* The Next Time Someone Says the Internet Killed Reading Books, Show Them This Chart (2012-Apr-06) [The Atlantic]
… Well, that time never existed. Check out these stats from Gallup surveys. In 1957, not even a quarter of Americans were reading a book or novel. By 2005, that number had shot up to 47 percent. I couldn’t find a more recent number, but I think it’s fair to say that reading probably hasn’t declined to the horrific levels of the 1950s. …
* The Mystery of the Flying Laptop (2012-Apr-08) [New York Times]
… BACK to zero. Until I happened upon a security expert who asked that he not be identified because he has worked on related issues with the Department of Homeland Security. He said that the laptop rule is about appearances, giving people a sense that something is being done to protect them. “Security theater,” he called it.
Mystery solved? Quest completed or at least abandoned, coconuts retired. Maybe this wasn’t about security after all; it was about making us think it is about security. …
* Paris-Roubaix 2012 Live Dashboard [steephill.tv]
* Paris – Roubaix 2012 [SBS Cycling Central]
* The Last Ringbearer by Kirill Yeskov, Yisroel Markov (Translator), Кирилл Еськов [Goodreads]
More than 15 years ago Russian scientist Kirill Yeskov tried to settle certain geographical problems in Tolkien’s fantasy world. One thing led to another, and he tackled a bigger project – what would happen if we assumed that it’s no less real than our world? His conclusion was that in such a case, the story of the Ring of Power is most likely a much-altered heroic retelling of a major war – but what was that war really about?
The result of this re-appraisal was the publication in 1999 of “The Last Ring-bearer” – a re-thinking of Tolkien’s story in real-world terms. Dr. Yeskov, a professional paleontologist whose job is reconstructing long-extinct organisms and their way of life from fossil remnants, performs essentially the same feat in “The Last Ring-bearer”, reconstructing the real world of Tolkien’s Arda from the heroic tales of the Free Men of the West written in that world. We have a pretty good idea how well heroic tales map to reality from our own world…