Assorted Links

  1. Promiscuous Reading-An essay in the New Yorker about a reader who had trouble completing books, even when interested in it. He notes that the last book that he read all the way through a work of shorter essays by a German philosopher, and suggests that most people have been training themselves to read texts with shorter attention spans, and thus get distracted even while enjoying the read. The short format, the author says, keeps his attention span while a linear novel does not. Perhaps there is something to it, but I find it odd that the book that achieves this end is one written before the internet. Frankly, I used to be like this, juggling up to eighteen books at once. Now, busier than I have ever been before, I am usually reading two books–one academic, one fun–but when I am interested in a book or have to read it for some reason, I read it to the end.
  2. A Critic’s Manifesto-An essay in the New Yorker that builds on the job of current debate about the role of critics. In one sense the author is correct that critics should have broad experience with the subject matter in order to make informed, substantive judgements, but in another, the author claims some special status for the critics since the true critics (a now deceased category of author) “know precisely how to wield a deadly zinger.” I do agree that crowd-sourcing reviews on a website like Amazon is not the most accurate form of review, but defending an elite and privileged status for critics when it comes to reviews is petty.
  3. Behavior Problems (Not Only Among Students)-An essay in the Chronicle about how the multi-tasking, procrastination, and digital distraction during meetings are not limited to students.
  4. German Shipyards See Future in Wind Power-According to Spiegel, German shipyards that no longer produce ships are turning to the production of parts for offshore wind-farms.
  5. ESPN: Everywhere Sports Profit Network-An article at Businessweek about ESPN and how it is has grown to be a corporation on par with the traditional powerhouses, largely by taking gambles and adapting quickly to new media, including the internet and mobile video. The idea has been to cater to the fans first, even if it means doing so without the direct monetization (ESPN mobile and streaming doesn’t include ad revenue), so that later they will have a foundation from which to bring in more advertising revenue. For example, ESPN podcasts are free and did not used to have corporate sponsorship, but in the past few years, those podcasts have begun receiving advertisements. Likewise, ESPN has managed to monetize live sports across media and multiple channels.
  6. The Rise of Settler TerrorismAn article from Foreign Affairs, shared with me by Will, recounts increasing violence and radical groups in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. It concludes that the United States needs to redouble efforts to foster a deal that could end the violence, though much of the article also notes that many of the radical groups are unresponsive to leaders within the settlements or the Israeli government.
  7. B.C. minister warns against sex recruiters on campus-From Canada, where, evidently, strip clubs have been recruiting college students as dancers in return for money for tuition. The schools were warned that the clubs might try to put up booths at post-secondary school job fairs.
  8. The New Libya Searches for Justice-An article in Spiegel about Libya now, as trials for government officials, collaborators, and officers are about to begin. In particular, the article examines what is happening with guards (and murderers) and prisoners who took part in a prison riot and the bloody suppression and massacre in 1996.
  9. As always, comments encouraged. What else is out there?

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