Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Charles Needs Your Help

"Modern academics hope the populist appeal of the journal – called Household Words when it began in 1850, then changed to All the Year Round in 1859 when Dickens dropped his publisher and went it alone – can be rekindled. [...]
     The bicentenary of the birth of Dickens is on 7 February 2012. The tiny team at the University of Buckingham hope to have the journals online by then but, while the pages have been scanned, they now need to have the inevitable computer-made errors edited out – and for that only the human eye will do.[...]
     The sheer number of pages –30,000 – poses a problem when it comes to meeting the target date. So a call to the keyboard has gone out to all amateur copy editors with access to a computer." —Tracy McVeigh, Guardian
See related post here...
And here...

Monday, August 8, 2011

EX LIBRIS AD MYSTERIA: Weird Books and Beyond

From: Codex Seraphinianus

The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion
by Henry Darger

"Henry Darger was a typical urban hermit: he worked as a janitor, he lived in a small apartment in Chicago for close to 40 years, never married, and kept to himself. After he died, however, in 1973, his former landlords discovered that Darger was a typical hermit with an atypical habit: he had been writing and illustrating a novel for years, and the tome was more than 15,000 pages long by the time he died. [...]

The Red Book
by Carl Jung

"[...] by using a technique of Jung’s own development that he called 'active imagination,' [...] he was visited by a male and female figure, whom he later identified as the prophet Elijah and Salome, who guided him through the process of delving into a collective unconscious.
Jung’s heirs kept the Red Book from being accessed for nearly eighty years, until 2001. It was finally published in 2009." — Business Pundit

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Economists and financiers have a useful term of art: a Minsky moment. A Minsky moment, named after the late economist Hyman Minsky, occurs when investors, encouraged by easy credit and rising asset prices, borrow money in order to reap even greater profits. So long as prices continue to rise, these leveraged investors can make interest payments on their debt and still come out ahead—way ahead. If, or when, the bubble bursts, however, and prices fall, their creditors come calling. In order to answer these margin calls, investors must sell off assets. But since it takes many investors to make a bubble, many of whom will also have taken on considerable debt, when the market pops, many other suddenly overleveraged investors must also answer margin calls and sell off assets. Cruelly, this rush to sell drives down prices, meaning investors have to sell still more assets, which further drives down prices, which leads to more margin calls, which, in the context of a bursting bubble, leads to more fire sales, even lower prices, even more margin calls, and so on. A Minsky moment. Or, in common parlance, when the shit hits the fan." — John Marsh, The New Inquiry

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pushing Paper

Photo: Saachi Online

"Publishers should tantalize consumers by evoking books' sensory pleasures: the smell; the feel in your hands; that crisp, appealing crinkle of a turned page and smooth snap of a dust jacket. Publishers should elicit the joys of 'curling up with a book,' the satisfaction of seeing your library on a shelf in your bedroom — the years of your life marked by rows of colorful spines, the pages covered with marginalia. To do this, publishers could borrow vinyl enthusiasts' lines like, 'Records have a certain smell. You can't smell an MP3,' and, 'I associate certain records' smells with a certain summer, a particular girlfriend.' Audiophiles also discuss fidelity, how records sound undeniably better than MP3s. Surely there's a book analog waiting to be developed." — Aaron Gilbreath, Chicago Tribune

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Control + Save

Photo: Michael Hale

"Brewster Kahle, 50, founded the nonprofit Internet Archive in 1996 to save a copy of every web page ever posted. Now the MIT-trained computer scientist and entrepreneur is expanding his effort to safeguard and share knowledge by trying to preserve a physical copy of every book ever published.
'There is always going to be a role for books,' said Kahle as he perched on the edge of a shipping container. Each container can hold about 40,000 volumes, the size of a branch library. 'We want to see books live forever.'" — CBC