Category Archives: Times They Are A-Changing

Times They Are A-Changing

Republicans are trying to defund public libraries in addition to book bans – Vox

By Fabiola Cineas, May 5, 2023, 5:05pm EDT

A library in Missouri, where state lawmakers in 2022 made it illegal to provide students with “sexually explicit” material and later tried to eliminate state funding for public libraries.
Shane Keyser/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Fabiola Cineas covers race and policy as a reporter for Vox. Before that, she was an editor and writer at Philadelphia magazine, where she covered business, tech, and the local economy.

When Missouri’s House voted in late March to approve a state budget that would eliminate $4.5 million in funding for public libraries, local and national free speech advocates went into panic mode.

The Missouri Senate later restored the funding to the budget proposal in April. But full funding for the state’s libraries is still not guaranteed, and librarians and patrons are concerned that libraries across the state are still under attack and subject to the whims of Republican lawmakers.

Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item...

Source: Republicans are trying to defund public libraries in addition to book bans – Vox

Beware: The Singularity Is Almost Here | Seeking Alpha

By Ramy Taraboulsi, CFA, Apr. 18, 2023 6:07 PM ET

The singularity is driven by AI, nanotechnology and genetics

The singularity is not here yet, but it will arrive very soon. The economic impact of the singularity may be devastating unless governments and central banks do something about it. Nothing is currently being done to prepare for the arrival of the singularity. To survive the arrival of the singularity, companies need to have certain characteristics.

Why am I writing this article?

A few weeks ago, I listened attentively to the FOMC press conference of Chairman Jerome Powell. I was surprised that the issue of the layoffs in high-tech companies did not take central stage in the questions or in his introductory remarks. This prompted me to research this topic and share the result of my research.

There are many events that are now happening, and the occurrence of these events can be explained with only one thing: The singularity is almost Here.

I will start by explaining what the singularity is before talking about the events that are leading me to believe that we are on the crisp of stumbling upon the singularity. The article then addresses the effects of the singularity on our economy and how the central banks and governments need to prepare for its arrival.

Beware: The Singularity Is Almost Here | Seeking Alpha

Letter from an English Department on the Brink | Sarah Blackwood | The New York Review of Books

By Sarah Blackwood, April 2, 2023

At the English department I chair, our major has grown by more than 40 percent in the last two years. We are being driven to the edge of extinction anyway.
Illustration by Gustave Doré

I write to you with news about the state of the English major at one non-elite, midsize, regional comprehensive private university in New York City.

At Pace University, where I am currently chair of the English department, the major has grown by more than 40 percent in the last two years, to around 150 students. Every year we teach some 1,600 students—majors and non-majors—in seminars and workshops on literature, creative writing, and linguistics, in addition to the five thousand we teach in composition. That’s, give or take, $30 million of credit hour revenue per year.

Our students are immersed in a curriculum that emphasizes civic engagement, creativity, and both the canon and those texts and subjects that have been marginalized by that canon. Many students research issues of local importance to our campus: the community of Black theater professionals that thrived around the corner in the 1820s, the more recent anti-gentrification movements helmed by Chinatown artists, writers, and activists.

An introductory literary studies course examines changing ideas about who and what literature is for; it culminates with students working with the Bowery Residents’ Committee to organize a book drive for our unhoused downtown neighbors. Around 40 percent of our majors and alumni are Black, Indigenous, Latinx, or Asian/Pacific Islander, and many of them are first-generation college students. Excellent writers and communicators with honed skills in analysis and critical thinking, they’ve gone on to gainful employment in publishing, the arts, media, business, education, law, and the nonprofit sector.

Last summer, an alumna was profiled by The New York Times for her feminist video game design, much of which she credits to her poetry education. An alumnus who works as a senior editor at a big five publisher is, at the time of this writing, featured on a billboard in Times Square.


Book Bans Aren’t The Only Legal Hurdle To Book Access These Days | Above the Law

By Chris Williams, March 28, 2023 at 1:18 PM

From article…

Reading is fundamental. And so is copyright. No, really — check Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution.

As is usually the case, things get interesting when fundamental goods bash heads in the courtroom. This time, you’ll likely see a familiar name in the complaint if you’ve enrolled in college and been a little short on cash any time within the last 20 years or so.

A federal judge in Manhattan, New York City, has granted summary judgment to four publishers that sued the nonprofit Internet Archive for scanning copyrighted books and lending them out in digital form.

U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl of the Southern District of New York ruled March 24 that the archive’s program constituted copyright infringement, and its digital lending “remains squarely beyond fair use.”

Source: Book Bans Aren’t The Only Legal Hurdle To Book Access These Days – Above the Law

Bing vs. Bard: We Compared Both Chatbots to See Which Is Better | Inverse

By Ian Carlos Campbell, March 27, 2023

NurPhoto/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Begun, the chatbot wars have. Microsoft was early out the gate with its updated version of Bing, appending chatbot functionality to its search engine and integrating both into the Edge browser, while Google trailed behind, only just recently making its Bard chatbot available to the public.

Both companies have big plans for generative AI (the catchall name for AI that produce images, text, and video), integrating features into productivity software like Word, Excel, Gmail, and Docs, and pitching their respective chatbots as search engine companions, if not someday replacements.

Now that Bing and Bard are available for anyone to try (waitlist notwithstanding in Bard’s case), Inverse put the chatbots in a head-to-head test to get a sense of their usefulness.

Source: Bing vs. Bard: We Compared Both Chatbots to See Which Is Better

Happy 50th: “Dark Side of the Moon” | Now See Hear! | Library of Congress

Posted by: Cary O’Dell, March 22, 2023

From article…

Fifty years ago this month, one of the most remarkable and deeply enduring albums ever made was released. Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” was added to the Library’s National Recording Registry in 2013. In the essay below, exclusive to the Library, Dr. Daniel J. Levitin examines the brutal beauty of this masterwork.

Angst.  Greed.  Alienation.  Questioning one’s own sanity.  Weird time signatures. Experimental sounds.  In 1973, Pink Floyd was a somewhat known progressive rock band, but it was this, their ninth album, that catapulted them into world class rock-star status.

“The Dark Side of the Moon” spent an astonishing 14 years on the “Billboard” album charts, and sold an estimated 45 million copies.  It is a work of outstanding artistry, skill, and craftsmanship that is popular in its reach and experimental in its grasp.

An engineering masterpiece, the album received a Grammy nomination for best engineered non-classical recording, based on beautifully captured instrumental tones and a warm, lush soundscape.  Engineer Alan Parsons and Mixing Supervisor Chris Thomas, who had worked extensively with The Beatles (the LP was mastered by engineer Wally Traugott), introduced a level of sonic beauty and clarity to the album that propelled the music off of any sound system to become an all-encompassing, immersive experience.

Source: Happy 50th: “Dark Side of the Moon” | Now See Hear!