Hello, Britain . . .
First Team, starring the irrepresible Bob "Ferg" Ferguson, is now available in the United Kingdom (and elsewhere in the world) as an ebook. Here's the Amazon UK link.
My brilliant translating career hit another high when a French publisher invited me to translate Brigitte Bardot’s memoirs, “Initiales BB.” I had written a memoir about my childhood obsession with Bardot, so I said O.K. and suggested some modest revisions. It would have to be completely re-written from top to bottom and I would definitely take out all those exclamation marks. And I would put back in that affair with the English guy after she married Gunter Sachs – she should never have left that out! They took that as a “non.” Tant pis. All translators rewrite and rectify. Some even feel that they can do a better job of writing Bardot’s life than Bardot.
"The false news of an explosion at Fordo is Western propaganda ahead of nuclear negotiations to influence their process and outcome," Saeed Shamseddin Bar Broudi, deputy of the AEOI, was quoted as saying by the state news agency, Irna.
Bray and 45 soldiers under her command in the 988th Military Police Company, nearly all of them men, encountered a unit of Panamanian special operations soldiers holed up inside a military barracks and dog kennel.
Her troops killed three of the enemy and took one prisoner before the rest were forced to flee, leaving behind a cache of grenades, assault rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition, according to Associated Press news reports published at the time. The Americans suffered no casualties.
One of the most striking warships ever built is coming together in the little coastal town of Bath, Maine. The major components of the 610-foot-long ZUMWALT (DDG 1000) — a “destroyer” in name only — have been assembled this winter at the General Dynamics shipyard of Bath Iron Works, and the ship’s stark, tumblehome hull and superstructure is now together. These views were taken on Jan. 15, 2013
In a presentation at the Digital Book World Conference in New York today, [Professor Michael D.} Smith argued against three myths that he said permeate the discussion on illegal downloading. The first is that piracy doesn’t harm sales, which he said is not true. “Piracy harms sales,” he said, claiming that while 3 studies have been published suggesting that piracy doesn’t hurt sales, 25 others have shown that piracy is bad for sales. ”There are options to use legitimate distribution channels to convince people who have stolen your content to buy it,” he added.
The final myth that Smith aimed to bust is that, “Anti-piracy regulation won’t work.” According to Smith, law enforcement around illegal downloading is not a game of whac-a-mole. “You can use laws to make pirated content less attractive,” he said. Citing the global Megaupload shutdown, Smith claimed that the shutdown helped lead to an increase in legal digital content consumption. “The shutdown of Megaupload caused a statistically significant increase in digital sales,” he said, comparing numbers between countries with high Megaupload usage to countries with low Megaupload usage.
To understand video games’ complex status as our current bête noire of media entertainment, it is helpful to examine, briefly, some of the pariahs of the past. Comic books, particularly those rich in murders and fornication, so irked lawmakers in the 1940s and 1950s that McCarthy-like hearings were held and words like “terror,” “horror,” and “crime” were banned from appearing in books’ titles. Not long after, television was called upon to face Congress, with representatives of the American Temperance Society, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Movement, and the National Grand Lodge of the International Order of Good Templars decrying the new medium’s alleged encouragement of violence and drunkenness. The same drama unfurled in the early ’90s with gangsta rap.
The final installment in Bond and DeFelice’s four-book Red Dragon Rising series sees China moving inexorably toward its conquest of Vietnam, while those in the know in the United States government and security services work behind the scenes to stop the Chinese juggernaut in its tracks.
In the Red Dragon Rising series’ version of 2014, climate change has brought the world to the brink of chaos. As the fourth and final book in the series opens, the Chinese army is preparing to sweep through Vietnam as part of a famine-ravaged China’s quest to conquer the smaller nation, primarily as a source of food. Maj. Zeus Murphy is still in country, and he’s come up with a plan to stall the Chinese advance, but in order to put it in motion, he’s going to need to work with the Vietnam People's Army as well as some of the darker elements of the CIA. Back at home, President George Greene, who believes China should be stopped sooner rather than later, and whose approval is necessary to set Murphy’s plan in motion, is facing a political crisis which may tie his hands. Meanwhile, while Josh MacArthur, the scientist who presented the world with proof that China’s justification for going to war was fabricated, is cooling his heels in rural Ohio and pining for CIA agent Mara Duncan, a Chinese assassin is lurking nearby, waiting for an opportunity to strike.
Naturally, Bond, who co-authored the quintessential military techno-thriller Red Storm Rising with Tom Clancy, is at his best depicting the technological components of modern warfare. He displays an encyclopedic knowledge of modern weapons systems and tactics, and he knows how to use his knowledge to full advantage without bogging things down in military acronyms and technobabble, thus creating exquisite tension during action scenes. When actual human emotions figure into the plot, though, as love does in several instances in this book, things read a little bit off, but few will notice or particularly care thanks to the novel's steamroller plot and tense action sequences.
Bond and DeFelice conjure a chillingly all-too-believable near future global conflict.
WASHINGTON — Looking for broader remedies to gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden is reaching out to the video game industry for ideas as the White House seeks to assemble proposals in response to last month's massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.
Biden is scheduled to meet with video game representatives Friday as the White House explores cultural factors that may contribute to violent behavior.
Larry Bond’s Red Dragon Rising: Blood of War
Larry Bond and Jim DeFelice. Forge, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2140-4
Bond and DeFelice’s excellent fourth and final Red Dragon Rising military thriller (after 2012’s Shock of War) offers blazing combat, heroic deeds, and the sometimes sad, sometimes joyful personal stories of the men and women who have carried this saga on land, at sea, and in the air. Assisting the Vietnamese opposing the Chinese forces attacking their country are U.S. Army Maj. Zeus Murphy, a ragtag cadre of SEALS, CIA fighters, and battle-hardened mercenaries, all backed by a U.S. president prepared to wage an undeclared war. Meanwhile, off the Vietnamese coast, Dirk Silas, the commander of the American destroyer McCampbell, faces several Chinese warships determined to sink him and begin WWIII. Those coming late to the series would be advised to start with the first entry, Shadows of War, and read straight through all four books. Readers doing so will find themselves stopping only long enough to put one down and pick up the next.
The War on Authors isn’t new. Dickens, Victor Hugo and others were vilified for promoting copyright law more than a hundred years ago. What’s new is a technology that tips the scales against authors
When the Copyright Act was passed in 1976, little thought was given to the future impact of an esoteric provision that gave individual authors the “option” to terminate book contracts and “recapture control” of their copyrights. This provision was designed to protect against bad deals for authors—and is intended to aid authors who signed contracts with little bargaining power and who were not aware of the potential future value of their work. Accordingly, Congress embedded in the Copyright Act a “reset button” for every post-1977 contract, which, when activated 35 years after a contract was signed, returns ownership and control of the copyright to the author or author’s heirs.
This means that, starting in 2013, authors and their heirs or estates will be able to terminate virtually any publishing contract entered into on or after January 1, 1978. While some authors will use this powerful right to reclaim ownership and control of their books, others will leave their publishing contracts intact, but extract more favorable terms for doing so.
There’s still plenty of evidence that people like bookstores, for example, and even sales of hardcovers — let alone print books — are holding on. And so the lust for higher margins — whether from Godiva chocolates or ebooks — turned into fool’s gold for B&N. It’s perhaps a typical death in the Free Trade era, when companies lose all sight of their identity in the blinding light of the bottom line … but it’s the wrong death for a bookseller. . . .
In short, B&N’s scorched earth policy of the 1990s has ultimately left us with, well, scorched earth. If the book is going to survive it, it’s going to take some real revolutionary activity, indeed.
A.I.G. is weighing whether to join the lawsuit, filed by Mr. Greenberg’s investment firm, Starr International Company. A.I.G. most likely will not end up joining forces with Mr. Greenberg, but, as a duty to shareholders, it has to at least give his suit a thorough assessment.
One of Starr International’s major arguments is that A.I.G.’s bailout terms were far tougher than those granted to other large financial firms. But A.I.G.’s cash needs and internal failings were in many ways far more serious than those of other institutions. In fact, the company was in such dire straits after the rescue that the government chose to loosen the terms of its aid.
The concessions were considerable.
In early 2009, the Federal Reserve cut the interest rate on a big loan to A.I.G. At the time, the company said that would save it $1 billion a year in interest.
The Treasury Department made another favorable change. It exchanged $40 billion of preferred shares for new ones that effectively paid no cash dividends to taxpayers. If it had paid the originally agreed 10 percent dividend on all these and other preferred shares, the insurer would have paid roughly $20 billion from the beginning of 2009 to the end 2012.
Instead, the preferred shares were converted into common stock, which the government later sold. The Treasury Department made a $5 billion return on its investments.
The government could have made more, if it had chosen to.
The board of A.I.G. will meet on Wednesday to consider joining a $25 billion shareholder lawsuit against the government, court records show. The lawsuit does not argue that government help was not needed. It contends that the onerous nature of the rescue — the taking of what became a 92 percent stake in the company, the deal’s high interest rates and the funneling of billions to the insurer’s Wall Street clients — deprived shareholders of tens of billions of dollars and violated the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the taking of private property for “public use, without just compensation.” . . .
Some government officials are already upset with the company for even seriously entertaining the lawsuit, people briefed on the matter said. The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, noted that without the bailout, A.I.G. shareholders would have fared far worse in bankruptcy.
Or, as his pie chart put it:
Scientists do not disagree about human-caused global warming. It is the ruling paradigm of climate science, in the same way that plate tectonics is the ruling paradigm of geology. We know that continents move. We know that the earth is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause. These are known facts about which virtually all publishing scientists agree.
Jets coach Rex Ryan has picked up some killer reading material to help him forget about his team’s disappointing season.
Ryan was spotted thumbing through “American Sniper,” the autobiography of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, while sunning himself Thursday at a luxurious Bahamas resort.
Every book designed to fit into a genre must, of necessity, match reader expectations. So this is beautifully crafted individual action scenes against the big picture context. Although Zeus Murphy proves indestructible in a series of engagements, most of the military descriptions have a high-adrenaline quality showing American heroism at its most inspiring. Fortunately, although out gunned and less well trained, the Vietnamese are also allowed to do quite well while a multinational group of CIA operatives do what’s necessary to break Chinese morale north of the border.Full review.