As Douglas Adams once pointed out to me, more than 20 years before the Kindle turned up, a physical book is like a shark. Sharks are old: there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs. And the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is. Physical books are tough, hard to destroy, bath-resistant, solar-operated, feel good in your hand: they are good at being books, and there will always be a place for them. They belong in libraries, just as libraries have already become places you can go to get access to ebooks, and audiobooks and DVDs and web content. A library is a place that is a repository of information and gives every citizen equal access to it.

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming. (via science-junkie)

Just a reminder for those who sweat about the paper v digital debate…don’t.

Rules confirmed so far via Benedict:

-> If nominated more than once, must be dumped more than once

-> If celebrity and/or one of the later nominees, must try to be clever about it. 

Though seriously, this looked like it would have been fun. 

The moment when Harry takes Draco's wand

  • J. K. Rowling: I said to Arthur, my American editor - we had an interesting conversation during the editing of seven - the moment when Harry takes Draco's wand, Arthur said, God, that's the moment when the ownership of the Elder wand is actually transferred? And I said, that's right. He said, shouldn't that be a bit more dramatic? And I said, no, not at all, the reverse. I said to Arthur, I think it really puts the elaborate, grandiose plans of Dumbledore and Voldemort in their place. That actually the history of the wizarding world hinged on two teenage boys wrestling with each other. They weren't even using magic. It became an ugly little corner tussle for the possession of wands. And I really liked that - that very human moment, as opposed to these two wizards who were twitching strings and manipulating and implanting information and husbanding information and guarding information, you know? Ultimately it just came down to that, a little scuffle and fistfight in the corner and pulling a wand away.
  • Melissa Anelli: It says a lot about the world at large, I think, about conflict in the world, it's these little things -
  • J. K. Rowing: And the difference one individual can make. Always, the difference one individual can make.

How can the public learn the role of algorithms in their daily lives, evaluating the law and ethicality of systems like the Facebook NewsFeed, search engines, or airline booking systems?

How can research on algorithms proceed without access to the algorithm?

What is the algorithm doing for a particular person?

How should we usefully visualize it?

How do people make sense of the algorithm?

What do users really need to know about algorithms?

Some very relevant questions raised in a conversation hosted by MIT Center for Civic Media titled Uncovering Algorithms.  (via algopop)