From HTML GIANT’s ongoing Oulipo craft notes series comes a technique so simple that anyone can do it. All you need is a dictionary.
The history behind the iconic Esquire cover that depicts Andy Warhol trapped in a swirling vortex of tomato soup. Before photoshop! I have a reproduction of this particular cover hanging in my kitchen, and I have to tell you that I can’t bear to eat canned Tomato soup at all anymore.
Edmund Wilson famously said of the works of H.P. Lovecraft that “the only real horror in most of these fictions is the horror of bad taste and bad art.” In time, however, Lovecraft developed a substantial following, which raises the question of what attracted readers to his work. The answer? “The weird realism that runs through his writings undermines any belief system – religious or humanist – in which the human mind is the centre of the universe.” Related: Ben Dooley on the scariness of House of Leaves.
This is really happening: In February, an IBM-programmed computer will take on former champions (including Ken Jennings) in three games of Jeopardy. (via)
How do readers recover from an abominable weekend but with a reading list, in this case one suggested on Twitter by Jay Varner, a writer and instructor based in Charlottesville. Varner links out to 12 articles about “why so many continue to believe an unequivocally false historical narrative surrounding the Confederacy,” including pieces by New Orleans’ mayor Mitch Landrieu, Slate‘s Jamelle Bouie, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose Between the World and Me made our roundup from last year of the best political fiction (yes, we do realize it’s decidedly not fiction).
Harvard and MIT are partnering for an MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) known as edX. Currently, similar offerings are available from Stanford, Princeton, UPenn, and the University of Michigan. Unfortunately edX and others like it will grade student papers by utilizing “crowd-sourcing” and “natural-language software.” Oh, geeze. Not that again.