Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

My Last Index (Is Search A Form of Discrimination?)

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

From the post:

A casual reader of authors’ acknowledgment pages will encounter expressions of familial gratitude that paper over years of spousal neglect and missed cello recitals. A keen reader of those pages may happen upon animals that were essential to an author’s well-being—supportive dogs, diverting cats, or, in one instance, “four very special squirrels.” But even an assiduous reader of acknowledgments could go a lifetime without coming across a single shout-out to a competent indexer.

That is mostly because the index gets constructed late in the book-making process. But it’s also because most readers pay no mind to indexes, especially at this moment in time when they are being supplanted by Amazon and Google. More and more, when I want to track down an errant tidbit of information about a book, I use Amazon’s “Search inside this book” function, which allows interested parties to access a book’s front cover, copyright, table of contents, first pages (and sometimes more), and index. But there’s no reason to even use the index when you can “Look Inside!” to find anything you need.

I had plenty of time to ponder the unsung heroism of indexers when I was finishing my latest book. Twice before, I had assembled an indexer’s tools of trade: walking down the stationery aisles of a college book store, pausing to consider the nib and color of my Flair pens, halting before the index cards. But when I began work on this index, I was overcome with thoughts of doom that Nancy Mulvany, author of Indexing Books, attributes to two factors that plague self-indexing authors: general fatigue and too much self-involvement. “Intense involvement with one’s book,” Mulvany writes, “can make it very difficult to anticipate the index user’s needs accurately.”

Perhaps my mood was dire because I’d lost the services of my favorite proofreader, a woman who knew a blackberry from a BlackBerry, and who could be counted on to fix my flawed French. Perhaps it was because I was forced to notice how often I’d failed to include page citations in my bibliography entries, and how inconsistently I’d applied the protocol for citing Web sites—a result of my failure to imagine a future index user so needy as to require the exact date of my visit to theirvingsociety.org.uk. Or perhaps it was because my daughter was six months away from leaving home for college and I was missing her in advance.

Perhaps for all of those reasons, I could only see my latest index as a running commentary on the fragility of all human endeavor. And so I started reading indexes while reluctantly compiling my own.

A highly instructive tale on the importance of indexing (and hiring a professional indexer) that includes this reference to Jonathan Swift:

Jonathan Swift, in his 1704 A Tale of a Tub, describes two means of using books: “to serve them as men do lords—learn their titles exactly and then brag of their acquaintance,” or “the choicer, the profounder and politer method, to get a thorough insight into the index, by which the whole book is governed and turned, like fishes by the tail.”

In full context, the Swift passage is even more amusing:

The whole course of things being thus entirely changed between us and the ancients, and the moderns wisely sensible of it, we of this age have discovered a shorter and more prudent method to become scholars and wits, without the fatigue of reading or of thinking. The most accomplished way of using books at present is twofold: either first to serve them as some men do lords, learn their titles exactly, and then brag of their acquaintance; or, secondly, which is indeed the choicer, the profounder, and politer method, to get a thorough insight into the index by which the whole book is governed and turned, like fishes by the tail. For to enter the palace of learning at the great gate requires an expense of time and forms, therefore men of much haste and little ceremony are content to get in by the back-door. For the arts are all in a flying march, and therefore more easily subdued by attacking them in the rear. Thus physicians discover the state of the whole body by consulting only what comes from behind. Thus men catch knowledge by throwing their wit on the posteriors of a book, as boys do sparrows with flinging salt upon their tails. Thus human life is best understood by the wise man’s rule of regarding the end. Thus are the sciences found, like Hercules’ oxen, by tracing them backwards. Thus are old sciences unravelled like old stockings, by beginning at the foot. (The Tale of a Tub by Jonathan Swift)

Searching, as opposed to indexing (good indexing at any rate), is the equivalent of bragging of the acquaintance of a lord. Yes, you did find term A or term B in the text, but you don’t know what other terms appear in the text, nor do you know what other statements were made about term A or term B.

Search is at best a partial solution and one that varies based on the skill of the searcher.

Indexing, on the other hand, can reflect an accumulation of insights, made equally available to all readers.

Is search a form of discrimination?

Is search a type of access with disproportionate (read disadvantageous) impact on some audiences and not others?

Any research on the social class, racial, ethnic impact of search you would suggest?

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

From the post:

BEFORE THE BOOKS ARRIVED, Adam Gopnik, in an effort to be polite, almost contradicted the essential insight of his life. An essayist, critic, and reporter at The New Yorker for the last 31 years, he was asked whether there is an imperative for busy, ambitious journalists to read books seriously—especially with journalism, and not just White House reporting, feeling unusually high-stakes these days—when the doorbell rang in his apartment, a block east of Central Park. He came back with a shipment and said, “It would be,” pausing to think of and lean into the proper word, “brutally unkind and unrealistic to say, Oh, all of you should be reading Stendhal. You’ll be better BuzzFeeders for it.” For the part about the 19th-century French novelist, he switched from his naturally delicate voice to a buffoonish, apparently bookish, baritone.

Then, as he tore open the packaging of two nonfiction paperbacks (one, obscure research for an assignment on Ernest Hemingway; the other, a new book on Adam Smith, a past essay subject) and sat facing a wall-length bookcase and sliding ladder in his heavenly, all-white living room, Gopnik took that back. His instinct was to avoid sermonizing about books, particularly to colleagues with grueling workloads, because time for books is a privilege of his job. And yet, to achieve such an amazingly prolific life, the truth is he simply read his way here.

I spoke with a dozen accomplished journalists of various specialties who manage to do their work while reading a phenomenal number of books, about and beyond their latest project. With journalists so fiercely resented after last year’s election for their perceived elitist detachment, it might seem like a bizarre response to double down on something as hermetic as reading—unless you see books as the only way to fully see the world.

Being well-read is a transcendent achievement similar to training to run 26.2 miles, then showing up for a marathon in New York City and finding 50,000 people there. It is at once superhuman and pedestrian.

… (emphasis in original)

A deeply inspirational and instructive essay on serious readers and the benefits that accrue to them. Very much worth two or more slow reads, plus looking up the authors, writers and reporters who are mentioned.

Earlier this year I began the 2017 Women of Color Reading Challenge. I have not discovered any technical insights into data science or topic maps, but I am gaining, incrementally for sure, a deeper appreciation for how race and gender shapes a point of view.

Or perhaps more accurately, I am encountering points of view different enough from my own that I recognize them as being different. That in and of itself, the encountering of different views, is one reason I aspire to become a “serious reader.”

You?

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

From the post:

The post is replete with guidance on use of the Digitised Manuscripts and other aids for the reader.

These works won’t interest Washington illiterati, but I don’t read to please others, only myself.

So should you.

The Marshall Index: A Guide to Negro Periodical Literature, 1940-1948

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

The Marshall Index: A Guide to Negro Periodical Literature, 1940-1948 by Albert P. Marshall, revised edition, Danky and Newman, 2002. Posted by ProQuest as a guide to their literature collections.

From the introduction:

For researchers today, one of the rewarding aspects of Marshall’s Guide, and an important one, is the number of obscure, little-collected, and discontinued African-American serials that he includes. Who today is familiar, for example, with Pulse, Service, New Vistas, Negro Traveler, Informer, Whetstone, Sphinx. Ivy Leaf, or Oracle? Until the large and comprehensive bibliography of black periodicals collected and edited by James P. Danky and Maureen Hady of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin and published by Harvard University Press is widely disseminated, few will even know the existence of many of these rare sources.

Superseded in some sense by African American newspapers and periodicals : a national bibliography by James P. Danky, but only in a sense.

The Marshall Index will always remain the first index of Black periodical literature and reflect the choices and judgments of its author.

Pass this along to your librarian friends and anyone interested in Black literature.

Textbook manifesto

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

Textbook manifesto by Allen B. Downey.

From the post:

My textbook manifesto is so simple it sounds stupid. Here it is:

Students should read and understand textbooks.

That’s it. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would disagree, but here’s the part I find infuriating: the vast majority of textbook authors, publishers, professors and students behave as if they do not expect students to read or understand textbooks.

Here’s how it works. Most textbook authors sit down with the goal writing the bible of their field. Since it is meant to be authoritative, they usually stick to well-established ideas and avoid opinion and controversy. The result is a book with no personality.

For publishers, the primary virtue is coverage. They want books that can be used for many classes, so they encourage authors to include all the material for all possible classes. The result is a 1000-page book with no personality.
… (emphasis in original)

You probably know Downey from his Think Python, Think Bayes books.

Think Python, with the index, front matter, etc. runs 244 pages from tip to tail.

Longer than his proposed 10 pages per week for a semester course, total pages of 140 pages for a class, but not unreasonably so.

Take this as encouragement that a useful book need not be comprehensive, just effectively communicating more than the reader knows already.

Notes to (NUS) Computer Science Freshmen…

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Notes to (NUS) Computer Science Freshmen, From The Future

From the intro:

Early into the AY12/13 academic year, Prof Tay Yong Chiang organized a supper for Computer Science freshmen at Tembusu College. The bunch of seniors who were gathered there put together a document for NUS computing freshmen. This is that document.

Feel free to create a pull request to edit or add to it, and share it with other freshmen you know.

The Art of Computer Programming (a review of everything in Computer Science; pretty much nobody, save Knuth, has finished reading this)

When you think about the amount of time Knuth has spent researching, writing and editing The Art of Computer Programming (TAOCP), it doesn’t sound unreasonable to expect others, a significant number of others, to have read it.

Any online reading groups focused on TAOCP?

BBC News Could Do Better: Scottish witchcraft book published online

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Scottish witchcraft book published online

From the post:

The Names of Witches in Scotland, 1658 collection, was drawn up during a time when the persecution of supposed witches was rife.

The book also lists the towns where the accused lived and notes of confession.

It is believed many were healers, practicing traditional folk medicine.

Some of the notes give small insights into the lives of those accused.

It is recorded that the spouse of Agnes Watsone, from Dumbarton, is “umquhile” (deceased).

A majority of those accused of witchcraft were women although the records reveal that some men were also persecuted.

Jon Gilchreist and Robert Semple, from Dumbarton, are recorded as sailors. A James Lerile of Alloway, Ayr, is noted as “clenged”, in other words cleaned or made clean.

While Mr Lerile’s fate is unclear, the term probably meant banishment or death.

I’m glad BBC News drew attention to this volume but the only links in the post go to a very annoying commercial site that has transcribed the work.

🙁

With very little effort, I can send you to images of the original:

Some readers (cough), may find the commercial service useful. OK, but BBC News should include links to originals, especially then those are sans annoying subscription requests.

The GCHQ Puzzle Book

Friday, November 4th, 2016

The GCHQ Puzzle Book

The Amazon description:

If 3=T, 4=S, 5=P, 6=H, 7=H … what is 8?

What is the next letter in the sequence: M, V, E, M, J, S, U, ?

Which of the following words is the odd one out: CHAT, COMMENT, ELF, MANGER, PAIN, POUR?

GCHQ is a top-secret intelligence and security agency which recruits some of the very brightest minds. Over the years, their codebreakers have helped keep our country safe, from the Bletchley Park breakthroughs of WWII to the modern-day threat of cyberattack. So it comes as no surprise that, even in their time off, the staff at GCHQ love a good puzzle. Whether they’re recruiting new staff or challenging each other to the toughest Christmas quizzes and treasure hunts imaginable, puzzles are at the heart of what GCHQ does. Now they’re opening up their archives of decades’ worth of codes, puzzles and challenges for everyone to try.
(emphasis in original)

Hard to say if successful completion of the GCHQ Puzzle Book or hacking into GCHQ would be the better way to introduce yourself to the GCHQ.

Depends on which department within GCHQ captures your interest. 😉

Be aware that some pedestrian agencies and their personnel view intrusion into government computers to be crime and punishable as such.

More sophisticated agencies/personnel realize that “…in Jersey, anything is legal so long as you don’t get caught” and/or if you have something of sufficient value to trade.

The “rule of law,” and “letter of the law” stuff is for groundlings. Don’t be a groundling.

How To Use Data Science To Write And Sell More Books (Training Amazon)

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

From the description:

Chris Fox is the bestselling author of science fiction and dark fantasy, as well as non-fiction books for authors including Write to Market, 5000 words per hour and today we’re talking about his next book, Six Figure Author: Using data to sell books.

Show Notes What Amazon data science, and machine learning, are and how authors can use them. How Amazon differs from the other online book retailers and how authors can train Amazon to sell more books. What to look for to find a voracious readership. Strategically writing to market and how to know what readers are looking for. On Amazon ads and when they are useful. Tips on writing faster. The future of writing, including virtual reality and AI help with story.

Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn interviews Chris Fox

Some of the highlights:

Training Amazon To Work For You

…What you want to do is figure out, with as much accuracy as possible, who your target audience is.

And when you start selling your book, the number of sales is not nearly as important as who you sell your book to, because each of those sales to Amazon represents a customer profile.

If you can convince them that people who voraciously read in your genre are going to love this book and you sell a couple of hundred copies to people like that, Amazon’s going to take it and run with it. You’ve now successfully trained them about who your audience is because you used good data and now they’re able to easily sell your book.

If, on the other hand, you and your mom buys a copy and your friend at the coffee shop buys a copy, and people who aren’t necessarily into that genre are all buying it, Amazon gets really lost and confused.

Easier said than done but how’s that for taking advantage of someone else’s machine learning?

Chris also has tips for not “polluting” your Amazon sales data.

Discovering and Writing to a Market

How do you find a sub-category or a smaller niche within the Amazon ecosystem? What are the things to look for in order to find a voracious readership?

Chris: What I do is I start looking at the rankings of the number 1, the number 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 books. You can tell based on where those books are ranked, how many books in the genre are selling. If the number one book is ranked in the top 100 in the store and so is the 20th book, then you’ve found one of the hottest genres on Amazon.

If you find that by the time you get down to number 40, the rank is dropping off sharply, that suggests that not enough books are being produced in that genre and it might be a great place for you to jump in and make a name for yourself. (emphasis in original)

I know, I know, this is a tough one. Especially for me.

As I have pointed out here on multiple occasions, “terrorism” is largely a fiction of both government and media.

However, if you look at the top 100 paid sellers on terrorism at Amazon, the top fifty (50) don’t have a single title that looks like it denies terrorism is a problem.

🙁

Which I take to mean, in terms of selling books, services, or data, the terrorism is coming for us all gravy train is the profitable line.

Or at least to indulge in analysis on the basis of “…if the threat of terrorism is real…” and let readers supply their own answers to that question.

There are other valuable tips and asides, so watch the video or read the transcript: How To Use Data Science To Write And Sell More Books With Chris Fox.

PS: As of today, there are 292 podcasts by Jonna Penn.

Everything You Wanted to Know about Book Sales (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

From the post:

Publishing is the business of creating books and selling them to readers. And yet, for some reason we aren’t supposed to talk about the latter.

Most literary writers consider book sales a half-crass / half-mythological subject that is taboo to discuss.
While authors avoid the topic, every now and then the media brings up book sales — normally to either proclaim, yet again, the death of the novel, or to make sweeping generalizations about the attention spans of different generations. But even then, the data we are given is almost completely useless for anyone interested in fiction and literature. Earlier this year, there was a round of excited editorials about how print is back, baby after industry reports showed print sales increasing for the second consecutive year. However, the growth was driven almost entirely by non-fiction sales… more specifically adult coloring books and YouTube celebrity memoirs. As great as adult coloring books may be, their sales figures tell us nothing about the sales of, say, literary fiction.

Lincoln’s account mirrors my experience (twice) with a small press decades ago.

While you (rightfully) think that every sane person on the planet will forego the rent in order to purchase your book, sadly your publisher is very unlikely to share that view.

…Writing is a calling but publishing is a business.

Quite so.

Don’t be discouraged by this account but do allow it to influence your expectations, at least about the economic rewards of publishing.

Just in case I get hit with the publishing bug again, good luck to us all!

Free Programming Books – Update

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Free Programming Books by Victor Felder.

From the webpage:

This list initially was a clone of stackoverflow – List of Freely Available Programming Books by George Stocker. Now updated, with dead links gone and new content.

Moved to GitHub for collaborative updating.

Great listing of resources!

But each resource stands alone as its own silo. It can (and many do) refer to other materials, even with hyperlinks, but if you want to explore any of them, you must explore them separately. That’s what being in a silo means. You have to start over at the beginning. Every time.

That is complicated by the existence of thousands of slideshows and videos on programming topics not listed here. Search for your favorite programming language at Slideshare and Youtube. There are other repositories of slideshows and videos, those are just examples.

Each one of those slideshows and/or videos is also a silo. Not to mention that with video you need a time marker if you aren’t going to watch every second of it to find relevant material.

What if you could traverse each of those silos, books, posts, slideshows, videos, documentation, source code, seamlessly?

Making that possible for C/C++ now, given the backlog of material, would have a large upfront cost before it could be useful.

Making that possible for languages with shorter histories, well, how useful would it need to be to justify its cost?

And how would you make it possible for others to easily contribute gems that they find?

Something to think about as you wander about in each of these separate silos.

Enjoy!

How do you skim through a digital book?

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

From the post:

We’ve had a couple of digitised books that proved really popular with online audiences. Perhaps partly reflecting the interests of the global population, they’ve been about prostitutes and demons.

I’ve been especially interested in how people have interacted with these popular digitised books. Imagine how you’d pick up a book to look at in a library or bookshop. Would you start from page one, laboriously working through page by page, or would you flip through it, checking for interesting bits? Should we expect any different behaviour when people use a digital book?

We collect data on aggregate (nothing personal or trackable to our users) about what’s being asked of our digitised items in the viewer. With such a large number of views of these two popular books, I’ve got a big enough dataset to get an interesting idea of how readers might be using our digitised books.

Focusing on ‘Compendium rarissimum totius Artis Magicae sistematisatae per celeberrimos Artis hujus Magistros. Anno 1057. Noli me tangere’ (the 18th century one about demons) I’ve mapped the number of page views (horizontal axis) against page number (vertical axis, with front cover at the top), and added coloured bands to represent what’s on those pages.

Chole captured and then analyzed the reading behavior of readers on two very popular electronic titles.

She explains her second observation:

Observation 2: People like looking at pictures more than text

by suggesting the text being in Latin and German may explain the fondness for the pictures.

Perhaps, but I have heard the same observation made about Playboy magazine. 😉

From a documentation/training perspective, Chole’s technique, for digital training materials, could provide guidance on:

• Length of materials
• Use of illustrations
• Organization of materials
• What material is habitually unread?

Your call, successful staff and customers or failing staff and customers you can blame for security faults and declining sales.

Choose carefully.

Dissertations – Searching Tip

Friday, May 27th, 2016

It been years since I have ordered a dissertation but I ran across one today that isn’t already on the web.

I landed at ProQuest but there was no obvious place to search for a dissertation.

Ah, that’s because you have to follow “Order Now” before this interface is displayed:

I wasn’t “ready” to order so I missed the obvious link for several minutes.

Tip for ProQuest: Search Dissertations link should be on your homepage. (Who approved your homepage design? Management?)

Hacking Book Sale! To Support the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Humble Books Bundle: Hacking

No Starch Press has teamed up with Humble Bundle to raise money for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)!

MIT should issue a paperback version for $5.00 (or less in bulk), to put Obfuscation in the range of conference swag. The underlying principles and discussion are all very scholarly I’m sure (I haven’t read it yet) but obfuscation can only flourish when practiced in large numbers. Cf. “I’m Spartacus”. Spartacus (IMDB), Spartacus Film (Wikipedia) To paraphrase the Capital One ad: How many different identities do you have in your wallet? 16+ Free Data Science Books Sunday, October 18th, 2015 From the webpage: As a data scientist at Quora, I often get asked for my advice about becoming a data scientist. To help those people, I’ve took some time to compile my top recommendations of quality data science books that are either available for free (by generosity of the author) or are Pay What You Want (PWYW) with$0 minimum.

Please bookmark this place and refer to it often! Click on the book covers to take yourself to the free versions of the book. I’ve also provided Amazon links (when applicable) in my descriptions in case you want to buy a physical copy. There’s actually more than 16 free books here since I’ve added a few since conception, but I’m keeping the name of this website for recognition.

The authors of these books have put in much effort to produce these free resources – please consider supporting them through avenues that the authors provide, such as contributing via PWYW or buying a hard copy [Disclosure: I get a small commission via the Amazon links, and I am co-author of one of these books].

Some of the usual suspects are here along with some unexpected titles, such as A First Course in Design and Analysis of Experiments by Gary W. Oehlert.

From the introduction:

Researchers use experiments to answer questions. Typical questions might be:

• Is a drug a safe, effective cure for a disease? This could be a test of how AZT affects the progress of AIDS
• Which combination of protein and carbohydrate sources provides the best nutrition for growing lambs?
• How will long-distance telephone usage change if our company offers a different rate structure to our customers
• Will an ice cream manufactured with a new kind of stabilizer be as palatable as our current ice cream?
• Does short-term incarceration of spouse abusers deter future assaults?
• Under what conditions should I operate my chemical refinery, given this month’s grade of raw material?

This book is meant to help decision makers and researchers design good experiments, analyze them properly, and answer their questions.

It isn’t short, six hundred and fifty-nine pages, but taken in small doses you will learn a great deal about experimental design. Not only how to properly design experiments but how to spot when they aren’t well designed.

Think of it as training to go big-game hunting in the latest issue of Nature or Science. Adds a bit of competitiveness to the enterprise.

Python Week 2015 (Packt Publishing)

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Python Week 2015 (Packt Publishing)

Packt Publishing is giving away free ebooks and offering 20% off their top selling Python books and videos.

The free book for today (good for approximately 22 hours from this posting):

Building Machine Learning Systems with Python

Expand your Python knowledge and learn all about machine-learning libraries in this user-friendly manual. ML is the next big breakthrough in technology and this book will give you the head-start you need.

• Master Machine Learning using a broad set of Python libraries and start building your own Python-based ML systems
• Covers classification, regression, feature engineering, and much more guided by practical examples
• A scenario-based tutorial to get into the right mind-set of a machine learner (data exploration) and successfully implement this in your new or existing projects

I didn’t know this was Python week! 😉

BTW, there is a website devoted to awareness days, weeks, months: http://www.national-awareness-days.com/

They seem to take the idea quite seriously but they didn’t have Python week on their calendar.

Is the term “tease” still in fashion?

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

I ask if “tease” is still in fashion (or its more sexist equivalent) because I keep running across partial O’Reilly publications that are touted as “free,” but are in reality, just extended ads for forthcoming books.

A case in point is “Transforms in CSS” which isn’t really a book but an excerpt from the forth edition of CSS: The Definitive Guide.

Forty page book?

Save your time and disk space. If anything, get a preview copy of the forth edition of CSS: The Definitive Guide when it is available.

Make no mistake, I like O’Reilly publications and I am presently reading what I suspect is the best O’Reilly title in a number of years, XQuery by Priscilla Walmsley.

O’Reilly shouldn’t waste bandwidth with disconnected excerpts for its titles.

Writing “Python Machine Learning”

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

Writing “Python Machine Learning” by Sebastian Raschka.

From the post:

It’s been about time. I am happy to announce that “Python Machine Learning” was finally released today! Sure, I could just send an email around to all the people who were interested in this book. On the other hand, I could put down those 140 characters on Twitter (minus what it takes to insert a hyperlink) and be done with it. Even so, writing “Python Machine Learning” really was quite a journey for a few months, and I would like to sit down in my favorite coffeehouse once more to say a few words about this experience.

A delightful tale for those of us who have authored books and an inspiration (with some practical suggestions) for anyone who hopes to write a book.

Sebastian’s productivity hints will ring familiar for those with similar habits and bear study by those who hope to become more productive.

Sebastian never comes out and says it but his writing approach breaks each stage of the book into manageable portions. It is far easier to say (and do) “write an outline” than to “write the complete and fixed outline for an almost 500 page book.”

If the task is too large, the complete and immutable outline, you won’t get up enough momentum to make a reasonable start.

Free Data Science Books (Update, + 53 books, 117 total)

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

Free Data Science Books (Update).

From the post:

Pulled from the web, here is a great collection of eBooks (most of which have a physical version that you can purchase on Amazon) written on the topics of Data Science, Business Analytics, Data Mining, Big Data, Machine Learning, Algorithms, Data Science Tools, and Programming Languages for Data Science.

While every single book in this list is provided for free, if you find any particularly helpful consider purchasing the printed version. The authors spent a great deal of time putting these resources together and I’m sure they would all appreciate the support!

Note: Updated books as of 9/21/15 are post-fixed with an asterisk (*). Scroll to updates

Great news but also more content.

Unlike big data, you have to read this content in detail to obtain any benefit from it.

And books in the same area are going to have overlapping content as well as some unique content.

Imagine how useful it would be to compose a free standing work with the “best” parts from several works.

Copyright laws would be a larger barrier but no more than if you cut-n-pasted your own version for personal use.

If such an approach could be made easy enough, the resulting value would drown out dissenting voices.

I think PDF is the principal practical barrier.

Do you suspect others?

I first saw this in a tweet by Kirk Borne.

The Enemies of Books

Friday, September 4th, 2015

The Enemies of Books by William Blades.

Published in 1888, The Enemies of Books reflects the biases and prejudices of its time, much as our literature transparently carries forward our biases and prejudices.

A valuable reminder in these censorship happy times that knowledge has long be deemed dangerous.

See in particular Chapter 5 Ignorance and Bigotry.

The suppression of “terrorist” literature, from tweets to websites, certainly falls under bigotry and possibly ignorance as well.

Extremist literature of all kinds is heavily repetitive and while it may be exciting to look at what has been forbidden, the thrill wears off fairly quickly. Al Goldstein, the publisher of Screw, once admitted in an interview that after about a year of Screw, if you were paying attention, you would notice the same story lines starting to circle back around.

If that’s a problem with sex, it isn’t hard to imagine that political issues discussed with no nuance, no depth of analysis, no sense of history, but simply “I’m right and X must die!” gets old pretty quickly.

If you believe U.S. reports on Osama bin Lauden, even bin Laden wasn’t on a steady diet of hate literature but had Western materials as well as soft porn.

If the would-be-censors would stop wasting funds on trying to censor social media and the Internet, perhaps they could find the time for historical, nuanced and deep analysis of current issues to publish in an attractive manner.

Censors don’t think and they don’t want you to either.

Let’s disappoint them together!