Sunday, April 20, 2014


These are amazing!

Closing tabs

“A body-temperature wallet is a petri dish.” (Via Tyler Cowen.)

Also: the private lives of public bathrooms (via I.H.D.).


Upcoming: Little Women/Girls mashup - see it while you can!

Good but busy week upcoming (still have slightly implausible amount of work to do between now and Wednesday morning): a dissertation defense, an oral exam, the regular weekly meetings and seminars, but also tickets to various friends' artistic enterprises (this, this and this).

I am sad to have finished all three books of Jane Gardam's Old Filth trilogy! And surprised I didn't read them sooner. They are perhaps not quite as much to my taste as Susan Howatch's Church of England books (I prefer a novel's span to be defined by a period of crisis rather than the entirety of the character's life), but they are very good indeed - I will certainly read her other ones. Have been reading a lot of top-secret books for the Tenure Review Advisory Committee - I suppose at the end of the year I could make a few recommendations, as committee membership is public and so is fact of tenuring, once it's gone through final stages of approval.

Highlight of the week: IMAX 3D Island of Lemurs: Madagascar! Only was able to stay for the first two segments of The Mysteries on Thursday evening (I got home at 11pm and still had a couple more hours of work I had to do before Friday morning meetings, really couldn't face getting home a couple hours later than that with remaining work ditto!); not sure it is quite as transcendent as the Sophocles marathon a few years ago (there is unevenness in the switch from one playwright to another, also too many of them want to make the same sophomoric jokes), but many great aspects, and I definitely recommend it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Really I have two committee reports to write by tomorrow morning, but the ritual throat-clearing at the computer before I start to type something more than minimally complicated often includes a catch-up light reading post....

Some YA paperbacks I picked up last time I was at the Bank Street Bookstore: Merrie Haskell, The Princess Curse; William Alexander, Goblin Secrets; Jasper Fforde, The Last Dragonslayer (very appealing series) and then on Kindle the next installment, The Song of the Quarkbeast.

An unmemorable novel by Alexander McCall Smith that I read only because it was set in Cayman, The Forever Girl; one new novel by Victoria Clayton, Stormy Weather, and then two I'd read before (they are delightful, their only flaw is that they are very much all the same as each other), Dance With Me and Out of Love; Ian McDonald, Out on Blue Six; and Jane Gardam, Old Filth. Not sure quite why I haven't read this and sequels already - am now halfway through the second installment.

OK, better get down to business here with report #1....


This Kirkus review of the style book gives a slightly inaccurate impression that I basically just go through saying whether things are good or bad!

Monday, April 07, 2014

The end of the world as we know it

A genuinely charming book trailer for the paperback edition of Annalee Newitz's Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction.

Hands corrected

Hand surgeon James Chang became obsessed with the deformities evident in Rodin's hand sculptures. Now he teaches a class
in which students pick one of Rodin’s hands, diagnose the problem, and develop a surgical plan to correct it. The course is extremely popular, and Chang says he’s been fascinated by the reasons students are drawn to it. “One woman was a butcher’s daughter, one was the organist for the Stanford Chapel,” he said. “I had a baseball player from Stanford who was interested in the mechanics of grip, and a student who was partially paralyzed and wanted to learn more about his condition.”

Internet of Cattle

Farmers are connecting their cows to the internet. (Via Tyler Cowen.)