Category Archives: Readings

Gonzo Lite

Even Gonzo Lite is rare nowadays, so enjoy The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Prison, courtesy of The Intercept.

Earlier edition at D Magazine.

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What to Read While Being Surveilled

Dan's PickThe Intercept’s Summer Reading List is full of stuff to stoke your justified paranoia, plus great quirky reads.

Upgrade your beach.

Among the recommendations are Wild Seed by Octavia Butler, The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation by Drew Westen, So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government by Robert G. Kaiser, Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush by Geoff Dyer.

The surveillance-related stuff includes The File: A Personal History by Timothy Garton Ash, Little Brother & Homeland by Cory Doctorow, Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada, the obligatory Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault (Glenn Greenwald’s choice), and my brother’s selection of a thriller — Inside Out by Barry Eisler.

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Fun Fiction

Paul Ford, The Last Museum.

For some reason, I especially liked this line,

I realized when someone tried to get me involved in a private zoo-sharing plan that it had gone too far. I didn’t want to own a fractional giraffe.

This next bit wasn’t bad either,

Deep down we are all people of the screen, but the generation coming after don’t own cars. They don’t own phones. They rent access to communities. They design tastes and sounds. They network naturally. A young man walks down the street and a voice comes into his ear, and he stops and says to a young woman in front of him: “Cynda wants you to get milk.”

Some part of me keeps screaming, “why does he need to tell her? Why doesn’t someone just tell Cynda directly to get the milk?” Why, when we are surrounded with technology, would anyone build inefficiency into the system, involving more humans, making a mess of what should be a simple process involving robots and drones?

But they are who they are, and what am I going to do about it? Blog?

Indeed.

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Hunter S. Thompson at Yale

Weird just like you’d expect. Yale, Hunter S. Thompson and the Social Contract: the Good Doctor in Drag by Alan Farago.

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One of the Only Posts on Usage Here

Excuse me while I exercise my inner dinosaur, or maybe it’s just my language curmudgeon, but every time I read the phrase “one of the only” I think less of the writer.

What does “one of the only” actually mean? I imagine it to be a lazy writer’s way out when the author thinks the person — it’s a phrase usually applied to a person — is in fact unique, but the writer is not quite sure, so out comes “one of the only” as a hedge. In other words, “one of the only” means “one of the few, or maybe the only the only, I don’t know for sure.” Well, heck, why not look it up somewhere?

Mr. Google tells me that I’m not one of the only people bothered by this — though clearly not everyone who has noticed the rise of this odd phrase cares. More surprisingly, some others think “one of the only” means “one of a small group,” although why the author can’t then say that, of just “one a few,” I don’t know.

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Food for Thought

While I enjoy fine dining in Paris, check out The Evil Waiter Case in the U. Miami Law Review.

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Take a Shelfie?

Take a pix of your books and get free e-books?

After years of reading and posting rants about DRM and format shifting Pete and Marius (bitlit.com’s founders) decided to do something about it… They built an app that let’s you get the eBook for free or at a huge discount if you own the paper copy. The app is called BitLit and it’s available for free on Android and iOS. They’ve made deals with over 200 publishers including O’Reilly and Packt, and there are over 30,000 titles that are eligible for free / discounted ebooks if you own the paperback. Here’s how it works: First you take a shelfie (yes, a picture of your shelf) and the app will identify all the books on your shelf — hurrah now you have a complete inventory of your library! But, you’ll also get a shortlist of any books you own that are eligible for free/cheap bundled eBooks. To claim a bundled eBook you just need to write your name onto the copyright page of the book and snap a photo using the app… a few seconds later you should get an email with a download link to the eBook in ePub, PDF, and mobi formats.

via User Friendly.

Should I do this? I’m gonna bet that basically none of my books qualify. Plus there are I’d guess about 70 shelves, each of which would have to be photographed in two parts. Plus some of the books are double-shelved, so you’d see only the outer row…but as those tend to be the cheap novels, they’re probably the ones most likely to have an e-copy (as opposed to the academic books). Plus I am suspicious of the “free/cheap” line — will this mostly be a way to market to me?

No, great idea, but until there are more the books available in the scheme I’m not sure I’ll bother.

Well, maybe one test shelf, just to see…

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