The Best Bookstore Ever.


A bookstore you can sleep in. My dream come true. The Book & Bed Hostel is established in Tokyo, with another one now in Kyoto. Your sleep cubicle comes equipped with an outlet, a light, a privacy curtain, clothes hangers, and a wireless connection. There’s also beer.


Book & Bed is a self-described “accommodation bookshop” with beds built into bookshelves. When the first Tokyo location opened last year, bibliophiles were obviously overjoyed because, for the first time, it was socially acceptable to wander into a bookshop, pick up a book, and then doze off to sleep. Now, the popular concept hotel is getting a 2nd location in Kyoto.



beds are embedded into bookshelves and surrounded by over 5000 books.

Rates are low and start at just 4,445 yen (about $40) for a compact bed. But if you’re a light sleeper, or privacy is your big thing, the Book & Bed hostel may not be for you. Sleeping areas are semi-private with just a curtain separating you from other book dwellers. And bathroom areas are shared too. In fact, the bookshop hostel doesn’t promise “a good night’s sleep.” Instead, the promise “the finest moment of sleep”: dozing off in the middle of your treasured pastime, immersed in books.




Book & Bed.

Book & Bed on Instagram.

I think I’d want to stay…for always. What a wonderful idea. Via Spoon & Tamago.

Nano Lord Voldemort.


Auburn Engineering graduate student Armin VahidMohammadi won first place in a national research organization’s Science as Art competition for his depiction of an engineered nanomaterial as a character from the “Harry Potter” movie series.

VahidMohammadi, a doctoral student in materials engineering, created a digitally enhanced image of his research that bears a resemblance to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the “Harry Potter” series. After submitting the image for consideration to the Materials Research Society’s Science as Art competition, he won first place out of 168 submissions. The award comes with a $400 cash prize.

“I am honored to have my work showcased and recognized by such a prestigious organization,” VahidMohammadi said. “It was exciting that the competition allowed me to connect materials science with popular culture in a way that the general public can appreciate.”

Held since 2006, the Science as Art competition offers materials engineers and students the opportunity to transform their research into images renowned for their aesthetic qualities.

Using a scanning electron microscope, VahidMohammadi was examining particles of an engineered nanomaterial when he noticed a particular particle that resembled Lord Voldemort. He colorized the image and digitally enhanced it by adding eyes and teeth.

The particle pictured is known as Ti2C, which is a member of a family of two-dimensional, layered materials called MXenes. Ti2C has a wide array of applications, including as electrode materials for batteries and supercapacitors. The particle shown in the image is five microns in length, or roughly 10 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Very cool work, this! It would make a great poster.


Word Wednesday.




1. A leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.

2. (in ancient times) a leader of the people.

verb (used with object), demagogued, demagoguing.
3. To treat or manipulate (a political issue) in the manner of a demagogue; obscure or distort with emotionalism, prejudice, etc.

verb (used without object), demagogued, demagoguing.
4. To speak or act like a demagogue.

1640s, from Greek demagogos “popular leader,” also “leader of the mob,” from demos “people” (see demotic ) + agogos “leader,” from agein “to lead” (see act (n.)). Often a term of disparagement since the time of its first use, in Athens, 5c. B.C.E. Form perhaps influenced by French demagogue (mid-14c.).

Demosthenes: A demagogue must be neither an educated nor an honest man; he has to be an ignoramus and a rogue.

Demosthenes [to the Sausage-Seller]: Mix and knead together all the state business as you do for your sausages. To win the people, always cook them some savoury that pleases them. Besides, you possess all the attributes of a demagogue; a screeching, horrible voice, a perverse, crossgrained nature and the language of the market-place. In you all is united which is needful for governing. -The Knights, Aristophanes.


The peculiar office of a demagogue is to advance his own interests, by affecting a deep devotion to the interests of the people. Sometimes the object is to indulge malignancy, unprincipled and selfish men submitting but to two governing motives, that of doing good to themselves, and that of doing harm to others. … The motive of the demagogue may usually be detected in his conduct. The man who is constantly telling the people that they are unerring in judgment, and that they have all power, is a demagogue. – The American Democrat, James Fenimore Cooper.

Fellow Travelers.

Most people are aware of Sen. McCarthy’s red scare, the hunt for commies under every rock and pillow, but it wasn’t the only hunt McCarthy engineered, there was the lavender scare also, which yes, Cohn helped out with, in spite of being gay himself. There was a terrible purge of people, many of whom decided to die rather than face decades of abuse, turned backs, and no way to find employment ever again. In 2008, Thomas Mallon wrote Fellow Travelers, a historical fiction which centers on two people living and working during the lavender scare. The choice of title is a laden one. Now the book has become an opera:

You can read all about it at The Advocate.

Word Wednesday.



Noun. Intransitive verb, footled, footling.

  1. To talk or act foolishly.
  2.  To waste time: trifle, fool.



  1. Lacking judgment or ability: Inept <footling amateurs who understand nothing – E.R. Bentley>
  2. Lacking use or value: Trivial <footling matters>

v.”to trifle,” 1892, from dialectal footer “to trifle,” footy “mean, paltry” (1752), perhaps from French se foutre “to care nothing,” from Old French foutre “to copulate with,” from Latin futuere, originally “to strike, thrust” (cf. confute). But OED derives the English dialect words from foughty (c.1600), from Dutch vochtig or Danish fugtig “damp, musty;” related to fog (n.).

It was a unique machine. By the time of his last try, Marc had grasped the point of it: you had to make up a question in your head, then consult the oracle. He had hesitated between ‘Will I get my medieval accounts finished in time?’ which he found too footling, and ‘Is there a woman somewhere who will fall in love with me?’, but he didn’t want to know if the answer to that was no, so he had finally opted for a question which didn’t commit him to anything: ‘Does God exist?’.  – Dog Will Have His Day, Fred Vargas.

Word Wednesday.



1: menacing; threatening.

1525-35; from Late Latin minātōrius, from Latin minārī to threaten. “Expressing a threat, 1530s, from Middle French minatoire, from Late Latin

minatorius, from minat-, stem of minari “to threaten”.

Now Molly put an arm about its neck, and she kissed it again, this time on the long flat cheek, and yet again, on the heavy supraorbital bone, and she looked up and past it, and into Yattuy’s face, and her expression slowly changed from the utmost tenderness that she had shown to the Beast, to a grim minatory glare; gone was the fond lover, and in her place was this stern and vengeful queen.” – Throne of Darkness by Douglas Nicholas.

Aw Hell.


I have months worth of release dates for books in one of my calendars, and now I find out that Simon & Schuster have made a $250,000 book deal with Milo Yiannopoulos. I won’t punish an author (or myself) by refusing to buy a book I had planned to purchase if published by them, but that will also have to be an end to any more books put out by them. I hope that authors flee them in droves for doing this. Not only is Yiannopoulos a person singularly without talent, he’s a known hack and plagiarist, which are yet more black marks against Simon & Schuster.

Not only is Yiannopoulos a well-known member of white supremacist circles, but he’s also a renowned plagiarist. As the Houston Press reported last year, his 2007 self-published book of poetry is actually composed of plagiarized Tori Amos lyrics. Earlier this year, BuzzFeed reported that most of Yiannopoulos’ work is written by interns. While denying the accusations, Yiannopoulos confirmed with BuzzFeed that he had 44 interns helping him with writing and research.

If Yiannopoulos wants to pretend to write a book, he could always peddle it to Sad Puppy Beale, who started his own publishing house. I rather doubt the money would be quite so staggering though.

The full story, along with a host of reactions, is at Think Progress.

Word Wednesday.



  1. without exceptions or conditions; absolute; unqualified and unconditional:
    a categorical denial.

  2. Logic.

a. (of a proposition) analyzable into a subject and an attribute related by a copula, as in the proposition “All humans are mortal.”.
b. (of a syllogism) having categorical propositions as premises.


a. of, relating to, or constituting a category.
b. involving, according with, or considered with respect to specific categories.

  • categorically, adverb.
    Origin: Late Latin categoricus, from Greek kategorikos, from kategoria. (1588)

We already have. He recognised Perrault. After that, he’s categorical: no one went up until you did.” – The Frozen Dead, Bernard Minier.

Word Wednesday.



adjective ag·a·tho·kak·o·log·i·cal \¦a-gə-(ˌ)thō-ˌka-kə-¦lä-ji-kəl\

Composed of both good and evil. From Ancient Greek ἀγαθός(agathós, good) and κακός(kakós, bad).

There may be an opposite fault; for indeed upon the agathokakological globe there are opposite qualities always to be found in parallel degrees, north and south of the equator.– Robert Southey, The Doctor, Etc.

A History of False Balance Journalism.

CREDIT: NAACP via the Library of Congress.

CREDIT: NAACP via the Library of Congress.

Racist mobs murdered African Americans with bullets, nooses, and knives. Innocent people were mutilated, strung up, and roasted alive. In the late 1800s, when these killings reached their peak, more than a thousand African Americans were killed in just five years. In one year, 1892, “there were twice as many lynchings of blacks as there were legal executions of all races throughout the United States.”

And yet, as media scholar David Mindich details in his book, Just the Facts: How “Objectivity” Came to Define American Journalism, elite press coverage of these murders typically presented them as morally ambiguous affairs that pitted a crowd’s desire for immediate justice against the horrific — and, very often, fabricated — crimes of the black victim.

The same ethic, in other words, that leads modern day reporters to claim Hillary Clinton’s denunciation of racists is the moral equivalent of Donald Trump’s racism also led journalists from another century to be extra careful to include the murderers’ perspective when writing about lynching.


Eighty-five years after Wells’ death, newspapers are hardly blind to the financial incentives that placed balance before truth.

Many opinion editors, the Washington Post reports, are alarmed that they do not have any columnists who share the racist belligerence of our incoming president. They are now struggling mightily to find writers who will defend the views of a man that a large minority of Americans voted for.

Meanwhile, writers who suggest that the news media did a sub-optimal job of explaining the relative shortcomings of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are often met with a brush off no less dismissive than the one the Times gave to Ida B. Wells.

Ian Millhiser’s article about false balance journalism is fascinating, and provides a much needed insight into just how journalism works, and who and what is the driving factor in most media. Highly recommended reading: The dark history of how false balance journalism enabled lynching.

Word Wednesday.

Wordless Wednesday is a popular thing for a lot of WordPress bloggers. I do love photography, but I also love words, so I’m going to do Word Wednesday. Just because. If you have a word you’d like featured, drop me a line (email is on the sidebar). All languages are happily accepted.


1. hungry; greedy. 2. greedy; voracious.
Derived Forms:
esurience, esuriency, noun.
esuriently, adverb.
1665-75; < Latin ēsurient- (stem of ēsuriēns, present participle of ēsurīre) hungering, equivalent to ēsur- hunger + -ent- -ent.


1670s, from Latin esurientem (nominative esuriens), present participle of esurire “to be hungry,” from stem of edere “to eat”. Related: Esurience ; esuriency.

My bear charm was fully charged and I felt completely restored, albeit dreadfully thirsty and a bit esurient.” – Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, by Kevin Hearne.

Imaginary Latvians.

Much fun here, thanks to rq!

One of the more interesting and unusual Baltic-related sites of recent years has been Imaginary Latvians, started in 2014, a Medium-based project to compile as many references to Latvians in literature and film as possible, and which now has dozens of entries from all over the world. Examples range from imaginary “beautiful, proud and pitiless” witches to imaginary itinerant old men who give out cheques for thousands of dollars, to imaginary mice in Disney films.

Latvian-American Rihards Kalniņš, the chief seeker of imaginary Latvians, recently spoke to Deep Baltic about what he has learnt from the project.

The interview is here, and you can do much reading at Imaginary Latvians.

N’éteins pas la lumière.


If you’re a fan of Bernard Minier, and have read The Frozen Dead and The Circle, his latest, Don’t Turn Out the Light, is finally available to us ‘mericans, always the last to get the good stuff. For some strange reason, uStates publishers decided that light needed to be plural. Just got it downloaded, I has reading to do! I need to learn about 7 languages so I don’t have to wait years for uStates publishers to get off their collective arses.