## I am going to be a guest at San Diego Comic-Con

So, I do intend to write about my experience as the Genre Fiction instructor for the Lambda Literary Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, which was amazing, and not just because of this delightful coffee mug:

But now I want to tell you what I’m doing at Comic-Con!

I’m a Featured Guest and I’m on two panels:

Historical Comics and Graphic Novels: Thursday, July 9th, 1 PM

Not all comics are about superheroes. In fact, there are some amazing graphic novels, comics and web comics that deal with events from history. Some are personal stories, some are historical accounts and some are the creator’s own take, but they all bring history alive. Creators Peter Bagge (Hate, Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story), Ed Piskor (Hip-Hop Family Tree), Matt Phelan (The Storm in the Barn), Sara Ryan (Escape From Alcatraz), and Lora Innes (The Dreamer), discuss their historical works with moderator Douglas Wolk (Reading Comics).

Normalizing Publishing: Sunday, July 12th, noon

Shonda Rhimes famously said that she’s not “‘diversifying’ TV, she’s normalizing it: “Making it look like the world looks.” Join Sara Ryan (Bad Houses, Lambda Literary Emerging LGBTQ Writers Retreat instructor), Nilah Magruder (M.F.K., Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity recipient), Nicola Yoon (Everything Everything, We Need Diverse Books team member), Cindy Pon (Serpentine, We Need Diverse Books advisory committee, Diversity in YA co-founder), and Greg van Eekhout (California Bones, The Boy at the End of the World) discuss how this normalizing is, and isn’t, happening and what we can all do to promote inclusive storytelling.

I’m looking forward to both of them, but I’m particularly excited about the second one. See, as a guest, I get a “spotlight panel”, which means that basically I can do whatever I want for fifty minutes.

I decided what I wanted was to share the stage with smart interesting people and talk about stuff that matters.

See you in San Diego!

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## HNTBW paperback publicity roundup

Gonna put all this stuff in one post:

I was at the Aspen Ideas Festival last week, talking about various aspects of outward-facing math.  We taped an episode of Science Friday with Jo Boaler and Steve Strogatz, mostly about K-12 teaching, but I did get to drop Russell’s paradox on the audience.  I also did a discussion with David Leonhardt, editor of the New York Times Upshot section, about the future of quantitative journalism, and sat on a big panel that debated the question:  “Is Math Important?”

The big news from England was that Waterstone’s chose HNTBW as their nonfiction book of the month for June.  That was a big factor in the book riding the Times bestseller list for a month (it’s the #5 nonfiction paperback as I write this.)  I went to London and did some events, like this talk at the Royal Institution.  I also got to meet Matt Parker, “the stand-up mathematician,” and record a spirited discussion of whether 0.9999… = 1 (extra director’s cut footage here.)

I was on Bloomberg News, very briefly, to talk about my love for dot plot charts and to tell a couple of stories from the book.  (Rare chance to see me in a blazer.)  I also wrote a couple of op-eds, some already linked here:  In the New York Times, I wrote about states replacing Common Core math standards with renamed versions of the same thing, and in the Wall Street Journal, I talked about the need for a new kind of fact-checking for data journalism, where truth is not enough.

The book just came out in Brazil this month; good luck for me, I was already invited to a conference at IMPA, so while I was there I gave a talk at Casa do Saber in Rio, talking through a translator like I was at the UN.

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## Pop with a Shotgun (4)

Devin McKinney on the ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL 1970 albums.
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Erle Cox's OUT OF THE SILENCE
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## angrywhistler: Valentino Quijano love this image and the name…

Valentino Quijano

love this image and the name of the Tumblr that posted it

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## ageofdestruction: wildflowers, photographed by me, june 2015.9…

wildflowers, photographed by me, june 2015.

9 frames. [0.12].

image & animation: ageofdestruction.

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colourwave

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## Air Bridge (19)

I lifted the shotgun and fired at the torch.
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## Circle Game (1)

Jonathan Stagge's THE SCARLET CIRCLE
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## kidmograph: Smiley Study.A few Smiley versions for a couple of…

Smiley Study.

A few Smiley versions for a couple of projects i’ve been working on lately, tested on 540px wide.

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## Work TBR

New "tower" approach to organizing work TBR in bedroom (I think best lying in bed!). I have another one of these in a box waiting to be assembled, but it must be said that the screwholes were so badly bored that the person helping me assemble the first one had to take the pieces to the hardware store and get them to help her ream them out so that the screws would actually go through!
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## Librarian of Progress – it’s time

Librarian of PROgress. Let’s start the conversation.

People have been asking me, and they may be asking you, about the job opening for Librarian of Congress. I put together this little one-page website to give people a run down of the important issues as I see them. #nextloc

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## Hypocrite Idler 2Q2015

Here's what Josh has been up to since April 1.
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## False Machine (6)

Spaceship scenes in the first four TREK movies.
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## HiLobrow 2Q2015

Here's what we published in April, May, and June!
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## flowerbattblog: My hair is so nice today ♡ it sure…

My hair is so nice today ♡

it sure is…love love love

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## Pop with a Shotgun (3)

Devin McKinney on Leonard Cohen's DEATH OF A LADIES' MAN
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## foreignmovieposters: Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962). German poster by…

Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962). German poster by Isolde Monson-Baumgart.

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## HiLobrow’s Most Visited 2Q2015

Here's what HiLobrow readers have visited most often.
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## The Theatre of Eternal Music – Dream House 78’17”

Superb music while writing a project in a beautiful home in Detroit.
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## “Where there is ruin; there is hope for a treasure.”

“Where there is ruin; there is hope for a treasure.”

- Rumi (via stardust-seedling)
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## Froth and Folly: Nobility and Perfumery at the Court of Versailles|The Getty Iris

Froth and Folly: Nobility and Perfumery at the Court of Versailles|The Getty Iris:

I just saw the film “A Little Chaos” on VOD. It stars Kate Winslet as a garden designer in the Court of Louis XIV, one of my favorite periods of history. This article on perfumes in the Court of Versailles is fascinating reading.

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Arthur + Eames
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## False Machine (5)

Why does the ENTERPRISE look so cool?
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Rudyard Kipling's WITH THE NIGHT MAIL
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Overdue a light reading update. Basically, the month in summary: crest of relief when I dig in on a longish series that's good, then dismay when it comes to an end and I am not sure what to read next! Trying to get my act together for a productive week of work starting tomorrow, as that is the thing most likely to improve my mood and morale - this year has been unduly taxing, I am now operating at about 20% capacity, that's not good....

Just finished an advance copy of the excellent Lauren Groff's forthcoming novel Fates and Furies. I found the first half puzzling and a bit unsatisfying (it suffers by comparison with A Little Life, which on the face of it sets out to do some similar things), but the second half makes sense of the first - I wish there had been some way to have the reveal come sooner. Very good, though, regardless.

The latest Expanse installment is just as good as one might expect. I think I will reread the whole series from the start before the next volume, both because they are so intensely pleasurable and because the human element of the story sticks with me more consistently than the intricacies of the protomolecule.

Caymanian author Elke Feuer's Deadly Race, which I enjoyed very much (it's the second installment in a series, both are well-written and engaging but this one asks for less suspension of demographic disbelief in the matter of serial killer populations!).

Stephen King, Finders Keepers (an enjoyable read, good storytelling but the characters are forgettable, types rather than individuals).

Sarai Walker, Dietland (like a sort of inverse sequel to Fay Weldon's Life and Loves of a She Devil).

I liked the first two installment of Sarah Rees Brennan's Lynburn Legacy books so much that I decided to reread them in preparation for Unmade. I was sorry indeed as I read the last page: these books remind me more of Diana Wynne Jones than almost anything I've ever read, it gave me a pang!

Tim Lebbon, Coldbrook (certain similarities to the other book I recently read of is led me to suspect that he must have been as strongly influenced/impressed as I was by The Day of the Triffids in some earlier stage of life).

Then I came upon an amazingly good fantasy series by Robert V. S. Redick. Redick is my "friend" on Facebook, and posted a picture of a gecko there that captivated me sufficiently that I looked up his books: and they are so very good! Also there are four of them and they are LONG, so they got me through a tough week or so. The series is called the Chathrand Voyage, more information here: highly recommended.

I couldn't quite get in a groove after that (I have been reading a lot for work as well too, obviously, including some very interesting stuff about documentation and marginal annotation), so the rest of the list is more miscellaneous: a very brutal zombie novel by Mason James Cole, Pray to Stay Dead; four much more frivolous zombie novels (this kind of urban fantasy is so silly but so relaxing to read), Diana Rowland's White Trash Zombie series; Sarah Hepola's gripping Blackout (this Guardian excerpt captured my attention earlier in the month: not as complex and interesting a book as Caroline Knapp's drinking memoir, but extremely well-written and interesting to read); and Vendela Vida's The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty (I liked it, the writing is ravishing, but it is more novella than novel - reminded me a good deal of a couple books by Kate Christensen that were more substantial - and I found the late-stage double revelation needlessly melodramatic - one or the other thing would have been enough?).

My bedroom is stacked with dozens of half-read books, but I am too lazy to document that all here - will have to get subsumed into actual writing....
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Overdue a light reading update. Basically, the month in summary: crest of relief when I dig in on a longish series that's good, then dismay when it comes to an end and I am not sure what to read next! Trying to get my act together for a productive week of work starting tomorrow, as that is the thing most likely to improve my mood and morale - this year has been unduly taxing, I am now operating at about 20% capacity, that's not good....

Just finished an advance copy of the excellent Lauren Groff's forthcoming novel Fates and Furies. I found the first half puzzling and a bit unsatisfying (it suffers by comparison with A Little Life, which on the face of it sets out to do some similar things), but the second half makes sense of the first - I wish there had been some way to have the reveal come sooner. Very good, though, regardless.

The latest Expanse installment is just as good as one might expect. I think I will reread the whole series from the start before the next volume, both because they are so intensely pleasurable and because the human element of the story sticks with me more consistently than the intricacies of the protomolecule.

Caymanian author Elke Feuer's Deadly Race, which I enjoyed very much (it's the second installment in a series, both are well-written and engaging but this one asks for less suspension of demographic disbelief in the matter of serial killer populations!).

Stephen King, Finders Keepers (an enjoyable read, good storytelling but the characters are forgettable, types rather than individuals).

Sarai Walker, Dietland (like a sort of inverse sequel to Fay Weldon's Life and Loves of a She Devil).

I liked the first two installment of Sarah Rees Brennan's Lynburn Legacy books so much that I decided to reread them in preparation for Unmade. I was sorry indeed as I read the last page: these books remind me more of Diana Wynne Jones than almost anything I've ever read, it gave me a pang!

Tim Lebbon, Coldbrook (certain similarities to the other book I recently read of is led me to suspect that he must have been as strongly influenced/impressed as I was by The Day of the Triffids in some earlier stage of life).

Then I came upon an amazingly good fantasy series by Robert V. S. Redick. Redick is my "friend" on Facebook, and posted a picture of a gecko there that captivated me sufficiently that I looked up his books: and they are so very good! Also there are four of them and they are LONG, so they got me through a tough week or so. The series is called the Chathrand Voyage, more information here: highly recommended.

I couldn't quite get in a groove after that (I have been reading a lot for work as well too, obviously, including some very interesting stuff about documentation and marginal annotation), so the rest of the list is more miscellaneous: a very brutal zombie novel by Mason James Cole, Pray to Stay Dead; four much more frivolous zombie novels (this kind of urban fantasy is so silly but so relaxing to read), Diana Rowland's White Trash Zombie series; Sarah Hepola's gripping Blackout (this Guardian excerpt captured my attention earlier in the month: not as complex and interesting a book as Caroline Knapp's drinking memoir, but extremely well-written and interesting to read); and Vendela Vida's The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty (I liked it, the writing is ravishing, but it is more novella than novel - reminded me a good deal of a couple books by Kate Christensen that were more substantial - and I found the late-stage double revelation needlessly melodramatic - one or the other thing would have been enough?).

My bedroom is stacked with dozens of half-read books, but I am too lazy to document that all here - will have to get subsumed into actual writing....
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## The Sunday Series: Sunday June 28, 2015

The Sunday Series:

Sunday June 28, 2015

Till very recently I lived in Los Angeles, to be more specific, in the Silver Lake area, and I decided to move.   I feel I have been good for the city, but in return Los Angeles has been total shit to me.  I held a job for 25 years, and then suddenly, without any prior warning, was let go.  Damned for doing the right things and damned for the wrong.  I have always tried to do the right thing, but alas, like George Raft flipping one of his gold coins, I have to take the bad with the good.  Being human, I couldn't take the bitterness that started from my mouth to the stomach area, I just had to move and start a new life in a new location.  Also living in Los Angeles I felt like I wasn't in America, due to Japan and the rest of Asia was across from the large pond and my occasional visits to New York City, felt like I was visiting Europe.   It was then that I decided to move to Detroit, Michigan.

I got a job as a receptionist in a little recording studio on Grand Boulevard called Hitsville U.S.A. My job there, is to take care of their treasure trove of signed dated contracts, photographs, posters, and correspondence.   The thing is I want to make music and I found myself drawn to the recording studio on the first floor. It is a very small studio, but I have seen the space crammed full of musicians as well as the singer.  In the neighborhood, I found a girl group called "The Primettes.   They were singing in front of the Fisher Building on Grand Bouvelard.  As they were passing the bucket for donations, instead of money, I put in my business card inside the bucket - it read: Tosh Berman, Hitsville U.S.A.

Me and the three girls that make up the Primettes had coffee at Stella International Cafe, located on the ground floor inside the Fisher Building.  Since I was the record label guy (of sorts), I paid for their coffee.   For some odd reason, I can still remember how they liked their coffee.  Florence and Mary like it black, but Diana insisted on fresh cream and one little pack of sugar.  Diana stirred her coffee in a very slow and thoughtful manner.  I started to hum a melody in my head, and Florence sort of did a counter-melody to it, and Diane started to make up lyrics right there at the coffee shop.   I thought up of the title "Tears of Sorrow" which strikes me as a good dynamic and dramatic title.  Diane agreed and she started to play with the lyrics against the melody.

"A fresh cream in the tea
In a building of gold,
Can never take you away from me
Tears of Sorrow, Tears of grief

From the coffee shop/Fisher Building, we walked to the Hitsville U.S.A. office & recording studio to see if we could record the song.  I found Earl in the studio and asked him to round up the musicians.  He got Joe, James (an incredible bass player), Papa Zita &Pistol on drums and Joe on guitar.  The beauty of America, is even though I was practically chased out of Los Angeles, but still, I was able to get a job as a receptionist here in Detroit, and there is even possibility of making a hit record.  My gut instinct tells me on I'm on a roll here.

After the successful session (my very first as a producer as well as a songwriter) I rushed the tapes to Archer Record Pressing on Davison Street.  I had to walk there, because I don't drive nor do I own a car.  This I feel is information I should keep secret from other Detroitians.   Within hours, we had our seven-inch single, backed by another song I wrote "Pretty Baby" on the flip side.   I went to the big boss Barry's office to show and play him the single.  Since I was not only an employee at his company, I was also a non-musician composer - in fact, I'm just the receptionist and I don't even have pretty legs if you get my drift.

There is something about Detroit that inspires one's soul - is it their water or air?  No, I think it is due that there is so much manufacturing in this city.  Cars, and of course music.  It is like Cupid took his bow out and the arrow hit bulls eye on the entire landscape of Detroit.  I could never tell if I arrived at paradise as it is opening up their arms to me, or is it the end, and I'm just seeing the rays of love leave the town.  Nevertheless, I'm here with a seven-inch single in my hand and I'm in Barry's office.

First thing he said to me when I entered into his office was "Who are you?"  Which comes to mind, that is a very good question.  Who are we all?  I told him that I'm the new receptionist, but I made a record with a new girl group and used the Funk Brothers as a back-up band, and that I co-wrote the song as well as produced it - all of course at Hitsville U.S.A.   He's impressed of course, so he OK's the release.    Barry as he sat behind his big oak desk, looked a lot like Che Guevara.  Since I worked here, I have seen him drive a diesel van, and I know he kept his gun in quiet seclusion - in many ways a humble man.  He has caused a panic in the air, or at the very least in Detroit.  I greatly admire him.  I wanted to tell him this, but he's not the type of guy to hear compliments from guys like yours truly.  He went downstairs to the studio with me, to meet the gals.

When he saw Diana, he froze.   I got the feeling something happened between them, but as I mentioned, Cupid for sure has his arrows pointed towards Detroit.  If you got that notion, I second that emotion.
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## Tom Hardy Lips Appreciation Post (╯3╰) i just…

Tom Hardy Lips Appreciation Post (╯3╰)

i just…

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## 3Q2015 Sneak Peek

Here's what we're planning for July, August, and September!
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## No Man’s Land (5)

Below me was a dizzy chaos of grey.
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## katblaque: emkaymlp: bestpal: IM LAUGHING SO FUCKING…

IM LAUGHING SO FUCKING HARD

someone should make a mixtape filled with some of the most bizarre genres on here and give it to their crush with no context

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## The state of publishing

At the Guardian, Sam Leith argues that we're living in a golden age for the university press. I agree with everything he says - also I want to read some of these UP books he singles out for praise (might have to read a manuscript for the U of Chicago P so that I can get these for free - often honorarium from a press is a choice of a very modest sum of actual dollars or twice that amount in books! The Francis Barber book is already on my list and I am about to go and get it from the library):
In natural history and popular science, alone, for instance: Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendell’s amazing book The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins or Brooke Borel’s history of the bedbug, Infested, or Caitlin O’Connell’s book on pachyderm behaviour, Elephant Don, or Christian Sardet’s gorgeous book Plankton? All are published by the University of Chicago. Beth Shapiro’s book on the science of de-extinction, How to Clone a Mammoth? Published by Princeton. In biography, Yale – who gave us Sue Prideaux’s award-winning life of Strindberg a couple of years back – have been quietly churning out the superb Jewish Lives series. Theirs is the new biography of Stalin applauded by one reviewer as “the pinnacle of scholarly knowledge on the subject”, and theirs the much-admired new life of Francis Barber, the freed slave named as Dr Johnson’s heir. Here are chewy, interesting subjects treated by writers of real authority but marketed in a popular way. The university presses are turning towards the public because with the big presses not taking these risks, the stuff’s there for the taking.
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## Against the 1%

Some funny food details in this FT lunch with Thomas Piketty, who seems to have been making a point by choosing a really mediocre lunch venue (I do understand the preference for quiet research time over lunch!): "the now tepid bolognese," "ripe and soothing" cubes of pineapple, "a rubbery crêpe au sucre"....
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## Air Bridge (18)

"He is waiting for us — out there."
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## Jurgen (16)

Of Compromises in Glathion
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## nitratediva: Ann Dvorak in Howard Hawks’s Scarface (1932). I…

Ann Dvorak in Howard Hawks’s Scarface (1932).

I know that look. I”m still trying to perfect it.

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## Pop with a Shotgun (2)

Devin McKinney on: Neil Young's LIVING WITH WAR
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## Paul Thomas Anderson

Don't hate him because he's ambitious.
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## Alexandra Florea on the average central value of hyperelliptic L-functions

Alexandra Florea, a student of Soundararajan, has a nice new paper up, which I heard about in a talk by Michael Rubinstein.  She computes the average of

$L(1/2, \chi_f)$

as f ranges over squarefree polynomials of large degree.  If this were the value at 1 instead of the value at 1/2, this would be asking for the average number of points on the Jacobian of a hyperelliptic curve, and I could at least have some idea of where to start (probably with this paper of Erman and Wood.)  And I guess you could probably get a good grasp on moments by imitating Granville-Soundararajan?

But I came here to talk about Florea’s result.  What’s cool about it is that it has the a main term that matches existing conjectures in the number field case, but there is a second main term, whose size is about the cube root of the main term, before you get to fluctuations!

The only similar case I know is Roberts’ conjecture, now a theorem of Bhargava-Shankar-Tsimerman and Thorne-Taniguchi, which finds a similar secondary main term in the asymptotic for counting cubic fields.  And when I say similar I really mean similar — e.g. in both cases the coefficient of the secondary term is some messy thing involving zeta functions evaluated at third-integers.

My student Yongqiang Zhao found a lovely geometric interpretation for the secondary term the Roberts conjecture.  Is there some way to see what Florea’s secondary term “means” geometrically?  Of course I’m stymied here by the fact that I don’t really know how to think about her counting problem geometrically in the first place.

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## sphexoskepsis: I’ve never seen one hatch before. Score one for…

I’ve never seen one hatch before. Score one for paying attention.

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