Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hugo's book club

I was watching my daily dose of over-the-internet news bulletins (MSNBC,CNN) and thought I saw footage of Hugo Chavez holding up a book by Chomsky during a UN speech. The reporters didn't mention it and were more focused on his "Diablo" line, and so I figured that it was old footage. But today I find out on Democracy Now, that he did in fact do what I thought he did.

And then from Google News/CBC I read the following. "Hugo's book club? Chavez speech sparks sales for Chomsky"

Author Noam Chomsky got an unexpected boost in sales after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez cited one of his books in a speech to the UN General Assembly.
At the start of his talk Wednesday, Chavez held up a book by Chomsky, Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance, and recommended it to everyone in the General Assembly, as well as to the American people.

"The people of the United States should read this ... instead of … watching Superman movies," the long-time critic of U.S. foreign policy later told reporters.

The unexpected promotion had a surprising effect on online bestseller lists.

Hegemony or Survival, originally published in 2003, had jumped into the top 10 of Amazon and Barnes & as of Thursday afternoon.

A deeper look at the Amazon results shows an even more profound impact. The online bookseller also charts what it calls "Movers & Shakers," books that have seen a sudden rise in popularity in the last 24 hours.

At the moment the two versions of the book are ranked #2 and #19. This reminds me of the report of the Iraqi prime-minister also being a Chomsky fan (atleast according to Tim Russert).


Tuesday, September 05, 2006


A post is long overdue, so here's a link my friend sent me today.

It's a collection of talks from TED. I'd never heard of this conference before. TED stands for "Technology Entertainment Design". Ignoring the fanciful name, it's a collection of 20-min talks (video and audio) from an interesting group of people --- from A.Gore to Z.Frank.

I haven't seen them yet, but they come highly recommended, so I look forward to doing so soon. The speakers include this smart,funny lady, and this excellent teacher/presenter whose class I've had the pleasure of being in.

Interestingly, the organizer Chris Anderson is a missionary-kid from South Asia who says that he "went to a wonderful (American) school in the Himalayan mountains". I'm pretty sure he means this one.