March links: Dissertation changes, jazz, security theater, publishing, and the LSAT

* Dissing the Dissertation: MLA considers radical changes in the dissertation. This seems obvious, necessary, long overdue, and welcome.

* The Social Conservative Subterranean Fantasy World Is Exposed, and It’s Frightening; notice this: “Comedians may, in fact, be even bigger beneficiaries than Democratic politicians who are watching a stampede of women voters into their welcoming “we don’t hate you because you’re sexually active” arms.”

* On Jazz; “Listening to Jazz is like simultaneously hearing all the footsteps on the sidewalk of a city. . .”

* The real reason health insurers won’t cover people with pre-existing conditions.

* The Unwelcome Mat, on security Theater and how the U.S.’s idiotic stance border is hurting itself.

* With This Machine, You Can Print Your Own Books at the Local Bookstore; translation: self-publishing is going to grow as this kind of machine spreads.

* Who cares if book publishers are colluding with Apple to raise e-book prices?; as Matt says elsewhere, “the publishing industry is facing intense competition and disruptive change no matter what these guys do, and the DOJ may as well leave them alone.”

* A comment from my friend, “Laila:” “It seems somehow appropriate that your follower was a prostitute.” Oh?

* Fewer people are taking the LSAT—and, if they’re smart, fewer will go to law school.

Mid-September links: Kindles, swimming, Chile, and programming

* According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a Kindle-dominated world would mean, um, something new. But what?

* The 2008 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest results are in, and the winner offers a typically horrendous opening that is paradoxically special in its own way:

Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped “Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J.”

I just got inspired to send an entry for next year’s contest as I wrote this entry. Watch this space for more.

* By way of Paper Cuts, In literature, as in life, the art of swimming isn’t hard to master. I mentioned the issue previously at the bottom of this post.

The follow-up about running is here. Yours truly comments in both threads.

* Funny: Bruce Schneider wrote a post for Wired about creating fake identities and the increasing tenuous and yet important link between us and the “data shadows” we generate:

It seems to me that our data shadows are becoming increasingly distinct from us, almost with a life of their own. What’s important now is our shadows; we’re secondary. And as our society relies more and more on these shadows, we might even become unnecessary.

I say “funny,” because I just finished the second draft of a novel that plays with these very ideas. While on the topic of Schneider, he also asks, who needs reason regarding Homeland Insecurity when we can have a culture of perpetual fear instead?

* Speaking of ideas regarding identity, the digital world might be transforming Latin America. In Chile, the New York Times reports a sexual revolution of sorts among the young, driven by technology and connectivity. I wonder what Roberto Bolaño would say.

* Want to be a good programmer? Consider reading.

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