Dear Reader: “Charming Gardeners,” by David Biespiel

There used to be a public telephone booth down on the corner from our place, the kind the caller entered through a panel glass door and dropped coins into the phone, outside the cleaners, across from the realtor’s office, the street corner just a dot of commercial activity in an otherwise residential neighborhood. The telephone […]

Thoreau Posts

…some Thoreau posts: What Should We Keep? The R. Buckminster Fuller Archive Transition: From Walled-in with Thoreau to Take-off with Buckminster Fuller Walden: From “The Pond in Winter” to “Spring” On the ice with Thoreau What some others have said about Thoreau’s Walden A Monstrous Metaphor Fished from Walden Pond A Sixth Way of Looking at Walden: Deliberately Seeking Simplicity It is […]

Culturomics and Google’s Ngram Viewer: More Noise?

The other day, a few minutes of wilfing led us to Technium’s post on Google’s latest project, the Ngram Viewer. Is Google making us stupid again? But this is serious stuff, as evidenced by the Ngram Viewer introduction in last December’s Science. The Ngram Viewer is a corpus allowing users to search keywords in millions of books and to […]

Common Earworm Remedies and the Mutant Earworm

Thanks a compost heap to the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg (April, 2011) for re-infecting readers with a term we already could not forget – earworms. Earworms are snippets of jingles or songs that unwanted, uninvited, and unannounced crash the polite party of our otherwise peaceful thoughts. We now have a mutant version that has crawled through […]

Wall Street Journal Springs Honorifics from Sports – Cut in Pay?

Mr. Jason Gay, sportswriter for The Wall Street Journal, has just announced that The Journal this week will begin dropping honorifics in its sports section pages. This means that instead of “Mr. Piniella, after kicking his hat and dirt in the direction of the first base umpire, then pulled the first base bag from its mooring […]

Hybrid Reading and “Sex and the vote”

Newspapers are dying, but as they slide into immateriality, they’re looking for ways to merge into Internet traffic. Regular columnists are forced to blog to establish stronger and closer connections with their audiences. No doubt many regular columnists are already longing for the days when they had the highway to themselves. Blogging, of course, invites […]

Where The Gutenberg Galaxy Wanes While the Zuckerberg Zone Waxes: How the Founder of Facebook is Destroying the Printing Press

At 18, a grunt at Fort Bliss, in El Paso, sitting knee to knee and cheek to cheek with my peers in a latrine of 12 stools, I learned that going to the bathroom is a business, and privacy does not work for us, we work for her. We had, in 1969, at Fort Bliss, […]