“Many students do not rate their knowledge very highly… they often doubt the possibility of mastering both pen and sword. A problem like this one, I realized not long ago, demands some special assistance. Thus, with all the earnest discretion of a Victorian lady in distress, I have appealed to none other than Mr. Sherlock Holmes.” The New Republic posts an essay on teaching Sherlock Holmes at West Point.
“The myth of the full-time writer is a perniciously sticky one—and it doesn’t help that once in a blue moon a J.K. Rowling does come along, thereby entrenching the cultural delusion that being a full-time writer is a thing that could realistically happen. But the truth is that being a full-time writer is basically just the literary equivalent of a career in the NBA.” Liz Entman Harper talks with seven writers about the struggle to balance writing with a day job, and those interviews pair well with our own Emily St. John Mandel‘s look at “Working the Double Shift.”
The Financial Times takes a detailed look at the Financial Computing Centre, home of future quants, where Michael Galas is working to build “a hedge fund without employees” and a crop of PhD candidates are using social media to predict the markets. Could these algorithms one day spill beyond finance, and influence education or social sciences?
When Adrienne Raphel got to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she found a group of writers as addicted to fonts as she was. Over time, a “font subculture” developed among the poets, who settled on particular fonts as their signatures, at least for a while. At The Paris Review Daily, she writes about her typographic bent. Pair with our own Garth Risk Hallberg on the use of fonts in publishing.
Implicit in a lot of the discussions about how negative a book reviewer can be is a question of utility: is a book review an act of public service or a work of art in itself? In the Times, James Parker and Anna Holmes debate the purpose of the review. Sample quote: “I’d argue that a majority of the reading public doesn’t necessarily benefit from the sorts of reviews for which artistry is the point.” You could also read our own Matt Seidel’s hypothetical worst review ever.
Twitter lets writers think in public, and it’s changing the way we write, Thomas Beller argues in The New Yorker. “Does articulating a thought in public freeze it in place somehow, making it not part of a thought process but rather a tiny little finished sculpture? Is tweeting the same as publishing?”
Barry Ritholtz, the godfather of financial blogging (and not your typical Occupy Wall Street protester) calls the U.S. a “corporate monarchy” and wonders “Why have the Europeans figured out they are getting screwed, and we haven’t?“