We all know the feeling. You're sleepless in the sad hours of the night or stumbling around early on a hazy weekend morning in need of something to read, and that pile of unread books just isn't cutting it. Why not take a break from the fire hose of Twitter and RSS and check out our weekly roundup of essential writing from around the web about technology, culture, media, and the future? Sure, it's one more thing you can feel guilty about sitting in your Instapaper queue, but it's better than pulling in vain on your Twitter list again.
Note: grab this week's stories as a Readlist.
Dan Nosowitz writes about Ken Mempel, the most active contributor in shaping Wikipedia's Hurricane Sandy entry, and his vigilance in removing all references to climate change.
Popular Science: Dan Nosowitz - Meet The Climate Change Denier Who Became The Voice Of Hurricane Sandy On Wikipedia
In an unpaid but frenzied fit of news consumption, editing, correction, aggregation, and citation, Mampel has established himself as by far the most active contributor to the Wikipedia page on Hurricane Sandy, with more than twice the number of edits as the next-most-active contributor at the time this article was written.
And Mampel made sure that the Hurricane Sandy article, for four days after the hurricane made landfall in New Jersey, had no mention of "global warming" or "climate change" whatsoever.
On viral photos
John Mahoney talks to Nick Cope, whose photo that captured an early photo of Sandy's surge went viral.
American Photo: John Mahoney - The Story Behind Hurricane Sandy's First Viral Photo
I was interviewed multiple times throughout the day—people would call who were working on stories and would ask, "What do you see? What is it like now?" It was just so interesting to me—I’m just a person who has an iPhone who took one photo, and then all of a sudden I’m this credible person who’s being called by the BBC and CNN to ask for on-the-ground information on national cable television.
On Lebbeus Woods
Geoff Manaugh remembers experimental architect Lebbeus Woods after he passed away last week.
BLDGBLOG: Geoff Manaugh - Lebbeus Woods, 1940-2012
Because what I like about Lebbeus's work is its nearly insane honesty, its straight-ahead declaration that nothing—genuinely and absolutely nothing—is here to welcome us or accept us or say yes to us. That there is no solid or lasting ground to build anything on, let alone anything out there other than ourselves expecting us to build it.
On digital humanities
Stephen Marche looks at the difficulties of running literature through the process of Big Data.
Los Angeles Review of Books: Stephen Marche - Literature is not Data: Against Digital Humanities
Algorithms are inherently fascistic, because they give the comforting illusion of an alterity to human affairs. "You don’t like this music? The algorithms have worked it out" is not so far from "You don’t like this law? It works objectively." Algorithms have replaced laws of human nature, the vital distinction being that nobody can read them. They describe human meanings but are meaningless.
On George Lucas
In light of this week's news of Disney buying Lucasfilm, check out The Atlantic's 1979 profile of George Lucas.
The Atlantic: Lynda Miles and Michael Pye - The Man Who Made Star Wars
The idea of Star Wars was simply to make a "real gee-whiz movie." It would be a high adventure film for children, a pleasure film which would be a logical end to the road down which Coppola had directed his apparently cold, remote associate. As Graffiti went out around the country, Lucas refined his ideas. He toyed with remaking the great Flash Gordon serials, with Dale Arden in peril and the evil Emperor Ming; but the owners of the rights wanted a high price and overstringent controls on how their characters were used. Instead, Lucas began to research.
Have any favorites that you'd like to see included in next week's edition? Send them along to @thomashouston or share in the comments below.