Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Downloading the Classics

From the folks at the Official Google Blog:
Starting today, you can go to Google Book Search and download full copies of out-of-copyright books to read at your own pace. You're free to choose from a diverse collection of public domain titles -- from well-known classics to obscure gems.

Before the rise of the public library -– a story chronicled in this 1897 edition of The Free Library – access to large collections of books was the privilege of a wealthy minority. Now, with the help of our wonderful library partners, we're able to offer you the ability to download and read PDF versions of out-of-copyright books from some of the world’s greatest collections.

Using Google Book Search, you can find The Free Library and many other extraordinary old books, such as:

* Ferriar's The Bibliomania
* A futurist from 1881's 1931: A Glance at the Twentieth Century
* Aesop's Fables
* Shakespeare's Hamlet
* Abbott's Flatland
* Hugo's Marion De Lorme
* Dunant's Eine Erinnerung an Solferino
* Bolívar's Proclamas
* Dante's Inferno

To find out-of-copyright books that you can download, simply select the "Full view" radio button when you search on (Please note that we do not enable downloading of any book currently under copyright. Unless we have the publisher’s permission to show more, we display only small snippets of text –- at most, two or three sentences surrounding your search term -– to help you determine if you’ve found what you’re looking for.)

Of course, this is just the beginning. As we digitize more of the world's books -- whether rare, common, popular or obscure -- people everywhere will be able to discover them on Google Book Search.
For someone stranded 150 miles from the nearest english bookstore and maybe 3000 miles from the nearest english volume library, this is great news!

Unfortunately, they still seem to be missing quite a few of my favorites (no War and Peace or Count of Monte Cristo). Maybe they couldn't find a good translation?

Edit: Danny Sullivan at SearchEngineWatch weighs in with the highs and lows of the Google Project to date. His verdict? Stick to Project Gutenberg for now.

Monday, August 28, 2006

At least it wasn’t the Shining Path

Who says Ica is boring?

This morning on the Plaza de Armas, I was greeted by the site of over 50 police officers in full riot gear. Were they getting ready for a presidential visit? A massive strike? Marxist guerillas?

Nope. Just a shopkeeper who got behind on his rent payments and was refusing eviction. Apparently, the landlord (San Luis Gonzago University) got a judicial order to evict and the police were preparing for a bit of a Monday morning battle. Of course, the actual participants from inside the shop were mainly “delincuentes” paid 20 soles a piece to throw bottles and rocks at the police from the first story rooftop.

The battle got under way with tear gas and the sound of gunshots (hopefully rubber bullets) at 10 am. The police quickly took control of the street front and within 20 minutes had made way for a blowtorch to open the pad-locked store. The battle ended by 11:30 and although one ambulance did come in with sirens blazing, it didn’t seem like anyone was seriously injured.

Not every day that you get to see Hernando de Soto’s theory of weak property rights in action.

Edit: the yellow is a concrete facade. Those definitely don't look like rubber bullet holes to me.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Desperate Soundbites

In which George Bush portrays himself as a Bizzaro World John Lennon. God Bless you John Stewart:

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday Night Chatter

"Ok, I'm off to yoga. Meet you at 10 for the cock fight."

Monday, August 14, 2006

Race relations

Saw this tidbit in the NYTimes recently:

Members of the House have their own elevators, too, but senators are fewer in number, are more recognizable and tend toward a tall aristocratic archetype. House members blend more seamlessly with the masses and are harder to recognize, which creates its own problems. (Congressional staff members related an incident in 2001, in which they recalled the freshman Representative Melissa Hart of Pennsylvania, who is white, admonishing Representative Julia Carson, who is black, that the elevator they were riding on was members-only. Ms. Carson, of Indiana, proceeded to introduce herself to her new colleague, offense taken.)

Hmmmm…  Representative Melissa Hart, Representative Julia Carson.  Wonder what bit of identification they left out of this little exchange?

Sunday, August 13, 2006


After a very weird couple of months, I think it’s time to relax on the corner and enjoy a nice cold Sunday Pilsen beer. ¡Salud!