No Caption Needed: Jackbook Ballet

I just discovered this blog about photojournalism called No Caption Needed. Ironically, there is text, though. For every post, Robert Hariman et al write artfully about what makes the featured image interesting. Here’s their post about a strangely beautiful photograph they call Jackboot Ballet.

Jackboot Ballet


How Long Would It Take To Read Kindle’s Terms and Conditions?

Spoiler Alert: It takes about 9 hours to read the full Kindle terms of service — not counting the law classes needed to really understand it — and the Australian magazine Choice paid an actor to read the whole thing, all 73,000+ words, including the full text of the Apache software license 10 times.

You can watch a summary trailer video, or you can watch each of the 9 episodes, or you can do what I did, and turn on all of the videos at once 😜. It’s worth it just to read the Star Wars-like episode titles.

How Long Would It Take To Read Kindle’s Terms and Conditions?


the Chronicle of Higher Education article: “50 Years of Stupid Grammar”

The Elements of Style, a very famous grammar book, recently reached its 50th anniversay, and some people are celebrating.

Which is weird. Even when I read it as a much younger writer, I don’t think I ever found anything especially eye-opening about the advice in it. I even vaguely recall finding points to disagree with. Celebration of this book seems even more absurd, though, when you realize that a lot of the information in it is patently false.

What’s wrong is that the grammatical advice proffered in Elements is so misplaced and inaccurate that counterexamples often show up in the authors’ own prose on the very same page.

Glenn Greenwald: No Place To Hide

You should read No Place To Hide, multiple-award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald’s book about the American surveillance state. It will make you angry and paranoid, but it’s important to know about these things. And Greenwald’s occasional snark might help the medicine go down.

Consider this example: Then-senator Joe Biden publicly argued in 2005 that George Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program was a terrible overreach, and how could anyone trust the president to handle this dangerous level of power responsibly?, et cetera, but then as vice president in 2013, he made the exact opposite arguments…

Here’s Greenwald’s take:

The relevant point here is not merely that many partisan loyalists are unprincipled hypocrites with no real convictions other than a quest for power, although that is certainly true. More important is what such statements reveal about the nature of how one regards state surveillance. As with so many injustices, people are willing to dismiss fear of government overreach when they believe that those who happen to be in control are benevolent and trustworthy. They consider surveillance dangerous or worth caring about only when they perceive that they themselves are threatened by it.

(emphasis added)

no-place-to-hide Ian McKellen reads a passionate speech by William Shakespeare written in defense of immigrants

It’s always interesting to me when people can take a very old text and make it feel relevant today.