Posts Tagged: Social Science
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When Will The Machines Start Predicting Bestsellers?

In November, Knopf bought a 900-page debut novel by Garth Risk Hallberg for almost $2 million. It’s a tremendous gamble, regardless of the book’s quality, if one that many publishers were happy to make: more than 10 houses bid more than $1 million, according to the Times. Predicting a novel’s fate in the commercial or critical marketplace is a fool’s gambit, as indicated both by works like the first Harry Potter novel, which was repeatedly rejected before becoming, well, Harry Potter, and by expensive flops like Charles Frazier’s Thirteen Moons. The novelist Curtis Sittenfeld said, "People think publishing is a business, but it’s a casino."

But what if publishers [...]

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Rihanna I Would Kill 4 U

It is fascinating to consider the gigantic omissions mainstream media makes in recapping the past year with delicious “Best of [insert year].” These are omissions of substance, but they are not often included in the discourse of popular culture. They are experiences about losing. Losing jobs, lovers, apartments. The losers’ agency—or lack thereof—is manifested in perhaps deciding a preference to “lose,” guesstimating the long-term result will be worth the sacrifice. Of course, other times exogenous factors create a shared reality where you—and this certainly includes me—have limited power in changing one’s conditions. These are the stories about getting broken up with, getting evicted from a home and—by far the worst [...]