Sunday, May 06, 2018

Bard Of Dews

YOU are the big drop of dew under the lotus leaf, 

I am the smaller one on its upper side,'
said the dewdrop to the lake.” 

~ Rabindranath Tagor

She makes fancy cold river - ice cubes - for a living

104-year-old Australian scientist travels to Switzerland to end his life

NSW aims cameras at drivers using phones

A bittersweet history of Sydney

IN RESPONSE TO SJW LIBELS, John Ringo explains the difference between fiction and autobiography. “There is a word in the English language for someone who thinks a character is the author. That word is: Idiot.”
Plus: “I’m also not a gay Imperial Space Marine Gunnery Sergeant just to make that perfectly clear. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a gay Imperial Marine Gunnery Sergeant. Live and let live. I’m just not one.”
Meanwhile, if you want to support him, the best thing you can do is buy his books. And avoid cons where he’s been treated disrespectfully. (Bumped).

Sydney Writers' Festival wrap: Writer tired of secrets

American writer Zinzi Clemmons was asked why she had gone public with her claims of sexual harassment against the Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Díaz

Books In Sydney: The Year of Power Sydney Writer Festival

Half Of Britain’s Orchestral Musicians Don’t Earn Enough To Live On, Says Musicians’ Union

"Wages have stagnated as funding cuts take hold. Young musicians are particularly affected, with two-fifths of newcomers taking unpaid work in the last year. Forty-four per cent of players told the MU they struggled to make ends meet. And two-thirds of veteran musicians - who'd been playing for more than 30 years - said they'd considered alternative careers." … [Read More]

A critical security flaw in popular industrial software put power plants at risk ZDNet 

It’s Time For A Reckoning On *The Simpsons*

Hank Azaria (Not related to Patricia), the white actor who has voiced Apu for 29 seasons, says he’s ready to step down, and that a South Asian actor could step in – but, while that would be welcome, the problems with Apu stem from areas far beyond his voice.

Twitter: No big deal, but everyone needs to change their passwordThe Register. On World Password day, no kidding!

The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code Bloomberg

Dark Side of Computers, Smart Phones and Tablets: Blue Light Causes Cancer, Ruins Your Eyes and Makes You Toss and Turn at Night Washington’s Blog. Any blue lights I have taped over, and my machines are set to night mode as well.

New Yorker’ Writer Has To Postpone Book About Poker Because She’s Making Too Much Money Playing It

"A little more than a year ago, New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova announced that she was diving into the world of professional poker as a new player, all for the purpose of writing a book about her experiences. [Now] the actual writing of the book is on hold because Konnikova, under the guidance of pro Erik Seidel, got too good at poker. In January, Konnikova won $86,400 by beating a 240-person field at the PCA National; in her first tournament after deciding to drop blogs for cards, she won $57,000."

At Work With One Of Britain’s – And Now Hollywood’s – Top Casting Directors

“There was a moment, somewhere in the nexus between Game of Thronesand The Crown, where it felt as if [Nina] Gold’s name was gliding through the credits of every high-end show on TV. Her 167 credits include many grand British success stories –The King’s SpeechThe Theory of Everything, thePaddington movies and every Mike Leigh film sinceTopsy-Turvy. But in the past few years, she has ascended into Hollywood’s mega-franchise league (the Star Wars saga, sequels to Jurassic World andMamma Mia!). Gold is partly responsible for the impression that British actors have colonised Hollywood.”

The editors of GQ have compiled a list of 20 notable Cold River books that you don’t actually have to read, despite their inclusion on various must-read lists. For each one, they suggest a replacement

Hunger is a deeply personal memoir from one of our finest writers, and tells a story that hasn’t yet been told but needs to be. (Amazon / IndieBoundPowell’s)
All month long, we’ll be joined in the discussion by one of our favorite nonfiction writers working today: Sarah Hepola, the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

Jayne Mansfield – Hollywood Starlet, Polyglot Intellectual, Or Practicing Satanist? (Or All Three?)

"Some of the best known lurid 'facts' about Jayne Mansfield, the American film star of the '50s and '60s, are based on rumour. So the directors of a new documentary about her short and scandalous life faced a difficult task. Was Mansfield, one of the first actresses to be marketed as a 'blonde bombshell', also a violin-playing intellectual with superb comic timing who spoke five languages? Or was the star who came to be known as the 'working man's Marilyn Monroe' actually a devil worshipper who was decapitated in a car crash as the result of a curse?" …Read More

Tournament of Books nonfiction event.

Encounters With Shakespeare: 15 ‘New Yorker’ Writers On When The Bard Blew Them Away

       I've mentioned the ongoing self-destruction of the Nobel Prize in Literature-deciding Swedish Academy ... and it seems to still be very much ongoing. 
       The latest official press statement -- dated 20 April, but only 24 April in its English translation ... -- wants to (re)assure that, as far as the Nobel selection process goes, everything is hunky-dory:
We want to emphasise that the Swedish Academy’s Nobel Committee -- the working group that prepares the prize colloquium and submits recommendations before the decision is reached -- is intact and has conducted its work this spring in the usual fashion.
       As you may recall, the usual process has it that:
During the spring the proposals are examined by the Nobel Committee and in April it presents for the Academy’s approval a preliminary list of candidates, containing some 20 names. Before the Academy’s summer recess the list has usually been further reduced to about five names.
       They really want to convince us that this is going seamlessly ? 
       Now, the first rumblings of a possible/necessary delay are being heard: Sverige Radio reports Källor till Kulturnytt: Nobelpriset kan stoppas i år. 
       Postponing the prize for a year is not unheard of -- it happened, most famously, with Albert Einstein, who received the 1921 Physics Prize in 1922 (because: "none of the year's nominations met the criteria as outlined in the will of Alfred Nobel" in 1921 -- rather ridiculously, since one candidate did receive more than a third of the nominations in 1921 (and, yes, it was ... Albert Einstein, who actually then received fewersolo-nominations in 1922 (when the prize went to Niels Bohr)). 
       Still reeling from the Dylan-debacle -- or is this all just all meant as distracting noise, to try to finally drown that embarrassment out ? (good luck with that: the Dylan-stain is irremovable) -- the Swedish Academy will be hard-pressed to show they're up to making a judicious selection, so maybe a delay would be in the best interests of the long-term viability of the prize. On the other hand, it would be a devastating black eye for them to skip the pomp and circumstance for a year ..... 

“On the occasion of the four-hundredth anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, New Yorker writers” – Elif Batuman, Richard Brody, Larissa MacFarquhar, Vinson Cunningham, Rebecca Mead, Philip Gourevitch, Louis Menand, and others – “share their experiences of reading, watching, studying, performing, memorizing, and falling in love with the work of the Bard.”

Millennials stand out for their technology use, but, recycled media dragons, older generations also embrace digital life
“Millennials have often led older Americans in their adoption and use of technology, and this largely holds true today. But there has also been significant growth in tech adoption in recent years among older generations – particularly Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. More than nine-in-ten Millennials (92%) own smartphones, compared with 85% of Gen Xers (those who turn ages 38 to 53 this year), 67% of Baby Boomers (ages 54 to 72) and 30% of the Silent Generation (ages 73 to 90), according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center data. Similarly, the vast majority of Millennials (85%) say they use social media. For instance, significantly larger shares of Millennials have adopted relatively new platforms such as Instagram (52%) and Snapchat (47%) than older generations have…”

Mitchell Kane (NYU) presents International Tax Reform, the Tragedy of the Tax Commons, and Bilateral Tax Treaties at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Lily Batchelder and Daniel Shaviro:
This paper analyzes the compatibility of novel approaches to the taxation of foreign source income with the double taxation article under bilateral tax conventions. Building upon Dan Shaviro’s distinction between marginal tax rates and marginal reimbursement rates, the paper defends an approach to treaty compatibility which is premised on direct examination of the aggregate tax burden borne by foreign source income, as opposed to the formal method (credit versus exemption) of double tax relief.

“I think mayonnaise has a complex kind of relation to the sublime.” For Fred Moten, even condiments deserve deep thinking... Fred Moten 

SLIMY TREATMENT: They were forced to go topless. They were told to go out with strange men. The NYT’s Juliet Macur exposes the shoddy way the Washington Redskins have treated their cheerleaders.

How one person’s story can give voice to millions:

Adopt me, said Grandpa Han

His greatest fear? That he would die in his bed, that someone — much later — would find his bones.

That’s why retiree Han Zicheng, a survivor of the Cultural Revolution, China’s civil war and Japan’s invasion, wrote an ad asking someone to adopt him.

“Lonely old man in his 80s. Strong-bodied,” he wrote. “Can shop, cook and take care of himself. No chronic illness … My hope is that a kindhearted person or family will adopt me, nourish me through old age and bury my body when I’m dead.”

A woman in his neighborhood posted a picture of his note, adding, “I hope warm-hearted people can help.” Local media reported the story, and the Washington Post’s Emily Rauhala and Yang Liu got interested, meeting him at his home in Tianjin for the first time on Jan. 3.

“Our plan was to follow him until he was adopted,” Rauhala told Poynter early Thursday. “Unfortunately, that did not happen. All told, we followed him for about three months.”

Grandpa Han’s written plea — and the stories such as the Post’s, which ran Wednesday — shed light on a huge social issue in a nation that lived under a One Child policy for decades. Where to go when you are old and lonely and there is no family? For the Post, Rauhala tries to tell big stories through people, as do reporters at local outlets, but her beat holds 1 billion people.

“It’s a matter of patience, both in terms of finding the right person to anchor a story and letting them tell it on their own terms,” Rauhala said by email. “Grandpa Han knew he had a story to tell and he wanted, very much, to tell it. He wrote up the adoption notice and posted it on a shop window. He gave interviews about his life. He shared his fear. We listened.”

These are the types of stories the Beijing-based Rauhala adores, both as a writer and a reader.

Grandpa Han

“In the last few years, I’ve profiled a Filipino cop who refused President Duterte’s call to kill, a worker-poet who jumped to his death and an Uighur pop star trying to make it in the Chinese mainstream,” she said. “Each of them told their story in a different, revealing way.”

Without revealing spoilers — or the twist ending — Rauhala says Grandpa Han’s unvarnished honesty captured the readers who have sent her notes on the story.

“I think a lot of people can relate to his story,” she said, “and were moved by his willingness to speak so candidly about things most of us don't talk about — loneliness, illness and age.”
Here’s Grandpa Han’s story, via Rauhala. You won’t regret the time you spend reading it.

Jessie Cole: Writing her way out of darkness and tragedy

After tragedy engulfed her family, novelist Jessie Cole started writing her memoir as some sort of therapy.