Thursday Tweets

A lot of good things appeared in my Twitter stream today and I thought I would share some of them here. First of all, two classics have been adapted into graphic novels, The Odyssey (via @rogueclassicist) and Don Quixote (via @batpoet). I suppose adventures stories lend themselves to a visual format, especially in the male-dominated graphic novel/comic book market. What are the chances we’ll see a graphic Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice?

The online book community is mourning the loss of Michael S. Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg. He is said to have invented the ebook, and began by hand-typing classics such as Homer, Shakespeare, and the Bible into his computer and posting them online. Now the work is carried out by an army of volunteers all over the world using scanners and optical character recognition. However the human touch is still required, and you can help by joining Distributed Proofreaders. If you are the sort of person who notices the typos in today’s poorly edited books, you’re just the sort of person DP needs! There’s a nice community of book lovers there and it’s a great way to give back to the world of books.

Finally, have you ever noticed that some languages sound faster than others? Have you wondered if they are saying more or if there is just a lot of “filler” in the language? Well, according to some recent research [here’s the whole paper](via @StanCarey), it seems that the information density of a language is inversely proportional to the speed with which it is spoken, with the end result that languages (at least the ones that were tested) dish out roughly the same amount of information in the same amount of time. In other words, languages that sound faster don’t really say more than languages that sound slower. I don’t know if this research is conclusive or has been confirmed elsewhere, but it makes me wonder if the brain has an optimal speed for taking in verbal information, regardless of language. I do know one thing for sure: my brain is not fast enough to take in everything on Twitter!

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4 comments on “Thursday Tweets

  1. Stefanie says:

    Hart's death is very sad news. On a brighter note, that is quite interesting about the faster/slower languages. I've always thought Spanish sounded fast because I didn't know it very well. But then I never thought that when I was learning German. Hmm, interesting.

  2. Sylvia says:

    Yes, he was only 64! 😦 But what a legacy he leaves behind!
    Indeed, Spanish is faster and German slower, whether we understand it or not.

  3. Susan says:

    Remember these books from the 1960s? They were probably the first graphic novels:
    http://www.newkadia.com/?Classics_Illustrated_Comic-Books=835&gclid=CMThwYyOtqsCFRl0gwod9UBCdw

  4. Susan, how interesting! I don't remember those, and I guess no one else does because everyone talks as though graphic novels are a new thing.

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