Sunday, September 27, 2020

History Of Book-Burning


A History Of Book-Burning

The Reformation was “one of the worst periods in the history of knowledge”, Ovenden writes; hundreds of thousands of books were destroyed as the monasteries and religious orders that held them were dissolved. – New Statesman


What (And When) Was The First Novel?

Some critics argue that a novel has to also be one narrative through and through, one long story about one person. A lot of ancient fiction, arguably, is too distractible and prone to side stories to count. Even so, there are works that follow one character all the way through that are old—very old. – BookRiot

Australian price discrimination

The cheapest deal, at $6.99, was offered to queer females aged under 30. City-based straight men over 50 were meanwhile given the most expensive rate, at $34.37. Choice investigators could not find a pattern to explain the differences, and have appealed to Australia’s consumer watchdog, the ACCC, to investigate whether Tinder might be in breach of national consumer law.

Here is the full story

Being A Booker Prize Judge Is Hard Work, Even During A Pandemic

Each of the five jury members had to read through 162 books, getting a stack each month and then meeting in London to decide which ones advance to the next round. Then came the lockdown: no more trips to England (or anywhere else) and the books arriving as PDFs. At least, said juror Lemn Sissay, “there was nothing to do but read. There will never, ever, be a judging panel that has so much time to just focus on the books.” – The New York Times

American Writers Dominate This Year’s Booker Prize List

The Booker list this year is dominated by books from American or U.S.-based authors, including “The Shadow King” by Ethiopia-born Maaza Mengiste, Diane Cook’s dystopian tale “The New Wilderness,” Avni Doshi’s India-set “Burnt Sugar” and Brandon Taylor’s campus novel “Real Life.” Only one British writer made the cut for the U.K.’s leading book prize. – Toronto Star (AP)

Welcome to An Ocean of Books. What you see is the big map of a sea of literature, one where each island represents a single author, and each city represents a book. The map represents a selection of 113 008 authors and 145 162 books. This is a poetic experiment where we hope you will get lost for a while. You might wonder why some authors are next to each other, or why sometimes an author seems to be positioned at an unexpected spot, or why some authors seem to be lost by themselves. Each of the authors of the map are not positioned randomly, nor by hand. We calculated the distance between each of them, based on their complex relationship on the web. From these values, we generated two-dimensional positions for all the authors, thanks to a machine learning technique called Uniform Manifold Approximation and Projection (UMAP).

 Finally, an island was assigned to each author, matching the island size with the author’s presence on the web. An example is the surprising proximity of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the famous oceanographer, and Carl Sagan, the eminent astronomer. While at first glance their two fields of work couldn’t be more different, the amount of articles on the web mentioning both authors makes them connected in many ways. A simple Google search on both of their names will reveal that. Two great scientific communicators with intertwined destinies.”

Sex And The Definitions Of Sex

Many people assume that if there are only two sexes, that means everyone must fall into one of them.

It’s uncontroversial among biologists that many species have two, distinct biological sexes. They’re distinguished by the way that they package their DNA into ‘gametes’, the sex cells that merge to make a new organism. Males produce small gametes, and females produce large gametes. Male and female gametes are very different in structure, as well as in size. This is familiar from human sperm and eggs, and the same is true in worms, flies, fish, molluscs, trees, grasses and so forth.

On The Road with Dean Moriarty

History and its futilities. Orlando Patterson brought social science to bear on postcolonial Jamaica. Now he chronicles the failures of such efforts  history 

Streaming music is more efficient than CDs, right? Wrong. “The environmental cost of music is now greater than at any time”  Music 

Camus didn't do inspiration. And hope, he believed, is for suckers. But that doesn't mean he condoned despair Despair 

With Major Award, Milan Kundera And Czech Republic Kiss And Make Up

The great author and his home country, about which he wrote his most widely-known books, have not always gotten along since he fled the Communist regime in 1975 and didn’t return after it fell. (The latest flare-up happened earlier this year.) But now the 91-year-old Kundera has been awarded the Franz Kafka Prize, one of the Republic’s highest honors for writers, and he has “joyfully” accepted. – The Guardian

Crypto art markets in everything

Christie’s is set to sell its first nonfungible token in an upcoming auction of what has been characterized as “the largest artwork” in the history of Bitcoin (BTC).

Art historian turned blockchain artist Robert Alice has created “Portrait of a Mind” — a monumental series of 40 paintings stretching over 50 meters in length.

Drawing on the history of 20th century conceptualism as well as the founding myth of Bitcoin’s creation, “Portrait of a Mind” is a complete hand-painted transcription of the 12.3 million digits of the code that launched the cryptocurrency.

By scattering the codebase into 40 globally distributed fragments, the project will “draw up a global network of 40 collectors where no one individual will hold all the code,” Alice said.

He explained: “In each work, an algorithm has found a set of hex digits that together are highlighted in gold. These read a set of coordinates that are unique to each painting. 40 locations across 40 paintings – each location is of particular significance to the history of Bitcoin.”

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Alice said he remains curious as to why much of the commemoration of Bitcoin emphasizes the publication of the whitepaper over and above the codebase itself, which, for him, is “the real historical document.”

Christie’s will sell one painting from the series, “Block 21 (42.36433° N, -71.26189° E),” as part of its “Post-War and Contemporary Day Auction” on Oct. 7, at the end of a week-long exhibition of auctioned works in New York.

The piece includes a unique fungible token as an integral part of the work and will be offered at an estimated price of $12–18,000.

Here is the full story, via Shaffin Shariff.