1. How We Will Read: Clay Shirky


    This post is part of “How We Will Read,” an interview series exploring the future of books from the perspectives of publishers, writers, and intellectuals. Read our kickoff post with Steven Johnson here. And check out our new homepage, a captivating new way to explore Findings.

    This week, we were extremely honored to speak to Internet intellectual Clay Shirky, writer, teacher, and consultant on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. Clay is a professor at the renowned Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU and author of two books, most recently Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age.

    Clay is one of the foremost minds studying the evolution of Internet culture. He is also a dedicated writer and reader, and it was natural that we would ask him to contribute to our series to hear what he could teach us about social reading. Clay is both brilliant and witty, able to weave in quotes from Robert Frost in one breath and drop a “ZOMG” in the next. So sit down and take notes: Professor Shirky’s about to speak.

    How is publishing changing?

    Publishing is not evolving. Publishing is going away. Because the word “publishing” means a cadre of professionals who are taking on the incredible difficulty and complexity and expense of making something public. That’s not a job anymore. That’s a button. There’s a button that says “publish,” and when you press it, it’s done.

    In ye olden times of 1997, it was difficult and expensive to make things public, and it was easy and cheap to keep things private. Privacy was the default setting. We had a class of people called publishers because it took special professional skill to make words and images visible to the public. Now it doesn’t take professional skills. It doesn’t take any skills. It takes a Wordpress install.

    The question isn’t what happens to publishing — the entire category has been evacuated. The question is, what are the parent professions needed around writing? Publishing isn’t one of them. Editing, we need, desperately. Fact-checking, we need. For some kinds of long-form texts, we need designers. Will we have a movie-studio kind of setup, where you have one class of cinematographers over here and another class of art directors over there, and you hire them and put them together for different projects, or is all of that stuff going to be bundled under one roof? We don’t know yet. But the publishing apparatus is gone. Even if people want a physical artifact — pipe the PDF to a printing machine. We’ve already seen it happen with newspapers and the printer. It is now, or soon, when more people will print the New York Times holding down the “print” button than buy a physical copy.

    The original promise of the e-book was not a promise to the reader, it was a promise to the publisher: “We will design something that appears on a screen, but it will be as inconvenient as if it were a physical object.” This is the promise of the portable document format, where data goes to die, as well.

    Institutions will try to preserve the problem for which they are the solution. Now publishers are in the business not of overcoming scarcity but of manufacturing demand. And that means that almost all innovation in creation, consumption, distribution and use of text is coming from outside the traditional publishing industry.

    What is the future of reading? How can we make it more social?

    One of the things that bugs me about the Kindle Fire is that for all that I didn’t like the original Kindle, one of its greatest features was that you couldn’t get your email on it. There was an old saying in the 1980s and 1990s that all applications expand to the point at which they can read email. An old geek text editor, eMacs, had added a capability to read email inside your text editor. Another sign of the end times, as if more were needed. In a way, this is happening with hardware. Everything that goes into your pocket expands until it can read email.

    But a book is a “momentary stay against confusion.” This is something quoted approvingly by Nick Carr, the great scholar of digital confusion. The reading experience is so much more valuable now than it was ten years ago because it’s rarer. I remember, as a child, being bored. I grew up in a particularly boring place and so I was bored pretty frequently. But when the Internet came along it was like, “That’s it for being bored! Thank God! You’re awake at four in the morning? So are thousands of other people!”

    Read More

  2. Android Orphans: Visualizing a Sad History of Support
  4. bitly Pro is now... bitly!


    Since launching in December of 2009, our bitly Pro whitelabel service has grown to power over 10,000 custom short domains, including but by no means limited to (The Gates Foundation),, (Diddy), (His Holiness the Dalai Lama), and (South Park Studios).


  5. Insurance


    I started out clicking strategically… and by the end was just wildly clicking and dancing in my chair.





    (Source: mandaflewaway)

  6. "ところが、どうも記者会見などを見ていると、記者やジャーナリストのみなさんは「1万トン」という水の量に惑わされて、実際の放射性物質の量を考えていないような気がしてなりません。
    記者やジャーナリストのみなさんは、単に「1万トン」というわかりやすい数字があるから、「鋭く」追及しているだけなのではないかなあ、という気がしてなりません。「鋭く」見えるだけで、全然本質じゃないのでは。もっとだいじなことがあるんじゃないのかなあ。 ポイントは「基準値の100倍の濃度の汚染水1万トンと基準値の100万倍の濃度の汚染水1トン中に含まれる放射性物質の量は同じ」ということです。



    (via mitaimon)

  7. "中学校時代の国語のお爺ちゃん先生。


  8. "



    平成23 年度予算は、配分割合が固定化している予算配分を省庁を超えて大胆に組み替えることで、国民目線・国益に立脚した予算構造に改め、「新成長戦略」の目標とする経済成長や国民生活の質の向上を実現しなければならない。そのための「組み替え基準」としては義務的経費や年金・医療関係の自然増などを除いた政策的経費を1割まず削減し、その上で、その1割分、ないし削減が1割を超えた場合は超えた分の3倍の額を1割分に加えた金額の特別枠を要望することができる。対象となるのは、◇マニフェストの実現、◇デフレ脱却・経済成長に特に資する事業、◇雇用拡大に特に資する事業、◇人材育成、国民生活の安定・安全に資する事業―。






    (科学新聞 中村 直樹)

  9. ""
  10. "在日米軍のマンガ「わたしたちの同盟」、か〜。

    Major Neal Fisher, deputy director of the US forces’ public affairs office in Japan, said the manga were intended as a “light-hearted approach to telling the story of the alliance through the eyes of two young people who are learning why the US military are in Japan”.

    The manga format was chosen because it was “a very commonly accepted format of media in Japan - it is read as much if not more than newspapers”, he added.


    Manga to promote US-Japan military alliance」(BBC)




    (via h-yamaguchi) (via clione)