Friday, July 2, 2010

If I Only Had A Brane...

Okay... I saw this word, "brane", and wondered what it meant.

Eventually, my searching lead me here.

Wikipedia does a pretty decent job of explaining stuff, so when I read this:

In string theory, D-branes are a class of extended objects upon which open strings can end with Dirichlet boundary conditions, after which they are named. D-branes were discovered by Dai, Leigh and Polchinski, and independently by Horava in 1989. In 1995, Polchinski identified D-branes with black p-brane solutions of supergravity, a discovery that triggered the Second Superstring Revolution and led to both holographic and M-theory dualities.

I immediately got the feeling that sometime in the near future, this would make perfect sense to the average citizen. Sort of how the equation "x + 2 = 8" can be simplified into first-grade math as "+2=8".

But then, the average citizen doesn't even know how to define zero-, one-, and two-dimensional space. (Dot, line, polygon)

And I must admit... this looks pretty darn cool. What if our brain (HA! no pun intended) worked like this?

I wonder how many surfaces this has?

Is this your brain after drinking from a Klein bottle?

Or perhaps the instant explosion from an atomic bomb? Or maybe the instance of the Big Bang?

Or maybe God's bubble gum right after it popped?

Me, I just wonder... if you can extrapolate a circle, line, point, and various other conic sections from a cone (as well as a triangle!), what sort of 4-D shape can a cone be extrapolated from?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

ALA Sunday: More Digital Comics?

Did your parents save all your artwork, from when you were very little?

Sophie Crumb's parents did. So this Fall, W.W. Norton will be publishing Sophie Crumb: Evolution of a Crazy Artist.

Starting at age 2 1/2, this book showcases her development all the way up to last year. Lots of personal history as well, so this will generate lots of press!

What else... Supposedly OverDrive, one of the leading companies providing digital books to libraries and retailers, has signed an agreement with Marvel and Tokyopop. (I heard this secondhand, that OverDrive announced this at their luncheon today.) Now, I've seen that they've offered ebook versions of some of Marvel's and Tpop's titles since April 2010. Searching the web, I see certain issues available via public libraries. OverDrive requires an account to see the entire selection of titles, so I can't see much beyond the link above. It seems that the content is available, but only for lending, not for direct sale. Perhaps today's announcement will change that. Or maybe this is just a re-iteration of what they are already doing. I see single issues from Marvel, not graphic novels, although Marvel could easily bundle them together. I wonder how much they charge the libraries?

Oh, and the scope? According to OverDrive, they serve TEN THOUSAND libraries.
And they already work with HarperCollins, Hachette, Random House, Simon & Schuster...
Stone Arch Books GNs since November 2008.
Classical Comics

A selection from last summer...

GREAT FARKING ZARQON! The graphic novel of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe! (The Queens Public Library has 151 titles under "Comic and Graphic Books"... including The Ray Bradbury Chronicles (just the modern stuff, not the EC stories)!)

Hmmm... published by childrensElibrary, a division of ibooks, which, if memory serves, was purchased by Simon & Schuster at bankruptcy? Which raises the question... if Overdrive charges a library to carry a digital file of a defunct company, where does the money go? To the original copyright holders? The creators? The copyright still exists, but do the original contract rights still exist? Or does OverDrive restrict access to the actual file? Or does that copy "sold" to the library still continue to exist just like a paper copy does?

210 titles at the Los Angeles Public Library. Faeries' Landing is one of the Tokyopop titles.

Barnes & Noble does have a business relationship with OverDrive, so it is possible that might start selling titles as they become available. OverDrive's files are in Adobe PDF eBook format, which is readable on the nook, but not the Kindle or iPad (but readable on Macs and PCs).

Of course, if sold on the nook, the image would be in black-and-white. Might the suggested retail price be less than that of the iPad app from ComiXology? Resolution and size might not be a problem, especially if it's a digest-sized book, or if one can enlarge the image. Yes, a bit unwieldy, but Plastic Logic will be selling the larger QUE ProReader e-reader via B&N which will have a larger magazine-size screen and handle more digital formats than the nook.

Developing, as they say.

Not much else in the way of surprises. Of course, OverDrive is a pretty big surprise!