Wednesday News: RIP Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Beek, extracurricular history, and self(ie) portraits
‘You may want to marry my husband’ Chicago essayist dead at 51 – I am happy to see such robust coverage of Rosenthal’s death, if only because it will introduce even more readers to her work and continue to build her legacy. Rosenthal’s recent NYT Modern Love column likely introduced more readers to her work, of which there is quite a bit, from more than thirty books (most of which are children’s books, but not all), to short films, TED talks, and her contributions to NPR. She was generous in meeting with her readers, even providing a video tour of her home that featured some really cool book-related art. Her children’s books include Uni the Unicorn; Little Miss, Big Sis; Little Pea; Bedtime for Mommy; and I Wish You More. She wrote guided journals like The Belly Book (a pregnancy journal), humorous books like Karma Checks, and even a Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal. On the Modern Love column, which appears to represent her final creative surge,
Her husband, a Chicago attorney, said he was staggered by the beauty and honesty of her column.
“It is Amy’s gift with words that has drawn the universe in,” Jason Rosenthal said in a written statement last week. “I am not surprised that her ‘Modern Love’ essay in the New York Times has garnered the attention it so deserves. I didn’t know exactly what she was composing but I was with her as she labored through this process and I can tell you that writing the story was no easy task. When I read her words for the first time, I was shocked at the beauty, slightly surprised at the incredible prose given her condition and, of course, emotionally ripped apart.
“Unfortunately, I do not have the same aptitude for the written word,” he said, “but if I did, I can assure you that my tale would be about the most epic love story…ours.” – Chicago Sun-Times
Beek is the emoji-based book review site aiming to change e-commerce in Latin America – Although based in Mexico City, Beek began as an Austin hackathon project by University of Texas student Angela Valdes and developer Max Holzeu. Valdes had the original idea, but with no coding experience, she couldn’t make it happen until she met Holzeu. The idea for Beek is that it can become a marketplace, of sorts, especially since Amazon is not very popular in Latin America. With 250,000 active users so far, and 200,000 reviews, they are definitely growing. I love the fact that this idea was created as part of a classroom experience, and that it’s a truly international venture.
The key to Beek’s simple success is its ease of use. A user can download the app and sign in through an integration with Facebook or Twitter, or by generating an email and password.
Once in the app, a user can either browse through book titles or genres that are automatically populated or import a reading list from GoodReads. This user had a hard time getting the integration with GoodReads to work and wound up giving up on the process after waiting about a minute for the integration to occur.
Under the genre heading (with categories like “Teen,” “LGBT,” “Dystopias,” and “Fantasy”) users get pre-populated book suggestions as well as clips from famous BookTubers (YouTube reviewers who film book reviews). – Tech Crunch
Four Asian-American Women You Didn’t Learn About in School – I really appreciate it when DA readers send me links like this one, because I don’t see all the good stuff out there. With March being Women’s History Month, there is plenty of opportunity to learn about extraordinary women who are not necessarily household names. Like Afong Moy (a controversial figure whose treatment in the US was very troubling), Anandi Gopal Joshi (first Hindu woman in the world to receive a medical degree), Sugar Pie DeSanto (singer, born as Umpeylia Marsema Balinton), and Patsy Takemoto Mink:
The late Hawaii congresswoman is perhaps best known for co-authoring the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Amendment, which requires equal financing for women’s sports and education programs that receive funds from the federal government.
In the documentary film, “Ahead of the Majority,” Mink explained her commitment to equality.
“What you endure is who you are. And if you just accept and do nothing, then life goes on,” said Mink. “But if you see it as a way for change, life doesn’t have to be so unfair. It can be better. Maybe not for me, I can’t change the past, but I can certainly help somebody else in the future so they don’t have to go through what I did.” – NBC News
How a 500-year-old engineering innovation led to selfies – It’s always interesting to trace the links between technology of yore and current developments, because we so often see more similarity than we expect. For example, the popularity of self-portraits in the 15th and 16th centuries, which lasted into the 19th and 20th centuries, leading to the selfie-crazy of current global cellphone-obsessed cultures. Mirrors certainly factor in both types of portraiture. So did Albrecht Dürer’s family and friends roll their eyes and complain about his fixation on his own image?
[University of Bamburg cognitive scientist Claus-Christian] Carbon is the author of an intriguing new study about how the selfie is actually part of a 500-year history of self-portraiture that grows out of technological advancement—and the enduring human need to be seen as the people we wish we were. He points out that even Dürer’s early self-portraits are full of tweaks that the artist’s contemporaries would have recognized as signs of wealth, such as a fur collar reserved for members of the social elite. Interestingly, when Dürer painted himself with this collar in 1500, it was a few years before he was granted a social position that would have allowed him to wear that collar publicly. So painting himself with the collar was a kind of boast, similar to what you see in selfies of people showing off their expensive possessions. – Ars Technica