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Thursday News: Feedly & Evernote attacked, abuse allegations against Marion Zimmer Bradley , Amazon sells a lot of Hachette e-books, and Lego to sell female scientist figures

Thursday News: Feedly & Evernote attacked, abuse allegations against Marion Zimmer...

Note: Some comments contain discussion and descriptions of abuse and sexual assault.

Feedly, Evernote And Others Become Latest Victims Of DDoS Attacks – So in case you haven’t been online in the past two days, Feedly and Evernote were hit with giant DDOS (denial of service) attacks that included a ransom from the attackers. Evernote seems to have recovered relatively quickly, but as of yesterday, Feedly was still trying to work around the attack to get back online. User information was supposedly still secure on both sites. On a side note, Tweetdeck was hacked yesterday, as well, wreaking havoc with people’s RT streams.

These attacks seem to be increasing in frequency, and now leave a long line of victimized sites in their wake, including Meetup, Basecamp, Vimeo, Bit.ly, SAY Media/TypePad, Namecheap, Plenty of Fish and Moz, to name a few of the more recent victims. –Tech Crunch

Marion Zimmer Bradley was a child abuser – says her own daughter – Yesterday it was revealed that Marion Zimmer Bradley allegedly abused, among many others, her own daughter, making her far more than collaterally culpable in her husband’s long history of abusive behavior. In fact, Bradley’s daughter, Moira Greyland, says that her mother was actually worse, because she was an angry and violent abuser. Beyond the horrific nature of these violations, Greyland’s revelations also double down on the question of whether Bradley’s work can be separated from the facts of her life. I often think it’s easier to keep a good opinion of someone’s work is you read it before these types of situations are revealed. But once you know, it becomes very difficult to read the work without having it tainted by the personal details.

Well, for those who argue that the biography or rap sheet doesn’t matter, and that literature is indifferent to the actions and morality of the creator, here’s a test for you. Marion Zimmer Bradley, celebrated science fiction and fantasy author, recipient of the, cofounder of the Society for Creative Anachronism, posthumous recipient of the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, has just been revealed by her own daughter Moira Greyland as a repeat child molester, who not only countenanced her sometime husband Walter Breen‘s relationship with an underage boy, but also violated her own daughter, and other children, of both sexes, repeatedly, over many years. –Tele Read

Amazon Accounts for 60% of Hachette’s eBook Sales in the US, 78% in the UK – So this is pretty interesting. According to an investor’s brief for Hachette’s parent company, “Amazon accounts for around 60% of Hachette’s digital revenues in the US and 78% of digital revenues in the UK,” Nate Hoffelder reports. Which means, among other things, that both Amazon and Hachette have a very substantial investment in making a deal that benefits their own interests. Which probably also means that it’s going to be a long game of chicken between the two corporations.

On a related note, that slide focuses on just the 2 markets because the rest of the markets where Hachette Livre operates have negligible ebook sales. It’s only in the US and UK that ebooks make up 30% and 27%, respectively. –The Digital Reader

LEGO To Release Female Scientist Figurines – Swedish geochemist Dr. Ellen Kooijman came up with a winning idea for Lego Ideas, namely a “Research Institute” populated by female scientists. This is super-cool and much happier news than the rest of the stories today. So go check it out, and decide which of the figurines — astronomer, paleontologist, or chemist — you’re going to buy first when they release in a couple of months.

The motivating behind her submission, she explained on her blog, was that “as a female scientist I had noticed two things about the available LEGO sets: a skewed male/female minifigure ratio and a rather stereotypical representation of the available female figures. It seemed logical that I would suggest a small set of female minifigures in interesting professions to make our LEGO city communities more diverse.” –Mental Floss

Wednesday News: Ebook settlement rebates, a reunited Hindu epic, Lego – from band to movie, and a profile on Leila Aboulela

Wednesday News: Ebook settlement rebates, a reunited Hindu epic, Lego –...

Amazon Customers Win Big In Ebook Settlement – So many of you may have noticed refunds from the great ebook settlement, at least from Amazon and Apple. Barnes & Noble, along with smaller online retailers, do not appear to have released their customer rebates yet. However, this is good timing, considering the fact that many of us are paying our taxes within the next month. Also, as this article pointed out, Amazon really ended up ahead of other publishers here, because not being a party to the investigation and legal case means that they won’t face the kind of pricing scrutiny Apple and the Big 5 likely will.

Now that all five publishers have settled, it’s good news for Amazon Kindle shoppers. If you got an Amazon credit today, there’s no need to take any action. It’s already been added to your account, so all you need to do is spend it. The credit will only be available on purchases of Kindle or print books (not other items available through Amazon) through any publisher. –ReadWrite

Making a digital masterpiece: British Library gathers antique Ramayana into one virtual location – In light of the story yesterday about the Vatican Library digitizing its archives, here’s another interesting digital project, this time related to one sprawling work that, until now, has been split among multiple locations, from Mumbai to London. This seven-book version of Ramayana was commissioned in the mid-17th century by Maharana Jagat Singh I, ruler of Mewar, who died before the work was completed (it only took four years, which given the size, scope, and intricacy of the text, seems amazingly rapid to me). The Hindu epic, in which a prince must rescue his wife from a demon king, took three years to bring back together, almost as much time as it took to create the folios more than 350 years ago.

“What makes this version of the Ramayana so special is that it’s the most heavily illustrated,” she explains. “There are more than 450 paintings in this manuscript, so Jagat Singh had three artists [one of whom, Sahibdin, was a Muslim] and every episode in the book has a pictorial representation. “The Sanskrit text was important, but it was there as an accompaniment – it was the paintings which told the story. So you don’t have to know any Sanskrit to enjoy the Ramayana.”

The digital Ramayana is much more than a lavish online picture book – Chellini has overseen clickable data, interpretive text and audio related to each page. She’s particularly happy with the English narration, performed by Sudha Bhuchar of Tamasha theatre company. “The Book of War, for example, is told with great fervour,” she says. “There are other places where the Ramayana is quite funny – for example, Lakshmana is hit by an arrow and asks the monkey Hanuman to go and find some magic herbs on the Himalayas. But Hanuman doesn’t know which herbs to take – so he rips off the whole mountain peak and is depicted carrying it back to Lakshmana! So I hope we’ve got across that this is a very rich, very human book. It’s a religious text, but there’s great fun to be had with it, too. –The National

Lego Goes to Hollywood – This is a pretty interesting story about how a toy brand was able to transform itself into an incredibly successful and well-reviewed film. Even titling the movie “The Lego Movie” seems like an obvious brand ploy, and yet, as many reviewers pointed out, the film built on the architectural creativity and intelligence that Legos represent and appealed to a large and diverse audience.

At a time when Hollywood filmmakers are increasingly reliant on money from overseas audiences for survival, a movie based on a toy with such broad, cross-cultural appeal would seem like a no-brainer. “I can’t tell you how many people come up to me now and say, ‘Oh, a Lego movie? No duh. It’s so obvious,’” says Lin, whose job it was to persuade Lego to seize this opportunity. “It was absolutely not obvious five years ago.” –Business Week

One Foot in Each of Two Worlds, and a Pen at Home in Both – As I read this article, I had in the back of my mind the discussion on Tuesday’s news post about how to define fiction that isn’t historically accurate, but is still focused on a different historical era. In genre fiction, especially, we like the clarity that (ostensibly) comes with categorization, and yet, so many books defy our attempts to universally define them. Leila Aboulela is an author who shares this, well, dilemma or opportunity, depending on how you’re looking at it. A really interesting contemplation on the complexity of personal identity and artistic expression, especially when viewed through the lens of culture and nationality. In fact, her first book is aptly titled The Translator.

Born in Egypt to a Sudanese father and an Egyptian mother, Ms. Aboulela was raised in Sudan, where she attended the Khartoum American School and Sisters School, a Catholic girls’ school, as a child. She grew up reading many Western classics. “I was very much into the diary of Anne Frank, which was unusual for an Arab at that time,” she said in an interview at the book fair. But instead of studying literature, she pursued economics at the University of Khartoum.

Ms. Aboulela, 49, now lives in Britain and her background makes it difficult to categorize her fiction: does she write primarily as an African, Arab or British writer who is Muslim? The compound modifier that many readers and critics have settled on to describe Ms. Aboulela’s work is Sudanese-British, which leaves plenty of room for criticism in a world of relentless categorization. “Sudan is not Arab enough for Arabs and not African enough for Africans,” she said, laughing at the thought. –The New York Times