The musicians, too, seem to be bearing it all with good grace. I say as much to Vick, who is watching proceedings, as he expects at least some of the audience to, recumbent on the floor. He nods, then reconsiders. “I don’t think Bruce on the trumpet’s very happy about it,” he says. He has a point: swaying gently a few feet from the ground, Bruce on the trumpet is wearing the kind of rictus grin that conveys abject terror.Some say that social media is the magic bullet for self-published authors of e-books. Ewan Morrison disagrees, forcefully. Quote unquote:
Let’s look at the stats. If we take Margulies and Penn seriously, how much time does this leave for actually writing? Most self-epublished authors hold down a day job, so let’s give them three hours a day, after work, for author activities. That’s 1,095 hours a year. Reduce this to 20% (since you have to spend 80% of your time covertly self-promoting online), and you get 219 writing hours a year, which works out as 18 12-hour days to write a book.Some say that Noam Chomsky is a deep thinker, an oracle and a miracle. (Via David Thompson) Benjamin Kerstein disagrees, forcefully. Quote unquote:
Third, he is essentially the last totalitarian. Despite his claims otherwise, he's more or less the last survivor of a group of intellectuals who thought systemic political violence and totalitarian control were essentially good things. He babbles about human rights all the time, but when you look at the regimes and groups he's supported, it’s a very bloody list indeed.Not reading but watching: A.D. Miller of the Economist, and author of Snowdrops, gives his views on the Pussy Riot case and what it says about free speech in Russia.
Rational optimist Matt Ridley says the world is not going to end soon. Good. He also explains why. Quote unquote:
Just as policy can make the climate crisis worse—mandating biofuels has not only encouraged rain forest destruction, releasing carbon, but driven millions into poverty and hunger—technology can make it better. If plant breeders boost rice yields, then people may get richer and afford better protection against extreme weather. If nuclear engineers make fusion (or thorium fission) cost-effective, then carbon emissions may suddenly fall. If gas replaces coal because of horizontal drilling, then carbon emissions may rise more slowly. Humanity is a fast-moving target. We will combat our ecological threats in the future by innovating to meet them as they arise, not through the mass fear stoked by worst-case scenarios.Another stupid story (just as stupid as this one), this time in the Sunday Star-Times, claiming that New Zealanders don’t buy or read New Zealand books. The second sentence tells us:
Pia White had more than 500 readers fill out a survey questioning their reading tastes and views about New Zealand literature.What the online version doesn’t give is the intro in the print version:
Why don’t Kiwis read New Zealand fiction? That’s the question Victoria University student Pia White posed in a research paper for her masters degree.Degree in what? Did the paper get a pass? What exactly is its status? How did the journalist come to know about it? How were the “more than 500 readers” selected? Is that enough for a useful result? What were the survey questions? Bah humbug.
Finally, my colleague Paula Browning of Copyright Licensing NZ has an op-ed piece in the Herald about the effect of digital piracy on local authors. Quote unquote:
What the law really needs is a damn good editor armed with a heavy blue pencil. If our copyright law could be written half as well as the books by our Kiwi authors, we would have a law that reflects modern commercial reality and provides a welcome boost to an important industry.