Leading authors say state surveillance of personal data is theft

Happy New Year NSA! -- world's leading authors say you are a thief! --

World's leading authors: state surveillance of personal data is theft | World news | The Guardian: "More than 500 of the world's leading authors, including five Nobel prize winners, have condemned the scale of state surveillance revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden and warned that spy agencies are undermining democracy and must be curbed by a new international charter. The signatories, who come from 81 different countries and include Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, Orhan Pamuk, G√ľnter Grass and Arundhati Roy, say the capacity of intelligence agencies to spy on millions of people's digital communications is turning everyone into potential suspects, with worrying implications for the way societies work. They have urged the United Nations to create an international bill of digital rights that would enshrine the protection of civil rights in the internet age..." (read more at link above)

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Book Discussion on Why Teach?

Book Discussion on Why Teach? - C-SPAN Video Library: "Mark Edmundson talked about his book, Why Teach?: In Defense of a Real Education, in which he argues that college should be more than just a place to get high-priced career training and should instead focus on teaching students how to think. He spoke at the University of Virginia Bookstore in Charlottesville, Virginia." (video at link above)

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Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here

Book Discussion on Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here - C-SPAN Video Library: "Karima Bennoune talked about her book, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism, in which she profiles Muslims around the world, including in the U.S., who are fighting against Islamic fundamentalism. She said that many of these people battle on multiple fronts, not only against the fundamentalists, but also against anti-Muslim crusaders and activists who view fundamentalism as an authentic expression of popular opinion in Muslim societies. Professor Bennoune spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco."

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Democracy in Crisis, The Confidence Trap

The maturing of democracy: Picking up the tab | The Economist: "Democracy has survived many crises. Elected governments should worry less about voting lobbies and more about how to govern well - The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from World War I to the Present. By David Runciman. Princeton University Press; 408 pages; $29.95 and £19.95."

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Ruth Ozeki, Writing Is a Form of Prayer

Ruth Ozeki: Writing Is ‘a Form of Prayer’ - Scene Asia - WSJ: "How much research went into the book? A lot. A book grows out of the research. It’s not as though I have the idea of the whole book. I have an idea or a character’s voice in my head and I start writing. The story starts to emerge and I get an idea, then I start to research that idea and it feeds the next section of the book. Very often ideas themselves come from something that has come across my desk. In 2001, I came across news about some kamikaze pilot diaries, and by 2007 that character appeared in my novel. The novel is kind of like a debris field floating across the ocean. There are shards and fragments of things that have popped into my mind...."

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The Everything Store, Jeff Bezos, Age of Amazon

Book Portrays Bezos as Brilliant, Demanding — Just as We Expect - Digits - WSJ: " . . .  The excerpt from Stone’s book, “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon,” confirms all of the characteristics about Bezos he has come to be known by: fiery, brilliant, accessible, ruthless, puzzling, demanding. Everyone knows Bezos holds his cards close — figuring out why he bought the Washington Post, for example, is a great parlor game — so that alone makes the book worth picking up in October. . . ."

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Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath

Malcolm Gladwell's real problem: Column: ". . . . His new book chronicles how the Davids of this world possess attributes — dyslexia, small-pond-syndrome, etc. — that make them strong, while the Goliaths possess strengths that are, in fact, weaknesses. For example, Gladwell details how college applicants are better off going to their safety school than their first choice. Or why so many dyslexics end up as successful entrepreneurs. But Gladwell is a storyteller, not a scientist, which upsets more than a few pointy-headed academics. They accuse him of pawning off others' ideas as his own, or misrepresenting scholarly findings to fit a perfect narrative, when science — especially social science — is rarely so neat. . . ."

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Roosevelt's Secret War

Book Discussion on Roosevelt's Secret War - C-SPAN Video Library: "Mr. Persico talked about his book, Roosevelt’s Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage, published by Random House. He talked about an overlooked aspect of FDR’s wartime leadership: his involvement in intelligence and espionage operations, including the founding of the intelligence service. He details how much President Roosevelt had been told, before the Holocaust, about the coming fate of Europe’s Jews and provides his answer to the question: Did the president know in advance about the attack on Pearl Harbor? Mr. Persico also talked about Secretary of State Colin Powell and his national security and military experience. Mr. Persico co-wrote General Powell’s autobiography."

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Authors, publishers, literary pirates, copyrights

Book Discussion on Without Copyrights - C-SPAN Video Library: "Robert Spoo talked about his book, Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain, in which he discusses the clashes between authors, publishers, and literary pirates over copyrights going back to 1790 and discusses how these clashes have shaped the copyright laws we have today. Professor Spoo spoke at the University of Tulsa College of Law in Oklahoma."

Book Discussion on The Unintended Reformation - C-SPAN Video Library: "Brad Gregory talked about his book, The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society, in which he looks at the impact of the Protestant Reformation on Western society and culture. Professor Gregory was the recipient of the 2013 Intercollegiate Studies Institute Henry and Anne Paolucci Book Award."

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Book Discussion, Dumbing Down the Courts (video)

Book Discussion on Dumbing Down the Courts - C-SPAN Video Library: "John Lott talked about his book, Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges Off the Bench, in which he argues that partisan politicians don’t like to nominate smart judges because they’re afraid that smart judges have the ability to think independently and influence other judges. In his book, he says that judges who graduated in the top 10 percent of their law classes have much longer confirmation processes than judges who don’t. He spoke at an event hosted by the Orange County Federalist Society."

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Seward, Lincoln's Indispensable Man

Book Discussion on Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man - C-SPAN Video Library: "Walter Stahr talked about his book, Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man, about Abraham Lincoln’s former presidential rival, William Henry Seward, who eventually became Lincoln’s Secretary of State and closest adviser. Mr. Stahr spoke at the 2013 National Book Festival, held on September 21-22, 2013 by the Library of Congress on the National Mall in Washington, D.C." (video at link above)

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Doris Lessing a model for every writer

Doris Lessing was a model for every writer coming from the back of beyond | Books | The Guardian: "...She was political in the most basic sense, recognising the manifestations of power in its many forms. She was spiritual as well, exploring the limits and pitfalls that came with being human, especially after she became an adherent of Sufism. As a writer she was inventive and brave, branching out into science fiction in her Canopus In Argos series at a time when it was a dodgy thing for a "mainline" novelist to do. She was also very down-to-earth, having famously remarked "Oh Christ!" when informed in 2007 that she had won the Nobel prize. She was only the eleventh woman to do so, and never expected it; a lack of expectation that was in itself a kind of artistic freedom, for if you don't think of yourself as an august personage, you don't have to behave yourself.... "

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Anna Holmes, Jezebel founder

Anna Holmes, Jezebel founder: 'I don't think I'm like any cocktail, to be honest' | Culture | theguardian.com: " . . . Jezebel, one of the internet's most popular feminist clubhouses, is still going strong. To celebrate the site's cultural impact, founding editor Anna Holmes is out this week with The Book of Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things. The book features contributions from Holmes, as well as an all-star list of current and former Jezebel writers including Kate Harding, Jessica Coen, Amanda Hess, Jessica Grose and Dodai Stewart. It's the A-Z guide every writer wishes they had as a teenager, a map of important cultural figures and events that's probably way more useful than that 8am Feminism 101 class you took in college. . . ."

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