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L'Auberge Espagnole - Wikipedia
L'Auberge Espagnole is the first part of the Spanish Apartment trilogy, which continues in the sequels Russian Dolls (2005) and Chinese Puzzle (2013).[5]
watch  film 
3 hours ago
Divan Intervention
University of Iceland's student directory and e-mailed hundreds of female students, indicating a desire to experience the real Iceland with them.
iceland  history  sociology 
3 hours ago
Fact of Fiction? The Legend of the QWERTY Keyboard | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
When a design depends on a previous innovation too entrenched in the cultural zeitgeist to change, it’s known as a path dependency. And this why the new KALQ proposal is so interesting. It attempts to break from the tyranny of Christopher Latham Sholes, whose QWERTY system makes even less sense on the virtual keyboards of tablets and smartphones than it does on a computer keyboards. Is the new KALQ system any different? In some ways, the answer is obviously yes. It has been designed around a very specific, very modern behavior – typing with thumbs. Like the telegraph operator QWERTY theory, the user is determining the structure of the keyboard.
history  science  philo 
2 days ago
Dvorak Layout Claimed Not Superior To QWERTY - Slashdot
The article is in the context of arguing against the conventional wisdom of "first mover advantage" — that the first product to market gains a large entrenchment benefit, such as VHS vs. Beta, MS-DOS vs. anything, etc. It's very much a pro-markets piece.
science  history 
2 days ago
Five unique geothermal hot springs to visit in Iceland | Canadian Geographic Travel Magazine
The English have their pubs, Brazilians have their beaches, and Icelanders have their pools. Set against the lunar landscape of sprawling lava fields, a visit to one of Iceland’s geothermal baths is an otherworldly experience, especially during the winter, when the long nights are often illuminated by the ribboning northern lights.
iceland  tourism 
4 days ago
‘The Left Hand of Darkness’ at Fifty
Of course, The Left Hand of Darkness is literally a guidebook to the fictional world of Gethen, also known as Winter. The book takes the form of a travelogue, roaming around the nations of Karhide and Orgoreyn. And by the time you finish reading, you might actually feel like you’ve been to these places, to the point where you kind of know what their food tastes like and how the people act. But for me, and for a lot of other people, The Left Hand of Darkness also left us with a map that leads to another way of telling stories.


But the highest praise I can give The Left Hand of Darkness is that Le Guin captures the texture of life. This book is full of little moments, bits of sensation and emotion, that show what it feels like to be alive, day after day. Something about the kindness and curiosity in her voice gives substance to all the breadapples and roast blackfish and hot showers and frozen trucks in this book: all the little pleasures and discomforts, the endless struggle and occasional relief of living.
lit  read  writer  writing  scifi  review 
6 days ago
Pop Matters Author of Note: John L. Murphy
Lethem, Leguin, Ireland, Classics, Humanities, Economics, Theology - a real intellectual renaissance man.
read  lit  review 
8 days ago
Yes, Americans Owned Land Before Columbus | JSTOR Daily
There’s a myth that Europeans arrived in the Americas and divided the land up, mystifying Native Americans who had no concept of property rights. In reality, historian Allen Greer writes, various American societies had highly-developed systems of property ownership and use. Meanwhile, European colonists sometimes viewed land as a common resource, not just as individual property.
history  native 
10 days ago
The Economics of Writing a Book -- Carter Phipps
Demystification of the publishing industry and book publishing process, expertly written, based on the author's experience publishing his first book.
iceland  publishing 
11 days ago
Breakeven Analysis for Self vs. Traditional Publishing | Writing for Your Life
Traditional publisher contracts will often times give an author royalties of either 7.5% of a book’s retail price, or 22% of the book’s net revenue to the publisher (this allows discounts to better be taken into account). In either case, this results in roughly $1.20 per book sold that goes to the author.

In a self publishing scenario, looking only at paperbacks sold in the US, using Amazon Createspace, the amount coming to the author would be $5.74 per book for books sold through (You can go to and without even logging in, experiment with different book sizes and retail prices, and see what your royalties would be through a variety of distribution channels.)
iceland  publishing 
11 days ago
Guðni Jóhannesson, Iceland’s Historic Candidate | The New Yorker
he lightly detailed all the ways in which the myths of the monuments were and were not in accord with the facts of history, providing a detached view of what might be called Icelandic Exceptionalism, while still thinking it exceptional. I liked to tell people in New York that our tour guide was now running for President, though the truth is that he never would have been on the bus had his wife, the Canadian writer Eliza Reid, not been running the literary seminar—but, then, he was on the bus, he did have the mike, and he was giving a guided tour.

If there were real issues driving Icelandic politics, beyond personalities, they were mostly environmental. The country had made an amazing rebound, post-2008, that was fuelled mainly by the fisheries—the mackerel schools had miraculously come back—and by a huge boom in tourism that the country’s delicate ecology could hardly endure. “Game of Thrones” is shot, in part, in Iceland exactly because the country looks so ancient and timeless; in truth, its geology is extremely young and extremely fragile.
14 days ago
Iceland's traditional turf houses - Iceland Monitor
In 1910 half of the Icelandic nation lived in turf homes. The number resides as the years go by and as Reykjavik got bigger (little room for turf houses there!). By and in 1960 there were 234 inhabited turf homes in Iceland, most of which were deserted in the next decade.
15 days ago
Opinion | Go Home to Your ‘Dying’ Hometown - The New York Times
I’m ready for a new kind of attention, one directed somewhere between bleak landscapes of ignorance and bigotry, and Pollyanna illusions of the pastoral life. This is where most rural Americans actually live and where some of the most important work is being done.

Maybe a different conversation can start with us, the homecomers. We are bridge builders, skilled at identifying the opportunities for “local adaptation” that Mr. Berry hopes for, able to act as translators across ideological divisions. A recent Gallup poll found that although most Americans live in cities, if given a choice, they would prefer to live in rural areas. What’s stopping them?
usa  culture  history 
15 days ago
Eugenides: Head In A Fog? Reach For 'Herzog' : NPR
There's a little thing I do when I can't write: When I'm feeling sleepy, when my head is in a fog, I reach across my desk, digging under the piles of unanswered mail, to unearth my copy of Herzog by Saul Bellow. And then I open the book — anywhere-- and read a paragraph.
writer  writing 
15 days ago
Travel Writing Doesn’t Need Any More Voices Like Paul Theroux's | The New Republic
Paul Theroux's Deep South didn’t need to be a memoiristic personal journey for Theroux. But unlike his previous works about far-flung places—Mongolia, Argentina, Papua New Guinea—Deep South is about America, and despite his years of self-imposed exile and wandering, Theroux is an American. He may not feel himself to be personally complicit in the South’s problems, but his societal position means that he has benefitted from much that has left those he writes about deprived. He is part of the problem, and Deep South suffers from his refusal to acknowledge this fact. Theroux might object to travelogues that explore only the traveler, but it’s time he learned something from them.
travel  writing  history 
19 days ago
Sorry, but Jane Eyre Isn't the Romance You Want It to Be | JSTOR Daily
But when it was published, the bestselling book incensed readers even as it seduced them. It was condemned as immoral, unfit for women’s eyes, all but fomenting revolution. And for modern scholars, its undercurrents of rage, motherlessness, colonialism, slavery, circus freakery, and even incest (!) are more compelling than its caresses.

To twenty-first-century eyes, it shows a woman who fights for, yet abdicates to, love. To nineteenth-century eyes, it showed a woman who should abdicate to, yet fights for, love. In either century, readers demand that Jane Eyre should do cultural labor that it steadfastly resists. Its author resists our attempts at that labor, too. For Charlotte Brontë, a woman whose life was steeped in stifled near-romance, refused to write love as ruly, predictable, or safe.

[note how we respond differently to the book in different decades, depending on our ethos and needs. Reminds me of E.R. Baraclough's analysis of how our views on Norse Greenland's extirpation have shifted with the years.]

Something else threw cold water on her passions: A letter she received from Britain’s poet laureate, Robert Southey, in 1837. Charlotte had sent the poet a poem of her own, asking whether it was worth pursuing her literary ambitions. But Southey didn’t encourage her. Instead, he warned her against what he called “a distempered state of mind” that would render the mundane life of a woman intolerable. “Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life,” he wrote, “and it ought not to be.” Charlotte wrote back, assuring him she’d try to write as little as possible.

In the 1840s, Jane’s love for herself was so subversive it bordered on revolution. In 2019, her love of Rochester is so shocking it borders on treason. In any era, its relationship to the love it explores is uneasy, volatile. Nearly two centuries after it was published, Jane Eyre confounds every expectation.
read  lit  feminism 
21 days ago
Bill Roorbach | writer
Brilliant non-fiction writer, e.g. "Shitdiggers, Mudflats and the Worm Men of Maine."
writer  writing 
24 days ago
Ebonya Washington | Department of Economics
public economics, political economy, politics & economics
economist  economics 
24 days ago
America’s Professional Elite: Wealthy, Successful and Miserable - The New York Times
Basic financial security, of course, is critical — as is a sense that your job won’t disappear unexpectedly. What’s interesting, however, is that once you can provide financially for yourself and your family, according to studies, additional salary and benefits don’t reliably contribute to worker satisfaction. Much more important are things like whether a job provides a sense of autonomy — the ability to control your time and the authority to act on your unique expertise. People want to work alongside others whom they respect (and, optimally, enjoy spending time with) and who seem to respect them in return.
work  lifestyle  wellness 
26 days ago
The sin of sitzfleisch | Alec Nevala-Lee
The concept of sitzfleisch is popular among writers—Elizabeth Gilbert has a nice blog post on the subject—but it also has its detractors. A few months ago, I posted a quote from Twilight of the Idols in which Friedrich Nietzsche comes out strongly against the idea. Here’s the full passage, which appears in a section of short maxims and aphorisms:

On ne peut penser et écrire qu’assis (G. Flaubert). Now I’ve got you, you nihilist! Sitting still [sitzfleisch] is precisely the sin against the holy ghost. Only thoughts which come from walking have any value.
walking  philo  history 
26 days ago
The Internet Classics Archive | The Odyssey by Homer
Go, then, within the house and busy yourself with your daily duties, your loom, your distaff, and the ordering of your servants; for speech is man's matter, and mine above all others- for it is I who am master here.
books  walking  feminism  greek  lit  humanities  history 
27 days ago
William Carlos Williams - Wikipedia
—Say it, no ideas but in things—
nothing but the blank faces of the houses
and cylindrical trees
bent, forked by preconception and accident—
split, furrowed, creased, mottled, stained—
secret—into the body of the light!

from Paterson: Book I
poetry  writing  art 
28 days ago
Review: In Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Paterson,’ a Meditative Flow of Words Into Poetry - The New York Times
Williams lived and practiced medicine near Paterson, and borrowed its name for his multipart epic poem, which, he wrote, involves “the resemblance between the mind of modern man and a city.” He opens the first of its volumes by declaring, “Rigor of beauty is the quest,” only to ask, “But how will you find beauty when it is locked in the mind past all remonstrance?”

Williams suggests that the answer is “to make a start, out of particulars and make them general,” adding that all we know is our “own complexities.” As Paterson writes, Mr. Jarmusch sometimes fills the screen with particulars — Laura’s face, the crashing falls — superimposing them as if to suggest ideas swirling into words, patterns and poetry.
poetry  fillm  writing 
28 days ago
Evaluating scholarship, or why I won’t be teaching Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism | Blayne Haggart's Orangespace
Which is why I was quite happy to see Evgney Morozov’s masterful, epically long review of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, which gets to the heart of some of the book’s substantive issues.

In his review, which is a wonder of careful thinking and contextualization, Morozov performs a couple of useful services. First, he highlights the extent to which Zuboff’s argument about how surveillance capitalism works rests on a tautology – “surveillance capitalists engage in surveillance capitalism because this is what the imperatives of surveillance capitalism demand” – that leaves they why of the matter unexamined. Second, he places her squarely within an intellectual tradition of “managerial capitalism” and a wider functionalist tradition in sociology associated with Talcott Parsons. Morozov argues that partly as a result of this (unacknowledged) mindset, Zuboff fails to understand the extent to which her critique of surveillance capitalism is actually a critique of capitalism, full stop. This inability to see anything outside the mindset of capitalism accounts for the way the book just kind of finishes without suggesting any real possible paths forward other than, we need a new social movement, and surveillance capitalism must be destroyed and replaced with a better form of (digital?) capitalism.

I hadn’t made those exact connections, and Morozov’s review does a great job in concisely summing up these intellectual frameworks. And if you didn’t know anything about managerial capitalism and Alfred Chandler, or the Italian Autonomists, you could also be forgiven for not making those connections either. I knew very little about managerial capitalism, nothing of Alfred Chandler. I am familiar with Parsons and my only exposure to the Italian Autonomists was by reading Hardt and Negri’s Empire during my PhD, which was enough to convince me that I wanted nothing to do with them.

Morozov’s final conclusion is both persuasive and damning from an academic perspective. The book, he says, could be politically powerful because it is a sharp broadside against two companies – Google and Facebook – that represent a clear and present danger to society. However, it “is a step backward in our understanding of the dynamics of the digital economy.”
history  sociology  socialscience 
4 weeks ago
Iceland Apartments: Reykjavik Is Swamped by Empty Luxury Flats - Bloomberg
celand has a history of booms and busts, and the architect’s venture shows how prone to excesses the nation can be. While hundreds of new luxury apartments remain empty, a lack of affordable housing (according to a recent government report, some 8,000 homes are needed to address the shortages) continues to fuel widespread resentment, poisoning ongoing wage talks between the unions and employers.
4 weeks ago
Iraq War Movie Directed by Kathryn Bieglow: Perils and Addictions of a Bomb Squad - The New York Times
But within those limits, “The Hurt Locker” is a remarkable accomplishment. Ms. Bigelow, practicing a kind of hyperbolic realism, distills the psychological essence and moral complications of modern warfare into a series of brilliant, agonizing set pieces.

The wild card is Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner), who joins Delta after its leader is killed and who approaches his work more like a jazz musician or an abstract expressionist painter than like a sober technician. A smoker and a heavy metal fan with an irreverent, profane sense of humor and a relaxed sense of military discipline, he approaches each new bomb or skirmish not with dread but with a kind of inspired, improvisational zeal.

As he gropes for the wires that will ignite a massive car bomb or traces a spider-weblike cluster of shells buried under a street, he looks like a man having the time of his life. Not that he is frivolous, though to Sanborn he seems insanely reckless. Rather, to quote a Robert Frost poem, James is a man whose work is play for mortal stakes.
watch  film  review 
5 weeks ago
‘Emerging’ as a Writer — After 40 - Jenny Bhatt - LongForm
Till, as a single and childless 40-year-old woman of color, I found myself slipping unwarned down a steep slope toward the verge of disappearance. In workplace, family, and friend gatherings, I was deferring more frequently to the younger, or the coupled, or the oldest. My lone voice carried the least weight at any given time. Beyond a loss of vote and visibility, it felt like an erosion of my self.

This midlife pivot was about more than making time to write. It was also my biggest mustering of courage to reclaim and re-assert my place in the world.
writing  essay 
5 weeks ago
Chris Ingalls - Pop Matters writer
Chris Ingalls
Chris Ingalls is a Massachusetts native who spent the first seven years of his adult life as a broadcast journalist in the U.S. Navy, serving in overseas locations such as Keflavik, Iceland and the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia. He was also a videotape editor for a CBS affiliate television station, a newspaper editor at a military public affairs office in Naples, Italy, and spent 14 years as a video archivist for a Boston-area cancer research institute. He was born in 1969 and has been a rabid music fan since at least 1970, thanks to his three older siblings. He hosted his own music podcast, The Supersonic Time Machine, from 2011 to 2015 and is a frequent guest on the current events podcast Get the Knaak. He is on Twitter @Ingalls1969 and lives in Melrose, Massachusetts, with his wife, son, hyperactive dog and ornery cat.
writer  music  culture 
5 weeks ago
Study shows that Vikings enjoyed a warmer Greenland
Because recent studies concluded that some glaciers were advancing around Greenland and nearby Arctic Canada during the time Vikings lived in southern Greenland, Axford and Lasher expected their data to indicate a much colder climate. Instead, they found that a brief warm period interrupted a consistent cooling climate trend driven by changes in Earth's orbit. Near the end of the warm period, the climate was exceptionally erratic and unstable with record high and low temperatures that preceded Viking abandonment of Greenland. Overall, the climate was about 1.5-degrees Celsius warmer than the surrounding cooling centuries. This warmer period was similar to southern Greenland's temperatures today, which hover around 10-degrees Celsius (50-degrees Fahrenheit) in summer.

In another surprise, Axford and Lasher found that the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)—a natural fluctuation in atmospheric pressure that is often responsible for climate anomalies in the region—probably was not in a dominantly positive phase for multiple Medieval centuries as had been hypothesized. (When the NAO is in its positive phase, it brings cold air to much of Greenland.)

"We found that the NAO could not explain Medieval climatic changes at our site," Lasher said. "That might call into question its use in explaining long-term climate change over the last 3,000 years elsewhere."
So what did cause the Vikings' fortuitously warm climate? Lasher and Axford aren't sure but speculate it might have been caused by warmer ocean currents in the region. The new data will be useful for climate modelers and climate researchers as they seek to understand and predict what might be in store for Greenland's ice sheet as Earth warms rapidly in the future.

"Unlike warming over the past century, which is global, Medieval warmth was localized," Axford said. "We wanted to investigate what was happening in southern Greenland at that time because it's a climatically complex part of the world where counterintuitive things can happen."
iceland  greenland 
6 weeks ago
The Politics of Mannequins, Part III – Mannequins in Art | Thread for Thought
As mannequins have been anatomically perfected and increasingly incorporated into the public sphere via window displays, they have also been utilized by artists other than designers and window dressers. Humans are obsessed with self-representation: in 2-dimensional portraiture, 3-dimensional dummies, and even moving mechanical droids. Even while we understand they’re inanimate objects, when mutated, manipulated, or uncannily accurate, they have tremendous power to attract and repel (I’ll wager some readers were disturbed by at least one image I included). Like few other functional objects, they have the inherent ability to act as commentary on beauty standards, surgical manipulation, sexual taboos, persecution, and the very relationship of reality to its distorted image.
art  writing 
6 weeks ago
Technology of loneliness | Saturday Star
“We are digital mannequins, we disconnect from ourselves as we connect online. We’re becoming like robots: dehumanised.
“For me, love should transcend all this, you should love someone even for their imperfections.”
art  culture  fashion  history 
6 weeks ago
Jonathan Lethem - Wikipedia
In 2007, Lethem explained, "My books all have this giant, howling missing [center]—language has disappeared, or someone has vanished, or memory has gone."
6 weeks ago
Stop-Time - Wikipedia
In his review, Norman Mailer wrote, "Stop-Time is unique, an autobiography with the intimate unprotected candor of a novel. What makes it special, however, is the style, dry as an etching, sparse, elegant, modest, cheerful. Conroy has that subtle sense of the proportion of things which one usually finds only in established writers just after the mellowing of their career."
read  lit  memoir  writing  writer 
6 weeks ago
This Itch of Writing: the blog
advice about writing, publishing recommended by Josh Rolnick
writer  writing 
6 weeks ago
Dinty W. Moore: Of Idle People who Rove About – Sliver of Stone Magazine
And what I saw were homes, beautiful homes, walled homes, windows closed, shutters drawn, the occasional Cadillac Escalante parked in an immaculate driveway, manicured shrubs, ornamental bushes, warning signs on every lawn – “Alarm System installed” – and cars, whizzing past in every direction.

What I didn’t see: birds, squirrels, children, elderly folks out for a stroll, people in their driveways, people on porches enjoying the day, folks walking to the corner market for a quart of milk, or anyone on foot.
walking  history  writer  writing 
6 weeks ago
What Is the Most Poisonous Mushroom? - The Atlantic
he death cap is a global traveler, but only in the past century has it caught its stride. Long after eucalyptus trees and feral cats spread across Australia, long after pigs and mongooses were running loose in Hawaii, Amanita phalloides was still home in Europe, where it grew mostly in deciduous forests and was the leading cause of mushroom poisonings from the Balkans to Russia to Ireland.

The first death caps in North America were identified on the East Coast in the early 1900s. The first in California were spotted on the grounds of the Hotel Del Monte in Monterey in 1938, growing from the roots of a planted, ornamental tree. After that, the species landed hard in the Bay Area, where it is now common, having spread into wild oaks; it is becoming more abundant in California than in its native European habitat. After the Bay Area, it was reported in a string of Pacific Northwest cities, each one farther up the coast.
7 weeks ago
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