- "Lexicographical Longing," by Virginia Heffernan, New York Times. "As of now, Oxford University Press has no official plans to publish a new print edition of the Oxford English Dictionary." Also, why dictionaries should tell you what using a word makes you sound like. "'Lenity,' whatever it means, is, above all, 'a word used by Richard Posner at the very end of the 20th century.' If you still feel like using it, by all means, it’s yours."
- "Stages of Thought," by Martha C. Nussbaum, The New Republic. Review-essay on philosophical readings of Shakespeare, with high praise for Tzachi Zamir's Double Vision: Moral Philosophy and Shakespearean Drama. "Antony and Cleopatra depicts 'mature love,' love between people who enjoy being grown-ups together, and who have no project of transcending human life, because they are taking too much pleasure in life as it is."
- "Edward Said's shadowy legacy," by Robert Irwin, Times Literary Supplement. The mistranslated quotes are embarassing, but should Said -- a professor of Comparative Literature -- really have to apologize for being interested in Flaubert's Letters From Egypt because they were "never intended for publication"? Irwin thinks so. Another transgression: he doesn't pay attention to how funny some of the rich old Orientalists were.
Gas Prices Send Surge of Riders to Mass Transit ," Clifford Krauss, NYT.“The future of mass transit in this country has never been brighter." Whaaaaaa?
- "The Programming Historian," William J. Turkel & Alan MacEachern. Actually a really useful beginner's guide for humanities programmers!
Special Phantom Link: "Looking At Libraries." For some reason, this post at if:book went up and then down, but if it ever comes back, it's really quite good. It looks at libraries, public, private, and research, the differences between them, the way that libraries protect books, but close them off to their readers, and extrapolates this to emerging digital libraries. Plus, lots of good anecdotes/examples, including some smart stuff by that most admirable poet Susan Howe.
- You should be able to put what you learn to work in your research immediately. We think that many beginning programmers lose patience because they can't see why they're learning what they're learning.
- Digital history requires working with sources on the web. This means that you're going to be spending most of your research time working in a browser, so you should be able to put your programming skills to work there.
- You will have to be somewhat polyglot. Individual programming languages can be beautiful objects in their own right, and each embodies a different way of looking at the world. In order to become a good programmer, you will eventually have to master the intricacies of one or more particular languages. When you're first getting started, however, you need something more like a pidgin.