Which are the books with the smallest print?

Editions of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy often have excessively small print.  Why?  The major works by those authors are long.  Larger print will make the volumes too long and thus too expensive.  Perhaps more importantly the volumes will appear too forbidding to the average buyer.

But isn’t miniscule type for Raskolnikov hard to read?  Ah…most of the people who buy the book don’t read it.  If miniscule type gets them to stop reading sooner rather than later, you might even call it a Pareto improvement.

Self-help books almost always have reasonably large print or even ridiculously large print.  The author doesn’t have much to say and the publisher wishes to pad the book so it looks real.  Furthermore most self-help books are read (at least in part), so to keep the reader happy the print should be large.

Can you think of other generalizations?

Which books are most likely to go into “Large Print” editions? 

Which are the books with the smallest print?

Ontology Links

I recently had to make a presentation at work on ontologies–the basics, really, of what they are, how they’re used, and what the heck is OWL? I found the following links and sites helpful in creating my presentation, and thought I’d share them here.

The Basics

Advanced Material




OWL, Protege

Mental Accounting for Dummies

The Bank of America’s Keep the Change program freaks me out.   Every time you make a charge with your B of A debit card it rounds the figure up to the nearest whole amount and transfers the change to your checking account.  Commercials for this service are all over the television and radio - tagline: “you don’t even have to think about saving” - and every time I see one I feel the gulf between me and the rest of humanity widening (MR readers excepted of course).

Look, I can understand Ulysses tying himself to the mast, I can understand locking the refrigerator and I can understand Christmas accounts but I will never understand how anyone can increase their savings by taking money from one account and putting it into another.  I think I will write a book, I will call it Mental Accounting for Dummies:

The secret to saving more money is simple.  In your right hand is money for spending.  In your left hand is money for savings.  Now take some money from your right hand and put it into your left hand.  Tada!  Wasn’t that easy?

Millions have signed up for Keep the Change and the program has been written up by Business Week as “a radically different product that broke the paradigm."  Sigh.

n.b. It is true that B of A tops up the amount transferred but this part of the program, the only part that makes any sense, is hardly advertised at all.

Mental Accounting for Dummies

The economics of cats

Many people have been clamoring for this topic over at the secret blog.

My views are simple: we have too few cats in the world, relative to dogs.  Dogs, for reasons of temperament, can in essence precommit to being our slaves.  (As long as they are not Irish Setters.)  That makes us more willing to create or support an additional dog.  The quantity of dogs is nearly Pareto optimal, although their emotional slavery to us raises ethical questions about the distribution of power in the relationship.

A cat cannot “promise,” genetically or otherwise, that her kittens will become your slaves, if only you don’t neuter her.  The kittens never come about, or they meet a cruel fate rather quickly.

If you must support the life of either a cat or a dog, choose the undervalued cat.  This argument requires only that the cat gets some value out of being alive, and that value should carry some weight in our all-things-considered moral calculations.

More generally, you should go around helping the (undervalued) people who insult you, or the people who otherwise signal their independence from you.  The craven are already being helped quite a bit.

The economics of cats

Featured Windows Download: Add tabs to any program with WinTabber

WinTabber.pngWindows only: Freeware app WinTabber can add tabs to any program for easy grouping. Not only can WinTabber group multiple instances of the same program into tabs, but it can also group different programs together into tabs (as shown in the screenshot). Its possible uses abound, but grouping your applications based on purpose is one idea with a lot of potential. For example, you could create two groups of tabs: one group for work-related applications and one group of tabs for your non-work-related apps. WinTabber is a free download for Windows only.
WinTabber [via One Tip A Day]

Featured Windows Download: Add tabs to any program with WinTabber

Arf Review

Heidi MacDonald alerted me to the fact that Publishers Weekly just ran a review of Arf Forum on their “PW Comics” website. I’ve taken the liberty of reprinting the text below.

(order Arf Forum here)

“Readers will find this book doing strange and wonderful things to their minds. Imagine someone going through old magazines and stopping whenever an unusual picture or story catches his attention. Then imagine this reader taking the time to cut out the oddities and stick them in a file folder. And finally imagine someone selecting the most unusual, striking things out of a drawer filled with such folders and printing them in an elegantly designed, lovingly printed anthology. Arf Forum features Max Ernst’s surrealist collages (a man with the head of an Easter Island statue cavorting in various melodramatic scenes) as well as a sleazy photo story from the early 1940s about a visit to a comics studio where girls pose in their underwear.

“Yoe’s warm memoir of a meeting with cartoonist Bill Holman (Smokey Stover) shows the modern audience how dazzling this comic strip was, while a piece about ultra-obscure artist William Ekgren (known only for three covers) offers a tantalizing glimpse of an unfulfilled talent.

(click to read this comic)

“Yoe fills this volume to the gills: Stan Lee on irate readers, Italian cartoonist Kremos’s girly cartoons, a photo of Elvis reading a Betty and Veronica comic. There’s no overall theme here except “Isn’t this cool!” but that’s enough; it is cool”.

“Where did we leave off yesterday?”
“At home, boss, don’t you remember?”

Above: Elvis reads Betty and Veronica on his first major tour, part of the many images of people reading comics in Arf Forum.

As the girl said in the movie Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure, “Thanks P.W.!” I’m interested in hearing indivduals reactions to the latest Arf book, too. Send them to yoecomix(at)hotmail(dot)com and I’ll run the letters on the blog.

Arf Review

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor, Part 3,462

Mid July , being barbeque season, is a good time to run one of my fave 1950s comic book ads for the Original Kentucky Tavern Barbeque Ash Tray. Beware of buying one that’s not an original but a newfangled cheap shit imitation, I guess. And it’s so much in one: “a miniature fireplace, a cigarette server, a match holder, an ash tray, an incense burner…all in one!” Not only that but it can also be, as pictured, “an attractive decorative planter”. Is there anything this baby can’t do? And all this for only $1.98! What comic reading kid wouldn’t order this, the “most beautiful, most original, most useful ash tray ever made?!?
(click for a closer look)
And Now A Word From Our Sponsor, Part 3,462