September 7, 2013
Editing a letters page provides some insight into the random topics that push hot buttons you didn't know existed. While most of the commentary sent to email@example.com focuses on the big-item issues of the day (a possible military strike on Syria drew the most letters for the second week in a row), occasionally a less weighty subject will prompt impassioned responses. For example, cursive. Reacting to The Times' editorial Wednesday warning that the "handwriting may be on the wall" for cursive instruction in schools, nearly a dozen readers rose to script's defense.
August 11, 2013 |
On a recent afternoon, Homer Gaines hiked with girlfriend Tami Stillwell to the gusty peak of Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay, bent down on one knee and slipped a topaz and white-sapphire ring on her finger, capturing the entire marriage proposal on a computerized device that he was wearing like a pair of glasses. Gaines, a 41-year-old Web developer from Fort Myers, Fla., is one of 10,000 "explorers" testing Glass, the much talked about hands-free wearable computing device from Google that lets users take photos and videos, make phone calls, send and receive text messages, search the Internet and get turn-by-turn directions.
July 17, 2013 |
The term "opting in" suggests a matter of choice. But as the thoughtful and spirited documentary "Terms and Conditions May Apply" makes chillingly clear, choices are few for netizens. It's nearly impossible to function online without signing away privacy rights and basic protections. Sounding an alarm about those ubiquitous "I Agree" check boxes and the legalese that nobody has time to read, the film examines the many ways that typical Digital Age contracts are anything but free for the user.
July 8, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - It wasn't long ago that the National Security Agency, the intelligence agency responsible for intercepting global communications, seemed overwhelmed by the Internet. "We in the NSA are encountering problems with the flood of information," Eric Haseltine, then the NSA director of research, said in a 2004 speech. "We can either be drowned by it, or we can get on our surfboard and let it propel us. " NSA chose the surfboard. Or rather, many of them. PHOTOS: Famous document leakers Determined to identify and track Al Qaeda terrorists and to prevent another attack after Sept.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 24, 2013 |
SAN FRANCISCO - Three weekends ago, I went to traffic school. Again. It was the real kind, not the online version. There was a teacher, printed forms to fill out, a multiple choice test to take at the end. I needed a pen. I'm on Facebook. I tweet. I text - not, however, while driving, which is a violation of section 23123.5 of the California Vehicle Code. I buy e-books, although not exclusively. I use opentable.com to make restaurant reservations. I watch the Google Doodles change with the seasons.
June 18, 2013
Re "Big Brother? Meh," Opinion, June 13 Decades ago, when climate scientists raised concerns about global warming, they were dismissed by the public as Nervous Nellies. Never mind that the public's opinions were based on a grossly superficial analysis; the ostriches won out and today we are already seeing the effects of climate change predicted many years ago. Now the same charge of "you're worried about nothing" is being thrown at experts and others who have been watching the growth of police powers, the fundamental changes made possible by "big data" and the ever-increasing use of terrorism as an excuse for gross government abuses.
June 14, 2013 |
Playwright Sarah Ruhl is a proven practitioner whose buoyantly surreal plays are moored by cosmically serious themes. Pulitzer-nominated in 2005, Ruhl's “The Clean House” exploited a comical situation -- a Latina domestic worker's quest for the perfect joke -- to explore larger issues of death and loss. And in “Eurydice,” recently seen in a stellar production at A Noise Within, Ruhl slanted the Greek myth of Eurydice and Orpheus into a moving story of undying paternal love -- Ruhl's moving valedictory to her own dead father.
June 5, 2013 |
The digital era has been good for old books, an expert in rare books said earlier this week. Matthew Haley, head of rare books and manuscripts at the Bonhams auction house in London, said that news of rare books moves faster and wider than ever before and that this is driving up prices at the high end of the book market, while Internet shopping was helping the lower end. When a new treasure is discovered, "More people can find it and there is...
May 22, 2013 |
In my inbox this week: Matthew Sharpe announces “a little experiment in self-publishing on the Internet”: a series of 12 weekly micro-fictions, under the name “Very short stories r us,” that showcase his idiosyncratic blend of the acutely observed and the fantastic. Sharpe is the author of a collection of stories and four novels, including the brilliant “Jamestown,” which reimagines the early 17th century Virginia settlement through the filter of contemporary dystopia, blurring the lines between history, fantasy, science fiction and satire.
April 21, 2013
Name your favorite, the one book that most sticks in your mind. Over nearly four years, photographer Catherine Wagner made that request of friends, acquaintances and outright strangers. She kept a tally on her iPhone and turned the top vote-getters into the spine of her latest work, "trans/literate," an homage to books - the cardboard and paper sort that some predict won't survive the 21st century. The list of titles and authors reads like an exceptionally weighty version of English 101. "Most people went back to their teenage years, to high school or college," Wagner said.