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If anyone's reading this from the playa, give a shout. That's too cool a convergence. ^_^

Worth a listen, for some classically styled rock: Dirty Little Rabbits, out of Iowa. And 2K Games kindly made Gary Schyman's orchestral soundtrack for Bioshock available for free.

Ahhh. It's a bright, warm day, the Horde is away, and might not be back tonight.. maybe I should take advantage of the quiet time to watch all of Sátántangó? Or I could check up on this "outdoors" thing..

Here's a fan video for I Just Wanna Fuckin' Dance, from Jerry Springer: The Opera, set to a host of dance routines from throughout cinematic history. If you're feeling low, play this right now. But why wait until then? ^_^

rabitguy noticed the full interview of Fountain Hughes, from which samples were taken for the track mentioned last time, is available online. 'Strangely, one of the first things Mr. Hughes says, by way of introducing himself to posterity, is: "My grandfather belonged to Thomas Jefferson." As if, after 100 years of living, that's what he's most proud of – that his grandfather had been the slave of a great and famous white man.'

Finally, one of my favorite pieces by Fel is available fully finished off, in color - "Soro and Electricity". Not at all worksafe. =:D

If you only see one rabbity YouTube clip this month, make it this one, wherein one unsuspecting pooch discovers what it's like to become a lapine hurdle. The dog's expression at the end of it is priceless. =:D

ethethlay came across rather a cool Siggraph 2007 presentation, 4.5 minutes long, on "content aware" image resizing - rather than simply rescaling everything linearly, as we're accustomed to, this method pays attention to an image's features, preserving what it sees as the most noticeable portions, retaining their size throughout, at the expense of less important portions. Nifty seeing it in action - there are plenty of examples, including making people seamlessly (and effortlessly) vanish from a scene by denoting them as unimportant.

If you want to see John Pilger's The War on Democracy, it's now up on Google Video, as is the second part of The Enemies of Reason.

Damn, but Fixed Noise's Otto is a fun library to play with. What's not to like about an IDM collection - Kontakt 2-based, as usual, offering quite a large degree of freedom in manipulating the samples supplied - with presets like Warm Goat Tung?

'The tone in the mortgage market is "exceptionally cautious," Lonski [chief economist at Moody's Investors Service] said. "You're looking at what will be in all likelihood the worst case of home price deflation since the 1930s."' One good news resource on these matters is the Implode-O-Meter, tracking who's going under; their tally stands at 135 broke US lenders since late 2006.

Britain's new Violent Crime Reduction Act apparently includes provisions to ban people from a given area, taking their photo, fingerprints, and DNA sample, on the suspicion they may be about to cause trouble; no actual offense is required. Ostensibly, this is in order to tackle alcohol-related violence in cities.

The US housing/credit fun continues: "[For July] There was a 93% jump in filings for repossessions on the same month a year ago, and a 9% rise on June's figure, property firm RealtyTrac said." Meanwhile, one of the leading house builders, Toll Brothers, declared net earnings of $27m for the quarter, compared to $175m for the same period last year, including an $89m charge due to land values dropping. "Low- or no-documentation-required jumbo loans had accounted for 43 percent of the builder's sales, according to Bank of America."

BigBlueFox now has Anthrocon 2007 on offer - 3h40m in total, yours for only a 1.2GB download. ^_^

One in four US adults read no books in the past year, according to an AP-Ipsos poll, with the "typical number" being four books in the previous twelve months. I dare say this isn't anything new, though; the co-worker who drove me up to Portland back at the fossil factory was quite open about almost never having read any books, other than essential materials like manuals. (I wonder if this survey included graphic novels? There are worlds of wonder in, say, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, Cerebus, or Promethea)

mycroftb uncovered this talented sculptor bunny (NSFW, surprisingly enough). =:D

A quietly inspiring tale (with photo) of a fourteen year old Labrador, blind and deaf, whose companion, a ginger cat, plays the part of her guide, steering her away from obstacles, and leading her to food.

Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" as you've never seen it performed before - quite something. And there's lapinity to be found, too. ^_^ (Thanks to plushlover!)
Oh.. the book thing - that's got to be put in perspective...

How many 'pages' of text do you read every day on the Internet?

I suspect people are actually reading more - just not in the form of books.
Oh, unquestionably. The trouble, I suppose, is that people may be reading fewer complete works of some kind, whether factual or fictional, in favor of more conversation. Not that the latter's a bad thing, certainly, especially when it helps span distances, and even cultures. I suppose this follows the trend the music industry's seen, with the rise of the net - they're both seeing fewer big hits, and much lower sales of those leaders, in good part due to the rise of independent musicians and authors. Both can now publish on the net, and be found, satisfying even the most diverse of interests. (And in the case of music and visual works, the barrier to entry's now relatively trivial - there's no need to spend thousands on synthesisers or physical instruments, when something like Garageband and a $99 Keystation 49e can accomplish so much. Spend a few hundred, and you're into the level of Reason, Logic Express, and a wealth of sample libraries and softsynths)

Certainly, I have very little to do with paper now - in part, that's just a strong dislike for the wretched stuff, having had to move boxes of it in and out of storage and homes, usually leaving much of it inaccessible for prolonged periods, sometimes losing it along the way; in part, the lure of conversation - I still enjoy good cinema as much as ever, but given the choice between such a passive experience, and being able to enjoy some degree of company online, the latter tends to win out.
As a professional librarian who provides not only print media but internet access and audiovisual media, my observation would indicate that no, the average person is not reading more as a result of access to the internet. At least, no unless you count "o rly? an what did she say?" as reading or writing. The average internet user that I see spends time in chat rooms or on instant messengers, or hunting for and printing off pictures of celebrities and other such drivel. More than half of our internet printing consists of photographs rather than text.

Book circulation is down. Demand for print magazines is down even more. Demand for DVDs is skyrocketing. I think that says it all.
You may be right - but there's a small flaw in your analysis. You're assuming that people not going to libraries = people not reading. I believe you're right that book and print magazine circulation has gone down, but I can cite from my own experience that my use of libraries has essentially dropped to zero, while in fact, I'm reading more than I ever have.

Similarly - your persistant internet users tend to be people who can't afford their own internet connection - and so not surprisingly, you're getting a bunch of skews in that sample.

Now, are people using the internet for IM and porn? Of course - but that's not a gauge in and of itself of other uses. Consider this scenario: suppose that pre-internet 10% of the population used libraries, 20% bought books and magazines and 70% just watched TV or did other things. Then post-internet, 5% used libraries, 10% bought books, 60% used the internet for a mix of reading, IMing, porn and so on, and 25% watched TV or did other things. You'd see it as a significant decline in reading - and not seeing what the 60% using the net is doing. Clearly it's not 100% for reading, in fact only 1/3 of that has to be reading to actually increase reading levels.

So, that brings us to two issues: how much internet use is reading and how much of that reading is 'good' reading. I doubt that most people on the net are sitting down and reading entire novels that way. In that, I agree with you. However, I think reading newspapers and magazines has been supplanted with reading the online versions and subject specific 'pro-blogs'. Cites like Arxive where physics preprints are archived makes accessing academic literature cheaper and easier.

I guess my concern is that I've heard this before - when TV became a major entertainment and information source, people were convinced that books were dead and reading would quickly become a lost art. Now it's the internet. The thing is, most of what people do on the internet is reading.

That's already an improvement for a lot of people who would never have read in the past.
Did you look at the document I cited? Validly gathered statistics do actually indicate that reading has declined significantly in the US ever since the introduction of television. The study indicates that this has really happened. It's not just someone spouting theories.

I left a lot of details out because I didn't want the comment to be any longer. Our library's service area currently has a population of 9000 or so according to the Census Bureau. Looking back to when the population was 6000, the number of active library card holders has remained almost the same. So library users are a declining portion of the population. The actual number is about 2200, So it has dropped from about a third of the eligible population to less than a fourth over a ten year period. Library cards are free to anyone living in the city and over age six, BTW, so cost isn't a factor.

A survey of our computer users indicates that most of them actually do have computers and internet access at home. However, most have only dialup access. Broadband is not readily available here in town, and all but unavailable outside the city limits. They come to use our computers because the connection is faster.

My own statistical analysis of the websites being used (no, I don't know who went to what site, just which sites were used how many times) indicates that most of what is going on at those machines is not reading of either news or any other kind of text, unless you count myspace and facebook as reading. Having taken a look at those sites, I don't consider them to be significant contributors to either literacy or thought. Even LJ, laden as it is with drama and childishness at times, would be better in my opinion, but it is hardly ever used.

When an increasing number of people can stand facing a sign that says "COPIER" and has an arrow pointing at the machine, and ask "Do you have a copier?" or "Where is the copier?" I can't help but believe that either it is too much effort to read the word "copier" or else they are unable to do so.