Monday, June 3, 2013

Links for early June

--Autostraddle profiles Andrea Hairston in Eleven Women of Color You Should Know and Admire.

--My story, "The Fool's Tale," which engages with Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, appears in the June issue of Lightspeed Magazine, along with an exceedingly crunch interview with me. (I promise you, some of those questions made me sweat.)

--Vonda N. McIntyre has just posted at Bookview Cafe about the event launching Squaring the Circle at the Public Library last month. She has three more photos in addition to the one of Ursula Le Guin signing a guitar.

--Gay City News has an article on Richard Bowes by Kelly Jean Cogswell, titled "Time Traveling with Richard Bowes." She muses that in his books, "gender doesn't stay on its assigned track," then concludes:
In another recent book, “The Queen, the Cambion, and Seven Others,” Bowes takes on fairy tales, plunging further into the ambiguities of time and gender. Here, he narrates most of the stories from a female point of view, and he seemed a little puzzled, telling me about a writer who asked him why — and how — he pulled it off. “There’s no trick to it,” he responded. “All the characters are still me.”
--My review of Karen Lord's The Best of All Possible Worlds has gone live at Strange Horizons.

--If you haven't already, you'll want to check out two excellent recent posts by Kameron Hurley: Dear SF Writers, Let's Chat about Censorship and Bullying, and We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative.

The Simons Foundation blog has an entertaining article by Natalie Wolchover, Is Nature Unnatural?, reporting on a cosmological controversy among physicists that the confirmation of the Higgs Boson has only exacerbated.
“Ten or 20 years ago, I was a firm believer in naturalness,” said Nathan Seiberg, a theoretical physicist at the Institute, where Einstein taught from 1933 until his death in 1955. “Now I’m not so sure. My hope is there’s still something we haven’t thought about, some other mechanism that would explain all these things. But I don’t see what it could be.”
Physicists reason that if the universe is unnatural, with extremely unlikely fundamental constants that make life possible, then an enormous number of universes must exist for our improbable case to have been realized. Otherwise, why should we be so lucky? Unnaturalness would give a huge lift to the multiverse hypothesis, which holds that our universe is one bubble in an infinite and inaccessible foam. According to a popular but polarizing framework called string theory, the number of possible types of universes that can bubble up in a multiverse is around 10500. In a few of them, chance cancellations would produce the strange constants we observe.
--The US Justice Department has launched an anti-trust court case charging Apple with colluding with the world's top publishers to bump up the price of e-books. The Guardian reports:
The closely watched trial will review evidence from late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and other Silicon Valley luminaries. Though the company does not face a fine, it could face damages in a separate trial by the state attorneys general if found guilty.

The outcome could shape what deals online retailers can make with content owners. The DoJ is seeking a block on Apple engaging in similar conduct in future. The company denies any wrongdoing and its lawyer dismissed the case as "bizarre".

In court Monday Buterman argued Apple rallied top publishers to fight off Amazon's $9.99 per book deal for new releases and bestsellers. They then used that deal with Apple to renegotiate with Amazon, threatening to pull titles if they did not get a better rate. Buterman said customers paid "hundreds of millions of dollars more than they would have," because of the agreement.

The five publishers have already settled with the DoJ. The trial judge has urged Apple to follow suit, after looking at evidence including emails from Steve Jobs to James Murdoch, then head of News Group-owned Harper Collins. Jobs, who died in 2011, told his biographer: "We told the publishers, 'We'll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30% and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that's what you want anyway.'"

Apple is being represented by Orin Snyder, one of the US's top lawyers whose other clients have included Facebook and Bob Dylan. Snyder told the court Apple had done nothing wrong. He said the government was taking emails out of context to make "sinister inferences" and that Apple had fought hard with the publishers in negotiations.

"What the government wants to do is reverse engineer a conspiracy from a market effect," Snyder said.

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