“Every one of these books is a herd of animals.” The Atlantic reports that a group of archaeologists and geneticists in the UK have used mere crumbs of parchment to study the DNA of several thousand-year-old illuminated manuscripts, the pages of which were made of cow and sheep skins.
John Sunyer checks in with Franco Moretti at the Stanford Literary Lab. Moretti, a 63-year-old professor of English, is the author of Distant Reading – a book in which he lays out his long-held belief that “literary study doesn’t require scholars to actually read the books.” Rather, he believes in a “new approach to literature [that] depends on computers to crunch ‘big data,’ or stores of massive amounts of information, to produce new insights.”
In an effort to get consumers to think more consciously about the “human cost” of commercial sugar production, artist Kara Walker has installed “Subtlety,” a large-scale public sculpture in Brooklyn’s iconic Domino Sugar Factory. Meanwhile, Edwidge Danticat explores contemporary labor conditions in the Dominican Republic’s cane fields.