The prominent literary critic Marjorie Perloff has recently begun using the term “unoriginal genius” to describe this tendency emerging in literature. Her idea is that, because of changes brought on by technology and the Internet, our notion of the genius—a romantic, isolated figure—is outdated. An updated notion of genius would have to center around one’s mastery of information and its dissemination.
Perloff has coined another term, “moving information,” to signify both the act of pushing language around as well as the act of being emotionally moved by that process. She posits that today’s writer resembles more a programmer than a tortured genius, brilliantly conceptualizing, constructing, executing, and maintaining a writing machine.
via The Chronicle of Higher Education.
You’re a 16-year-old Muslim kid in America. Say your name is Mohammad Abdullah. Your schoolmates are convinced that you’re a terrorist. They keep typing in Google queries likes “is Mohammad Abdullah a terrorist?” and “Mohammad Abdullah al Qaeda.” Google’s search engine learns. All of a sudden, auto-complete starts suggesting terms like “Al Qaeda” as the next term in relation to your name. You know that colleges are looking up your name and you’re afraid of the impression that they might get based on that auto-complete. You are already getting hostile comments in your hometown, a decidedly anti-Muslim environment. You know that you have nothing to do with Al Qaeda, but Google gives the impression that you do. And people are drawing that conclusion. You write to Google but nothing comes of it. What do you do?
This is guilt through algorithmic association…
via danah boyd | apophenia
With the planned settlement between Google and book publishers still on indefinite hold, a legal battle by proxy has started. Google partnered with many libraries at US universities in order to gain access to the works it wants to digitize. Now, several groups that represent book authors have filed suit against those universities, attempting to block both digital lending and an orphaned works project.
The suit is being brought by the Authors’ Guild, its equivalents in Australia, Quebec, and the UK, and a large group of individual authors. Its target: some major US universities, including Michigan, the University of California system, and Cornell. These libraries partnered with Google to get their book digitization efforts off the ground and, in return, Google has provided them with digital copies of the works. These and many other universities have also become involved with the HathiTrust, an organization set up to help them archive and distribute digital works; the HathiTrust is also named as a defendant.
via Authors’ Guild sues universities over book digitization project.
Different languages are spoken at varying speeds but thanks to correlated differences in data-density, the same amount of information is conveyed within a given time period.
via Kottke’s The speed and density of language.