Posts tagged books

Here’s to Unsuicide: An Interview with Richard Powers

richard-powers, ecology, trees, culture, nature, books, overstory, 2018

One of our great errors in thinking — another aspect of that unfortunate idea of human exceptionalism that makes it so hard for us to be at home in this world — is that the natural and the man-made are distinct entities. Like all other parts of the branching experiment, we make and are made by the living environment, and we have done so since before we were us. Without the forests of the Santa Cruz mountains, there would be no Silicon Valley. But Silicon Valley will make or unmake the forests of the future. No nature story, no account of environmental struggle would be complete without bringing on-stage all the human technologies that are to us what the invention of flowers and nuts and chlorophyll and mycorrhizal networks are to the forest superorganism. Just as the emergence of tree intelligence forever changed the planet, so the emergence of consciousness (which long predated humans) forever changed the nature of evolution. Cultural transmission is orders of magnitude faster than genetic transmission, and digital transmission has accelerated the speed of culture a hundredfold or more. We may soon seem, to our artificial intelligence offspring, as motionless and insentient as trees seem to us. And here we live, trying to make a home between our predecessors and our descendants.

via https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/heres-to-unsuicide-an-interview-with-richard-powers/#!

What It Is Like to Like

taste, aesthetics, internet, media, books, review, change, advertising

Vanderbilt’s premise is: “We are strangers to our tastes.” He doesn’t mean that we don’t really like what we say we like. He means that we don’t know why. Our intuition that tastes are intuitive, that they are just “our tastes,” and spring from our own personal genome, has been disproved repeatedly by psychologists and market researchers. But where tastes do come from is extremely difficult to pin down. Taste is not congenital: we don’t inherit it. And it’s not consistent. We come to like things we thought we hated (or actually did hate), and we are very poor predictors of what we are likely to like in the future.

via http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/06/20/art-and-taste-in-the-internet-age

The Internet Archive’s Map of Book Subjects

books, search, internet archive, archive, photos, library, images, history

This map offers an alternative way to browse the 2,619,833 images contained in the Internet Archive’s book collection. It shows 5500 different subjects which have been algorithmically arranged by their thematic relationships. The size of each link resembles the amount of images that are available for that topic. Clicking on a link will open the flickr page containing all the pictures for that subject.

http://incubator.quasimondo.com/internetarchive/InternetArchiveBookSubjectsMap.html

A Work in Progress: Notes on Food, Cooking and Creativity

Noma, René Redzepi, books, food, cooking, work in progress

Like the restaurant on which it is based, A Work in Progress is unconventional with a mix of both high and lowbrow elements. It is packaged as a plain looking three-volume set that is bound together by a rubber band. Unwrapping the package, you will discover in ascending size, Snap Shots, a pocket sized book of candid photos taken at Noma; René Redzepi Journal, a plain paperback designed to look like a composition notebook set in typewriter font; and finally the end product, Noma Recipes, a hardback book with beautifully photographed dishes—each one a presentational masterpiece—that were created during the 12-month journaling period.

http://nyjournalofbooks.com/review/work-progress-notes-food-cooking-and-creativity

I’ve Seen Gardens, Compared with Which this Would be a Wilderness

Mute, review, Stanislaw Lem, Summa Technologiae, Martin Howse, books

Stanislaw Lem’s 1964 opus, Summa Technolgiae, has only just been translated into English. Over half a century later, Lem’s work stands as an astonishing feat of future-casting and a profound meditation on how technology, reason and language protect and enclose humanity from empty cosmic indifference.

http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/ive-seen-gardens-compared-which-would-be-wilderness

Algorithmic book writing

algorothms, books, publishing, online, long tail, compiling, scale, book machine

Philip M. Parker, Professor of Marketing at INSEAD Business School, has had a side project for over 10 years. He’s created a computer system that can write books about specific subjects in about 20 minutes. The patented algorithm has so far generated hundreds of thousands of books. In fact, Amazon lists over 100,000 books attributed to Parker, and over 700,000 works listed for his company, ICON Group International, Inc. This doesn’t include the private works, such as internal reports, created for companies or licensing of the system itself through a separate entity called EdgeMaven Media.

http://singularityhub.com/2012/12/13/patented-book-writing-system-lets-one-professor-create-hundreds-of-thousands-of-amazon-books-and-counting/

Urban guides for cyberflâneurs

Maria Popova, Adam Greenfield, Ben Hammersley, utopia, urbanism, architecture, review, books, urbane

Upon opening A smart Guide to Utopia, the first statement you read claims that cities are the true natural habitat of the human race: “Cities are where we are best, where individuals become communities.” Even if we don’t agree with such a manifesto, it is bold enough to catch our attention and hold our interested while discovering the 111 projects from across Europe presented in the book. Nearly all the projects can be described under the motto of tactical urbanism and bottom-up practices. Each chapter starts with a brief essay — “open your mind” — on the future of the city by a selection of writers and researchers including Ben Hammersley, Maria Popova and Adam Greenfield.

http://www.domusweb.it/en/book-review/urban-guides-for-cyberflaneurs/