Friday, January 29, 2010

Life Magazine gallery of literary drunks & addicts

Life Magazine's archives has an interesting collection of literary icons that had a little too much fondness for altered states. Interesting for a fun friday.

Why there is no "Catcher in the Rye" on film

Since its release in 1951, many, many producers, directors, screenwriters and actors have tried to bring J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye to the big screen and all were stymied by Salinger's resolute refusal to sell the rights to his novel. The letter below, written in 1957 in response to an enquiry from a Mr. Herbert (and currently for sale here). It provides an fascinating glimpse into the author's mind. Click the images to enlarge. A transcript is below.

R. D. 2
Windsor, Vt.
July 19, 1957

Dear Mr. Herbert,

I'll try to tell you what my attitude is to the stage and screen rights of The Catcher in the Rye. I've sung this tune quite a few times, so if my heart doesn't seem to be in it, try to be tolerant....Firstly, it is possible that one day the rights will be sold. Since there's an ever-looming possibility that I won't die rich, I toy very seriously with the idea of leaving the unsold rights to my wife and daughter as a kind of insurance policy. It pleasures me no end, though, I might quickly add, to know that I won't have to see the results of the transaction. I keep saying this and nobody seems to agree, but The Catcher in the Rye is a very novelistic novel. There are readymade "scenes" - only a fool would deny that - but, for me, the weight of the book is in the narrator's voice, the non-stop peculiarities of it, his personal, extremely discriminating attitude to his reader-listener, his asides about gasoline rainbows in street puddles, his philosophy or way of looking at cowhide suitcases and empty toothpaste cartons - in a word, his thoughts. He can't legitimately be separated from his own first-person technique. True, if the separation is forcibly made, there is enough material left over for something called an Exciting (or maybe just Interesting) Evening in the Theater. But I find that idea if not odious, at least odious enough to keep me from selling the rights. There are many of his thoughts, of course, that could be labored into dialogue - or into some sort of stream-of-consciousness loud-speaker device - but labored is exactly the right word. What he thinks and does so naturally in his solitude in the novel, on the stage could at best only be pseudo-simulated, if there is such a word (and I hope not). Not to mention, God help us all, the immeasurably risky business of using actors. Have you ever seen a child actress sitting crosslegged on a bed and looking right? I'm sure not. And Holden Caulfield himself, in my undoubtedly super-biassed opinion, is essentially unactable. A Sensitive, Intelligent, Talented Young Actor in a Reversible Coat wouldn't nearly be enough. It would take someone with X to bring it off, and no very young man even if he has X quite knows what to do with it. And, I might add, I don't think any director can tell him.

I'll stop there. I'm afraid I can only tell you, to end with, that I feel very firm about all this, if you haven't already guessed.

Thank you, though, for your friendly and highly readable letter. My mail from producers has mostly been hell.


(Signed, 'J. D. Salinger')

J. D. Salinger

Found at Coudal Partners

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Design, Aesthetics and Sustainability

I drink a LOT of water and lately have been reading a much about the terrible impact that bottled water has on the environment. I just picked up a KOR One and will from now on fill it from my tap. I chose the KOR because of its amazing design and functionality, but also because of the company's efforts to improve the planet. KOR donates 1% of all sales to a select group of non-profits that focus on water-related issues. Their goal is not only to provide much-needed funds to these organizations, but to engage our customers on issues such as recycling, watershed protection and the global water crisis. The color you choose designates the environmental issue to which your contribution will be made. Mine is blue - Ocean Protection.

If you are not yet familar with the environmental impact of bottled water, take a look at the graphic below. Click to enlarge it.

Inkling and iPad will revolutionize textbooks

With yesterday's launch the iPad publishers have to find a way to bring their content to the color, touchscreen device. While it wouldn’t be too difficult to simply scan in text and present it in a static format a la Kindle, to take advantage of this entirely new platform and all of its capabilities is going to present a challenge. That challenge is giving rise to some new startups looking to help publishers make the transition from paper to digital.

Inkling, a small startup is looking to help textbook makers convert their content into digitized versions that are more than just static reproductions of the original text. They’re helping spur the kind of innovation that could change the way students learn.

According to Inkling, they put everything students need, from textbooks to assessment to friends, right at their fingertips, helping them reach their learning objectives more quickly and with better results. Features include:

  • Interactive figures. Inkling lets you directly manipulate objects to explore them. Want to know if two molecules bond? Use your fingertips to pull them together and see

  • Custom spine. Inkling organizes content based on your assignments. It shows you everything you need to do, all at once, no matter where the content is from. It's like a custom textbook, just for you.

  • Reader. When it's time to read a traditional textbook, Inkling does an amazing job. Dog-ear your pages, skip from chapter to chapter with gestures, and jump from figure to figure with your finger.

  • Quizzes. Measure your progress with interactive tests that deepen your understanding of the content.

  • Note following. Ever borrow a classmate's notes? Borrow them in realtime with Inkling NoteSync™. Annotations, highlights and comments from your friends show up alongside your own, instantly.

  • Device sync. Want to finish up a reading while waiting in line? Anything you've got on your iPad appears right on your iPhone or iPod touch, too.

It will also change the way teachers teach by allowing them to track student progress and see who has completed the reading assignment before lecture, and what's tripping students up. They can also distribute content. Don't make students pick up expensive printed material, but distribute PDFs right alongside their textbooks free of charge.

Found via TechCrunch

The Most Amazing Libraries in the World

The Huffington Post has a gallery of photographs of the world's most beautiful and amazing libraries. Here are three, but much more at the link. Worth a look!

The Seattle Public Library

The Chateau de Chantilly Library
The Stockholm Public Library

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Teddy bears inside-out

A delightful set of images of teddy bears lovingly turned inside-out to expose even more of their character. Published in Bears, by Kent Rogowski.

Marcel Breuer's Atlanta Fulton Country Library

Kevin's great photos of Marcel Breuer's Atlanta Fulton Country Library.

A post from the daily flow of linkage called Fresh Signals, at

Snapshots of Provence

The Provence, France tourist board has launched a wonderful interactive website featuring a wide collection of photographs and sound bites from the region. It is beautifully executed and fun to explore. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Journal of Serendipitous and Unexpected Results

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!', but 'That's funny…'" -Isaac Asimov
Successful research often leads through reasonable yet unsuccessful approaches and unexpected discoveries. Indeed the history of science is rife with examples of important discoveries arising from such results. In particular, two of today's most fruitful areas of research, computational sciences and life sciences, have no major venues in which such intermediate results can be discussed. Now there is a forum for and dialogue on serendipitous and unexpected results in these areas will provide valuable insight and inform modern research practices.

The Journal of Serendipitous and Unexpected Results (JSUR) is an open-access forum for researchers seeking to further scientific discovery by sharing surprising or unexpected results. These results should provide guidance toward the verification (or negation) of extant hypotheses. JSUR has two branches, one focusing on computational sciences and the other on the life sciences. JSUR submissions include, but are not limited to, short communications of recent research results, full-length papers, review articles or opinion pieces.

Pictory - A story told in a single image

Pictory is a showcase for people around the world to document their lives and cultures by submitting one large, captioned image to each of Pictory’s editorial themes. Editor, designer, and founder Laura Brunow Miner, then selects a few dozen of the best items from each theme to appear in each showcase.

Beautifully and lovingly done, the site is a delight. Below is a sample from "Life Before Your Eyes"....

inkpop - a social network for teen writers

inkpop is an online community that connects rising stars in teen lit with talent-spotting readers and publishing professionals.
Its social networking forum spotlights aspiring authors and the readers who provide the positive springboard for feedback. inkpop members play a critical role in deciding who will land a publishing contract with HarperCollins.

Susan Katz, President and Publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books, said: “Teens are a key consumer group with significant financial impact. Teen fiction is one of the most robust and fastest-growing categories in publishing today.”

Since its "soft-launch" debut in November 2009, inkpop has attracted more than 10,000 members, who have submitted close to 11,000 novels, poems, essays, and short stories. HarperCollins says visitors are teens ages 13 and older, from 109 different countries and territories, though the site is only available in English.

HarperCollins says it will announce partnerships throughout the year that will further enrich the inkpop community experience for teen members. The publishers says it’s working on bringing other formats such as photography, video and artwork sharing to inkpop, in order to enhance projects and promote additional forms of creativity.

2010 Wallpaper Design Awards

Wallpaper design in association with HTC has picked out the best of everything in design from 2010: from beds and breakfasts through to jeans and genes. With 66 exhaustive categories they have pretty much covered everything. It is all here including a slideshow of the Judge's awards. The rest of the winners are listed in the article with links to photos

Life-enhancer of the year: The High Line, by Friends of the High Line, James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofido + Renfro .

Best domestic design: Slowcooker, by Margriet Foolen, for Royal VKB

Best new restaurant: Kaa, Sao Paulo, Brazil, by Studio Arthur Casas

Monday, January 25, 2010

Great advice from very cool people

Humble Pied originally started as a crowd-sourced AIGA student presentation, with friends and peers alike offering their words of wisdom within the creative industry. This site was created to house all of the great bits of advice, and to stimulate dialogues along the way.

All chat sessions were held with iChat video and recorded with ScreenFlow. Each interview was cleaned up and edited with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects. The site is powered by WordPress and developed with Coda. The videos are hosted on Vimeo Plus. The fonts are Georgia and Lucida Grande

The Museum of Online Museums

I just discovered the Museum of Online Museums Museum of Online Museums over at my new favorite site, Coudal Partners. It is a fairly comprehensive list of links to fascinating museum sites across the web - from Duke University's Rare Book Collection to the Rijksmuseum, to the Museum of Fred.

On the MoOM main page you, will find the current exhibitions. The main collection is in the center column, divided into three subsections. On the left you'll find the five current featured exhibitions. The MoOM is updated continuously with major updates coming once each quarter.

An archive of previously featured exhibitions is available for browsing.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hundreds of films available at Canada's Film Board Archive

Canada's National Film Board, a publicly funded body charged with promoting the cause of Canadian filmmaking, has put its archives online most are embeddable,streamable and can be added to your personalized home page, or viewed on your iPhone.

The way coolest MacBook case ever!

The way coolest MacBook case ever! Available from Twelve South. And, no, I do not get a cut.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

All 66 Mac/PC ads in one place!

I love Apple's "Get a Mac" ads with John Hodgman and Justin Long. So, here are all 66 TV spots (plus the 90-second version of 2008's "Sad Song") that have aired since the campaign launched on May 2, 2006. All 66 ads were directed by Phil Morrison of Epoch Films for TBWA Media Arts Lab.

Dewey Music: 1,158,926 FREE Public Domain Songs by 10,253 Artists

DeweyMusic is a new interface for's wonderful public domain music library.

You can listen to, download, remix, and share anything you see on this site legally and for free.

Found at The Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarian

Recommended inappropriate books for kids

I stumbled upon a delightful blog called Curious Pages that features outrageous and obscure but outstanding children’s books from the 1800s all the way up through today. Take a few minutes and enjoy


With technology allowing nearly 24-hour media access as children and teens go about their daily lives, the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically, especially among minority youth, according to a study released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Today, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). And because they spend so much of that time ‘media multitasking’ (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes (10:45) worth of media content into those 7½ hours.

The amount of time spent with media increased by an hour and seventeen minutes a day over the past five years, from 6:21 in 2004 to 7:38 today. And because of media multitasking, the total amount of media content consumed during that period has increased from 8:33 in 2004 to 10:45 today.

Click to enlarge

The full report is available in PDF format here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The dumbing-down of the History Channel

A nice little pie chart that points out the sad state of programming over at The History Channel.


2010 Horizon Report from Educause

The annual Horizon Report is a collaborative effort between the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) and the New Media Consortium (NMC). Each year, the report identifies and describes six areas of emerging technology likely to have a significant impact on teaching, learning, or creative expression in higher education within three adoption horizons: a year or less, two to three years, and four to five years. The areas of emerging technology cited for 2010 are:

Time to adoption: One Year or Less

  • Mobile Computing
  • Open Content

Time to adoption: Two to Three Years

  • Electronic Books
  • Simple Augmented Reality

Time to adoption: Four to Five Years

  • Gesture-based Computing
  • Visual Data Analysis

Each section of the report provides live Web links to examples and additional readings. The findings for the 2010 Report resulted from the work of the 47-person Advisory Board, with experts from ten countries.

Amazon introduces 70% royalties on Kindle publications

Amazon has announced that it will soon introduce a new 70 percent royalty option in the program that will allow them to to earn a larger share of revenue from each Kindle book they sell.

For each Kindle book sold, authors and publishers who choose the new royalty option – will will not replace the existing DTP standard royalty option – will receive 70 percent of list price, net of delivery costs.

Amazon says the new 70 percent royalty option will become available on June 30, 2010 and be restricted to books sold in the United States at launch.

Authors usually receive royalties in the range of 7% to 15% of the list price for their physical books, or 25% of the net that publishers receive from retailers for their digital books.

The new royalty option aims to increase the revenue earned from book sales for publishers and authors, but there are certain requirements they have to meet in order to qualify, on top of the requirements books receiving the standard royalty rate have today:

  • The author or publisher-supplied list price must be between $2.99 and $9.99

  • This list price must be at least 20 percent below the lowest price for the physical book

  • The title is made available for sale in all regions for which the author or publisher has rights

  • The title will be included in a set of features in the Kindle Store, such as text to speech

  • Under this royalty option, books must be offered at or below price parity with competition, including physical book prices

Full press release here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Knots illustrated using earbuds

Click image to enlarge

Found at Gizmodo

The evolution of Crayola crayons

Crayola’s crayon chronology tracks their standard box, from its humble eight color beginnings in 1903 to the present day’s 120-count lineup.

Handy YouTube hacks

To easily download any YouTube video to your computer, in the video's URL substitute the number 3 for the Y in Youtube to get download options.

For even more options, type the word "kick" with no quotes in front of Youtube in the URL to launch kickyoutube and download in any of eight differrent formats.

I need my teacher to learn. Teaching 3.0

A few months ago I posted a little graph depicting smartphone usage by students and was shocked to see that almost 20% of K - 2nd grade students owned a smartphone and smartphones in the upper grades are almost ubiquitous. Students are more connected than ever and have become so accustomed to using technology in their daily lives to stay connected and to get things done that it is placing a lot of pressure on educators to reevaluate their teaching methods. Smartphones also blur the distinction between a traditional cellphone - the use of which is prohibited in many schools - and an internet device - the use of which is often allowed in class. This short music video eloquently and entertainingly engages that issue. Enjoy...

6 types of ideas - "Fail faster to succeed sooner."

From Tom Fishburne's Brand camp

Friday, January 15, 2010

Giuseppe Arcimboldo - faces from objects

Giuseppe Arcimboldo was a 16th century painter who used everyday objects to portray the human face. There are many more at the link....fascinating and quite cool.

Thanks to TYWKIWDBI for the post.

eBooks from the Library of Congress

The Internet Archive is providing free access to over 60,000 full text electronic books which were scanned from the holdings of the libraries of the Library of Congress. They cover all subject areas from the humanities, social sciences and physical sciences and include many historical out of print items. According to Celia, strengths include historic American government publications, books on the economic, social and political and legal history of the United States and the American civil war. It is possible to search the website or browse. Copyright and technical information is displayed. It is possible to set up an RSS feed of new items added to the online collection.

Found over at Celia's blog.

Amazon opens Kindle store to Europe announced this morning that it is expanding its self-service Kindle Digital Text Platform worldwide. This will give even more authors and publishers the chance to sell books in English, German and French to customers around the world through the Kindle Store.

Until today the service was only available to authors and publishers based in the United States. Amazon says additional language options will be added in the coming months.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New imprint from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Publishers Weekly just announced a new imprint for the venerable publishing house of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. After serving extremely capably at FSG for the past three decades, most recently as the publisher and editorial director at FSG Books for Young Readers, Margaret Ferguson will be heading the new line.

Ferguson's imprint will "publish approximately 15 titles per year, across all age ranges and formats." Great news for an industry under seige and in need of a boost.

During her time at FSG, Ferguson has worked with such authors as Brock Cole, Alexandra Day, Uri Shulevitz, David Small, Sarah Stewart, and Judith Viorst. The division has won the Newbery Medal and two National Book Awards under her direction, in addition to numerous other awards and honors.

Amazing new Intel Reader

Intel has released a new text to speech reader that is absolutely amazing. It will take a photo of any print - book, newspaper, magazine...whatever, convert the image to text, and then read it to you. It also saves each piece of this process, the photo, the text file, and the audio all of which you can access through your computer.

The device is quite portable as it folds into a small satchel. It sells for about $2000, complete. I can easily see libraries acquiring these for in-house use and even possibly check-out. Below is a video demonstration:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

LocalBooks iPhone Application

Library Thing has released their first iPhone application, a free application called "Local Books."

Local Books resembles popular dining apps like LocalEats or UrbanSpoon—but for book lovers. It shows you local bookstores, libraries and bookish events wherever you are or plan to be. Local Books is powered by LibraryThing Local, the LibraryThing member-created database of 51,000 bookstores and libraries around the world. Events too are drawn from LibraryThing Local. Notably, since last night we've had a four-fold increase in events, as we started pulling in events from Barnes and Noble, Borders, Waterstones and Indigo/Chapters, as well as IndieBound.

Features include:

  • Search for venues (bookstores and libraries) as well as events near your current location using the iPhone's built-in location features.
  • Search for venues and events at any location or by name.
  • Venues can be sorted by distance, name, or type.
  • Venues are color coded, following the maps on LibraryThing Local (colors correspond to the colors used on maps in LibraryThing Local).
  • Each venue has a detail page with a map. Tap it to jump to the iPhone Maps application.
  • Venues often sport a description, clickable website and phone number links, events, and a photo.
  • You can favorite locations and events, and there's a "Favorites" list where you can find them.

2010 U.S. Statistical Abstract just released

The Statistical Abstract of the United States, published since 1878, is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. Robert Samuelson of the New York Times said in a recent article that he often starts a column in the Stat Abstract because it substitutes evidence for speculation. That is a great idea and here are a few gems from the most recent issue:

Food is cheaper here than almost anywhere else. In 2007, only about 6.9 percent of U.S. consumer spending went for food at home; Germans spent more (11.4 percent), as did Italians (14.5 percent) and Mexicans (24.2 percent). Low food prices may contribute to Americans' obesity. In 2006, about 34 percent of U.S. adults were judged obese, triple France's rate (10.5 percent) and four times that of Switzerland (7.7 percent).

Three-quarters of Americans (76.1 percent in 2007, to be exact) get to work by driving alone. Only 10.4 percent carpool, while 4.9 percent use public transportation and 2.8 percent walk. On average, Americans spend 25.3 minutes commuting each way.

Americans commit suicide at fairly low rates, 10.2 for every 100,000 people in 2004, less than the 11.9 average for all industrial countries or Japan's 20.3 and France's 15.1.

Smoking has declined, from 25.3 percent of adults in 1990 to 19.7 percent in 2007. Five-year survival rates for cancer are up: from 62.4 percent in 1990-92 to 69.1 percent in 1999-2005 for whites; and from 48.2 percent to 59.4 percent for blacks.

Among young adults (18 to 29), Internet usage is almost universal: 92 percent in 2009, up from 72 percent in 2000.

Garbage per person has stabilized; it was 4.5 pounds per day in 1990 and 4.6 pounds in 2007.

In 2007, nearly two-fifths of all U.S. births were to unmarried women, double the share in 1980.

The share of children under the federal poverty line in 2007 (17.6 percent) was almost the same as in 1980 (17.9 percent).

Since 1970, the student-teacher ratio in schools has declined dramatically, from 22 to 1 to 15 to 1 in 2007, with little effect on test results.

By 2050, the U.S. population is projected at almost 440 million, up from 304 million in 2008.

Almost one-quarter of elementary and high school students are immigrants or have immigrant parents.

In 2007, the average American spent 1,613 hours watching TV, the equivalent of 67 days.