paper trail

Mar 4, 2013 @ 12:01:00 am

After a year marred by plagiarism scandals that led him to give up his staff position at the New Yorker, Jonah Lehrer is facing more bad news: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has announced that, “after an internal review uncovered significant problems” with Lehrer’s second book,How We Decide, it will pull the book from shelves. HMH has “no plans to reissue it in the future,” and will offer refunds to people who already purchased the book.

By looking at mutations in language like they do mutations in genes, geneticists have roughly estimated that Homer composed the Iliad in “762 B.C., give or take 50 years.” To pinpoint the date, scientists tracked the linguistic evolution of about two hundred concepts (such as mother, father, blue, and red) that have corresponding words in every language, and calculated when certain terms would have been used by Homer.

Are ISBN numbers on their way out? The rise of digital self-publishing and alternative ID numbers put out by the likes of Amazon and Walmart could spell the end for the publishing codes.

The Page Turner blog explains how Vladimir Nabokov has become controversial again in his home country.

Capital author John Lanchester rides the day’s first train in the London Underground and considers the nature of commuting, the city’s vast public-transit system, and the role of the Tube in literature and film.

In the age of Google, what kind of names make for memorable bylines?