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Morning Roundup: Amazon Student Scholarship; floating libraries and more
August 28, 2014 | 11:57 am

The Amazon Student Scholarship is a merit-based contribution that will supply 50 undergrads with $5,000 in tuition money and $500 for textbooks....

Interview with Niall Campbell, winner of the first Edwin Morgan Award
August 27, 2014 | 3:56 pm

At this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival, poet Niall Campbell came first in the inaugural Edwin Morgan Poetry Award for young Scottish poets with a first collection (published or unpublished). Under the terms of the Award, he received £20,000 ($33,000), twice the value of the venerable and highly regarded James Tait Black Prize for fiction. I spoke to him about the Award and his own feelings regarding the Scottish tradition....

Morning Roundup: Australian authorities want to track bandwidth data and more
August 27, 2014 | 9:42 am

A leaked consultation paper suggests that the Australian government has realised it’s a tad excessive to track which websites people visit. However, the tracking of available bandwidth and upload/download information seems to be on the table....

In dismissing Amazon’s Orwell quotation, Laura Miller misinterprets Orwell herself
August 26, 2014 | 9:15 pm

There she goes again. Salon’s Laura Miller has penned the latest in a series of tirades against Amazon, this one summing up the squabble thus far and taking issue with Amazon’s quotation of Orwell’s discussion of paperbacks in its “Readers United” letter explaining that lower prices were good for everyone. We’ve already discussed Miller’s biases in some of the links above, but the most interesting thing has to do with her understanding (or lack thereof) of the Orwell quotation. Miller writes: To top it all off this month, the retailer posted an open...

Mobile game Ingress has implications straight out of science-fiction
August 26, 2014 | 7:11 pm

braceletSo, this past weekend I took part in my first ever “Anomaly,” a big local event for players of the Ingress game (which I wrote about for Answers here) by Niantic Labs, a subsidiary of Google. In these events, players in certain towns gather together and fight over specific virtual bits of real territory, needing to hold as much of it as they can at specific time points when the score is counted. It was a great deal of fun, and very involved. The Resistance (the faction I play) is very well-organized around these parts. We met at 10:30...

Jonathan Falla on writing in Scotland and Scottish nationalism
August 26, 2014 | 1:13 pm

Jonathan Falla is an English writer long resident in Scotland, and treasurer of the Society of Authors in Scotland (SoAiS). The views that follow, however, represent his personal perspective on writing in Scotland and the Scottish nationalism/independence debate....

Morning Roundup: Kindle Unlimited launching internationally, and more
August 26, 2014 | 10:49 am

There’s a new report going around today that Amazon will be expanding their ebook subscription service in the next couple months....

Webcomics: Another new medium of the digital age
August 25, 2014 | 7:09 pm

schlockNew media for broadcast create new forms of media for consumer consumption. The invention of the cinema led to short films, newsreels, serials, and feature films. Later on, the emergence of television largely killed all the forms but feature films, but it brought TV series—like serials but they could keep going for years. Computers brought video games, and of course e-books. The Internet…well, the Internet has brought a number of new media forms. Blogs, fiction mailing lists and newsgroups, social media, YouTube videos…the list goes on and on. But the one I’ve been thinking about today is webcomics. ...

Staples offers 2013 Nexus 7 for $99 with clearance coupon
August 25, 2014 | 5:22 pm

If you’re in the USA, you have a Staples in your area, and they still have 2013 Nexuses in stock, you might be able to get a really good deal. Android Authority has the details on a coupon good for $100 off the 16 GB and 32 GB Nexus 7 tablets. This would cut their price down to $99 and $159, respectively. For a tablet as good as the N7 ‘13, that’s a steal. They’re already out of stock online, so you’d have to go into a store to get the deal. On a related note, Nate at The...

James Clerk Maxwell: Scot, physicist, mathematician … and poet
August 25, 2014 | 1:51 pm

While at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, I'd like to pay tribute to one of the city's many great intellectual sons: James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79), the titanic Victorian scientist whose work was described by Albert Einstein as the "most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton." His genius touched pure mathematics, electromagnetics, optics (color theory), kinetic theory and thermodynamics, astronomy (the rings of Saturn), and many other disciplines. And he was also a poet....

Edinburgh International Book Festival ends on sustained high with independence referendum looming
August 25, 2014 | 12:46 pm

IMG_20140824_200415 The Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 wrapped up its three-week run in Edinburgh's Charlotte Square Gardens on Monday August 25th with a strong finish and scant sign of any slackening off in numbers or enthusiasm among attendees. Ticket sales kept up with last year's record numbers, according to the Festival press team, and the whole series of events picked up fresh pertinence and energy from a topic seldom far from anyone's lips on or off the podium: the independence debate and the referendum less than a month away. "Over the last 17 days, the Book Festival has welcomed over 800 authors...

Edinburgh, the pioneer UNESCO City of Literature
August 25, 2014 | 10:58 am

At the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014, I spoke to Sarah Morrison, Communications Executive of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, about how Edinburgh pioneered the UNESCO Cities of Literature programme, and what this has done for the city itself....