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I am very disappointed when a respected author, scholar etc expresses his/her dislike with the web.

 

Updike piece will be found below. In the mean time, someone notified me of a new research network site. For the interested parties:

here, membership free until sometime.

oh boy, I am tired. 

Has Updike’s Hatred for the Web Hurt His Writing?

John Keenan of The Guardian reviews John Updike’s latest book, The Widows of Eastwick (a follow up to The Witches of Eastwick) and concludes that Updike’s freely admitted aversion to the Internet, blogs and other modern conveniences is destroying his writing ability. Keenan says that he can’t relate to the characters, who write each other letters and use landlines to communicate.

 Do antidepressants work? A commentary on “Initial severity and antidepressant benefits: a meta-analysis of data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration” by Kirsch et al
Source: Evidence-Based Mental Health

Open Textbook Meets Community Colleges

Proponents of the open textbook movement have long envisioned a world of free (or almost free) educational materials, available to print or download, written by experts for others to read, share, improve or modify as they see fit.

For one popular textbook, at least, that vision is now a reality.

Connexions, a prominent online “open educational resources” hub based at Rice University, announced Monday that it has published a statistics textbook online that’s widely used in transfer-level community college courses. Officials at the site hope the zero-dollar price tag will help students deterred by ever-increasing textbook prices.

The book, Collaborative Statistics by Barbara Illowsky and Susan Dean, is not only available as a full download. The content between the covers has been sliced and diced into “modules,” Connexions’ basic building blocks, that any student or instructor can rearrange or adapt for their own use. Developers of the project also plan on adding videos of class lectures by Illowsky as well as other supplementary classroom materials, effectively uploading an entire course experience to the Web.

1968 could not have brought democracy to Czechoslovakia

According to a recent poll that is quoted on the refurbished website of the Visegrad Group of Central European countries, few Czechs believe that the ‘Prague spring‘ could have brought democracy in 1968. Although the Czechoslovak Communists attempt to put a human face on Socialism was remembered with warm nostalgia after it was crushed by

Khaled Hosseini King of Book Groups

Khaled Hosseini is now the king of book groups. His book, The Kite Runner has been chosen as the book of choice for reading groups in Britain. His second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns came in second. More than 100 reading groups voted for their favorite books.

Understanding Global Capitalism

By William I. Robinson

Consuming Bodies: Fatness, Sexuality, and the Protestant Ethic

By Lesleigh J. Owen

For those readers who spent their entire lives up till today in a secluded bomb shelter or an abandoned cave in some nearby woods, allow me to share a secret with you: fat persons are stigmatized. As I will discuss, and explore, below, fatness has come to represent a slew of undesirable social identities or traits. Fatness also represents some of the rather scary and perplexing contradictions characterizing many Western, industrialized citizens. Fat people often bring to mind — as well as print, popular discourses, and daily experience — conceptions of non-Whiteness, class inequalities, violations of the Protestant Ethic, media-popularized beauty ideals, health, and personal freedoms. That’s a lot of cultural baggage to place on the shoulders of fat folks, no matter how broad or plump they may be.

Neal Stephenson’s Anathem

Neal Stephenson’s new book, Anathem, sounds pretty interesting. From Steven Levy’s otherwise unsatisfying profile of Stephenson in the new Wired:

Set on a planet called Arbe (pronounced "arb"), Anathem documents a civilization split between two cultures: an indulgent Saecular general population (hooked on casinos, shopping in megastores, trashing the environment — sound familiar?) and the super-educated cohort known as the avaunt, or "auts," who live a monastic existence defined by intellectual activity and circumscribed rituals. Freed from the pressures of pedestrian life, the avaunt view time differently.

Neal Stephenson’s new novel, Anathem: sneak peek at glossary

By Xeni Jardin

Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon, The Baroque Cycle) has a new novel coming out in just a couple weeks — Anathem.

Harvard Gets Gold

By Metin

The oldest university in the U.S., Harvard, is back on top as number one in the newly released U.S. News & World Report college rankings. Princeton, the former number one is now number two and takes the silver, followed by Yale with the bronze. All Ivy League schools of course. As for public universities, The University of California, Berkeley is…

cinema

The Martial Master’s Mistresses: Forbidden Desires and Futile Nationalism in Jet Li’s Kung-Fu Films

By Victoria Meng

During his 24 years as a kung-fu film icon, Jet Li has repeatedly portrayed the conventional Chinese martial master: the righteous but reluctant leader who ultimately retreats from the world after redirecting his own desires to support supposedly greater moral claims of master and nation. Too preoccupied by his fights and flights, Li’s characters seem unable to give much thought to the women who love him. This consistent failure for Li to "get the girl"–especially given a series of hyper-feminine heroines who should, by rights, be irresistible–suggests

that these popular films enact some trauma or taboo for their local audiences.

"Femme/s, Film/s, Noir/e: Revisions"

By Valerie Stulman

Film noir is a relatively small group of films, which span the years between World War II and the late 1950s. These films share a number of stylistic conventions which include the use of various permutations of stereotypical bad girl/femme fatale and good girl/household nun (Martin 207) type characters.

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