Monday, December 14, 2015

Print versus ebooks: it's still a debate

You might think that more than eight years after the Kindle launched*, the debate over print books versus ebooks would be settled, but it looks like it's not. CBS News recently weighed in with a post titled Books vs. e-books: The science behind the best way to read.

It gets some things right: it mentions that studies of e-reading interrupting sleep are about LCD screens, and that dedicated ereaders have non-light-emitting screens (although it never calls them e-ink screens). It talks about the advantages that controlling the appearance of the text can give to people with reading disabilities.  There's even link to a website where readers can try out that kind of feature to see if it helps.

Things the post gets wrong: The title implies one best way to read, and there isn't one! It also calls print books just "books." That's like saying "Cars vs. Electric Cars: Which Is Better?" They're all books! Way back when the codex replaced the scroll, it was just a new format for the same thing.

This post also sites a specific Australian study of students to make the claim that "avid readers also tend to prefer reading on paper." I find this bogus! I think if you made a point to include people who own dedicated e-ink ereaders, you would find they are some of the most voracious readers out there.  Furthermore, Australia doesn't have as mature an ereader market as the US.

* I know the Kindle was not the first ereader--not even the first e-ink ereader--but it was what launched the digital transition. The pre-Kindle market for ebooks was minuscule.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

How is Saronna's Gift like the latest Mad Max?

I seem to be posting about movies lately. But this writer's post about Mad Max: Fury Road rang a bell with me.

The plot of the movie illustrates that an absolute matriarchy, where all men are seen as evil, can be just as toxic to humanity as an absolute patriarchy. And in Saronna's Gift, that is, in fact, the way Krueger's World is portrayed. I won't go into details, because that would spoil the unfolding of the plot, but the religiously-based colony on Kruger's World has both an absolute patriarchy and a hidden matriarchy. Neither is kind to its adherents.

There is a human tendency to  want to punish oppression with oppression—to oppress those who oppress you—but it's not a humane response. Nor is it healthy, because the act of oppressing someone else makes you less human as well as less humane.

The world is grim enough as it is. We all need to be kind to each other.