3 min read

Friday, March 17, 2023

Hello to you. How's it going? I have had a busy week and don't have much time for preambles. So, let's go:

Jorge Luis Borges wrote a story called The Library of Babel in 1941 or thereabouts. It's kind of a loose narrative wrapped around a thought experiment in which about a mysterious imaginary library containing a lot of books and reminded me of Susana Clarke's excellent Piranesi, which I may have previously recommended. It also reminded me of Ted Chiang's first published work, Tower of Babylon (part of his short story compilation, Stories of Your Life and Others). But I suspect that's because Tower of Babylon is, it seems to me, a clear homage to The Library of Babel (but a million people have written stuff related to the Tower of Babel so who knows).

Anyway, the various stories linked to above are great and you should read them. But at least read The Library of Babel, which is both 1) nine pages long; and 2) available to read for free at that link. And then once you have read it, come back here and click on this link to Jonathan Basile's piece at the Paris Review:

Since I first read it in a high school Spanish class, I’ve been fascinated by the theory of language implicit in Borges’s “The Library of Babel.” The story describes a universal library containing, in 410-page volumes, every possible permutation of twenty-two letters, spaces, commas, and periods—every book that’s ever been written and every book that ever could be, drowned out by endless pages of gibberish. Its librarians are addicted to the search for certain master texts, the complete catalog of the library, or the future history of one’s own life, but their quest inevitably ends in failure, despair, even suicide.
Perhaps I was obsessed by the same desire for revelation, or haunted by the same subversion of all rational pursuit. In either case, fifteen years later the idea came to me one night of using the vast calculative capacities of a computer to re-create the Library of Babel as a Web site. For those interested in experiencing the futile hope of Borges’s bibliotecarios, I’ve made libraryofbabel.info, which now contains anything we ever have written or ever will write, including these sentences I struggle to compose now.

So then after that introduction he talks some more about the story and his website and it's all rather interesting, in my opinion. So check all of that out.

Item 2: a list

USB connectors, ranked

1. USB-C
2. USB Mini B (aka, mini USB)
3. USB-B
4. USB-A
5. USB Micro B (aka microUSB)

Item 3: a media recommendation

DJ Shadow - Organ Donor

Item 4: word of the week


Item 5: a photograph

"This image shows many dark streaks created during the recent southern spring, left by dust devils as they passed over and around an old, nearly filled, meteor-impact crater, seen by the Mars Orbiter Camera aboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft in September of 2003." NASA / JPL / Malin Space Science Systems

See ya!

Thanks for reading. See you next week!