We learned a lot from tinkering with the Pine64. Mostly, that there is a ton of used computer equipment out there waiting to be reused and all priced well below market value. Take a look!
I have been thinking a lot lately about reading: about how much I love reading and how pleasurable it is, not just as a pasttime or for entertainment–though these are important parts of it as well–but as something more significant and ultimately more important than entertainment. You must read with desire, I’ve written, as has Roland Barthes long before me. I keep turning to Barthes in my quest to understand more about reading, why it is so important to me, and how I might share this desire, this pleasure with my students. I have not yet located any one piece of writing by Barthes that succinctly communicates this, which is part of the reason that I am writing this now.
In an age of widespread access to information, we are all reading a lot. But we are reading differently. We are also experiencing time differently. I think about myself and all of the time I once had to read. Do people have that kind of time anymore? They could, in theory, but perhaps they simply don’t. I still have the time, but I use it differently. I can now look at twenty books at a time in the space of an afternoon on Google Books. Reading technologies are not new, of course, and it is worth thinking about the bookwheel and the reading easel as some examples of reading technologies from another time. (Perhaps just as much as time and space are essential to understanding novels, the time and space of reading itself is important. Many literary theorists have written about the time of reading and its relationships with narrative time, but we are still figuring out how the time and space of reading change with changes in actual time.)
In my studies of reading and in my thinking about teaching writing, I’ve come to learn that writing well really is–at least in part–a question of reading well. It is also about reading a lot. It is about developing a fluency in reading. It is internalizing a textual language. To become comfortable with writing is, in some ways, to learn a new language.
There are a lot of steps involved in this metaphor I’ve thrown out there, and I hope at some point to break them all down. For now, what I want to focus on is this question of technology and reading. Each generation grows up with its own technologies of reading. I am very much a product of my own generational reading technologies. My mother’s generation was slightly different from mine. But the technology we shared was the printed book. Mine may have been paperbacks and hers hardcovers, mine may have had different covers and included more graphics and colors than hers, but she and I both sat with a bound codex in our laps or on our desks to learn things. The printed codex will not be the technology of reading for the next generation. It will be something else. Although I am not the best person to explain how this next generation’s reading technologies will function, I can act as an intermediary and as a witness to the pleasures of my generation’s reading technologies.
Back to Barthes, who has always been interested most in writing and–he claims–only secondarily in reading. Are we writing and reading in new ways now? Is this an age of a new kind of concision in communication, as well as one of collaboration in composition?
My sense is that all that anyone needs to get started with reading is a door. But what does that door look like for this generation? My door looked like this: some small books that my mother told me were must reads: Kafka, ee cummings’ six non-lectures, some poems by Yeats. This door opened a bit more in high school when I was introduced to various French existentialist writers. This door was then blown off its hinges when I took a class on Proust in college, and it has been wide open ever since. But if, for my generation, the clues were in footnotes and references and bibliographies, where are they for this generation?
Adapted from What Is Writing?: An Introduction to Writing as an Act and Medium of Communication (2015).
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Engineering Language is the title of a research project that I am currently working on that investigates the interconnections amongst the history and development of information and communications technologies, linguistic and literary critical definitions of language, writing instruction in public higher education, and commercial publishing in order to better understand the definitions, roles and functions of verbal language in twenty-first century media economies.
Since the widespread adoption of the printing press, we have been writing with and for machines. However, the ways in which and the extent to which machines could participate in acts of writing have changed over time. We have now reached a point where machines play an active role not only in the reproduction and distribution of writing, but in its production and, even, at times, in its creation and composition. As we find ourselves increasingly writing with and for machines, there is the possibility that functions once assigned uniquely to humans can be automated. In this project, I am exploring the interconnections amongst the history and development of information and communications technologies, linguistic and literary critical definitions of language, writing instruction in public higher education, and commercial textbook publishing in order to better understand the production and functions of verbal language, or what was once referred to as “writing,” in twentieth and twenty-first century media economies.
At MfL, we are always interested in finding out how things are made and we wanted to share some of our recent findings from our research into cotton sheets. Despite the marketing hype, it is not the thread count alone that is important. Rather, it is the thread count number and the quality of the thread. As a result, your 1000 thread count cotton sheets may actually be of a lower quality than a 500 Egyptian cotton thread count sheets. While we love super-fine Italian linens and recommend purchasing Frette and Pratesi sheets if they are within your budget, for those looking for high quality Egyptian cotton sheets, we recommend Andiamo Brand 500 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets. You can find them at many online retailers and will often find them on sale. Here is a link to one online retailer that consistently stocks them.
Junk Mail 1
Regardless of what you think of Martin Shkreli, and it is frankly hard not to have strong opinions about the guy, a Brooklyn judge’s decision on September 13, 2017 to revoke his bail privileges based on a Facebook post (now deleted) in which he offered, according to the A. P., “to pay a $5,000 bounty for a Hillary Clinton hair with the follicle” raises a whole new host of issues to consider. While most of the discussion will be focused on what counts as protected speech, and particularly if the original post was intended as satire, a less pressing though nonetheless interesting question regarding whether the judge’s decision was also intended to protect Clinton’s DNA needs to be discussed.
While Brooklyn-based artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg has undoubtedly received less press than Shkreli and his antics, her DNA-based portraits , have left many of us thinking about the very real issues related to identity theft in an age of mechanized biological reproduction. So what exactly was the judge protecting with this ruling? Clinton’s safety or her DNA, or both?
Although Shkreli’s original Facebook post has been removed, there have been several reports on its contents from different sources. According to The Hill, which is the publication that broke the story, the contents of the post read: “The Clinton Foundation is willing to KILL to protect its secrets. So on [Hillary Clinton’s] book tour, try to grab a hair from her. I must confirm the sequences I have. Will pay $5,000 per hair obtained from Hillary Clinton. Payment after the sequence matches. Good luck, patrollers.”
Links to Legal Documents Filed in Shkreli Case
Science and Fiction – A New Series from Springer Nature
This collection of entertaining and thought-provoking books will appeal equally to science buffs, scientists and science-fiction fans. It was born out of the recognition that scientific discovery and the creation of plausible fictional scenarios are often two sides of the same coin. Each relies on an understanding of the way the world works, coupled with the imaginative ability to invent new or alternative explanations – and even other worlds. Authored by practicing scientists as well as writers of hard science fiction, these books explore and exploit the borderlands between accepted science and its fictional counterpart. Uncovering mutual influences, promoting fruitful interaction, narrating and analyzing fictional scenarios, together they serve as a reaction vessel for inspired new ideas in science, technology, and beyond. Whether fiction, fact, or forever undecidable: the Springer Series “Science and Fiction” intends to go where no one has gone before!
For more information about the series: http://www.springer.com/series/11657
To read Paul Nahin’s recent contribution to the series, Time Travel Tales:
Is this gif merely a perfect synopsis of Game of Thrones in its entirety or the advent of the gif as scene in a TV series, or possibly both at the same time?!?!?!!?