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Monday, June 6, 2016

Stealing Books In The Age Of Self-Publishing, by Joy Lanzendorfer, The Atlantic

In the world of self-publishing, where anyone can put a document on Amazon and call it a book, many writers are seeing their work being appropriated without their permission. Some books are copied word-for-word while others are tinkered with just enough to make it tough for an automated plagiarism-checker to flag them. (Though the practice is legally considered copyright infringement, the term “plagiarism” is more widely used.) The offending books often stay up for weeks or even months at a time before they’re detected, usually by an astute reader. For the authors, this intrusion goes beyond threatening their livelihood. Writing a novel is a form of creative expression, and having it stolen by someone else, many say, can feel like a personal violation.

Often, the perpetrator’s identity is shrouded in mystery. When Nunes tried to find out more about Mullens, things started to get weird. The anonymous person on the other side of the computer seemed to multiply into an array of fake online identities. Strangers posted Facebook messages attacking Nunes’s character, and hostile one-star reviews began appearing on her Amazon author page. “I felt like I was being attacked,” Nunes said. “When I went on social media, I didn’t know what would be waiting for me.”

Tide: The Science And Lore Of The Greatest Force On Earth Review – Ebbs And Flows, by Horatio Clare, The Guardian

The subtitle of this book gives pause. The greatest force on Earth? Typhoons, volcanos and earthquakes humbled by a few metres’ change in the level of seawater? There is little in the early chapters to enforce the claim. Hugh Aldersey-Williams begins with a trip to the shore near his Norfolk home, preparing the reader for “Nature’s greatest marine performance”. The action begins an hour or so after high water. The tide ebbs. Twelve hours and 30 minutes later it has returned and started to fall again. The author notes froth, gulls and vegetation. Subsequent journeys to Venice to observe work on the lagoon’s tidal barrage, and the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia to watch a tidal bore roll up the Shubenacadie river are not thrilling.

Book Review: The Stupidity Paradox, By Mats Alvesson And Andree Spicer, by Frank Dillon, Irish Times

Why is it that seemingly smart organisations encourage what could be viewed as stupidity in their workplaces? That’s the profound question addressed in this interesting and engaging book.

How Cancer Was Created By Evolution, by Melissa Hogenboom, BBC

The trouble is, these therapies do not work as well as we might hope. Even in these targeted therapies, resistance often appears over time. "It occurs because there will be one or more cells in the tumour branches that has a resistance mutation that allows it to outwit the therapy," Swanton says.