“In 2011, Jean-Baptiste Michel and multiple co-authors published an article in Science, helpfully if not colorfully titled “Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books,” which announced that more than five million books had been digitized, thus giving us a new tool by which to identify cultural trends and to quantify changes over time.”
In a brief essay, Asher Fisch, a native-born Israeli and a protégé of Daniel Barenboim, explains how he believes his mentor went wrong in his 2001 attempt to break the Jewish state’s longstanding Wagner taboo – and how he hopes to succeed. Says Fisch, “It’s up to me, and it’s waiting to happen.”
“I couldn’t do anything else but drive a tractor. I felt like this is the only thing I had. … I don’t do it to get a message across. I’m writing just because there are certain kinds of raw material. The material may be very strange, but it takes shape in the course of writing. Whether that has a message or not is not my concern.”
“The bigger fight here is that if they can do this with our songs, with our lyrics, then they can do it with your Instagram photos, they can do it with your Facebook profile, they can do it with anything you put on your Web page without your permission. That’s what permissionless innovation is.”
“[That] is the idea behind the Affordable College Textbook Act, a bill recently introduced in Congress by Senators Dick Durbin and Al Franken. The bill would create a grant program that would support the creation and use of so-called ‘open textbooks,’ meaning textbooks that are licensed under terms that allow them to be accessed and distributed for free.”
Mary Schmidt Campbell: “It is a demonstrated fact that if you put well-designed arts programs into the schools – particularly in areas that are underserved – and you integrate them into the curriculum, you can raise the performance in reading, math and science. … It drives me crazy that we are still struggling to make that case around the country.” T
“To people who follow the pronouncements of Bob Dylan, his comment in a Rolling Stone interview in September 2012 suggesting that American blacks could sense whether whites had slave-master blood ‘just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood’ may have seemed just the sort of vaporously impressionistic, emotionally pointed kind of thing that Mr. Dylan has been known to say for decades.” Some Croatians in France beg to differ.
“While Saint Nicholas may bring gifts to good boys and girls, ancient folklore in Europe’s Alpine region also tells of Krampus, a frightening beast-like creature who emerges during the Yule season, looking for naughty children to punish in horrible ways – or possibly to drag back to his lair in a sack.”