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Mark Bernstein

Mark Bernstein: hypertext research

Last Build Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:22:30 -0500


Tinderbox 7

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:05:08 -0500


Tinderbox 7 is ready.

Tinderbox helps you visualize, analyze, and share your ideas. I’ve been working on this release, pretty much literally nonstop, for months on end. There’s a ton of new stuff. Some is research. Some is just engineering and polish – better performance, more effective multi-tasking.

Tinderbox will help you work your work.

The Sun Also Rises

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:31:36 -0500

This is Hemingway’s masterpiece, and an important hole filled. It’s a nifty little book, though its spareness (which must have been striking in 1926) no longer comes as the shock it must have seemed then. I’m less clear how surprising Brett, the woman in the case, really seemed when this book was new; she exercises sexual autonomy and regrets the narrator’s incapacity, and since this was two years before Lady Chatterly that incapacity was fresher then. Was Waugh thinking of this when he wrote Vile Bodies (1930)?

Keeping The Resistance Safe

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 18:00:56 -0500

Malden’s mayor recently decided that Malden has no need to consider becoming a sanctuary city, because Malden is so inclusive and welcoming.

I respond, in the Malden Observer.

All of us should — and some of us will — defend our friends and neighbors if their government comes to deport them. Where will Malden's officials stand?

We should resolve now that Malden will neither cooperate nor collaborate. Malden police should neither assist mass deportations nor pursue those who shelter fugitives. Public services should plan to provide necessary resources and protection; Marty Walsh has vowed to use Boston City Hall itself to shelter threatened and vulnerable residents. Malden's representatives should work to extend these resolutions throughout Massachusetts. The clarity of our resolve today might forestall a dark future.

A Little Life

Wed, 8 Feb 2017 13:55:15 -0500

This weighty and much-praised book, a Booker nominee, recounts the friendship of four prosperous New York men – a lawyer, an actor, an artist, and an architect – over several decades.

I have not been so giddily happy to see the end of a book since Little Dorrit, and that was back in 1973.

The characters are well drawn, the language is interesting without being self-consciously lyrical, but while there’s plenty of incident, there’s remarkably little story to propel this long, long character study. While the narrative spans decades, we’re focused so intensely on the changing characters that nothing much changes in the city or the world. The characters’ few changes are telegraphed long, long in advance, so they are in effect described before they are demonstrated.

Lip Reading

Fri, 3 Feb 2017 11:28:27 -0500

I’ve suddenly discovered that I’ve become dependent on reading lips.

I’ve worn hearing aids for years; I have what basically amounts to arthritis of the ears, and believe me, it’s better than arthritis in your knees or carpal tunnel or whatever. But I don’t hear terrifically well.

So last Saturday I was in Logan Airport’s International Terminal, talking to a reporter, and she wanted to do a standup with her iPhone. She asked if I wanted to use my name, and was surprised when I said “sure”.

So, it’s a big noisy room with lots of echoes – a really challenging environment, but I was coping fine until she starts with the video. To get a good angle, naturally, she holds the camera in front of her face. Suddenly, I can’t hear a word she’s saying. Literally: I cannot make anything out.

Now, when the pitcher and the catcher are talking on the mound, I don’t have a clue. When Tom Brady is talking on the field, I have no idea what he’s saying, unless (of course) he’s saying “Fuck!” which he says a lot, but everyone knows that one. But it seems that, day to day, I’ve been learning.

Kind of alarming.

Hag Seed

Wed, 1 Feb 2017 17:21:58 -0500

Latest in the stellar new Hogarth Shakespeare series, Margaret Atwood takes The Tempest and sets the story at a Canadian Shakespeare festival that is about to oust its brilliant, distracted director. He goes into a long, rural exile, alone with the memory of his dead three-year-old Miranda. Now, he’s teaching drama in a prison a thirsting for revenge.

After The Weekend

Wed, 1 Feb 2017 17:22:22 -0500

  • If things really go completely south – something that no longer seems beyond belief – the question will be: when do we try to run? And where? I’ve received my first offer of a spare room on a distant continent, in case of emergency.
  • In addition to the chilling effects on research from this anti-science administration and its the Muslim travel ban, we’ve got to start wondering which borders will soon be closed to American travelers. I’ve already queried one conference regarding the possibility that Americans won’t be able to get visas for Eastern Europe by the time the conference is held.

My Weekend

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 18:46:47 -0500


By Pia Guerra.

  • It’s bad.
  • It’s going to get worse.
  • I’ve heard of graduate students who left to attend a research conference and cannot return. There’s a Clemson professor with a green card who left to spend some time with his ailing parent. He caught the first flight home, and was removed from the flight on the tarmac. His car is at the airport. He owns a home near campus; the gutters need cleaning. He’s been living there for years. He does not know whether he will ever be able to return.
  • The government has been forcing people to give up their green cards. The government has been preventing people from obtaining legal advice. The government has already lied about the number of people being detained. The government has prevented Congressmen from verifying that court orders are being respected.
  • The ACLU is great. I saw on Twitter at 6:15 that they were trying to get a demonstration at Logan Airport at 7. I hopped in the car. When I got to Terminal E, about a dozen people were clustered by the Customs Exit. I introduced myself to the organizers and we spoke briefly. Five minutes later, she had me doing an interview with the Boston Globe. Twenty minutes later, there were a couple of hundred people lending their support. It got bigger from there.
  • Once again, we are testing whether this nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. The odds are not good.
  • Under no circumstances should you stand for the National Anthem at the Super Bowl or elsewhere.
  • I’m already losing friends, or at least acquaintances – and I scarcely know any Republicans anymore.
  • Sally Q. Yates, the acting Attorney General who just instructed the Justice Department not to defend the indefensible travel ban, deserves comparison to Elliot Richardson. Do the right thing, and let the sky fall.
  • There’s a small red panel here that reads “break glass in the event the It Happens Here.” I’m pulling it now. I don’t think anyone gets to pull the Fascist alarm more than once in a lifetime, but tomorrow might be too late.