Despite your lifelong aversion to robots and crash-test dummies, the Uncanny Valley might not actually be real. At Boing Boing, Maggie Koerth-Baker looks at the evidence that unsettling dolls are just that, unsettling.
James Gleick, writing for the New York Review of Books, looks at how the Library of Congress has begun “stockpiling the entire Twitterverse, or Tweetosphere, or whatever we’ll end up calling it” in order to create a modern-day “library of Babel.” I’ll admit that it sounds insane to collect the tweets of ~500 million users, so instead I offer an alternative. Let’s just record everything RT’d by Pentametron2013 for posterity, eh?
A recent survey of 19th century British literature uncovered advertising subtly placed within classic texts by authors like Dickens, Austen, and Thackeray. From Vanity Fair, for example: “‘My sisters say she has diamonds as big as pigeons’ eggs,’ George said, laughing. ‘How they must set off her complexion! Surely she avails herself of Madame A.T. Rowley’s Toilet Mask (or Face Gloves)…’” (via Book Bench)
In Meg Wolitzer’s new YA novel Belzhar, a group of teenagers packed off to an idyllic boarding school learn that they have the ability to undo their most serious traumas. Their discovery is sparked by a writing assignment in a class on Sylvia Plath. At Slate, Jennifer Ray Morell connects Wolitzer’s novel to Plath’s classic The Bell Jar. Related: our own Hannah Gersen’s interview with biographer Elizabeth Winder.
Infinite Jest may have “really taken on a foothold as the ‘novel of ideas’ of the late 20th and early 21st centuries” but now it’s also a “novel of legos,” courtesy of Kevin Griffith and his 11 year old son, Sebastian.