Newsletter 159 – May 2010
——– MANTEX NEWSLETTER ——–
Number 159 – May 2010 – ISSN 1470-1863
Arts, Culture, and Technology as seen from
the digital hub of Media city Manchester UK
** 13,000+ subscribers will see your AD **
Apologies for the late appearance of this
edition of the newsletter. The reason – ?
Roll of drums! This month sees the launch of
our new web site – which has lots of extra
features. Brand new materials. F.r.e.e stuff
galore. Downloadables partout.
0— C U L T U R A L H I S T O R Y
This is my tip as the best book I’ve read
in recent weeks. It’s a study of the social
consequences of war – with the subtitle
“How two million women survived without
men after the first world war”
Virginia Nicholson offers a riveting
study of what women achieved when they
were denied the chance of marriage (which
most of them would have preferred).
They became engineers, politicians, writers,
and even stockbrokers. What surprised me most
of all was that once they knew their fiancee
had died in the trenches or going over the top,
many of them never gave a thought to choosing
It’s a marvellous book, packed with first-hand
accounts which throw light on history, politics,
social affairs, feminism, and sheer individualism.
If this sort of subject appeals, you might also
consider her earlier study of radical lifestyles,
‘Among the Bohemians – English radicals 1900-1940’
0— Pub Quiz Question #1
What is the state capital of Alabama?
0— F I L M S T U D I E S
There’s a new version of Fritz Lang’s classic.
It features an extra 30 minutes of footage which
was discovered in Argentina. You can see the trailer
here – and DVD release is scheduled for November 2010.
0— A R T & D E S I G N
Can you tell the difference between Art Nouveau
and Art Deco? Don’t worry – neither can most people.
And one style does run into the other. But Art
Nouveau came first – around the end of the
If you’re interested in design as it affects
architecture, furniture, ceramics, and jewellery,
you’ll like this well illustrated and great value
introduction to the subject from the Thames and Hudson
World of Art series. Full review with pics here:
“Art Nouveau” – illustrated guide
0— Pub quiz – Question #2
Which company invented the compact disk?
0— F R E E V I D E O
Our new literary mashups have video clips. Watch
the entire film of Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ – f.r.e.e
0— E – P U B L I S H I N G
The latest wheeze from academic publishers is
to issue textbooks in digital format which can
be changed by other writers and academics.
The digital textbooks give professors the power
to reorder chapters, insert extra reading, delete
irrelevant passages, rewrite individual sentences,
and scribble in the margins. Oh, and they’ll cost
half the price of physical textbooks. Story here:
0— Pub quiz – Question #3
What scale measures the strengths of acids and alkalis?
0— E N G L I S H L A N G U A G E
This new book looks at the many ways human beings
have made the process of linguistic communication
even more complicated than it is by inventing ways
of hiding secret meanings within language itself.
Anagrams, palindromes, acrostics, and riddles are
all used regularly in cryptic crosswords for instance.
Some people believe certain books have secret meanings
hidden within them – from the Bible to Dan Brown’s
recent Da Vinci Code.
This study also looks at rhyming slang, Pig Latin,
Polari, back-slang, Tic-Tac, and even L33t – the
computer jargon which combines extreme compression,
omission, letter substitution, and deliberate mis-spellings.
“Secret Language” – codes, spies, tricks
0— Pub quiz – Question #4
What do fungi release into the air to reproduce?
0— D O W N L O A D A B L E E–B O O K S
Our writing skills and study skills books are
now available as immediate PDF downloads – and
they’re much cheaper than the print versions.
* Writing Essays
* Improve your Writing Skills
* Revision and Examinations
* Study Skills
* Marking Essays
* English Language
0— Pub quiz – Question #5
Of which country is the island of Zealand a part?
0— W R I T E Y O U R O W N R E V I E W S
You can interact with the pages on our new site.
So you can read a book review and post comments.
Ask questions about it. Write your own opinions.
Here’s the REVIEWS section:
0— Pub quiz – Question #6
What three colours are on the Republic of Ireland flag?
0— A R T & D E S I G N
This is an exciting piece of scholarly research
conducted by a young English ballerina. She married
Prokoviev’s son and tragically died at the age of
only thirty five.
Camilla Gray was the first person to document
accurately the manner in which the revolutionary
art of Malevich, Tatlin, Rodchenko and others
had grown out of the various strands of nineteenth
century Russian painting.
It’s a beautifully illustrated study of the
relationship between painting and social attitudes,
and Gray’s original work has been edited and brought
completely up to date. Full review here:
0— Pub Quiz – Question #7
Who composed ‘Peter and the Wolf’?
0— B I B L I O G R A P H Y
Donal Kerr writes from University of
Otago in New Zealand. “I am pleased to
announce that the on-line version of
our very successful Banned Books
exhibition is now live.”
Titles range from Lysistrata to The Naked Lunch,
and The Decameron to Lolita and Ulysses.
0— L I T E R A R Y S T U D I E S
E.M.Forster is best known as a novelist,
but he wrote a number of short stories as well.
Some of these he kept in his desk drawer,
because they contained gay material which
couldn’t be published in his own lifetime.
Strangely enough, they are not as good as
the fiction he wrote about heterosexual
relationships, about which he had no first-hand
But literary buffs who want to fill out
their picture of Forster, should not miss this.
0— Pub Quiz – Question #8
What animal is the national symbol of India?
0— O N L I N E L E A R N I N G
If you don’t know already, Moodle is the
number one program for delivering online
It’s an open source product (which means it’s
f.r.e.e) and it can act as a fully featured
virtual learning environment (VLE).
But like most open source products, it comes
without a user manual. So books like this are
a boon in coming to grips with all its features.
You need to be patient to learn how to use it,
but the good thing about this guide is that
each stage of developing a course is illustrated
with screen shots. Full review here:
0— Pub Quiz – Question 9#
Which crime fighter shares his name with a Turkish city?
0— S T U D Y S K I L L S
Postgraduates in many humanities subjects
are having a hard time right now – because
they are having to prove the ‘impact’ or
relevance of their research in order to
This comes at the same time as the collapse
of ‘critical theory’ which has kept them in
business for the last three or four decades.
So what is a poor would-be PhD to do?
This book is a series of essays offering
suggestions for how to stay in the lifeboat.
They range from oral reminiscence and discourse
analysis to ethnographic studies of how readers
0— Pub Quiz – Question #10
Which of snooker’s coloured balls has the lowest value?
0— D I G I T A L L I F E
The hottest social media program at the moment
is undoubtedly Facebook. It’s used to mobilise
people, and to disseminate hot news.
It was used extensively during the recent election,
and last weekend’s Trafalgar Square protest in favour
of democracy was summoned up using Facebook and Twitter.
It’s a f.r.e.e software program – which means that you
don’t get a user manual. And this is the alternative.
0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS
#1 What is the state capital of Alabama?
#2 Which company invented the compact disk?
#3 What scale measures the strengths of acids and alkalis?
ANSWER: The pH scale
#4 What do fungi release into the air to reproduce?
#5 Of which country is the island of Zealand a part?
#6 What three colours are on the Republic of Ireland flag?
ANSWER: Green, white, and orange
#7 Who composed ‘Peter and the Wolf’?
#8 What animal is the national symbol of India?
ANSWER: The elephant
#9 Which crime fighter shares his name with a Turkish city?
#10 Which of snooker’s coloured balls has the lowest value?
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