In the near future, Google may use your surrounding sights and sounds to help advertisers target you. Over at Gizmodo, Mat Honan eloquently argues against just this type of thing, and states that “the case against Google is for the first time starting to outweigh the case for it.”
In the late seventies, when Susan Sontag was recovering from cancer, she hired an assistant to help her catch up on correspondence. Her editor recommended Sigrid Nunez, who began working for Sontag and ended up moving in with her. Nunez now recalls the experience with a mixture of gratitude and pain. In Dissent, a look at the economy of creative assistants.
Recommended Reading: This piece on a digital afterlife — duplicating oneself via computer program — which is by turns troubling and oddly reassuring: “The human brain has about a hundred billion neurons. The connectional complexity is staggering. By some estimates, the human brain compares to the entire content of the internet. It’s only a matter of time, however, and not very much at that, before computer scientists can simulate a hundred billion neurons.”
Over at Electric Literature, Lincoln Michel wonders “What’s Wrong with Only Reading Half a Book?” Pair with our own Sonya Chung‘s essay on her list of unfinished reads and the art of “breaking up with books.”
“Most of the time I think of the self as a snare, and I don’t like being trapped in it. I try to reach out beyond my pittance of experience and connect to the world, but it turns out one way to do that is to be honest and accurate about my own life.” Leslie Jamison interviews Charles D’Ambrosio for The New Yorker. Pair with our own Hannah Gersen‘s review of D’Ambrosio’s Loitering.
Read about Hitler’s vacation homes and how they shaped his image via propaganda in an excerpt from Hitler at Home by Despina Stratigakos at The New Republic. We reviewed Ben Urwand’s book The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler, which discusses other propaganda surrounding the Nazi regime.
The Telegraph catches up with John Simpson as he prepares to retire from his role as chief editor for the Oxford English Dictionary. “I used to keep a notebook in my pocket in case I came across new words,” Simpson says at one point. “That worked until I put my trousers in the washing machine.”
Over at the New Yorker, Akhil Sharma argues that “Anton Chekhov’s “Sakhalin Island“, his long investigation of prison conditions in Siberia, is the best work of journalism written in the nineteenth century.” Pair Sharma’s argument, and admiration, with our own Sonya Chung‘s “I Heart Checkov” essay.