It figures that I learn about this podcast, “To Read or Not Read,” right in the midst of the week of English 516 where we’re talking about this very issue. Because it came now, I’m not sure how many of my students will get a chance to listen to it; I’ll probably try to download it tomorrow and listen to it at some point on my trip south this week (more details on that later).
What I do find reassuring and kind of interesting though is that my students, who are a mixture of high school teachers, college teachers, tech writers, MA students, etc., etc., don’t have a lot of faith in the NEA report that (I presume) is part of what is fueling this discussion. I’m not entirely sure I understand why this is the case, but it seems that the scare tactics of the end of reading as we know it isn’t working, perhaps precisely because ours is a class that is exploring different ideas of literacy and “reading.”
So, WIRED is turning 15 this month. Happy Birthday, and it makes me feel kinda old, actually.
Rex Sorgatz at Fimoculous.com (the link is above) has a nice write-up about the first issue. Here’s a highlight couple of paragraphs for me:
Peeling back those matte pages now, one can’t help falling victim to a bit of nostalgia for this town crier of the proto-digital era. There was no logical reason that this magazine should even have existed in 1993. Clinton/Gore had just been sworn in, and no one was talking about the “Information Superhighway” yet. Words like baud and Usenet and ISDN hadn’t even been surrendered to the dustbin of digital history.
Need more historical perspective? There weren’t even any URLs in the first issues of Wired! The World Wide Web barely existed, and there was no Mosaic browser on which to view it anyway.
I’ve subscribed to Wired off and on for many years now. It went through a phase there during the “dot com” bubble where it was trying to be a business magazine, and it definitely lost its edge. I started taking it again about a year and a half ago, and I guess I have very mixed feelings. I have yet to read the January issue, for example, but the one on Manga was pretty good. It all just goes to show you that institutions/publications/etc. can’t remain “the cutting edge” forever.
I’m doing a unit in my English 516 class later this term on the implications of digitizing books, and this is news that seems very much up that alley: “One Million digitized books” at the U of M library. From DigitalKoans.
This sounds like a book I want to take a look at: Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum. Apparently, there’s a podcast tease about it, available here.
My friend Dennis Danvers has published a very amusing and unusual Christmas story, “R3,” which is really R superscript 3, but I don’t want to mess with the code to make that appear here. In any event, it is the best science fiction/dystopian/funny/Christmas story I have read and I encourage everyone to take a look.
I still haven’t really gotten into podcasting as a recreational listening thing.Â But this might be an interesting way to change my iPod listening habits, at least at the gym.
LibriVox “March Madness”
“Advice to Younger Men from an Old Man.” I don’t know entirely what to make of all of this list or where it came from, but much of it rang true to me and much of it made me chuckle. I’ll let you decide what is what with that.
This is perhaps a bit “high brow” for this site, but I thought it was funny all the same.
“Jean-Paul Sartre, 911 Operator,” from McSweeney’s.
So, what do the “illegal combatants” (being illegally held, IMO) in Guantanamo Bay do for fun? Well, according to this article Scotsman.com News article:
The Harry Potter stories are the most popular books in the Guantanamo Bay detention centre’s library, the Pentagon has revealed.
JK Rowling’s tales of the young wizard were the most requested by terror suspects held at the high-security camp from among 3,500 titles available.
The Defence Department also said detainees enjoyed watching World Cup football games and playing table tennis.
Wow, sounds like paradise, huh?
I wasn’t aware of this:
John Hodgeman, of The Daily Show and those Mac vs. PC commercials fame, wrote a book called The Areas of My Expertise, in which, among many other things, he discusses hoboes. This hoboe discussion lead to this web site about hoboes and hoboe issues.
Who says that the Internet is a waste of time?