Computational linguists Marjan Ghazvininejad and Kevin Knight have created a computer program that uses meter and rhyme to generate more secure, memorable passwords. You could also check out Andrew Kay’s Millions essay on the power of poetry.
With the help of Our Final Hour author Martin Rees, Cambridge will soon open a Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. The Centre will investigate the threats posed by “artificial intelligence, climate change, nuclear war and rogue biotechnology.” To my ears, this sounds an awful lot like Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, which was memorably depicted in John Jeremiah Sullivan’s “Violence of the Lambs.”
Writing about European immigration laws for the London Review of Books, Jeremy Harding drops this excellent line: “Perhaps we should agree to think of rights and values as limited resources, and admit that Europe is now caught in a bitter struggle over who can or can’t access them.”
The New Yorker announced that their literary blog, The Book Bench, will henceforth be called Page-Turner. The name change signals a “building on the work of the Book Bench blog, and expanding on it.” In an inaugural post, Ryan Bloom translates the deceptively simple first line of The Stranger.
In the late fifties, an old flame of Samuel Beckett, Ethna MacCarthy, fell ill and died of throat cancer in Dublin. Around this time, female voices began to enter Beckett’s work, which up until that point had featured almost exclusively male characters. Was there a connection? In a review of a new edition of Beckett’s letters, Fintan O’Toole suggests that there was. You could also read Elizabeth Winkler on the author’s bilingual oeuvre.