URLs du Jour


  • Fahrenheit 451 e-book on the Kindle Ray Bradbury, yet another fondly remembered author from my youth, has passed away. Let me recycle, one more time, my favorite Bradbury anecdote, from his recounting of how he spent the evening of July 20, 1969:

    "Now look. Everyone shut up. You don't know a damned thing about what's going on here tonight, and that's why people like myself are needed in the world. I want to tell you what in hell it means. This is the greatest night you will ever know!

    "There are two nights the Western world will look back upon a million years from tonight. A million years! I'm not talking about a hundred or a thousand years. I'm talking about a million years from tonight.

    "The birth of Christ probably is a very important date that changed the world in many ways for the better and, in some ways, for not very much good at all.

    "But the second most important date is this night that we're going through right now. Because it's the night when we become immortal-when we begin the steps that will enable us to live forever. Now, if you don't know this, you don't know anything about space."

    If you'd like to read something a bit longer, David Boaz reproduces Bradbury's "Coda" to Fahrenheit 451, written after he'd been made aware of its censorship by "cubby-hole editors at Ballantine Books".

  • Anyone who's ever been less than careful with a global-search-and-replace will sympathize:

    In one of the truly bizarre incidents we've seen out of the e-book publishing world, a translation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace for Barnes & Noble's Nook platform has replaced all mentions of the word "kindled" with "Nookd."

  • Maybe you've heard of the "Union of Concerned Scientists"?

    Have you ever wondered what they're concerned about?

    Ron Bailey documents something they're not concerned about: honesty. A recent report from the UCS purported to show (evil) Big Business sneaking funds to (even more evil) global warming deniers. One example: GE's donations to the Reason Foundation.

    So what vast sums of money did the duplicitous executives at General Electric lavish on the Reason Foundation in 2008 and 2009 to support an implied campaign to traduce climate science? Exactly $325. How much did GE spend on matching and direct grants on the six think tanks identified by the UCS as being pro-climate consensus? That would be $497,744. At least with regard to General Electric’s contributions, it appears that the Union of Concerned Scientists has salted a follow-the-money trail with pieces of fool’s gold, which certain unwary news outlets obligingly picked up and reported as real bullion.

    Gosh, a bunch of self-claimed scientists putting out a load of easily-debunked propaganda? I'm shocked.

  • A long-held pet peeve: the indiscriminate use of "incredible" as a general positive intensifier. It irks me when people apply it to things that may be notable, but do not lack credibility.

    • Back in my Usenet days, I made fun of a guy who talked about George Orwell's "incredible honesty."

    • I would not bank at the "Incredible Bank". I'd prefer one that (at least) didn't brag about it.

    • Professor Anne Leonard of the City University of New York wrote briefly on "The Incredible Wikipedia." She meant it, I think, as a compliment.

    • Similarly, when a speech by President Obama is rapturously described as "incredible", my immediate thought is: "Yeah, I didn't believe him either."

    So it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed "The Credible Hulk".

Last Modified 2017-12-02 7:43 AM EDT