest episode of the podcastTL;DR , and, of course, there's reddit.
This bot takes works of literature and algorithmically summarizes them, a chapter at a time, to 1% of their original length. These are then read aloud by the lovely voice of Fiona, a Scottish speech synth, and posted at on Twitter at convenient 3 hour intervals. This way entire works of literature can be consumed in bite-sized algo-chunks, giving you the gist of the book, without any troublesome cause to actually ‘read’ or ‘understand’ it at all…
TL;DR Wikipedia (SLTumblr)
On The Media meets Matt Farley, who earns around $23k per year thanks to the 14,000 songs he has has composed, performed and uploaded to Spotify.
The Boredom Proneness Scale† is the best-known of the various metrics for quantifying one’s propensity to ennui. High-scorers who are ‘understretched, unmotivated and bored in the world of work in the 21
st century’ may in danger of ‘boreout’ [PDF]. While boredom needn’t be perceived in an exclusively negative light (one might imagine a perfect boredom akin to the notion of dolce far niente), ‘boredom [PDF] and boredom proneness […] have been linked to a long list of negative outcomes in adults, including, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and loneliness […], impulsiveness […], elevated rates of alcohol dependence […], negative affect […], pathological gambling […] and higher rates of psychopathology in general.’ Historians of boredom have noted the relatively recent advent [NY TIMES] of the term, coinciding with the onset of the Industrial Revolution, but our more distant ancestors were not free of the related afflictions [PDF] of horror loci, tædium vitæ, acedia, mal du siècle, etc. [more inside]
The complete story of the collaboration between Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend on Puzzlejuice. [more inside]
Jörg Piringer presents all displayable characters in the unicode range 0 - 65536 (49571 characters). one character per frame.
Book Shrink tries to pick out the sentences of an input text that are most representative of the text as a whole; that is to say, find the essence of a text. [more inside]
Who, exactly, represents the left extreme in the establishment blogosphere? You'd likely hear names like Jane Hamsher or Glenn Greenwald. But these examples are instructive. Is Hamsher a socialist? A revolutionary anti-capitalist? In any historical or international context-- in the context of a country that once had a robust socialist left, and in a world where there are straightforwardly socialist parties in almost every other democracy-- is Hamsher particularly left-wing? Not at all. It's only because her rhetoric is rather inflamed that she is seen as particularly far to the left.Freddie De Boer on the lack of left wing discourse in the blogosphere. [more inside]
Notes on 'The Duel of the Fates.' Bob Clark of Wonders in the Dark takes a look at a single scene from The Phantom Menace by way of Eisenstein, aspect ratios, The Last Temptation of Christ, the NFL, Slim Pickens, Godard, Fantomas, and of course Kurosawa.
In a five part series he wrote a few years ago, blogger J. Brad Hicks breaks down how, in the mid-1960s, the Republican party made a conscious decision to rebrand themselves as the party of Christians, and in doing so, how they had to shift the ideology of the churches to what he calls a "false gospel". [more inside]
"Although the word “entitlement” fits, it’s been used so frequently as to have become inadequate to capture the preening self-regard, the obliviousness to the damage that high-flying finance has inflicted on the real economy, the learned blindness to vital considerations in the pay equation. Getting an education, or even hard work, does not guarantee outcomes. One of the basic precepts of finance is that of a risk-return tradeoff: high potential payoff investments come with greater downside. But how did that evolve into the current belief system among the incumbents, that Wall Street was a sure ride, a guaranteed “heads I win, tails you lose” bet?"Yves Smith writes an essay on 'indefensible men.'
Faux Friendship: "…[a] numberless multitude of people, of whom no one was close, no one was distant."
Faux Friendship traces the evolution of friendship from classical times to the modern Internet age. By William Deresiewicz, literary critic and former associate professor of English at Yale. (Warning: long.)
"Humanity craves but dreads autonomy." – Without Guilt & Justice by Walter Kaufmann argues that decidophobes employ ten strategies in order to avoid indecisive dizziness. He cites Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as an individual who demonstrated autonomy through "the most awesome courage".
The Most Civilized Country. Fascinating article challenging conventional notions of how best to have a society. [more inside]
Masseiana - Containing the three major works of Gerald Massey and his minor work commonly titled: The Lectures. Published here in their entirety, fully revised and amended, with additional material by the editor.
Unqualified Reservations is a fascinating ongoing commentary on society and governance in postmodernity. He's currently on about the pwning of Richard Dawkins, after writing about Mediocracy and Official Journalism. It might be best to first read his earlier posts in which he defines the self-invented terminology he's fond of using, like: Formalism, The Iron Polygon, Universalism, Neocameralism, and The Rotary System. [more inside]