Michael Ondaatje: The divided man, The Observer

In his new novel, The Cat’s Table, Michael Ondaatje, who won the Booker prize for The English Patient, draws on his own extraordinary life to conjure up evocative tales of duality and displacement. Robert McCrum asks how much reality there is in his fiction…

Kindle edition:


Old Letter Sheds New Light on Joe Hill Murder Case –

Old Letter Sheds New Light on Joe Hill Murder Case –
“Hill’s status as a labor icon and the debate about his conviction certainly never died. And now a new biography makes the strongest case yet that Hill was wrongfully convicted of murdering a local grocer, the charge that led to his execution at age 36.

The book’s author, William M. Adler, argues that Hill was a victim of authorities and a jury eager to deal a blow to his radical labor union, as well as his own desire to protect the identity of his sweetheart.”

Apple wins ban on Samsung Galaxy Tab sales in Germany – From the Guardian

Apple wins ban on Samsung Galaxy Tab sales in Germany | Technology |

From an analyst cited in the article:
“While this is a short-term negative for Samsung, once it has access to the MMI [Motorola] patents via the Google acquisition, we think it should be in a much better position to fight back against Apple. By any stretch of the imagination, Samsung’s [present] intellectual property position is weak, giving it little with which to fight back against the predations of Apple.”

The battle over the Galaxy Tab in Germany is one of 19 lawsuits going on between Apple and Samsung in 12 courts in 9 countries on 4 continents….

Underground river ‘Rio Hamza’ discovered 4km beneath the Amazon | Environment |

Scientists estimate the subterranean river may be 6,000km long and hundreds of times wider than the Amazon:

“The student who can shut down a city”

From The Guardian: “Elected as only the second female leader in the 105-year history of the University of Chile’s student union, [Camila] Vallejo, who is also a member of the Chilean Communist party, is the face of a movement the likes of which has not been seen since the last years of Augusto Pinochet in the 80s.”

Camila Vallejo says that, with “the imposition of market hegemony and neoliberalism,” the “Pinochet model has remained for the last 21 years despite the return to democracy.”

Students on hunger strike in Chile say they are “prepared to give [their] lives” for the right to education.

Books on Vo Nguyen Giap, Amazon

Giap: The Victor in Vietnam

by Peter G. MacDonald, W W Norton & Co Inc; 1st edition (January 1993), hardcover*

A look at the career of Vo Nguyen Giap, based on interviews with the Vietnamese general, reveals how an army so poor in material resources accomplished so much militarily, discussing Giap’s early days as a resistance fighter and more:

Victory at Any Cost: The Genius of Viet Nam’s Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap

by Cecil B. Currey, Potomac Books Inc. (April 30, 2005)

Tells the full story of the man who fought three of the world’s great powers—and won. Cecil B. Currey makes clear one primary reason why America lost the Vietnam War: Vo Nguyen Giap. He has written the definitive biography of one of history’s greatest generals.

Kindle edition:


How We Won the War

by Vo Nguyen Giap, Recon Publications; first edition (October 1976)

Generals Dung and Giap, the two great military strategists of Vietnam, describe the methods they used in the Ho Chi Minh Campaign. This was the 1975 offensive that culminated in the fall of Saigon and ended the Vietnam War.

I was not a Nazi collaborator, PG Wodehouse told MI5 | The Guardian

The creator of Jeeves didn’t get it, MI5 files on Wodehouse released at the National Archives reveal. He was upset at British criticism of his wartime broadcasts from Berlin: “I thought that people, hearing the talks, would admire me for having kept cheerful under difficult conditions.”

Payments that forced Wodehouse in exile: German documents found by MI5 undermine writer’s ‘silly ass’ defence:

Breaking the Wooster code: One of PG Wodehouse’s classics reissued 50 years after it first appeared reveals how much the great English comic writer embraced America and turned his back on his homeland. Christopher Hitchens reports:

A lotus-eater in Hollywood: PG Wodehouse was one of the first British writers to be wooed by Hollywood but like many who have followed him to Los Angeles since, he spent more time sitting beside the pool than producing film scripts. His authorised biographer, Robert McCrum, reveals how the author fell in – and out – of love with the movie industry:

General Giap is 100 years old today

Apple Will Still be a Force to be Reckoned With

The Chief Designer, Jonathan Ives

The Chief Engineer, Michael Lopp’s Thoughts on Design in his Blog, randsinrepose

15 Design Tips to Learn From Apple

Steve Jobs resigns as Apple’s chief executive, succeeded by Tim Cook, news, analysis, and images

“I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s chief executive, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come. I hereby resign as chief executive of Apple.”

Text of resignation letter & follow-up statement by Apple:


Taking Medical leave (January 2011):

Profiles of Steve Jobs & Tim Cook:

Over the years: Slideshow:

Steve Jobs at Apple events (video):

Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption protest sees Delhi signal compromise | The Guardian

Indian PM calls summit, although hunger striker accused of ignoring more urgent issues and backing xenophobic politicians:

Anna Hazare’s Hunger Strike in India Leaves Many With Doubts –

A review of attitudes to Anna Hazare’s ‘Gandhian’ agitation against corruption its demands as well as methods:

The Cutting-Edge Physics of a Crumpled Paper Ball | Wired Science |

‘Crush a piece of typing paper into the size of a golf ball, and suddenly it becomes a very stiff object. The thing to realize is that it’s 90 percent air…What is the arhitecture inside that creates this stiffness?…I love it that these simple-looking problems are so nasty sometimes.’ — physicist Narayan Menon

‘Shadows of Everest,’ the legacy of Edmund Hillary, 101 East, Al Jazeera, video

Watch this:

Quake in Japan Causes Costly Shift to Fossil Fuels –

Quake in Japan Causes Costly Shift to Fossil Fuels –

“Across the country, dozens of other fossil-fuel plants have been fired up, and Japan is importing billions of dollars worth of liquefied natural gas, coal and oil to keep them running.”

“The generators are helping to replace the 400 million kilowatt-hours of daily electricity production lost this summer because of the shutdown of all but 15 of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.”

“Annual fuel expenses could rise by more than 3 trillion yen, or about $39 billion, the government says.”

“According to government calculations, Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions could rise by as much as 210 million metric tons, or 16 percent, by 2013 from 1990 levels if its nuclear reactors were shut permanently.”