1. "At MIT’s Media Labs, researchers Roy Shilkrot, Jochen Huber and others are working on the ‘FingerReader,’ a ring-like device that straps itself around your finger and reads printed text out loud with a synthesized voice, thanks to a mounted camera and heavily modified open source software."
     
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  3. After the Indian Supreme Court declared homosexuality a crime, I wrote the AAP — especially after the kind of write up’s they were getting in The New Yorker — and asked for comment.

    Here — via Bhavesh Gupta — is their reply —

    Aam Aadmi party is disappointed with the judgment of the Supreme Court upholding the Section 377 of the IPC and reversing the landmark judgment of the Delhi High Court on the subject. The Supreme Court judgment thus criminalizes the personal behavior of consenting adults. All those who are born with or choose a different sexual orientation would thus be placed at the mercy of the police. This not only violates the human rights of such individuals, but goes against the liberal values of our Constitution, and the spirit of our times.

    Aam Aadami Party hopes and expects that the Supreme Court will review this judgment and that the Parliament will also step in to repeal this archaic law.

    If you want to get a good overview of the elections, you can check out this video that was just uploaded by The New York Times. (Also — for all the concerns being raised about Modi — this point brought up at Brown the other day is worth noting.)

     

  4. "The New York Police Department has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped, the department said."
    — via.
     

  5. For Boston On A Marathon Day.

    The chagrin-inducing law of ‘everyone else is writing about it, so you might as well write about it, too’ prompts me to write the following one year later: yes, it’s true – Massachusetts still invented America. It’s still our fucking city. People are still in love with modern moonlight and 128 when it’s dark outside. And, no, we still won’t tell you what happened to the skinhead who got on the MBTA. We get dizzy on our own cow paths, ironically call Allston “The Glittering Jewel of The Massachusetts Student Riviera,” take in forty foot winter storms for fun, and then do our best to make up for it by presenting the riders rattling their way over the Salt and Pepper and the Charles with a heretofore behind-the-back bouquet called the Esplanade. Here, the city says. For you.

    Here is the section of the road where your grandfather pulled over because Carlton Fisk had saved the day and he couldn’t believe it. Here is the creepy baby head lingering outside the MFA that has yet to blink. Here are the springtime trees amazingly clogging up Beacon Hill with a so-thick-you-can-touch-it smell. Here is Junot Diaz getting a cup of coffee at the corner of Charles Street, quietly taking in the Commons and Gardens, and then making his way back to MIT. Here is Fenway on a perfect summer day, which – despite the almost uniformly poor and obnoxious television coverage of the game, which really does deflate a kind of inner spiritual balloon – still exists and still feels vibrant. (Also: has that baby blinked yet?)

    But I am skirting around the obvious. I am obviously skirting the obvious. There is a reason. For one – it felt as if – in a narrative sense, in a rhetorical sense – so many people were ready to rush in and remove the story of this awful event – to say, “It’s okay, and here’s why” (I saw tweets of citizens in Egypt immediately saying prayers as soon as they heard while I was kicking a stone pylon around the corner from the finish line in fury and frustration; I saw photos from Syria and Kabul expressing condolences and support; President Obama remarked at the memorial service that “we also come together today to reclaim that state of grace”; and Kevin Cullen said that “In Boston, we care about three things: politics, sports, and revenge, and the revenge will be the laughter of our children”) – that it’s hard to know what to do other than bow in every direction the compass points and the crow flies and say, “Thanks.”

    Because watching people with a fairly okay sense of morality transform into eyebrow-raising cowards about the prospect of burying Tamerlan Tsarnaev wasn’t the point. It wasn’t about listening to Glenn Greenwald later dismissively say to Bill Moyers that – and I’m approximating here – ‘What happened in Boston wasn’t important. Let’s go back to talking about America bombing Afghanistan.’ (Nor was it apparently about zeroing in and being repeatedly clear about how Sayyid Qutb made a poor argument or how that argument has been further warped over the years.) It’s about the four who were killed, the 264 who were injured, and the twenty-seven hospitals that treated them that day. It’s about letting Boston be Boston – not only for me, but for you, too. It’s about it being – despite it all – a nice day.

     

  6. Hah! I contributed a day’s worth of research to this. It’s a split prize, then, right? … Right?

     

  7. Petcoke:

     

  8. "1. Stop watching it. Stop talking about it. Go outside."
     

  9. "

    When we talk about the design space of ‘an 826 space,’ we’re talking about the cousin of a library, basically. (Aren’t we?) And I remain convinced that the architectural value of libraries and the architectural value of bookstores remains unique. It is a space that is ‘Ogooglebar’ — that is, ‘beyond the reach of google,’ a neologism coined by the Swedes that Google’s lawyers actually had the gall to ask them to change — and it’s one reason why I’m cautious about the ubiquitously defined ‘Internet of Things.’ It isn’t that a library is redundant because you can google something. It’s that the books are there. It’s that it’s a space.

    In a way, these kind of perambulations are a fascinating part of the problem: you get a vague-to-okay sense of a pattern at play when you walk into a Barnes and Noble or Borders, but you don’t necessarily get a sense of the kind of market research that goes into customer decisions at a hotel, i.e., a white duvet thrown onto the bed to implicitly advertise the fact that the bed is clean and germ free, as The Washington Post noted in April of last year. A bookstore [or a library or an 826 space] can be nothing more than a pile of books on the floor. You can put it in the subway. You can put it on a boat. Why not put it in Rome?

    "
     

  10. Happy National Grilled Cheese Day.

    Tell a grilled cheese you love it.

    And then eat it.

    And then say, “Oh, god. What have I done?!

     
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  13. Music Video As GIF:

     

  14. (And do keep in mind that line breaks are different on the Dashboard than they are on the site itself.)

     

  15. Text of the previous post (also — for comparison/understanding — here’s the original):

    Mistranslations: Cesare Pavese – Two Cigarettes:

    Each night is Liberation Day.
    Out come the flags, rippling
    through the seaside dark docks.
    Out comes the light reflecting
    its way out of the corners of the asphalt
    where each passing face has a story as plain as a Maori tattoo,
    scrolling its way up and down, as if each passing face
    found itself caught in the headlights of a slide projector,
    and what if that was all that a deer was looking for and expecting, anyway?
    The deer stops in the middle of the road because he or she thinks
    they’re about to see photos of your vacation to Laos or Easter Island,
    and shouldn’t you feel terrible?
    But I cracked the wrong egg of the wrong Italian phrase here.
    I had begun with “Ogni notte è la liberazione,” and my omelet
    grew its own wings and its own feet and snatched all my clocks away
    like that flying toaster screensaver from the pivot between ’89 and ’90,
    and what was its name? “After Dark?”
     
    But we should already be at “Se la sciarpa veniva da Rio, è passata di notte
    sull’oceano inondato di luce dal gran transatlantico.”
    We should already see Titanic-sized ships crossing the seas, and see
    those ships as nothing but wind-blown scarves unfurling themselves
    on street corners, in-between tall buildings when the layout accelerates
    even the simplest puff or hiccough of a breeze into a brief burst of foot on the gas,
    but patience is a Thomas Wyatt, or however that goes,
    and we must return to the flame sputtering itself out like a collapsing runner
    splitting the finish line banner when a woman asks for a match for her cigarette,
    and the match sputters, and a second match, and the woman softly laughs.

    The sleeping windows are guarded … by whom, exactly?
    The scarf she wears? The cigarettes we smoke?
    The grande gouffre between the culture of chasing the peg and this moment here?
    How green we go. How the sheets smile.
    Je suis le plus dingue, j’ai un tête des étoiles,
    but I have a shoulder even Mt. Rushmore can rest on,
    which is certainly the kind of incomplete clause and/or sentiment
    that will earn its fair share of mockery in twenty minutes or twenty years,
    even though all I’m really trying to say is: I am for you. I’m here. I’m yours.
    And by way of reply, she points up and says, “That window is ours.”
    So we cross the street, arm in arm, playfully warming each other.