This might come in handy if you’re trying to escape a bad review, or even avoid hanging out with your family. A team of physicists has developed a theory for “how to cloak a region of space from the quantum world, thereby shielding it from reality itself.” Take that, Harry Potter.
Last week, I followed up the news that “because” may now be used as a preposition by noting that the American Dialect Society had named it their Word of the Year. Now, in The New Republic, John McWhorter argues that the new preposition is used to signal empathy and warmth. (Related: Fiona Maazel on the dangers of bad grammar.)
James Gleick talks to one of the software engineers behind autocorrect, that “impish god” responsible for turning our ids to I’ds and moviestars to Natalie Portmanteaus. In response, Jen Doll wonders whether we love to hate autocorrect “because when it messes up we’re happily reminded that phones and computers are not actually smarter than people.”
“Life is worth less than a line of Baudelaire’s poetry.” These two lyric essays by Chen Li over at Asymptote Journal are economical and well-worth the read. Though Chen Li is from Taiwan, he writes in Chinese; this syllabus of Chinese writing and the “New China” from Casey Walker at The Millions pairs quite nicely.
“After years of reading, teaching, and writing about the book, though, I’ve come to believe that… our understanding of what is comic and what is serious in Huck Finn says more about America in the last century than America in the time Twain wrote the book.” Andrew Levy writes for Salon about childhood, race, and “dedicated amnesia” in Mark Twain‘s controversial classic.
The second issue of Little Brother Magazine (edited by Millions emerita and Toronto resident Emily Keeler) features excellent fiction about scandal-plagued mayor Rob Ford. At The Atlantic Cities, Mark Byrne talks with Emily, who describes herself as “addicted” to the drama surrounding the mayor.
Bat Segundo bags his biggest fish yet: John UpdikeOn their blog, the Freakonomics guys are looking for poker players to help them with an experiment, but the bigger news is that the post reveals a sequel to the bestseller is in the works.Part one of a interview with book designer Paul Buckley of Penguin Book Group – includes lots of examples of his work.John Batelle doesn’t mind that pirated copies of his book The Search are being sold on the streets of Mumbai.
A while back, we reviewed an anthology of work by American poets laureate–that is, those appointed by the President to serve the entire United States. But there are 45 currently-serving state poets laureate, and thousands of city, county, and other poets laureate as well. What exactly do they do?