Archive for jeopardy

The Book Booth: Full Moon Saturday Edition

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Image: The New Yorker

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Full Moon Saturday Edition

One of these days, there will be a new moon on Monday, and I can title one of the posts after the Duran Duran song. But until then, there is a full moon tonight, Saturday, and it supposed to be a nice one. I hope the overcast here in our town dissipates some and we can enjoy it.

The writer's organization PEN recently held their annual gala where the honored, among others, J.K. Rowling and she had some choice words for presumptive GOP presidential nominee (how weird to write this) Donald Trump. Publishers Weekly has the story here.]
J,K. Rowling Calls Trump a Bigot

The Korean writer Han Kang won this years International Man Booker Award for her novel The Vegetarian. I don't know the work, but from the reviews I've subsequently read, it looks to be both good and disturbing. Again, PW reports on the award.
Man Booker Award to Han Kang

The New Yorker magazine has had a couple of articles of interest recently. The first is an assessment by Adelle Waldman on Samuel Richardson, whose novel Pamela is considered the first real English modern novel. I've never been able to bring myself to read the book and I have no desire to do so in the immediate future. But the article is worth reading.
Samuel Richardson

The novelist Jonathan Franzen also wrote a piece that chronicles his trip to Antarctica, where he planned to do some bird-watching.
Jonathan Frantzen in Antartica

And it seems that author Franzen also made an appearance on Jeopardy's Power Players Week. Although he came in second, Franzen, who is well-known for his passion for birds, ran the bird category with aplomb.
Jonathan Frantzen on Birds

The issue of plot in literature has been of controversy ever since the advent of Modernism and continued into the Post-Modern era. But "plot" has made something of a comeback in recent times. John Mullan at the Guardian has a good discussion about it here.
Plots and Modernism

And speaking of the modernists, Marcel Proust was certainly one of its leading lights. There is a lot in In Search of Lost Time that is difficult, including the 900 plus word sentence (that I once saw a poster for where the maker had diagrammed the sentence). Sarah Boxer details in The Atlantic her struggles with the work and her attempt to read Proust on her iPhone.
Reading Proust on Your Cellphone!

The British writer J.G. Ballard is probably best known here in the States as the author of the semi-autobiographical novel Empire of the Sun, about a young British boy's experience during World War Two of the Japanese occupation of Shanghai and filmed by Steven Spielberg. But he was also a well-regarded science-fiction writer, often compared to William S. Burroughs. And as Alison Nastasi points out over at Flavorwire, Ballard made some eerie and chilling predictions about the future.
J.G. Ballard's Predictions for the Future

With the on-going discussion of public bathroom usage, the folks at McSweeney's has put forth a patent for a device that surely will solve all the problems, ahem.
Finally! A Solution to the 'Who's Allowed in this Bathroom?' Problem! 

We leave you this week with some health tips from Walt Whitman, who not only wrote great poetry, but had advice for nearly any occasion.
Health Advice from Walt Whitman

Have a great weekend and, if you can, get out to look at that ol' devil moon while it shines in its fullest. And by all means, let us know what books are delighting you.

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State Department: All Clear To Watch "Fifth Estate"

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Assange real and actor

Okay, I'm reading my morning feeds of news stories and this headline catches my eye from FOREIGN POLICY.

State Department Employees Cleared to Watch WikiLeaks Movie

Ever since WikiLeaks.org began releasing thousands of classified cables, State Department employees have been forbidden from visiting the website without explicit authorization. (Sure, it was a silly prohibition given the proliferation of mainstream newspaper stories based on the WikiLeaks cables, but them's the rules). So how about viewing WikiLeaks the movie?

Not a problem, the State Department tells The Cable. Watching the hotly anticipated WikiLeaks drama Fifth Estate will not place employees on the naughty list.

Now I know that in the State Department, they have all kinds of rules and regulations about how you conduct yourselves, what you can do, who you can speak with and where you can go. But really, how can an organization expect to run at full efficiency if they clamp on a governor to your viewing habits if these activities are fully legal to anyone else?

It's okay for my barber or kid's teacher to read these reports, or my watching the news and getting them fed to me, but I can't go to the site myself to see what I'm missing? I think there's a screw loose here, or maybe many of them.

I can understand asking a State Department employee from forgoing an activity which could lead to their being blackmailed. But going to Wikileaks? Watching a movie? Where is this line drawn and who gets to make the decision if something is to be  stamped, verboten?

Fifth Estate

Wouldn't it be in the country's best interest if the State Department allowed its workers to have access to a site like Wikileaks -- especially Wikileaks? If Julian Assange is printing things that are false, who would know better than the people who might be fingered on the site? And if the media organization's accusations and reports are true, but considered secret, who would know better?

I think viewing these sites, not by ordained monitors but by the full slate of State Department personnel should not only be allowed, but required. This way, if some secret is being revealed, or someone's safety is compromised, identity or hints insinuated, they can report it to the department. They shouldn't have to rely on some intra-agency readers to shed light on an employee's possible danger.

Doesn't it  make you wonder? Here's a film about a whistle blower (Julian Assange) who published classified info and continues to do so on his site (Wikileaks.org) and it's okay to watch but not visit the actual site?

This is nuts. And maybe John Kerry can explain it. If I was with the State Department, I would want to know everything the public knows, especially if my safety is being compromised. Wouldn't you?

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Michele Bachmann Jeopardy! Curse Continues

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Makes perfect sense considering how toxic she was in her own contest.

Every contestant who has correctly answered clues about Minnesota's controversial Congresswoman failed to win their match including the latest in the Teen Tournament on Friday

For the fourth time since launching her 2012 presidential campaign, Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's name came up as part of the clue on the syndicated game show Jeopardy!

And on each of these four occasions, the contestant to ring in and provide the correct answer (that is, question) demonstrating their Bachmann knowledge failed to win the match.

On Friday - during the third quarterfinal game of the annual Teen Tournament - the $2,000 clue in a 'Double Jeopardy' category called, "113th Congress," read:

"Rep. Michele Bachmann says she formed this caucus to get Congress back to obeying the Constitution."

Seventeen year old high school senior Olivia Hummer from Covina, California rang in and correctly asked, "What is the Tea Party?"

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Quickie- Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) beats IBM’s Watson in ‘Jeopardy!’

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The frackin' computer has a weird advantage on the buzzer, other than that it's pretty beatable.

U.S. Rep. Rush Holt — an actual rocket scientists, as his supporters like to tout on bumper stickers — tonight topped the IBM supercomputer Watson in a round of Jeopardy! down in Washington.

Holt — who was a five-time Jeopardy! winner more than 30 years ago and joked midday that Watson was “just a little Atari” when he made his game-show splash – tweeted almost an hour ago about the experience: “I played a full round against @IBMWatson tonight and was proud to hold my own: the final tally was Holt $8,600, Watson $6,200.”

Holt was joined in the game by Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, who tweeted that he didn’t mind losing to a nuclear physicist and computer that famously defeated some of the TV game show’s top champs: “I seriously CANNOT believe that @rushholt beat @ibmwatson,” he wrote. Also playing: Reps. Bill Cassidy, Nan Hayworth and Jared Polis.

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