Sometimes library fines can add up. A man returned a book that was overdue by 41 years and had a fine of $299.30. A 47 year overdue book had a fine of $345.14. And other books have been so overdue that libraries give up altogether on collecting fees. (US President George Washington, for example, borrowed The… Continue reading What Happens When a Library Stops Charging Late Fees?
Reading is more dangerous than I thought. Not only is reading while walking cause for concern, but reading in bed may also be a problem. At least people who lived during the 1800’s thought it was. Like cigarettes are today, reading in bed was a fire hazard. People needed candlelight to see. If they drifted… Continue reading According to History, Reading in Bed Makes Me Evil
“I had traveled from Spain into Morocco and from there south to the Atlas Mountains, at the edge of the Sahara Desert…one night, in a youth hostel that was more like a stable, I woke and walked out into a snowstorm. But it wasn’t the snow I was used to in Minnesota, or anywhere else… Continue reading Friday Quick Quote: ‘The End of Night’
Losing the remnants of the past is one of the nightmares of historians. There are so many fragments that simply don’t survive the march of time, and as they disintegrate so too does our ability to understand the past. The modern era and its technologies raise new questions about how archivists, historians, and other interested… Continue reading How the Library of Congress is Trying to Archive Twitter
“Lions at zoos often pace along the sides of their enclosures. They walk the same paths over and over and over again, so many times that they wear deep furrows into the ground. Sometimes they walk those routes because they are anxious. Other times they walk to keep an eye on their territories. And in other… Continue reading Reading While Walking May or May Not End in Disaster
I’ve talked about my fascination with language before, but sometimes writers need a little help creating words that make sense in their nascent worlds. I recently found something that streamlines that process. Vulgar (pardon the terrible name) is a constructed language generator. The generator creates fully realized languages; if you were truly ambitious you could… Continue reading Language Generator for Fantasy and Sci-Fi
She began to whisper something in my ear. It’s the strangest thing about poetry — you can tell it’s poetry, even if you don’t speak the language. You can hear Homer’s Greek without understanding a word, and you still know it’s poetry. I’ve heard Polish poetry, and Inuit poetry, and I knew what it was… Continue reading Free Neil Gaiman Stories, Cannes, and “How to Talk to Girls at Parties”