Friday News: Reading and the mind’s eye, Twitter and the discovery of superdialects, different pleasures of reading, and smile tv

Friday News: Reading and the mind’s eye, Twitter and the discovery...

Most authors wittingly or unwittingly provide their fictional characters with more behavior than physical description. Even if an author excels at physical description, we are left with shambling concoctions of stray body parts and random detail. We fill in gaps. We shade them in. We gloss over them. We elide. Our mental sketches of characters are worse than police composites. –Slate

The second superdialect is used almost exclusively in rural areas. Gonçalves and Sánchez used a machine learning algorithm to find subclusters within this group and discovered three different variations. These correspond to a dialect used in Spain, a Caribbean and Latin American dialect and another variation used exclusively in South America. –MIT Technology Review

It’s a common and easy enough distinction, this separation of books into those we read because we want to and those we read because we have to, and it serves as a useful marketing trope for publishers, especially when they are trying to get readers to take this book rather than that one to the beach. But it’s a flawed and pernicious division. This linking of pleasure and guilt is intended as an enticement, not as an admonition: reading for guilty pleasure is like letting one’s diet slide for a day—naughty but relatively harmless. The distinction partakes of a debased cultural Puritanism, which insists that the only fun to be had with a book is the frivolous kind, or that it’s necessarily a pleasure to read something accessible and easy. Associating pleasure and guilt in this way presumes an anterior, scolding authority—one which insists that reading must be work. –The New Yorker

“This is a reminder of how we are the ones in control of the content that we consume—we are the ones transmitting it by liking and favoriting,” Hedberg said in an email interview with Newsweek. The Smile TV broadcasts intentionally shortened clips of kung fu films, daytime television programs and more when prompted with a grin. Hedberg aimed to emulate the deluge of cat gifs, rapid-fire news and listicles, shared by millions on the Internet, on the Smile TV. –Newsweek