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Reading’s Feelings

In a recent article in Slate magazine, I argued that the kind of reading we do with books is significantly different from that of e-books. I based my observations on the tactile differences between these two technologies. I suggested that such somatic differences changed the way words assumed meaning on …

Dreaming in Books, the Sequel

Introducing the “book pillow.” At first glance it looks like a large dictionary and can even be slid between other volumes on your shelf just like a regular tome. But when you’re feeling sleepy, just get out your reading material from your desk drawer, filing cabinet or shelf. The “book” …

Death Watch

A bit macabre, I know. But here begins a new category looking at the ways we talk about the death of books and other kinds of media. Its part voyeurism, part debunking of the hyperbole surrounding reading. The first exhibit belongs to Laura Miller’s recent piece in Salon, “Click here …

Reading your own cognitive decline

I recently attended the Digital Humanities section of the annual Canadian academic Congress. Ian Lancashire of the University of Toronto was on my panel and he gave a very moving paper on the correlation between language decline in writers and the onset of alzheimers. His most famous paper on this …

Flatlining in Class

This graphic should give us as teachers serious pause. It shows how the periods of the lowest nervous activity for students occurred…during class. Ouch. The good news is that “lab” seems to have been far more stimulating. Here is the full paper by Ming-Zher Poh et al.

Human Media

A recent, and very disturbing, ad-campaign pretended that homeless people were wifi hotspots. It was a gag, but they were paid to wear t-shirts that said “I’m [insert name], I’m a 4G hotspot.” What to do with vagrant, impoverished populations? I know, turn them into mobile transponders and pay them! …