The Reading Machine Revisited
It’s easy to fixate on the cognitive events that constitute the act of reading, the silent process happening inside our head as our eyes scan the words and our minds makes sense of them, or whatever it is that it does. There is, however, another way of looking at the phenomenon. It can be observed from the outside, as a behavioural phenomenon—a theory of reading without a theory of mind
Trained on my library of articles on Instapaper, the Amamnuensis will select articles from my Twitter feed and my Feedly feed. These are in turn saved to Instapaper. Depending on level of confidence, some are marked as favourites . Even more assortative links are shared on Twitter. The Amanuensis highlights interesting passages. The Amanuensis is trained on the books I’ve read. The Amanuensis...
The Reading Machine
At one point in the distant future, long after our sun has faded and its planets have passed, Pantography will produce the text, “in a village in la mancha, the name of which i cannot quite recalk”. One hour later, right on schedule, it will come out with a line that is indistinguishable from the opening words of the Penguin edition . If, upon seeing it, you were to hurry off to...
Packing My Library
I am packing my library. Tomorrow morning, these books will be packed inside ten cardboard boxes, loaded onto a van, and shipped to another country. Were it not for these several hundred books, the question of moving would be trivial: a couple of suitcases would carry all my clothes, and everything else I possess would happily fit into a large box. The rest—all the other things that are...
Pantography tweets a message every hour. Each one is consecutive: the first was ‘0’ and the last will consist of 140 zeds. Between these two extremes, every possible message will have been tweeted: a description of every feeling you’ve ever had, anything you’ve ever overheard or will overhear, any headline that has ever caught, or could ever catch, your...
Jean Paul: Schulmeisterlein Wutz
What wonders hide within your letters, what adventures within your words, mysterious Schoolmaster Wutz! Pompous and mocked you make your entrance: a rustic pedant with eyes on the greater world, re-imagining the wisdom of ages at the kitchen table. The volumes in your library bind fancied epics, elaborated rumours of ideas and histories—a matchstick model of the soul! Since that day when I was...