This is really happening: In February, an IBM-programmed computer will take on former champions (including Ken Jennings) in three games of Jeopardy. (via)
Albert Uderzo, co-creator of Asterix, announced his retirement yesterday. Since 1977, Uderzo has been the sole author of the popular French comic books, which have sold over 350 million copies worldwide. His successor has yet to be named, though Uderzo said it will be an artist “who has been following us for a long time inside a studio I set up.”
It’s a question that puzzles writers of all stripes: why is so much academic writing so terrible? It’s an issue that’s been a lifelong head-scratcher for the linguist Steven Pinker, who set out to answer the question once and for all. His verdict? It has to do with the meaning of “literary style.”
As if the ebook juggernaut didn’t already have enough steam behind it, The Washington Post says that, “perusing electronically will lighten your environmental impact.” You see, “every time you download and read an electronic book, rather than purchasing a new pile of paper, you’re paying back a little bit of the carbon dioxide and water deficit from the Kindle production process.”
Year in Reading Alum Alexander Chee reviews Rick Moody’s latest release, Hotels of North America. “The present is too cruel for him, and yet he cannot change it, so there is this instead, sentence by sentence, a nod to the past that is really a nod to his own past. A conflation of his nostalgia for the days of his sexual attractiveness and the unencumbered power of white men, all of it dressed up as a love for old words.” To hear more from Moody, check out our recent interview with him.
Despite recently winning the Booker Prize, Howard Jacobson writes a list of his favorite novels about failure for the WSJ: “This category is, of necessity, a crowded one. Novelists are drawn to failure. Those who prosper, or expect to prosper, in the world as it is have no need to re-imagine it.”