THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE TO BE AWARDED AGAIN

nobel transp

The Nobel Foundation has announced in a press release that the Nobel Prize in Literature will once again be awarded during this year’s Nobel Prize ceremony on December 10. During the Nobel Prize ceremony two prizes in literature will be awarded–one for 2019 and one for 2018. This decision is in keeping with what was announced last year when scandals rocked the Swedish Academy, the body that appoints the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the prize was temporarily suspended.

The decision to reinstate the Nobel Prize in Literature comes after a turbulent year of scandals and in-fighting in public among the members of the Swedish Academy. An organization under royal protection, the Swedish Academy has been working closely with the Nobel Foundation’s Board of Directors and the Swedish royal court to address the issues that brought the Academy near the brink of collapse. The issues of conflicts of interest, breaches of confidentiality, and economic misconduct were all brought to the fore when Jean-Claude Arnault, husband of former Academy member and poet Katarina Frostenson and close personal friend of Academy member Horace Engdahl, was accused of sexual assault. Arnault has since then been convicted on two accounts of rape, one of which took place in the Swedish Academy’s apartment in Paris.

The Nobel Prize in Literature might be back on track, but we are not out of the woods yet. The agreement between the Nobel Foundation and the Swedish Academy is temporary and will be renegotiated in 2020.

Until then, bookies and book publishers alike are once again turning their eyes towards Sweden in anticipation of the answer to the question: Who will win this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature? Let the speculations commence.

By  March 

Reading Horror Can Arm Us Against A Horrifying World

Why read horror when the world is already so creepy?
Maree Searle/Getty Images/EyeEm

Tom Lehrer famously said that satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize. And yet here we are, still struggling to exaggerate the follies of power until power can’t get around us. Horror has much the same resilience. As terrifying as the world becomes, we still turn to imagined terrors to try and make sense of it. To quote another favorite entertainer, Neil Gaiman, “Fairy tales are more than true: Not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” Horror, descended from those tales, tells us about more monsters — and more strategies for beating them.

The banal evils of the world — children shot, neighbors exiled, selves reframed in an instant as inhuman threats — these are horrible, but they aren’t horror. Horror promises that the plot arc will fall after it rises. Horror spins everyday evil to show its fantastical face, literalizing its corroded heart into something more dramatic, something easier to imagine facing down. Horror helps us name the original sins out of which horrible things are born.

Some of my favorite horror stories are those in which real-world terrors grow gradually into something stranger. Mariana Enriquez, recently translated into English in Things We Lost in the Fire, writes a Buenos Aires in which poverty and pollution inevitably swell into risen corpses and sacrificial cults. Stephen King’s Carrie only destroys her town because abuse and bullying feed her frustrated teenage telekinesis. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s classic “The Yellow Wallpaper” starts from the simple psychological claustrophobia of well-meaning relations and deep-rooted sexism.

All of which gives horror the opportunity to be radically empowering, and to condemn these evils in the starkest of terms. But it doesn’t always do so. In too many stories the Thing That Should Not Happen is simply someone violating the status quo, or outsiders existing visibly. H. P. Lovecraft is a prototypical example — his world-shattering deities are worshipped primarily by those without other means to power: immigrants, rural folk, dark-skinned people trying to summon dreadful entities. His monsters are closely entwined with mental illness and “miscegenation.” His works insist, again and again, that civilization depends on keeping such creatures out of both sight and mind. Nor is Lovecraft (conveniently dead and ostensibly “of his time”) the only one. How much modern horror still draws frissons of fear from disabled villains, or the threat of “madness,” or whatever Other happens to be convenient? How many can only imagine threats as violations of white-picket-fence comfort, overcome when the monster’s defeat allows a return to that comfort for those who had it in the first place?

While it’s tempting to write horror from the perspective of those most easily shocked — those in a position to believe the universe dispenses comfort evenly to all — the best modern work depicts terrors fit for those already intimate with fear. Mira Grant (a.k.a. Seanan McGuire) is brilliant at this. Her Newsflesh trilogy amplifies the perils of political journalism, mindful that authorities’ response to disaster can make the difference between zombie apocalypse and zombie inconvenience. Victor Lavalle, another favorite, finds ways to faze protagonists who already face segregation, police violence, and the cosmic indifference of everyday prejudice.

Horror as a genre is built around one truth: that the world is full of fearful things. But the best horror tells us more. It tells us how to live with being afraid. It tells us how to distinguish real evil from harmless shadows. It tells us how to fight back. It tells us that we can fight the worst evils, whether or not we all survive them — and how to be worthy of having our tales told afterward.

 

Editor’s Note:
Ruthanna Emrys is the author of the Innsmouth Legacy series and co-writes Tor.com’s Lovecraft Reread. She lives in a mysterious manor house on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. with her wife and their large, strange family. You can find her on Twitter as @r_emrys.

By RUTHANNA EMRYS, August 5, 2018, first appearing on Books : NPR

DID YOU KNOW FINLAND’S 100TH BIRTHDAY GIFT TO ITS CITIZENS IS A NEW LIBRARY?

Lounge on the Book Heaven floor in Oodi, Helsinki’s stunning new library

Like a wave sweeping between the buildings of what is known as Citizens’ Square, Oodi (pronounced ‘awdi) is a veritable ode to Helsinki. The new central library breaks the boundaries of silence and invites children, tourists, contemplatives, rock bands, the whole world, in fact, to partake in its multi-faceted facilities and what’s more, it’s all for free!

Oodi Helsinki Central Library. Image by: ALA Architects

In a country with the highest literacy rate in the world according to the UN in 2016, libraries are used by the 5.5 million locals at a rate of 68 million books per year. It is hardly surprising that the people of Finlandand residents of Helsinki, in particular, are delighted at the prospect of this communal space created by ALA Architects. Believe it or not, there will be 100,000 books for borrowing on the Book Heaven floor where you can lounge around on a sofa musing about your next read.

Hobby enthusiasts can practice their party numbers in the soundproof studios and even record them, sew a dress, recycle would-be throwaways, try out 3D printing or have a meeting. The cinema occupies space on the first floor where the large lobby area will be used for exhibitions and pop-up events. As is the case in so many public places, the Finns are never far from their coffee with this national need being catered for by the restaurant and café. The Citizen’s Balcony will be a hang-out for city view photographers and meet-ups in the summer months.

Oodi – Finland’s 100th birthday gift to its citizens. Image by: ALA Architects

While the emphasis will always be on books, the diversity of this space will lend itself to social encounters, sharing of resources and ultimately the galvanising of community spirit. Oodi swings wide its doors at 8am on 5 December, the day before Independence Day, with a knock-out programme incorporating a 207-participant dance, a composition by Kimmo Pohjonen spanning more than one building, and plenty more.

By Violetta Teetor, NOVEMBER 21, 2018, first appearing on Lonely Planet

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually.

Photo: Artwork by Ayatgali Tuleubek

In late November, the Justice Department unsealed indictments against eight people accused of fleecing advertisers of $36 million in two of the largest digital ad-fraud operations ever uncovered. Digital advertisers tend to want two things: people to look at their ads and “premium” websites — i.e., established and legitimate publications — on which to host them.

The two schemes at issue in the case, dubbed Methbot and 3ve by the security researchers who found them, faked both. Hucksters infected 1.7 million computers with malware that remotely directed traffic to “spoofed” websites — “empty websites designed for bot traffic” that served up a video ad purchased from one of the internet’s vast programmatic ad-exchanges, but that were designed, according to the indictments, “to fool advertisers into thinking that an impression of their ad was served on a premium publisher site,” like that of Vogue or The Economist. Views, meanwhile, were faked by malware-infected computers with marvelously sophisticated techniques to imitate humans: bots “faked clicks, mouse movements, and social network login information to masquerade as engaged human consumers.” Some were sent to browse the internet to gather tracking cookies from other websites, just as a human visitor would have done through regular behavior. Fake people with fake cookies and fake social-media accounts, fake-moving their fake cursors, fake-clicking on fake websites — the fraudsters had essentially created a simulacrum of the internet, where the only real things were the ads.

How much of the internet is fake? Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,” a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake. They called this hypothetical event “the Inversion.”

In the future, when I look back from the high-tech gamer jail in which President PewDiePie will have imprisoned me, I will remember 2018 as the year the internet passed the Inversion, not in some strict numerical sense, since bots already outnumber humans online more years than not, but in the perceptual sense. The internet has always played host in its dark corners to schools of catfish and embassies of Nigerian princes, but that darkness now pervades its every aspect: Everything that once seemed definitively and unquestionably real now seems slightly fake; everything that once seemed slightly fake now has the power and presence of the real. The “fakeness” of the post-Inversion internet is less a calculable falsehood and more a particular quality of experience — the uncanny sense that what you encounter online is not “real” but is also undeniably not “fake,” and indeed may be both at once, or in succession, as you turn it over in your head.

The metrics are fake.

Take something as seemingly simple as how we measure web traffic. Metrics should be the most real thing on the internet: They are countable, trackable, and verifiable, and their existence undergirds the advertising business that drives our biggest social and search platforms. Yet not even Facebook, the world’s greatest data–gathering organization, seems able to produce genuine figures. In October, small advertisers filed suit against the social-media giant, accusing it of covering up, for a year, its significant overstatements of the time users spent watching videos on the platform (by 60 to 80 percent, Facebook says; by 150 to 900 percent, the plaintiffs say). According to an exhaustive list at MarketingLand, over the past two years Facebook has admitted to misreporting the reach of posts on Facebook Pages (in two different ways), the rate at which viewers complete ad videos, the average time spent reading its “Instant Articles,” the amount of referral traffic from Facebook to external websites, the number of views that videos received via Facebook’s mobile site, and the number of video views in Instant Articles.

Can we still trust the metrics? After the Inversion, what’s the point? Even when we put our faith in their accuracy, there’s something not quite real about them: My favorite statistic this year was Facebook’s claim that 75 million people watched at least a minute of Facebook Watch videos every day — though, as Facebook admitted, the 60 seconds in that one minute didn’t need to be watched consecutively. Real videos, real people, fake minutes.

The people are fake.

And maybe we shouldn’t even assume that the people are real. Over at YouTube, the business of buying and selling video views is “flourishing,” as the Times reminded readers with a lengthy investigation in August. The company says only “a tiny fraction” of its traffic is fake, but fake subscribers are enough of a problem that the site undertook a purge of “spam accounts” in mid-December. These days, the Times found, you can buy 5,000 YouTube views — 30 seconds of a video counts as a view — for as low as $15; oftentimes, customers are led to believe that the views they purchase come from real people. More likely, they come from bots. On some platforms, video views and app downloads can be forged in lucrative industrial counterfeiting operations. If you want a picture of what the Inversion looks like, find a video of a “click farm”: hundreds of individual smartphones, arranged in rows on shelves or racks in professional-looking offices, each watching the same video or downloading the same app.This is obviously not real human traffic. But what would real human traffic look like? The Inversion gives rise to some odd philosophical quandaries: If a Russian troll using a Brazilian man’s photograph to masquerade as an American Trump supporter watches a video on Facebook, is that view “real”? Not only do we have bots masquerading as humans and humans masquerading as other humans, but also sometimes humans masquerading as bots, pretending to be “artificial-intelligence personal assistants,” like Facebook’s “M,” in order to help tech companies appear to possess cutting-edge AI. We even have whatever CGI Instagram influencer Lil Miquela is: a fake human with a real body, a fake face, and real influence. Even humans who aren’t masquerading can contort themselves through layers of diminishing reality: The Atlantic reports that non-CGI human influencers are posting fake sponsored content — that is, content meant to look like content that is meant to look authentic, for free — to attract attention from brand reps, who, they hope, will pay them real money.

click farm

The businesses are fake.

The money is usually real. Not always — ask someone who enthusiastically got into cryptocurrency this time last year — but often enough to be an engine of the Inversion. If the money is real, why does anything else need to be? Earlier this year, the writer and artist Jenny Odell began to look into an Amazon reseller that had bought goods from other Amazon resellers and resold them, again on Amazon, at higher prices. Odell discovered an elaborate network of fake price-gouging and copyright-stealing businesses connected to the cultlike Evangelical church whose followers resurrected Newsweek in 2013 as a zombie search-engine-optimized spam farm. She visited a strange bookstore operated by the resellers in San Francisco and found a stunted concrete reproduction of the dazzlingly phony storefronts she’d encountered on Amazon, arranged haphazardly with best-selling books, plastic tchotchkes, and beauty products apparently bought from wholesalers. “At some point I began to feel like I was in a dream,” she wrote. “Or that I was half-awake, unable to distinguish the virtual from the real, the local from the global, a product from a Photoshop image, the sincere from the insincere.”

The content is fake.

The only site that gives me that dizzying sensation of unreality as often as Amazon does is YouTube, which plays host to weeks’ worth of inverted, inhuman content. TV episodes that have been mirror-flipped to avoid copyright takedowns air next to huckster vloggers flogging merch who air next to anonymously produced videos that are ostensibly for children. An animated video of Spider-Man and Elsa from Frozen riding tractors is not, you know, not real: Some poor soul animated it and gave voice to its actors, and I have no doubt that some number (dozens? Hundreds? Millions? Sure, why not?) of kids have sat and watched it and found some mystifying, occult enjoyment in it. But it’s certainly not “official,” and it’s hard, watching it onscreen as an adult, to understand where it came from and what it means that the view count beneath it is continually ticking up.

These, at least, are mostly bootleg videos of popular fictional characters, i.e., counterfeit unreality. Counterfeit reality is still more difficult to find—for now. In January 2018, an anonymous Redditor created a relatively easy-to-use desktop-app implementation of “deepfakes,” the now-infamous technology that uses artificial-intelligence image processing to replace one face in a video with another — putting, say, a politician’s over a porn star’s. A recent academic paper from researchers at the graphics-card company Nvidia demonstrates a similar technique used to create images of computer-generated “human” faces that look shockingly like photographs of real people. (Next time Russians want to puppeteer a group of invented Americans on Facebook, they won’t even need to steal photos of real people.) Contrary to what you might expect, a world suffused with deepfakes and other artificially generated photographic images won’t be one in which “fake” images are routinely believed to be real, but one in which “real” images are routinely believed to be fake — simply because, in the wake of the Inversion, who’ll be able to tell the difference?

Our politics are fake.

Such a loss of any anchoring “reality” only makes us pine for it more. Our politics have been inverted along with everything else, suffused with a Gnostic sense that we’re being scammed and defrauded and lied to but that a “real truth” still lurks somewhere. Adolescents are deeply engaged by YouTube videos that promise to show the hard reality beneath the “scams” of feminism and diversity — a process they call “red-pilling” after the scene in The Matrix when the computer simulation falls away and reality appears. Political arguments now involve trading accusations of “virtue signaling” — the idea that liberals are faking their politics for social reward — against charges of being Russian bots. The only thing anyone can agree on is that everyone online is lying and fake.

We ourselves are fake.

Which, well. Everywhere I went online this year, I was asked to prove I’m a human. Can you retype this distorted word? Can you transcribe this house number? Can you select the images that contain a motorcycle? I found myself prostrate daily at the feet of robot bouncers, frantically showing off my highly developed pattern-matching skills — does a Vespa count as a motorcycle, even? — so I could get into nightclubs I’m not even sure I want to enter. Once inside, I was directed by dopamine-feedback loops to scroll well past any healthy point, manipulated by emotionally charged headlines and posts to click on things I didn’t care about, and harried and hectored and sweet-talked into arguments and purchases and relationships so algorithmically determined it was hard to describe them as real.

Where does that leave us? I’m not sure the solution is to seek out some pre-Inversion authenticity — to red-pill ourselves back to “reality.” What’s gone from the internet, after all, isn’t “truth,” but trust: the sense that the people and things we encounter are what they represent themselves to be. Years of metrics-driven growth, lucrative manipulative systems, and unregulated platform marketplaces, have created an environment where it makes more sense to be fake online — to be disingenuous and cynical, to lie and cheat, to misrepresent and distort — than it does to be real. Fixing that would require cultural and political reform in Silicon Valley and around the world, but it’s our only choice. Otherwise we’ll all end up on the bot internet of fake people, fake clicks, fake sites, and fake computers, where the only real thing is the ads.

 

By , December 26, 2018, first appearing on New York Magazine: Intelligencer

HIGHLIGHTS OF BOOKS ENTERING THE PUBLIC DOMAIN IN 2019

Rejoice! Works created in 1923 are finally entering the public domain in 2019!

Don’t really know what that means? I didn’t either! Copyright law is weird and messy and super confusing! Smithsonian Magazine and the New York Times break it down for us:

“The sudden deluge of available works traces back to legislation Congress passed in 1998, which extended copyright protections by 20 years. The law reset the copyright term for works published from 1923 to 1977 — lengthening it from 75 years to 95 years after publication — essentially freezing their protected status. (The law is often referred to by skeptics as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act,” since it has kept “Steamboat Willie,” the first Disney film featuring Mickey, under copyright until 2024.)”

There’s an added level of confusion that comes in when authors or publishers didn’t secure or renew copyright. Or when a new edition appears with a new copyright for an introduction or illustration. Oh, and all this applies only to American works with American copyright.

Got it?

For 20 years, we’ve been missing out on books, poems, films, songs, and articles entering the public domain. When a work is in the public domain, it’s free for use by anyone, whether it’s inspiration for song lyrics or a new, cheaper edition of a book. Or a retelling, like good ol’ Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Google Books and Kindle will be loading up with free digital editions of these books.

LibriVox, an app for free public domain audiobooks, and Serial Reader, an app that breaks public domain works into daily bite-sized chunks, also should have an exciting year ahead of them. I can’t wait to see what they do with the new collection headed their way.

So long as Disney doesn’t rewrite the law again, we will now get yearly dumps of greatness as a New Year’s present. Hooray for us!

Here are some highlights of books from 1923 entering the public domain in 2019. Synopses are from Goodreads, because I haven’t read any of these yet. Goodreads has a complete list of books entering the public domain, and Duke Law has a list of everything entering the public domain in 2019. Note: This list is very white.

 

FICTION

A Lost Lady by Willa CatherA LOST LADY BY WILLA CATHER

Marian Forrester is the symbolic flower of the Old American West. She draws her strength from that solid foundation, bringing delight and beauty to her elderly husband, to the small town of Sweet Water where they live, to the prairie land itself, and to the young narrator of her story, Neil Herbert. All are bewitched by her brilliance and grace, and all are ultimately betrayed. For Marian longs for “life on any terms,” and in fulfilling herself, she loses all she loved and all who loved her.

The Murder on the Links by Agatha ChristieTHE MURDER ON THE LINKS BY AGATHA CHRISTIE

A millionaire dies…

‘One can see by his face that he was stabbed in the back’ said Poirot.

But the strangest feature of the case was where they found the body — in an open grave!

Hercule Poirot had answered an appeal for help — but he was too late!

MURDER — bizarre and baffling — had come to the Villa Genevieve.

kangaroo by dh lawrenceKANGAROO BY D.H. LAWRENCE

Kangaroo is D. H. Lawrence’s eighth novel, set in Australia. He wrote the first draft in just forty-five days while living south of Sydney, in 1922, and revised it three months later in New Mexico. The descriptions of the country are vivid and sympathetic and the book fuses lightly disguised autobiography with an exploration of political ideas at an immensely personal level.

A Son at the Front by Edith WhartonA SON AT THE FRONT BY EDITH WHARTON

Wharton’s antiwar masterpiece probes the devastation of World War I on the home front. Interweaving her own experiences of the Great War with themes of parental and filial love, art and self-sacrifice, national loyalties and class privilege, Wharton tells an intimate and captivating story of war behind the lines.

Jacob's Room by Virginia WoolfJACOB’S ROOM BY VIRGINIA WOOLF

Virginia Woolf’s first distinguished work, Jacob’s Room is the story of a sensitive young man named Jacob Flanders. The life story, character and friends of Jacob are presented in a series for separate scenes and moments from his childhood, through college at Cambridge, love affairs in London, and travels in Greece, to his death in the war.

 

NONFICTION

The Prophet by Kahlil GibranTHE PROPHET BY KAHLIL GIBRAN

The Prophet is a collection of poetic essays that are philosophical, spiritual, and, above all, inspirational. Gibran’s musings are divided into twenty-eight chapters covering such sprawling topics as love, marriage, children, giving, eating, work, joy, and sorrow.

 

 

POETRY

Tulips and Chimneys by EE CummingsTULIPS & CHIMNEYS BY E.E. CUMMINGS

Fresh and candid, by turns earthy, tender, defiant, and romantic, Cummings’s poems celebrate the uniqueness of each individual, the need to protest the dehumanizing force of organizations, and the exuberant power of love.

 

New Hampshire by Robert FrostNEW HAMPSHIRE BY ROBERT FROST

New Hampshire features Frost’s meditations on rural life, love, and death, delivered in the voice of a soft-spoken New Englander. This compilation includes several of his best-known poems: “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” and “Fire and Ice” as well as verse based on such traditional songs as “I Will Sing You One-O.”

The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems by Edna St. Vincent MillayTHE HARP-WEAVER, AND OTHER POEMS BY EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY

Edna St. Vincent Millay burst onto the literary scene at a very young age and won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923. Her passionate lyrics and superbly crafted sonnets have thrilled generations of readers long after the notoriously bohemian lifestyle she led in Greenwich Village in the 1920s ceased to shock them. Millay’s refreshing frankness and cynicism and her ardent appetite for life still burn brightly on the page.

 

SHORT STORIES

THREE STORIES AND TEN POEMS BY ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Only 300 copies were made in the first and only printing of Hemingway’s first book. These three stories represent all that remained of Hemingway’s early work after the suitcase full of his manuscripts was stolen in the Gare de Lyon.

THE LURKING FEAR AND OTHER STORIES BY H.P. LOVECRAFT

Twelve soul-chilling stories by the master of horror will leave you shivering in your boots and afraid to go out in the night. Only H.P. Lovecraft can send your heart racing faster than it’s ever gone before.

MRS. DALLOWAY’S PARTY: A SHORT STORY SEQUENCE BY VIRGINIA WOOLF

The landmark modern novel Mrs. Dalloway creates a portrait of a single day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway as she orchestrates the last-minute details of a grand party. But before Virginia Woolf wrote this masterwork, she explored in a series of fascinating stories a similar revelry in the mental and physical excitement of a party.

CALL TO ARMS BY LU XUN

Call to Arms is a collection of revolutionary Chinese writer Lu Xun’s most famous and most important short stories. Featuring “A Madman’s Diary,” a scathing attack of traditional Confucian civilization and “The True Story of Ah Q,” a poignant satire about the hypocrisy of Chinese national character and the first work written entirely in the Chinese vernacular.

By , Janaury 3, 20

The State of Net Neutrality

A coast-to-coast roundup of efforts to restore the open internet

net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Restoring Internet Freedom Order (RIFO) took effect June 11, 2018, overturning the net neutrality rules the agency established with 2015’s Open Internet Order. Since then, many individual states and other entities have taken it upon themselves to try to restore net neutrality protections. The following is a review of those efforts—successful, failed, and in progress—around the US.

More than 35 states have introduced legislation to protect net neutrality, although only four (California, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) have passed laws. Several governors have also issued executive orders related to net neutrality.

The details of state net neutrality actions vary significantly, but common provisions are:

  • prohibiting all internet service providers (ISPs) in a state from blocking lawful content, applications, services, or devices; impairing or degrading the speed of lawful internet traffic based on content, application, service, or device; engaging in paid prioritization of traffic; or unreasonably interfering with a user’s ability to select, access, or use broadband internet service
  • requiring ISPs to meet the net neutrality provisions above to be considered for state contracts (in some cases, these acts apply to contracts for municipalities as well)
  • requiring ISPs to transparently disclose their network management principles
  • establishing certification systems or registries of ISPs that meet net neutrality requirements
  • issuing resolutions urging the US Congress to implement net neutrality requirements but having no regulatory power on their own

“Having 50 different approaches to net neutrality is not optimal for anybody,” observes Larra Clark, deputy director of public policy for the American Library Association’s Washington Office and the Public Library Association. However, in addition to providing net neutrality in the states where they’ve been implemented, state activities are valuable in advocating for meaningful protections nationally.

“States taking these leadership roles makes it more likely that the FCC will come to the table and the telecommunications companies that have fought us on this issue will work to find a compromise,” she says.

State legislation passed

California

On September 30, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (S.B.) 822, requiring ISPs in the state to comply with net neutrality principles and disclose network management practices. The bill goes beyond the Obama-era regulations by also limiting certain forms of “zero rating,” in which ISPs favor certain information by not counting content or websites they own against data limits.

The bill’s author, Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) called it “the strongest in the nation.” However, the US Justice Department filed suit against the law the same day Brown signed it. This suit has been postponed, and California has agreed not to enforce its law until the D.C. District Court decides on the state attorneys general suit on RIFO.

Brown also signed Assembly Bill (A.B.) 1999 on September 30, requiring broadband networks created by local governments to follow net neutrality.

Oregon

Gov. Kate Brown signed House Bill (H.B.) 4155 on April 9. The law prohibits public bodies from contracting with ISPs that do not abide by net neutrality.

Vermont

May 22 Gov. Phil Scott signed S.B. 289, requiring state agencies to contract only with ISPs that practice net neutrality, directing the state Secretary of Administration to develop a process to certify ISPs that practice net neutrality, and directing the state attorney general to study the extent to which the state should enact net neutrality rules. It also requires ISPs to disclose their network management practices. The law followed Executive Order 2-18, issued February 15, that required state agencies to contract only with ISPs that follow net neutrality.

Even though the scope of this law is narrower than California’s, industry groups filed suit to block it October 18 in the US District Court in Vermont.

Washington

Gov. Jay Inslee signed H.B. 2282 on March 5. The law requires ISPs to practice net neutrality and to accurately disclose network management practices.

Executive orders

In addition to Vermont, governors in the following states have issued executive orders related to net neutrality. Each of these orders requires ISPs to follow net neutrality principles to receive state contracts.

Hawaii

Gov. David Ige issued Executive Order 18-02 on February 5.

Montana

Gov. Steve Bullock issued Executive Order 3-2018 on January 22.

New Jersey

Gov. Philip D. Murphy issued Executive Order 9 on February 5.

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 175 on January 24.

Rhode Island

Gov. Gina Raimondo issued Executive Order 18-02 on April 24.

Bills introduced but not enacted

Alaska

Neither of the proposed bills requiring ISPs to practice net neutrality (H.B. 277 and S.B. 160), nor House Joint Resolution 31 and Senate Joint Resolution 12 urging the US Congress to overturn the FCC’s order, were acted on in committee.

Colorado

H.B. 18-1312 would have required ISPs to follow net neutrality to receive money from the High Cost Support Mechanism, the state’s implementation of the FCC’s Connect America Fund, which provides funds for deploying broadband in rural areas. The bill passed the house but failed in the Senate Committee on State, Veterans, and Military Affairs.

Connecticut

The senate passed S.B. 366, requiring ISPs in the state to practice net neutrality and disclose network management practices. However, the house did not vote on the measure. H.B. 5260 and S.B. 2, which would have required ISPs to adopt net neutrality policies to qualify for state contracts, both failed in committee.

Georgia

Neither of the bills related to net neutrality introduced in the house or senate progressed out of committee. S.B. 310 would have required all ISPs to follow net neutrality, while H.B. 1066 would have prohibited the state from contracting with ISPs that don’t provide a certification of net neutrality.

Hawaii 

S.B. 2644, which would require ISPs to follow net neutrality and disclose network management practices, passed the senate unanimously, but its house companion, H.B. 2256, stalled in committee. The similar S.B. 2088 was deferred in committee.
In addition to requiring net neutrality, H.B. 1995 would have established a task force to examine the costs and benefits of a state-owned public utility to provide broadband internet service. Two of three house committees recommended passage of the bill, but the Finance Committee did not act on it.

Idaho 

H.B. 425, which would require ISPs to comply with net neutrality, was not acted on in committee.

Illinois 

H.B. 4819, which would have required state contractors to comply with net neutrality and other ISPs to notify consumers of any deviations from those principles, passed out of the House Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, and IT Committee, but the house re-referred it to the Rules Committee and did not vote on it.

Two other measures did not advance out of committee: H.B. 5094, which would have required ISPs in the state to abide by net neutrality, and S.B. 2816, which would have required ISPs to follow net neutrality to qualify for state contracts.

Iowa

Neither Senate File 2286 nor House File 2287, which would have required ISPs to provide service in accordance with net neutrality, advanced out of committee.

Kansas

H.B. 2682, which would have prohibited state contracts with ISPs that do not follow net neutrality, died in committee.

Kentucky

The Small Business and Information Technology committee did not act on H.B. 418, which would have required state contractors to practice net neutrality.

Maryland

H.B. 1654, which would prohibit state agencies from contracting with ISPs that do not follow net neutrality and require ISPs to notify customers about the types of personal data they collect and disclose, passed the house, but the senate did not vote on it. The similar H.B. 1655, which would also authorize local governments to grant franchises for broadband internet service, did not pass out of committee.

S.B. 287, which would require the state to only contract with ISPs that follow net neutrality, did not pass out of committee.

Massachusetts 

Senate Order S2263, establishing a special senate committee on net neutrality and consumer protection to review RIFO, was adopted January 18. The committee issued its report March 23 as S.B. 2376. This report accompanied S.B. 2336, a bill that would have required ISPs to follow net neutrality.

S.B. 2336 was replaced by S.B. 2610, which would direct the state Department of Telecommunications and Cable to create standards for a Massachusetts Net Neutrality and Consumer Privacy Seal to identify ISPs that abide by net neutrality and provide consumers with an easy way to opt out of providing third parties access to personal information. It would also establish a registry of broadband service providers in the state and list their network management practices and privacy policies. The bill passed the senate July 19 and has been referred to the House Ways and Means committee.

H.B. 4151, which would have required ISPs to follow net neutrality, was replaced by House Order 4684, authorizing the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy to study documents concerning several bills, including those on net neutrality. This order also covered H.B. 4222, requiring ISPs to follow net neutrality and establishing the Massachusetts Internet Service Provider Registry to provide service quality and pricing information to customers.

Minnesota

Two bills have been introduced in both the house and the senate that would require ISPs to follow net neutrality and prohibit state agencies and political subdivisions from contracting with ISPs that do not. None of the bills—S.B. 2880, S.B. 3968, H.B. 3033, and H.B. 4411—has been acted on in committee.

Missouri

H.B. 1994, which would require ISPs to follow net neutrality and publicly disclose their network management practices, was not acted on in committee.

Nebraska 

Legislative Bill 856, which would require net neutrality, was indefinitely postponed.

New Jersey 

S.B. 1577 and A.B. 1767, identical bills that would require all ISPs in the state to abide by net neutrality, have not been acted on by their respective committees.

A.B. 2131, which would prohibit the installation of broadband telecommunications infrastructure on public rights-of-way or underground facilities owned by public utilities or cable television companies unless the ISP follows net neutrality, was favorably reported out of committee. The senate has not acted on the identical S.B. 2458.

A.B. 2132, which would require state agencies to reject all contract bids from ISPs that do not follow net neutrality, was reported out of committee. The senate companion, S.B. 1802, has not been acted on in committee.

A.B. 2139, which would require cable companies that provide internet service to follow net neutrality principles, passed out of committee.

New Mexico 

H.B. 95 and S.B. 39 would amend the state Unfair Practices Act to require ISPs to follow net neutrality; both have been postponed indefinitely.

S.B. 155, which was similar to those bills but would also allocate $250,000 to the state attorney general in FY2018 and FY2019 to review RIFO and to file or join a lawsuit challenging the decision, was also postponed indefinitely.

New York

A.B. 8882, which would direct the state Public Service Commission to develop a plan for monitoring broadband ISPs and create a certification for ISPs that comply with net neutrality, passed the assembly June 19. Under this bill, only certified ISPs would be eligible for state agency contracts. The senate has not acted on its version, S.B. 7183.

Other bills have not made it out of committee, including: S.B. 8321, which would require net neutrality, provide regulatory control by the state Public Service Commission, prohibit zero-rating of certain content in a category but not the entire category, and require ISPs to comply with net neutrality to be granted permission to attach broadband infrastructure to utility poles; S.B. 7175 and A.B. 9057, which would require state agencies to contract only with ISPs that adhere to net neutrality and appropriate $250 million to a fund to establish municipal ISPs; and A.B. 9059, which would establish a commission to study and report on potential implementation of net neutrality rules.

North Carolina

Neither S.B. 736, which would have required ISPs to follow net neutrality, nor H.B. 1016, which would have applied only to state contractors, passed out of committee.

Oklahoma

S.B. 1543, which would have required state agencies to contract only with ISPs that follow net neutrality and created a fund to support municipalities attempting to create their own ISPs, was not acted on in committee.

Pennsylvania

H.B. 2062, which would have required ISPs to abide by net neutrality, did not make it out of committee. The same fate befell S.B. 1033, which also would have prohibited state contracts with ISPs that don’t follow net neutrality and required ISPs to disclose network management practices.

Rhode Island 

S.B. 2008, which would have required state agencies to award contracts only to ISPs that follow net neutrality, passed the senate June 19. The House Corporations Committee has not acted on it.

That committee recommended that H.B. 7076, which would require ISPs to follow net neutrality and require the state Division of Public Utilities and Carriers to annually certify ISPs, be held for further study. It made the same recommendation for H.B. 7422, which would require net neutrality and obligate ISPs to disclose their network management practices.

South Carolina

Neither H.B. 4614 nor H.B. 4706, which would have required ISPs to follow net neutrality and disclose their network management practices, passed out of committee.

South Dakota

The Senate Commerce and Energy Committee voted February 6 not to send S.B. 195 to the full senate, killing the measure. The bill would have required ISPs to abide by net neutrality and disclose network management practices to receive contracts from the state.

Tennessee

Several bills were introduced but did not pass out of committee, including H.B. 1755 and S.B. 1756, which would have required ISPs to abide by net neutrality and disclose their network management practices, and prohibit state agencies or local governments from contracting with ISPs that do not follow net neutrality; S.B. 2183 and H.B. 2253, which would have prohibited state governmental entities from contracting with ISPs that do not follow net neutrality; and H.B. 2405 and S.B. 2449, which would have created a task force to study issues relating to RIFO.

Virginia

H.B. 705, which would have required ISPs to practice net neutrality, stalled in the Commerce and Labor Committee.

S.B. 948, which would have required ISPs to practice net neutrality and prohibited them from knowingly disclosing personally identifiable information about customers, did not pass out of committee.

West Virginia 

Neither H.B. 4399, which would have required ISPs to practice net neutrality and disclose network management practices to receive state contracts, nor S.B. 396, which would have applied to all ISPs in the state, passed out of committee.

Wisconsin 

The assembly voted against taking up A.B. 909, which would have required ISPs to follow net neutrality and limited disclosure of personally identifying information. Senate counterpart S.B. 743 did not pass out of committee.

Neither S.B. 740 nor A.B. 908, which would have applied only to state contractors, were acted on by committee.

Resolutions

California 

In February, Senate Resolution (S.R.) 74, urging the US Congress to reinstate the 2015 rules, passed.

Delaware

Senate Concurrent Resolution 44, expressing the state assembly’s opposition to RIFO and urging the US Congress to enact legislation preserving net neutrality, passed the senate in January.

District of Columbia

A round table hearing was held in January 2018 on Proposed Resolution 22-0691 opposing RIFO. While it was cosponsored by all 13 members of the council, no vote has been taken.

Georgia

House Resolution 1161, a resolution that would have encouraged state agencies to establish policies requiring contract recipients to adhere to net neutrality, was introduced, but it did not progress out of committee.

Illinois

S.R. 1196, which would have urged the US Congress and the Trump administration to advocate for permanent adoption of net neutrality rules, did not advance out of committee.

Michigan

S.R. 131, which would have urged the governor to issue an executive order requiring ISPs with state contracts to abide by net neutrality, has not been acted on in committee.

Missouri

House Concurrent Resolution (H.C.R.) 84, which would urge the US Congress to pass legislation restoring net neutrality, has not been acted on in committee.

New Mexico

Senate Joint Memorial 17, urging the US Congress to review RIFO, passed, but the house postponed action indefinitely.

Ohio

The Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations did not act on H.C.R. 18, which would have urged the president and US Congress to protect net neutrality and open internet access.

 January 2, 2019, first appearing on American Libraries Magazine

19 GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATIONS THAT ARE BOOK ADAPTATIONS

The Golden Globe 2019 nominations are out, and they only strengthen my personal belief that books make for good TV and movies. Nineteen (!) of the nominations is major categories have been adapted from books of a variety of genres this year, and we’re here to give you a rundown. (All quoted descriptions are from Goodreads.)

SHARP OBJECTS
sharp objectsBased on the novel the same name by Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects has been nominated for Best Television Seriesand Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Amy Adams). The show is A+ spooky with some excellent performances, including Adams’s portrayal of a complicated and flawed heroine.

 

THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
Based on Maureen Orth’s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. Historythe movie has been nominated for five categories, including Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

 

THE HANDMAID’S TALE
handmaid's tale margaret atwood elisabeth moss novel cover sci-fi horror booksBased on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel of the same name, The Handmaid’s Taleswept the Emmy’s last year as well, and has been nominated for two categories, with Elizabeth Moss in the running for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama. We are absolutely devastated by the world the show portrays, and yet we can’t look away.

 

BLACK PANTHER
Yes, yes, this was a 2018 release! Based on the superhero Marvel comics, the movie was the second-highest-grossing film of 2018 and became a global phenomenon. It has been nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

Image result for black panther

 

FIRST MAN
Based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen, the Ryan Gosling movie has received two nominations.

 

MARY POPPINS RETURNS
Based on the series of children’s books by P. L. Travers, Mary Poppins, the new movie, starring Emily Blunt, has four nominations, and hits theaters in ten days’ times. Watch the trailer here.

 

 

THE ALIENIST
Based on the novel of the same name by Caleb Carr, the psychological thriller-drama starring Dakota Fanning, has two nominations.

 

A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL
Based on John Preston’s book of the same name.
“In 1979, Jeremy Thorpe, the rising star of the Liberal Party, stood trial for conspiracy to murder. It was the first time that a leading British politician had stood trial on a murder charge. It was the first time that a murder plot had been hatched in the House of Commons. And it was the first time that a prominent public figure had been exposed as a philandering homosexual.” The TV series stars Hugh Grant.

 

DUMPLIN’
Based on the YA novel by Julie Murphy, the upcoming musical comedy is highly anticipated. “Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. …until (she) takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.” Watch the trailer here.

 

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
Based on James Baldwin’s novel of the same name.
“Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions-affection, despair, and hope.”

 

SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
avengers infinity warBased on the Marvel superhero, this animated film is highly anticipated and releases in a week’s time. It is set in a multi-verse, where Spider-Man gets to team up with other Spider-Men and Spider-Women. Watch the trailer here!

 

 

OUTLANDER
Based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon, the TV show is in its fourth season, and has been bagging awards every year. Featuring a time-travelling romance, it has been nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama (Catriona Balfe).

 

KILLING EVE
Based on Codename Villanelle, a series of novellas, this Sandra Oh-starrer has been nominated under Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama. And tune in to the Golden Globes to see Sandra Oh co-host with Brooklyn Nine Nine‘s Andy Samberg!

 

THE WIFE
Based on the novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer, The Wife is a wise, sharp-eyed, compulsively readable story about a woman forced to confront the sacrifices she’s made in order to achieve the life she thought she wanted. But it’s also an unusually candid look at the choices all men and women make for themselves, in marriage, work, and life.”

 

CRAZY RICH ASIANS
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin KwanBased on the first in the romantic comedy trilogy by Kevin Kwan, this movie was one of the few bright spots of 2018. Starring Constance Wu (who is nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, the movie has also been nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Spend some (imaginary) money in our quiz here to find out which CRA character you are!

 

BLACKKKLANSMAN
Based on Black Klansman, a memoir by Ron Stallworth, the biographical comedy-drama has been highly acclaimed. Based in 1970s Colorado Springs, the movie follows the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs police department, who sets out to expose the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

 

BOY ERASED
Based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir of the same name.
“The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality. When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life.” The lead actor, Lucas Hedges has been nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama.

 

BEAUTIFUL BOY
Based on the memoirs Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff. Timothee Chalamet is nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for his performance in the movie.

 

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
Based on Lee Israel’s 2008 memoir of the same name, the movie is an biographical comedy drama film, starring Melissa McCarthy.

 

A BONUS

Mirai”, a Japanese animated film, has been nominated for Best Motion Picture – Animated, and was novelized by Yen Press in English. The book released this October.

By , December 
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