Friday, May 13, 2011

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.
-W.H. Auden, "Epitaph on a Tyrant" (courtesy of Peter W and Larraine; Bob and Sue; Irma and Garth)

OK, OK, I know: both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are cultural inventions, full stop. But I’m nonetheless gonna lay a bit of biology on this, for the same reason famously given for why climb Everest … because it’s there

Yes, I am still alive ;-) No, I didnot have a writer's block. I decided to take a sabbatical leave, that is all. Who says only professors can take a sabbatical leave?

Because It Was There We can’t help believing what we read. Spinoza said as much 400 years ago
Writers are idolized not because they love their fellow men, which is never a recommendation and in extreme instances leads to crucifixion, but because their self-love is in tune with current fears and desires, and in giving it expression they are speaking for an inarticulate multitude.
-Hugh Kingsmill, The Progress of a Biographer

Washington Post publisher Philip Graham famously described journalism as the “first rough draft of history” in a speech to Newsweek correspondents in 1963 — but as a new research paper from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism notes, that role is increasingly being played by social media such as Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Facebook. The latest example is the coverage of the Osama bin Laden raid, which triggered questions about whether the person sharing news via social media was a journalist or not

How Social Media Creates a Rough Draft of History [ A Canadian blogger has announced his own death in a heart-wrenching entry written before he succumbed to cancer posted on the day he died.Derek Miller,41,chronicled his battle with the disease since diagnosis in 2007,winning thousands of loyal readers. - You imagine it can't happen to you, and then it does. Life and Death ; What your literature professors tell you is true after all: reading narrative fiction helps make you more socially skilled. You become a better reader of other people’s minds and better able to navigate your complex social world. On the other hand, reading non-fiction does not seem to improve your social abilities]
• · Sohaib Athar, the Pakistani programmer who earned Internet fame on Sunday by inadvertently live blogging the U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden, is handling his 15 minutes -- and a never-ending barrage of media requests -- with uncommon good humor.
Bin Laden raid blogger enjoying his new-found fame Sohaib Athar ; From blogger to published author is the goal of many a blogger Kerri Sackville - How did you do it?
• · · A prominent blogger is planning a book exposing philandering politicians to coincide with the election. Blogger Cameron Slater plans to dish the dirt on male and female MPs from across the political spectrum. He said he had kiss-and-tell stories from women who claimed to have had affairs with male politicians, including one who said she had slept with three past and present ministers. Other sources included drivers and security staff. If you're an MP and you're partying, it's game over. The benchmark will be unethical behaviour.; NOTHING appears more surprizing to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and the implicit submission, with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. The soldan of EGYPT, or the emperor of ROME, might drive his harmless subjects, like brute beasts, against their sentiments and inclination: But he must, at least, have led his mamalukes, or prætorian bands, like men, by their opinion
• · · · With over 10 million users, Blogger is significantly more popular than WordPress, the second on the scale of in-demand blog-hosting services. That may be because Blogger was established well before Google purchased the company, earning the early trust of the blogosphere Google’s Blogger Gets Geo-Location ; "If you've got nothing to hide," many people say, "you shouldn't worry about government surveillance." Others argue that we must sacrifice privacy for security. But as Daniel J. Solove argues in this important book, these arguments and many others are flawed. They are based on mistaken views about what it means to protect privacy and the costs and benefits of doing so. The debate between privacy and security has been framed incorrectly as a zero-sum game in which we are forced to choose between one value and the other. Why can't we have both? If you've got nothing to hide
• · · · · THANKFULLY, there's no law against bullying on the floor of the NSW Parliament. The first week of Parliament saw Labor get exactly what voters prescribed in March – a black eye Barry O'Farrell happily played bully-in-chief ; The Premier's trust-building agenda is being undermined by mixed messages ; Taste of Shallowness ;Using platitudes like “remarkable” and “dazzling” in flap copy is forgivable, but calling a book “funny” when it is anything but is a much worse crime Premier's list shows who's in and who's out
• · · · · · How do Americans spend their leisure time? The answer might surprise you. The most common voluntary activity is not eating, drinking alcohol, or taking drugs. It is not socializing with friends, participating in sports, or relaxing with the family. While people sometimes describe sex as their most pleasurable act, time-management studies find that the average American adult devotes just four minutes per day to sex The Pleasures of Imagination ; Playing the game in China: The Mafia versus the Prince and his Ministry of Truth