Recommended Reading: Can desire thrive without freedom? On the works of Margaret Atwood and Michel Houellebecq in The Atlantic. Our essay on Atwood’s vision of the future and review of Ben Jeffery’s Anti-Matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism pair nicely.
Recommended Reading: Maria Konnikova on “flow” and first-person shooters.
Where The Wild Things Are, the beloved children’s story written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, arrives in US theaters in cinematic form this Friday, October 16th; see the trailer here. The excellent Spike Jonze (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich) directs.
Neil deGrasse Tyson just continues to fix the world, one piece of astronomical minutiae at a time. Theatergoers sitting through screenings of Titanic 3-D will no longer see an incorrect star field thanks to a “snarky” email sent by Dr. Tyson to director James Cameron.
Even if you’ve already seen the outstanding documentary Wordplay, you’ll still want to check out this Atlantic article on how Will Shortz makes his New York Times crossword puzzles.
Who was it that came up with the idea that a million monkeys in front of a million typewriters would eventually, with their random keyboard smashing, type William Shakespeare’s complete works? Well, you can give the experiment a try here (link from the CC). And while you’re waiting for your monkeys to finish typing Love’s Labor’s Lost, check out some book excerpts I found:Heir to the Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick — excerpt, NYT review, SF Chronicle reviewChain of Command by Seymour Hersh — excerpt, CS Monitor reviewThe Double by Jose Saramago — excerpt, NZ Herald reviewThe Fall Of Baghdad by Jon Lee Anderson — excerpt, WaPo review
Check out this interview with Andi Zeisler, author of We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement. “Capitalism, ultimately, it’s not about equality, it’s not about social justice. It doesn’t care about fixing fundamentally unequal systems that impact humans on an everyday level. Critical thinking is the really important skill, to [ask], does it seem like this is a company or a brand that really cares about women?” Our own Edan Lepucki’s piece on feminist anthems complements the interview nicely.
After some initial mystery leading up to publication, Michael Lewis’s new book Flash Boys is here and its subject is high-speed trading (sometimes called “high-frequency trading) that uses supercomputers and complex trading algorithms to attempt to generate profits through brute force. Lewis has become the most popular writer on Wall Street, giving readers a look behind closed doors. The Times has an excerpt of Flash Boys, while Bloomberg has more detail.