You know those annoying puzzles where you type in the letters so the computer knows you’re not a computer creating a fake account or sending spam? A group from Carnegie Mellon is using these “Captchas” to help digitize books. ReCaptcha is a special type of Captcha that displays words that book digitization software is having trouble deciphering. So, by letting the computer know you’re not a computer, you can help some other computers digitize our books.
Alcohol. Promiscuity. LSD. All three are said to inspire creative minds. And if Sarah Dunant’s well-researched new novel, Blood and Beauty, is credible, we can add a new one, syphilis, to the list. (Wait, what?)
Joshua Cohen’snew novel has gotten a lot of attention for its odd relationship with Internet culture. In The New Republic, he talks with Gideon Lewis-Kraus in a Gchat, explaining his view that “it’s time writing took something back from the Internet.” Pair with Cohen’s Millions interview from 2012.
When did Samuel Beckett’s “fail better” become the motto of Silicon Valley? At Slate, our own Mark O’Connelltraces the history of the phrase. “Fail Better, with its TEDishly counterintuitive feel, is the literary takeaway par excellence; it’s usefully suggestive, too, of the corporate propaganda of productivity, with its appeals to ‘think different’ or ‘work smarter’ or ‘just do it.'”
“I lived alone for three years in Brooklyn, paying $1,700 a month ($61,200 all told) for a pretty but small one-bedroom within eyeshot of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway. I also spent $400 a month on health insurance. At one point I thought I would find another full-time job after finishing the book, but then I must have convinced myself that teaching yoga part time would better enable my writing.” Emily Gould on poverty and the writing life.