Tag Archives: Mark Twain

Loss of data

I was putting together my monthly list of links, when it struck me that some of the pieces were of a type. They were all about information of one form or another and how sometimes, it goes away.

JEOPARDY! wiz Ken Jennings – he won 74 games in a row – gave a TEDx talk at Seattle University in February 2013 called The Obsolete Know-It-All. It runs about 18 minutes, in which he discusses the JEOPARDY! competition with Brad Rutter (human) and the IBM computer named Watson, as. He talks, among other things, about how a part of the brain shrinks when one uses GPS, or uses the cellphone to look up your friends’ numbers. This is one of those issues I respond to viscerally. Looking it up on Google may be more “efficient,” but it doesn’t compare with knowing stuff.

If the technologies fail us – power grid crashes, computers compromised by cyberattacks – what will we still know? What does it all mean in terms of our human interaction? By contrast, 5 ways robots can improve accuracy, journalism quality.

Andy Marx writes about the day he and his grandfather Groucho saved the television show ‘You Bet Your Life’ from ending up in a Dumpster. If he hadn’t answered the phone, the shows would have been lost forever. In the comments, there was an interesting link to a story of how much of our cultural history depends on one person’s decision to preserve something instead of throwing it away.

Speaking of TV, Ken Levine’s comment about the late Bonnie Franklin, and her TV show ONE DAY AT A TIME falling between the cracks prompted the question about why some shows remain perennially popular while others fade out. “It doesn’t necessarily seem to be question of quality.” Interesting responses in the comments section.

Mark Twain Captured on Film by Thomas Edison in 1909. It’s the only known footage of the author.

Finally, since Jaquandor inspired this with his lazy linkage, I appreciated reading what he has to say: When going back to edit your writing, how do you determine what to keep and what to weed out? I imagine novelists in particular whether to exorcise a scene, or just save it for another book.
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My first thoughts about the end of this year’s Boston Marathon. Probably not my last.

February Ramblin'

I think I have an instinctive sense of balance about my blog between the personal and the other stuff (politics, popular culture, etc.). Obviously, that’s been skewed more than a little this month, and frankly, I’m all right with that.

Serene Green- the flower arrangement my office sent to my mother’s funeral (and which we brought to my parents’ gravesite

I received a bushel of great notes of condolences re: the passing of my mother earlier this month. Some came in the form of e-mails, others in comments to various blogposts. I received cards, e-cards, cards with flowers. This doesn’t even count the telephone calls and the face-to-face comments. One that struck me greatly was written by someone I’ve worked with for 17 years:
Continue reading February Ramblin'

Editing literature and the N-word Questions


You’ve probably heard about someone wanting to take the works of Mark Twain and republish them, replacing the word N@$$%! with the word “slave”. I think this is pretty lame as I have previously indicated.

Yet, while I’m not crazy about the word, I’m less bothered by it when it’s 1) used in historic context or 2) to make a particular point. Film critic Roger Ebert got into some hot water using the word recently. He didn’t bother me, but some of the comments I’ve seen in response to his use Continue reading Editing literature and the N-word Questions