How cool is this? You can read the classics for free on openlibrary.org.
Nice. New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) turned up in a Google Doodle on her 128th birthday.
The Parliamentary Library became a welcome retreat from what she regarded as the crass colonial life of Wellington. She was able to gain access to the library because of the political connections of her father, Harold Beauchamp, who was a personal friend of Premier Richard John Seddon and also had connections with the Chief Librarian, Charles Wilson.
A few one-liners.
“Headlines should not mislead the reader about a story’s contents and quotation marks should not be used to dress up overstatement” — Science Media Centre NZ’s Best practice guidelines for reporting on science
“The death knell for any enterprise is to glorify the past no matter how good it was” — Jeff Bezos to Washington Post staff
“A typical MetService forecast… will tell you about the ‘overnight low’. This is the lowest that the air temperature is expected to get….at about shoulder height.” — NZ Met Service Learning Centre/Frost
“In the early 19th century, naval officers made regular weather observations, but there was no standard scale and so they could be very subjective – one man’s ‘stiff breeze’ might be another’s ‘soft breeze’.” — Wikipedia on the Beaufort Scale
“Mr Packer is clearly eager to get quoted – let’s be eager too, to find someone else to quote” — AP News memo June 16 2003 about Greg Packer, “the most quoted guy in news”
“Mr Fletcher called his invention JumpStation. He put together an index of pages which could then be searched by a web crawler, essentially an automated process that visits, and indexes, every link on every web page it comes across. The process continues until the crawler runs out of things to visit. Ten days later, on 21 December 1993, JumpStation ran out of things to visit. It had indexed 25,000 pages.” — BBC News on Jonathon Fletcher: forgotten father of the search engine
A few of my summer reads have overlapped in the realms of history and philosophy. In the mix was Alain de Botton’s The Consolations of Philosophy. And there is consolation indeed in the words of long-dead men who could, but for their turn of phrase, be speaking today.
Montaigne won my heart a little, not least for these quotes which allowed me to imagine him dispensing advice and bile from a blog today.
Books or news stories?:
“I am not prepared to bash my brains for anything, not even for learning’s sake, however precious it may be. From books all I seek is to give myself pleasure by an honourable pastime… If I come across difficult passages in my reading I never bite my nails over them: after making a charge or two I let them be… If one book wearies me I take up another.”
Books or blogs?:
“There are more books on books than on any other subject: all we do is gloss each other. All is a-swarm with commentaries: of authors there is a dearth.”
A drubbing for the long-winded (this one was directed at Cicero):
“His introductory passages, his definitions, his sub-divisions and his etymologies eat up most of his work… If I spend an hour reading him (which is a lot for me) and then recall what pith and substance I have got out of him, most of the time I find nothing but wind.”