The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Bob Stepno § The structure of journalism today / 2014-03-10 18:42:32

Happy Birthday, Robin
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I do agree that Facebook takes all of the honor out of remembering your friends’ birthdays. But it also averts all of the drama of forgetting them. So … net win. Post a review of the Prelinger film. And if you get to speak to Rick Prelinger, tell him he better put that sucker up on archive.org under a Creative Commons license. And it better be better than this.

For your birthday, I’m getting you a Facebook gift.

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Magnificient and Fleeting (In Praise of Butter)
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Yum:

The most common mistakes made by home bakers, professionals say, have to do with the care and handling of one ingredient: butter. Creaming butter correctly, keeping butter doughs cold, and starting with fresh, good-tasting butter are vital details that professionals take for granted, and home bakers often miss.

Butter is basically an emulsion of water in fat, with some dairy solids that help hold them together. But food scientists, chefs and dairy professionals stress butter

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Obama As Writer (Well, Co-Writer)
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I’m fascinated by Barack Obama’s conception of himself as a writer, and doubly fascinated by his partnership with younger-than-me speechwriter Jon Favreau. This Washington Post article by Eli Saslow (“Helping to Write History“) indulges both fascinations to the hilt. Enjoy.

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Learning the Classics, Line-By-Line
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Over at Brainiac, Christopher Shea writes about interlineal translation, where each line of text is followed by a native-language (and generally near word-for-word) translations. James Hamilton popularized the method in the early 19th century (interlineal translations are sometimes called “Hamiltonian”), but they’ve fallen out of favor as a method of language instruction in favor of immersion.

It’s really hard to find published interlineal translations, but the writer Ernest Blum says that immersion education has failed and that we ought to resuscitate Hamilton’s pedagogy (or something like it) using texts like the Loeb classics, which have opposing-face translations (a method that’s still much more common). The Loebs aren’t interlineal, but they’re the next best thing.

Wait a minute, though — we’re not stuck with the books we’ve got! We’ve got computers! As long as we’ve got the text, we should be able to represent these books any way we want — as pure foreign-language texts, straight translations, line-by-line, or page-by-page.

If we really want to try giving line-by-line translation a try, someone should design a super-slick front-end for something like the Perseus database that spits out beautiful interlinear translations just for students learning to translate. And make it easy to switch views; in fact, you could do different lessons using different methods.

In fact, I don’t understand why we don’t have crazy rich client applications like Rosetta Stone packed to the gills with classic texts in every language for people to learn to read great books in their original languages. You could add reference sources, digital footnotes, audio recordings (Ian McKellan reading the Odyssey, anyone?) — lots of stuff.

There are so many more things — just simple things, really — that we could be doing with digital texts. As the other great Homer would say, “I could do a lot of things if I had some money.”

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Filial Affection In An Entropic World
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Bottle Rocket.jpg

Bottle Rocket is out on Criterion Blu-Ray. Dave Kehr writes a lovestruck review:

Stylistically,

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What Physicists Like
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My skepticism about the signal-to-noise ratio of Atlantic bloggers has a big asterisk next to it pointing to James Fallows. I like Fallows not least because of his tone — he prefers chiming the triangle to banging the gong, although he can blow the horn when he wants to.

His coverage of the Eric Shinseki and Steven Chu cabinet picks show off Fallows at his blogly best. And today he has a follow-up about the Chu pick, with feedback from a writer (Steve Corneliussen) with contacts in the physics community. (Where else in journalism besides a blog can you cut-and-paste an email without chopping it up, paraphrasing it, or otherwise interjecting yourself all over perfectly well-reported and well-written analysis?)

Read more…

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Th'Constant Moon…
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Video response:

(This marks the Snarkmarket introduction of the fullscreen-only HD video player. More to say about it, but for now, let me know if you run into any bugs.)

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Th'Inconstant Moon …
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Picture 8.png

… is incandescent tonight. Do give a look.

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Best of the Best
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Really, really love the Washington Post’s extended Best Books of the year — better I think than the NYT’s list or their own top tens.

Only serious omission — no poetry. I’d feel worse about this if the other best books list didn’t practically ignore poetry already.

Also, it’s set up as a “holiday guide,” which I think makes it easier somehow to get you interested.

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The Tipping Point
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Question: Is anybody else on board with the notion that the Atlantic‘s blogs have outpaced the mag itself for interestingness? Last month’s issue had a ton of interesting stuff, so I picked it up, and enjoyed it, but kept finding myself going to the respective authors’ spots online to read what they and their commenters wrote about the article. Is it just me?

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