December 31, 2009

links for 2009-12-31

Posted by oook at 06:02 AM

December 30, 2009

links for 2009-12-30

Posted by oook at 06:02 AM

December 28, 2009

links for 2009-12-28

  • Anthony McCarthy's year-end rant is well worth thinking about: "...The sales pitch of lap tops in the schools, of online access was that it was supposed to provide children (and adults) with a hugely expanded source of important information. What I'm seeing is that it is the worst of TV raised to a staggering power... The results of the absolute freedom to entice, seduce, lie, steal, use and profit are going to prove to incompatible with democracy, they are going to prove incompatible with civil society. The truth will not be able to compete with intentionally entertaining lies and fluff. A world inhabited by entertainment addled adolescents will never grow up. That is what we are on the verge of living with, a plugged in dark age. "
    (tags: nacirema media)
Posted by oook at 06:01 AM

December 27, 2009

links for 2009-12-27

Posted by oook at 06:02 AM

December 24, 2009

Did Gertrude Stein invent the Web?

I've been reading the Marcus and Sollors A New Literary History of America article by article, and this morning came athwart Daniel Albright's on Gertrude Stein ("1903: Gertrude Stein moves to Paris, and neither is ever the same again"), in which is quoted this bit from Stein's Three Lives:

...there was a constant recurring and beginning there was a marked direction in the direction of being in the present although naturally I had been accustomed to past present and future, and why, because the composition forming around me was a prolonged present... I created then a prolonged present naturally I knew nothing of a continuous present but it came naturally to me to make one.
Hmmm, I thought, how very like the Web in which we live more than a century later.

Albright ends his article with this food for thought, quoting an unknown-to-me

peculiar piece from Jonathan Swift called A Compleat Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversation (1738), full of passages such as this:
Neverout. Miss, what spells b double uzzard?
Miss. Buzzard in your teeth, Mr. Neverout.
Lady Smart. Now you are up, Mr. Neverout, will you do the the favour to do me the kindness to take off the tea-kettle?
Lord Sparkish. I wonder what makes these bells ring.
If Gertrude Stein had never been born, this would seem a freakish and incomprehensible text. It still seems freakish and incomprehensible, but as an anticipation of Stein it is made familiar, assimilated into a canon that she caused to exist.
Hmmm, I thought again, how very like the Web in which we live more than a century later...

Posted by oook at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

links for 2009-12-24

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December 22, 2009

links for 2009-12-22

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December 20, 2009

links for 2009-12-20

  • the Crux, if you ask me: "...mandating unaffordable private health insurance is a way to cast in stone one of the things that is most wrong with US health care, its total submission to the goals and objectives of the private health insurance industry... people forced into the arms of the benevolent insurance industry who will then violate them further with increased premiums and a legal requirement that people buy their shoddy wares"
Posted by oook at 06:02 AM

December 18, 2009

Amanda, you're wonderful

(via Neil Gaiman's equally wonderful blog, and NB the Tim Minchin video at the bottom of the posting)

Posted by oook at 05:57 PM | Comments (0)

links for 2009-12-18

Posted by oook at 06:02 AM

December 16, 2009

Aggregating moves in a decade

Posted by oook at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2009

Dang, it WORKS


Posted by oook at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

Jeanine's Dream

I've been following the wonderful unpacking of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music at The Old, Weird America, and the project is now up to #31, the Cajun number "La Danseuse" by Delma Lachney & Blind Uncle Gaspard. Usually the compiler (gadaya, "a young french guy who loves to mentally travel through time and space by listening to some records") provides variants of each tune, but he notes for #31 that he had found none. As I listened to the original, I immediately thought of "Jeanine's Dream" from the out-of-print Stampfel and Weber LP Going Nowhere Fast (1981) and sure enough it's the same tune: first bit. The lyrics (by Antonia) are wonderful, and not readily available:

In a trunk on the attic floor
The record lay 40 years or more
'Til Jeanine came to poke about
In the attic she pulled it out
She decided to let it play
Unplayed music will waste away
So it spun on the old machine
It put her feet in a dancing dream
She was Queen of the Ball
Her surroundings fell away
And she danced in a fairy carnival
Out of lost time

The record player was turned up loud
As she danced with the fairy crowd
A mean old grandma who lived next door
Heard the racket and called the law
The record player was still turned high
When the new rookie cop came by
Jeanine came dancin' up to the door
She let him in and she danced some more
First he stared as she danced
Then the music that was playing caught him in its spell
And so he danced with her

Grandma came in and hollered "Stop!
This crazy music and crazy cop!"
But Jeanine didn't seem to hear
Then the music caught Grandma's ear
She remembered those bygone days
And how she danced while the fiddle played
So she left them and went to bed
With the tune playing in her head
And she danced in her dreams
With her husband one more time
And the record he had bought for her
Spun on 'til dawn

see a Robert Christgau piece (1999) and Wikipedia on The Holy Modal Rounders for more background; the truly obsessed will seek out the DVD The Holy Modal Rounders: Bound to Lose

Posted by oook at 07:00 AM | Comments (0)

links for 2009-12-15

Posted by oook at 06:01 AM

December 13, 2009

The Technium

It'll take 3:50 of your time to watch this from Kevin Kelly:

This interests me on several dimensions: as a mode of presentation (obviously, if EVERYthing was in this format it would get old fast... but it does focus the mind if it's novel, and the visual effects do nudge one to hear the message more clearly than if it's just spoken, or just straight text), for its content (some of his assertions are arguable --but which ones for you? And it's short enough to be an effective stimulus material for teaching, a good model), for its potential remixability (wouldn't it be FUN to have a class pick out particular segments to expand upon, annotate, produce new remixes of? What's the technology package necessary to do that?)

(via Phillip Torrone, who chooses the last 30 seconds for his focused attention... but I view it in the context of my current reading of Stewart Brand's Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto, about which I'll have stuff to write real soon now.)

Posted by oook at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

links for 2009-12-13

Posted by oook at 06:02 AM

December 11, 2009

Rana Dasgupta

Christopher Lydon's perennially fascinating Radio Open Source is doing a series of programs on India, well worth your attention even [maybe especially] if the Indian Subcontinent isn't your usual territory. This bit of comparative analysis by Rana Dasgupta is typical of the richness:

America is a society of systems: there should be nothing that eludes the state Ė with systems of policing, control, regulation. That is clearly not the case in India. Indians accept that things cannot be systematized, that there is inherent chaos, that you donít have to understand your neighbor, that he may live an incredibly different life from yours, but thatís not a problem. The incredible ramshackle bric-a-brac nature of Indian cities, where slums are next to high rises, is not felt to be a great shock. The face that people hack into electricity systems to run their slums is treated with wry humor by middle class Indians...

I suspect these things will play out to Indians' advantage, because Indians will be much more comfortable in the US than Americans will be in India. And at a time when the new major economic growth prospects are in countries that look more like India than they do like America, Indians will be an incredibly mobile and flexible work population... Even being very wealthy they are quite comfortable living in a house that runs out of water quite often, and runs out of electricity. Theyíre able to go into weird places in central Asia and Africa and feel quite okay, knowing how things operate... (30 minutes into the program)

Posted by oook at 03:08 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2009

links for 2009-12-09

Posted by oook at 06:02 AM

December 08, 2009

Mark Rubin totally rocks

Here's Part Two of the totally absorbing profile of Mark Rubin that I pointed to Part One of a couple of weeks ago. I've just bought Fat Man and Little Boy and just looooove it. As Mark says,

I have a feeling that in every town in America thereís ten or twenty dudes that would really like what weíre doing. And if I could just get my record to those guys and if I could just hit the road every once in a while and just play for those guys, I would be completely thrilled, that would be all that I require. Iím real proud of it, and Iím just so happy and edified to see that other people like it as much as I do.
A gander at the video below will tell you if you are or aren't one of the ten or twenty dudes. I am for sure:

Posted by oook at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2009

Some audio experiments

Thinking about what to do with audio, I remembered that I'd uploaded some stuff to The Internet Archive a couple of years ago. The items turn out to be pretty interesting to re-encounter, and suggest that I should do more along these lines:

A couple of experiments I did in 2005, using an MP3 recorder to capture what was on mind mind as I walked to work: 16 March 2005 (just under 4 minutes) and 25 March 2005 (just over 4 minutes)
...and On Musical Variety (17:50) constructed in late 2004 as a come-on for a course in World Music (taught at Washington & Lee in Winter 2005)
...and Charlie Skinner tells a story (1:17)

Posted by oook at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2009

links for 2009-12-06

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December 05, 2009

links for 2009-12-05

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December 02, 2009

links for 2009-12-02

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December 01, 2009

Cory on Paige M. Gutenborg

Cory Doctorow's half-formed thoughts on one future for bookselling in this morning's BoingBoing are worth a closer look if you've just clicked past the posting without reading it. He mentions the Harvard Bookstore's Espresso book printer, which I visited and patronized myself a few weeks ago:
Paige M. Gutenborg
...but it's what he says about its implementation that caught my eye:

At the Harvard Bookstore, they have someone who spends the day mousing around on Google Book Search, looking for weird and cool titles in the public domain to print and shelve around the store, as suggestions for the sort of thing you might have printed for yourself. This is a purely curatorial role, the classic thing that a great retailer does, and it's one of the most exciting bookstore sections I've browsed in years. And even so, there's lots of room for improvement: Google Books produces the blandest, most boring covers for its PD books, and there's plenty of room for stores to add value with their own covers, with customer-supplied covers (the gift possibilities are bottomless), and so on. I can even imagine the profs across the street producing annotated versions -- say, a treatise on Alice in Wonderland with reproductions of ten different editions' illustrations and selling them through the store's printer and shelf-space, restoring the ancient bookseller/book-publisher role.

Posted by oook at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)