Friday News: Hidden Figures, Apple-flix, Vijayawada Book Festival, and HP restaurant
“Hidden Figures” author discusses book, film at ODU Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance – Brief but nice coverage of Margot Lee Shetterly’s address at Virginia’s Old Dominion University this week, in honor of MLK Day (January 16th). Shetterly’s father was a researcher at Langley and knew the women depicted in the film and book – Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Shetterly’s mother also belonged to the same sorority as Johnson, Vaughan, and Jackson. Sheerly said she was happy with the way the filmmakers worked to “get things right.”
In her research, [Shetterly] found that these three women were part of a group of women who worked as computers, what female mathematicians were known as, in a segregated officecalled West Area Computing. They had to use segregated bathrooms and ate lunch together at the “colored table.”
“None of those humiliations were enough to dent their sense of mission,” Shetterly said. “They wore their professional clothes like armor, they wielded their mathematical talent like a weapon warding off the presumption of inferiority because they were black or female.” – Virginian-Pilot
Report: Apple will go up against Netflix, HBO, others with scripted TV shows – I never thought I’d say this, but I have more than enough to watch on TV. I read somewhere that hotel porn is now often ignored in favor of Netflix, probably because people have so many damn shows to catch up on. Hey, Apple, instead of following the trend, why not do what you used to do best and innovate?
Apple is thinking about getting into the scripted TV business, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Ever-mysterious “people familiar with the matter” tell the Journal the shows would be offered to Apple Music subscribers, and the company is talking to both “veteran producers” and “experienced marketing executives” to create and promote those shows. The shows could be released by the end of this year. . . .
Apple is already dabbling in some unscripted TV, including an app developer competition series called Planet of the Apps and a half-hour version of Carpool Karaoke. Another previously announced project, a scripted “dark semi-autobiographical drama featuring at least one orgy scene,” stars Dr. Dre, the rapper and producer whose name just happens to be attached to the Beats headphones Apple sells.- Ars Technica
India: For the love of second-hand books – There are a number of interesting things in this article on the Vijayawada Book Festival, and in particular on the popularity of used and rare books, due in part to a lack of good local libraries and the affordability of second-hand books. There is also nostalgia appeal, but affordability is especially important, especially “due to the effect of the recent demonetisation policy which has resulted in financial hardships for many in India, as well as the unavailability of skilled salespersons to cater to book lovers.” Only 25 out of 328 stalls at the festival are selling used books, but traditional publishers are not selling as robustly as in previous years.
India’s book market is valued at 261 billion rupees ($4bn) according to a December 2015 survey by AC Nielsen in conjunction with the Association of Publishers in India and the Federation of Indian Publishers. This makes it the sixth-largest book market in the world and the second-largest in English books. The survey further predicted that the Indian book market would touch 739 billion rupees ($11bn) by 2020.
But being in the industry in India is still risky business for publishers.
Kumar, the joint secretary of the festival, explains that India’s “publishing industry is good and strong”, but that they receive very little support in terms of government funding.
“Most publishers are surviving out of sheer passion and grit,” agrees K Lakshmaiya, general manager of Prajasakti Book House, a prominent publisher in the Andhra Pradesh publishing industry, and the vice president of the Vijayawada Book Festival.
None of these publishers, however, consider the second-hand book market as a fitting competitor or an entity that eats into their business.
“The demand for second-hand books will be there, and we are not worried,” says Ravi Kumar. – Al Jazeera
A ‘Harry Potter’-Themed Pasta Restaurant Has Opened in New York City – So at least it’s organic. I wonder how much this thing cost in licensing fees.
Pasta Wiz serves dishes like Magical Meatballs and a Dragon’s Blood smoothie in a hall designed to mimic the Hogwarts castle. Owner Alex Dimitrov told Gothamist that the most magical part of the restaurant is that it will serve up a hot plate of pasta just three to five minutes after you order. Because this is the Brooklyn version of Hogwarts, the menu is all organic and features vegan options like non-dairy parmesan cheese. – Mental Floss