What We Are Reading Today: Opt Art by Robert Bosch

What We Are Reading Today: Opt Art by Robert Bosch
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Updated 22 December 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Opt Art by Robert Bosch

What We Are Reading Today: Opt Art by Robert Bosch
  • Opt Art takes readers on an entertaining tour of linear optimization

Linear optimization is a powerful modeling method for discovering the best solution to a problem among a set of available alternatives. 

It is one of today’s most important branches of mathematics and computer science — and also a surprisingly rich medium for creating breathtaking works of art. 

Opt Art takes readers on an entertaining tour of linear optimization and its applications, showing along the way how it can be used to design visual art, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

Robert Bosch provides a lively and accessible introduction to the geometric, algebraic, and algorithmic foundations of optimization. He presents classical applications, such as the legendary Traveling Salesman Problem, and shows how to adapt them to make optimization art—opt art. 

Each chapter in this marvelously illustrated book begins with a problem or puzzle and demonstrates how the solution can be derived using a host of artistic methods and media, including 3D printing, laser cutting, and computer-controlled machining.


What We Are Reading Today: Fears of a Setting Sun

What We Are Reading Today: Fears of a Setting Sun
Updated 06 March 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Fears of a Setting Sun

What We Are Reading Today: Fears of a Setting Sun

Author: Dennis C. Rasmussen

Americans seldom deify their Founding Fathers any longer, but they do still tend to venerate the Constitution and the republican government that the founders created. Strikingly, the founders themselves were far less confident in what they had wrought, particularly by the end of their lives.
In fact, most of them — including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson — came to deem America’s constitutional experiment an utter failure that was unlikely to last beyond their own generation. Fears of a Setting Sun is the first book to tell the fascinating and too-little-known story of the founders’ disillusionment, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.
As much as Americans today may worry about their country’s future, Rasmussen reveals, the founders faced even graver problems and harbored even deeper misgivings.
A vividly written account of a chapter of American history that has received too little attention, Fears of a Setting Sun will change the way that you look at the American founding, the Constitution, and indeed the United States itself.


What We Are Reading Today: The Invisible Gorilla

What We Are Reading Today: The Invisible Gorilla
Updated 04 March 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Invisible Gorilla

What We Are Reading Today: The Invisible Gorilla

AUTHORS: Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons

In The Invisible Gorilla, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, creators of one of psychology’s most famous experiments, use remarkable stories and counterintuitive scientific findings to demonstrate an important truth: Our minds don’t work the way we think they do. We think we see ourselves and the world as they really are, but we’re actually missing a whole lot.

Again and again, we think we experience and understand the world as it is, but our thoughts are beset by everyday illusions. We write traffic laws and build criminal cases on the assumption that people will notice when something unusual happens right in front of them. We’re sure we know where we were on 9/11, falsely believing that vivid memories are seared into our minds with perfect fidelity. We spend billions on devices to train our brains because we’re continually tempted by the lure of quick fixes and effortless self-improvement.

 The Invisible Gorilla reveals the myriad ways that our intuitions can deceive us. Chabris and Simons explain why we succumb to these everyday illusions and what we can do to inoculate ourselves against their effects.


Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 

Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 
Updated 03 March 2021

Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 

Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 

DUBAI: US-Palestinian writer Susan Abulhawa’s book “Against the Loveless World” is among the finalists for the 2020 Athenaeum of Philadelphia Literary Award, organizers announced this week. 

Susan Abulhawa is a US-Palestinian writer. (Supplied)

The political activist’s book begins in the Hawalli neighborhood of Kuwait. It tells the story of a woman who has as many names as she has homes, moving from place to place as a child of exiles and becoming one herself during the Gulf War.

With her mother, brother, and grandmother Sitti Wasfiyeh, Nahr navigates a life through Kuwait, Jordan, Palestine, a home she knows so little of, and then an Israeli prison.

With dreams of marriage, of her own children and of freedom, Nahr’s fight to survive a world that is intent on testing her lands her in situations that could break the weak.

In an unthinkably harsh reality, and one that is a continuous experiment in resilience, Abulhawa pushes to the fore themes of identity and adaptability, posing the question: How can an oppressor know roots when they live by unearthing trees?

Read Arab News’ full review of “Against the Loveless World” here.

Abulhawa is competing against author Michele Harper for her book “The Beauty in Breaking” and writer Kiley Reid for her novel “Such a Fun Age.” 

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia museum established its literary award in 1950.

The last two winners for the award in 2019 were British author Edward Posnett and Canadian- American writer Witold Rybczynski for their books “Strange Harvests: The Hidden Histories of Seven Natural Objects” and “Charleston Fancy: Little Houses and Big Dreams in the Holy City” respectively.


What We Are Reading Today: Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod

What We Are Reading Today: Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod
Updated 03 March 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod

What We Are Reading Today: Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod

When Hugh MacLeod was a struggling young copywriter living in a YMCA, he started to doodle on the backs of business cards while sitting at a bar. 

Those cartoons eventually led to a popular blog — gapingvoid.com — and a reputation for pithy insight and humor, in both words and pictures.

MacLeod has opinions on everything from marketing to the meaning of life, but one of his main subjects is creativity. 

How do new ideas emerge in a cynical, risk-averse world? Where does inspiration come from? What does it take to make a living as a creative person?

Ignore Everybody expands on MacLeod’s sharpest insights, wittiest cartoons, and most useful advice. 

For example: Selling out is harder than it looks. Diluting your product to make it more commercial will just make people like it less. Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether. There’s no point trying to do the same thing as 250,000 other young hopefuls, waiting for a miracle. 

After learning MacLeod’s forty keys to creativity, you will be ready to unlock your own brilliance and unleash it on the world.


What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by David Nasaw

What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by David Nasaw
Updated 02 March 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by David Nasaw

What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by David Nasaw

David Nasaw’s magnificent, definitive biography of William Randolph Hearst is based on newly released private and business papers and interviews. 

For the first time, documentation of Hearst’s interactions with Hitler, Mussolini, Churchill, and every American president from Grover Cleveland to Franklin Roosevelt, as well as with movie giants Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner, and Irving Thalberg, completes the picture of this colossal American. 

Hearst, known to his staff as the Chief, was a man of prodigious appetites. By the 1930s, he controlled the largest publishing empire in the country, including twenty-eight newspapers, the Cosmopolitan Picture Studio, radio stations, and thirteen magazines.  In Nasaw’s portrait, questions about Hearst’s relationships are addressed, including those about his mistress in his Harvard days, his legal wife, Millicent, ; and Marion Davies, his companion until death. 

Recently discovered correspondence with the architect of Hearst’s world-famous estate, San Simeon, is augmented by taped interviews with the people who worked there shed light on the private life of a very public man.