ambermichelle writes: If 2011 was the year of the tablet, with the triumph of Apple’s iPad 2 and the more measured success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, it was also the year the print books had their spines ripped out. Chain bookseller Borders filed for bankruptcy while vultures circled Barnes & Noble (which nevertheless survived). As we rush headlong into the e-reading future, Norwegian researcher Anne Mangen has been asking, “How does digital technology change the way we read?”
Mangen is a favorite researcher of digital skeptics such as Nicholas Carr. Her research has found that reading on screens has taught us how to skim texts effectively but we may find it increasingly difficult to focus on difficult tasks. What does this mean for how we educate children? Will the shift to e-books make us forget how to read printed books?
langelgjm writes: An Argentinean philosophy professor is being sued for alleged copyright infringement for posting translated versions of French philosopher Jacques Derrida's works on a website. In an attempt to make foreign philosophers' work available to Spanish language readers and students, Prof. Horacio Potel has created several websites: one on Nietzsche, another on Heidegger, and one on Derrida (now deactivated), all in Spanish. Philosophy texts are expensive and not widely available in Argentina; most are imported from Spain, and sold only in Buenos Aires.
According to the authorized French publisher, "Horacio Potel has posted, over the course of several years, without authorisation, and free of charge, full versions of several of Jacques Derrida's works, which is harmful to the diffusion of his (Derrida)'s thought." But Potel believes that by removing the works, the publisher has "inflicted a new death on the philosopher by taking his work off the internet." This dispute serves to highlight the larger debate over how copyright affects access to knowledge and educational materials.
blamanj writes: Three months ago, astronomers announced the discovery of a large hole at the edge of our universe. Now, Dr. Laura Mersini-Houghton thinks she knows what that means. (Subscription req'd at New Scientist site, there's also an overview here.) According to string theory, there are many universes besides our own. Her team says that smaller universes are positioned at the edge of our universe, and because of gravitational interactions, they can be observed, and they're willing to make a prediction. The recently discovered void is in the northern hemisphere. They contend another one will be found in the southern hemisphere.
ricegf writes: If you had 7 computers running various versions of Windows and Linux, on which machine would you choose to do most of your work? Rupert Goodwins describes his experience thus: 'So here's the funny thing. I've used Windows since 1.0. I've lived through the bad times of Windows/386 and ME, and the good times of NT 3.51 and 2K. I know XP if not backwards, then with a degree of familiarity that only middle-aged co-dependents can afford each other. Then how come I'm so much more at home with Ubuntu than Vista?'