Showing posts from October, 2005

The scary state of Jules Verne translations

Roderick T. Long's recent post about the merits of Jules Verne reminded me of this. I recently was pretty shocked to find out that the most widely available English translations of Jules Verne's books are totally mutilated and inaccurate. As much as 1/4 of entire books are cut, including in particular much of the social and political material, giving the impression that Verne didn't deal with those issues. For example, the most available translation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was done by a clergyman who decided to omit all mentions of Darwin. Much of what is kept doesn't fare much better: in that same translation, Nemo's figure for the density of steel was confused to make it lighter than water. Most of these hack translations were done in the 1800s, but are still widely reprinted today, with little awareness about them. In contrast, the translations into other languages are generally okay, and in the non-English-speaking parts of Europe the sophisticated asp

So who's opsound?

Creative Commons Australia has a new animated video that's a must-see. Here's a 13 MB QuickTime file of the movie itself ; the org's post also has the script (which may be more accessible for those without broadband access) and the source files for the animation (done with the software package Moho ). Not only does the movie explain in a clear and accessible way the legal issues involved in the Creative Commons organization 's limited copyright system, but it's flat-out hilarious and an excellent piece of animation in its own right. It takes full advantage of the freedom that the animation medium offers; and the voice acting, dialogue ("you are SOOOOOO busted!") and sound effects are top-notch, convincingly getting the dialogue across without relying on lip-synch (because the characters don't have mouths). These screenshots give some idea of the inventive imagery, but the movie has a funky energy that needs to be seen in motion. What's even cool

Heinlein & science fictional feminism

Today's New York Times book review section has a fantastic article , "Heinlein's Female Troubles" by Mary Grace Lord, about feminism in Robert Heinlein's science fiction.

Jonathan Kozol

On September 13, I had the chance to see in person one of the leading education writers, one whom I admire while simultanenously having profoundly mixed feelings about. With an incredible amount of energy and raw passion for a 69-year-old—especially considering that this is just one event of a two-month book tour—Jonathan Kozol talked to a packed crowd at the Astor Place Barnes & Noble in Manhattan to promote his new book The Shame of the Nation : The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America (there's also an excerpt in this month's issue of Harper's magazine, "Still Separate, Still Unequal: America's Educational Apartheid" ). Dozens of copies of the book (in a deluxe hardcover edition, to boot) were flying off the shelves; such demand is certainly a testament to the huge numbers of people who care about education and want to improve it. I was tipped off to the appearance when I unexpectedly heard Kozol on The Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC radio earli