Links: William Gibson, publishing (self and legacy), teaching, boring playgrounds

* William Gibson eloquently describes why I write a blog, from Distrust That Particular Flavor:

In writing speeches, curiously, one sometimes finds out what one thinks, at that moment, about something. The world at large, say. Or futurity. Or the impossibility of absolutely grasping either. Generally they make me even more uncomfortable to write than articles, but later, back in the place of writing fiction, I often discover that I have been trying to tell myself something.

In writing almost anything, “one sometimes finds out what one thinks,” especially if the readers of that writing pose interesting, informed questions. Which I often think about, even when I don’t respond directly. Note that I often respond directly, too.

* Speaking of blogs, I updated the “About” page of this one, for the first time in years.

* How Thor Power Hammered Publishing, which I didn’t know. Incidentally, this may also explain some of the shift towards ebooks, since publishers don’t like paper inventory.

* “My US Border Nightmare;” would you want to return to a country after this?

* Scholars Seek Better Ways to Track Impact Online.

* Self-Publishing Your Own Book is the New Business Card.

* Barnes & Noble and the Collapse of the Publishing Ecosystem; I am not convinced:

Macmillan CEO John Sargent tries to persuade Bosman that the chain goes all the way to the writers. “Anybody who is an author, a publisher, or makes their living from distributing intellectual property in book form is badly hurt,” he said, “if Barnes & Noble does not prosper.”

What about all those writers who aren’t involved in legacy publishing and can’t get their books in stores? Besides, I don’t think readers care about who “makes their living from distributing intellectual property;” they care about whether a book is any good.

* Con’d: Will Amazon Kill Publishing? And, if so, will anyone not being employed by a publisher mourn?

* Con’d, part 3: “Writers are essential. Readers are essential. Publishers are not.

* The Great Divorce, on Charles C. Mann’s Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, which sounds like a book better read about than read. See also Tyler Cowen’s take.

* Teaching with authenticity and authority, which I try to do.

* Great idea: “Legislation in Florida would allow parents to vote to restructure a public school into a private or charter model.

* Make playgrounds safe but boring and kids won’t use them. When I was a kid, I loved dodgeball, which is apparently also out of style.

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