25 January 2003

I'm a big fan of Edward Tufte. I own, and recommend, all three of his books. I don't think I'll be adding this item to my collection anytime soon, though:

"Escaping Flatland is a large stainless steel sculpture, consisting of two units, 12 feet high and covering an area approximately 15 x 30 feet. The total weight (entirely stainless steel) is 8,400 pounds. ... $200,000 postpaid"

Those with more robust credit cards than mine can order Escaping Flatland directly from Tufte's site.

Posted 10:01 PM

24 January 2003

2100 words in the last two days, 11,605 since January 1. Chugging along.

Yes, Sheila, I'm working on the Venice project. Put that thing away!

Posted 12:10 PM

22 January 2003

1155 words Monday, 1050 yesterday, for a total of 9505 since January 1. I'm not catching up--my goal was to have 21,000 by now--but at least I'm not falling further behind. I seem to be finally beating this cold, which should do wonders for my productivity.

Posted 03:08 PM

I'm entirely in favor of grassroots letter writing campaigns. I've even participated in a few myself. Still, it's pretty amazing to see that dozens of Americans spontaneously decided to write their local newspapers praising the Bush administration all at the same time using exactly the same words.

I feel sorry for any editor who gets so little reader feedback that he's reduced to publishing direct mail in the Letters to the Editor column. If your local paper has reached that point, please help them out by sending an original letter on a topic important to you. Your chance of being heard is apparently excellent.

Posted 01:47 PM

Bob Gurney was 83. He served in the Korean War. He lived in a Boston apartment for 35 years, but was evicted after the rent increased beyond his ability to pay. Monday night, he froze to death in a shanty underneath the expressway.

The causes of homelessness are complex. A writer friend of mine recently wrote an extended rant about how difficult it can be to overcome the cumulative effects of years of poverty and disability. It's easy to sit in a warm house with a secure job (but how secure is it, really?) and point fingers at "them." But do you really want to live in a society where the best alternative we can offer an 83-year old war veteran, whatever his personal problems, is between the floor of an overcrowded shelter and an unheated hut?

If not, there are lots of things individuals can do to help. Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff offers lots of suggestions.

Posted 12:45 PM

20 January 2003

One of the problems with extremely long copyright terms is that lots of works end up being lost. The copyright holder isn't interested or able to commercially exploit them. In some cases, heirs to an estate or successor corporations may not even know what they have. Meanwhile, scholars and others don't have the resources to track down the rights owner to get permission to use excerpts. This proposal allows abandoned works to enter the public domain, while preserving copyright to those works which do have commercial value.

Posted 01:16 PM

No sooner do I think I'm back on track then I get flattened by some kind of respiratory bug. Sigh. Wrote 2450 words over the weekend, which is good, but that gives me only 7300 since January 1. Some consistency would be nice here.

Posted 01:08 PM


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