The More You Know

How Bookstores Survive

Here's a look at how six great independent bookstores make it in the big city, which is actually a question I have always wanted answered. The Park Slope Community Bookstore has done it in part by catering to Park Slope's child-related needs, which seems obvious; BookCourt did it by buying their building and, eventually, the building next door. PowerHouse Arena, as anyone who goes to things knows, does it by tirelessly having things to go to (and lots and lots of space rental). The lovely Greenlight books did it through canny investment and fundraising and by being a bookstore where a bookstore was needed. And Sarah McNally of McNally [...]


Watch Writers Get Rejected In Real Time

4th #millionqueries: far future scifi. begins with rhetorical question (and protag. waking up.) Pass.

— Jennifer Udden (@suddenlyjen) January 23, 2013

10th #millionqueries: literary fiction, story of abuse, obv personal subject but writing doesn't draw me in, nice pass.

— Jennifer Udden (@suddenlyjen) January 23, 2013

Watching Jennifer Udden, a literary agent at Donald Maass, live-tweet her slush pile reading today may upset and offend some people. But it's fascinating AND educational! No seriously, take some notes.


Why Sleep Just Once a Day When Two Feels So Right?

Is it possible that we've completely rewritten our understanding of how people have always lived? Sure it is! In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks.

His book At Day's Close: Night in Times Past, published four years later, unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern—in diaries, court records, medical books and literature, from Homer's Odyssey to an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria.

TWO SLEEP SHIFTS A DAY! So I'm accidentally doing it right!


Liberal Organization Has Liberal Agenda!

Part one of The Daily Caller's hit series on Media Matters for America went up last night. They accuse the progressive and political 501(c)(4) organization of declaring a war on Fox News! (The war on Fox News was described by Media Matters CEO, David Brock, as a "war on Fox.") So yes, part one here reveals that Media Matters seeks to discredit right-wing talking heads, which is its actual, published agenda, and that it claims the scalps of the likes of Don Imus and Lou Dobbs. Elsewhere, you can already learn on Wikipedia that LIBERALS like Hillary Clinton and Jon Podesta were "openly involved" in Media Matters from [...]


After a Silent Year, Firmuhment Returns

Guess who's back, after a year of silence? Firmuhment, the world's most legendary Tumblr proprietor. Today he's reading an Elisa Gabbert poem to us! Where has he been? What has he seen? I don't really know, but I feel like I'll figure it out between the lines.


Can You Name That Media Company?

"The Hungarian companies get all of ___'s international income, which flows in from 13 different salespeople in ten different countries and which, since it’s international income flowing to a Hungarian company owned by a Cayman Islands parent, is basically pure profit which never comes close to being taxed in the U.S. The result is a company where 130 U.S. employees eat up the lion’s share of the U.S. revenues, resulting in little if any taxable income, while the international income, the franchise value of the brands, and the value of the technology all stays permanently overseas, untouched by the IRS." The answer may surprise (and/or bore) you.


I Just Learned How To Change The Subject Line In The New Gmail

This scathing denunciation of the new Gmail interface can also be used as a handy tool for those of us who have been baffled by it so far but can't be bothered to figure out how to use it.


Facebook Is, At Last, Useful

Hey, Facebook is good for something! It's allowing researchers to gather lots of data on people's behavior before they kill themselves.


The End of Privacy: Address Books with Friends

So all the apps that take and upload and store your address books (which is a lot of them!) are making changes to their apps! By… sort of vaguely notifying you that they are doing so. So… not by not doing that. For instance, Twitter: "In place of 'Scan your contacts,' we will use 'Upload your contacts' and 'Import your contacts.'" Ha! Good one. Because "upload" really means "we're going to store every phone number and address and name of everyone in your phone for 18 months." WELL? Once people started digitally "signing" that endless user agreement in iTunes without clicking through all 36 or 42 pages [...]


What Does Hitler's Accent Sound Like to Germans?

"His 'r's seem to be rehearsed for carry-me-across-the-fieldishness."


Do You Think Guy Ritchie Regrets His Adult Circumcision?

Madonna's done a lot in this world but one of the most radical changes she's made is to the character of her former husband: she “keeps a kosher home, she observes Shabbat, she circumcised her son and had her [ex-] husband circumcised," reports one of her sort of spiritual advisers. That is one of those things that, after a divorce, you probably look back upon with a wide range of emotions.


Your Street Probably Smells Like Semen Right Now—But It Might Not Next Spring

On a mild April night some years ago, I walked past a college dorm in New Haven and smelled something I couldn’t place. It reminded me vaguely of swimming pools. Was it chlorine? I sniffed again, more deeply than before. Suddenly I knew exactly what it was and hurried away, internally berating an unseen teenage boy. A few evenings later, in the same spot, I smelled it again. Filled with a sense of moral outrage I looked around, I looked up, and identified the culprit: A tree.

More precisely, a Callery Pear, or Pyrus calleryana, a deciduous tree that’s common throughout North America. It blossoms in early spring and produces [...]


Are You a Spammer? You Might Very Well Be!

Did you know that sending out mass emails is often illegal? You perhaps didn't. Particularly if you work as a politics blogger, for which an important part of your job is "blasting out" your stories.

But the deeply flawed CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 codified some mass email behavior, and described what's spam and what isn't. The FTC describes what emails are subject to the Act: "'any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,' including email that promotes content on commercial websites."

So, yes. Your mass email promoting your "content" at Politico or BuzzFeeᴅ or your [...]


Poor Shakira

"The 35-year-old 'Hips Don't Lie' singer immediately alerted fans to the situation, posting on her Twitter account, 'Omg what just happened to me! I was attacked by a sea lion!'


Gentrification Restaurants: First Comes Mexican, Then Comes Thai

"According to urban planner Richard Layman, a long-time chronicler of new restaurants’ relation to shifting neighborhood demographics, Thai eateries are generally among the 'second wave' of retailers to set up shop in an up-and-coming part of town. Mexican, or Tex-Mex, usually comes first, in Layman’s view. But Thai is an increasingly prevalent indicator of change, he says." —Understanding gentrification by new restaurants. (We presume the Mexicans take over the leases when the Chinese plexiglass-window places close up; see also Williamsburg, 1996.)


Boy George's Art Policies Head and Shoulders Above the Met's

"Musician Boy George has agreed to return an icon of Christ to the Church of Cyprus that came into his possession after the 1974 Turkish invasion." Boy George has better policies on art repatriation than most American museums do!