Links for 2009-11-07

  • "This place is not a place of honor.
    No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here.
    Nothing valued is here.
    This place is a message and part of a system of messages.
    Pay attention to it!
    Sending this message was important to us.
    We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture."
  • "Welcome to our Best of 2009 top 10 lists for Science. We've put our editors' picks and our 2009 bestsellers for each category on the same page together, so you can easily compare. Click on "Editors' Picks" to see our editors' list of the best science books of 2009, including our top pick, The Age of Wonder, Richard Holmes's delightfully masterful group biography of the adventurous scientists of Britain's Romantic age. And click on "Customer Favorites" to find the bestselling science books at during 2009"
  • "We were talking about college preparation, and the various options and obstacles. In reference to a program that seems like it should work, but somehow doesn't, she mentioned that so many students move during the course of a year that it's not unusual for a majority of a class to turn over during the year. When students bounce from town to town -- it sounds like most of the moves are relatively local -- it's hard for any single program to gain serious traction, no matter how well-run it might be.

    That seemed hard to accept, so I asked around on campus for the last few days to see if others had heard or seen the same thing. They had. Apparently, one of the features of our local low-income community is extremely high transience. "

  • "It can't be easy being the guy who has to introduce Albert Einstein. But it helps if you're George Bernard Shaw."
  • "You know how some people are ideas writers, and their ideas are so amazingly brilliant that you don't care they can't really write character and plot? Ted Chiang is like that, except that his characters and plots are that good as well. His stories all arise out of astonishing SFnal ideas, they couldn't happen except in the contexts where they do happen, but they have characters with emotional trajectories that carry them along as well. He always gets the arc of story exactly right, so you know what you need to know when you need to know it and the end comes along in perfect timing and socks you in the jaw. "
    (tags: sf books tor review)

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