Before audio books…

“Of all the repetitive, mind-numbing jobs in the late 19th century, cigar-rolling was special. “Unlike sewing clothes, mining coal or forging steel, it was blessedly quiet. And thus cigar workers, whether in Chicago or Havana, were the first ones in their time who managed to introduce that vital commodity — distraction — onto the work floor.“Using their own wages, and backed by a powerful union, they paid for a “reader” who sat in an elevated chair and began the morning with the news and political commentary. By the afternoon, he would usually have switched to a popular novel. The 100 or so rollers on the floor were his captive audience, listening as they worked.”

(via NYT — thanks AdPulp) Link

Before audio books there were…

“I thought Europe was a country”

“Ms. Jacoby… said, something different is happening: anti-intellectualism (the attitude that “too much learning can be a dangerous thing”) and anti-rationalism (“the idea that there is no such things as evidence or fact, just opinion”) have fused in a particularly insidious way. Not only are citizens ignorant about essential scientific, civic and cultural knowledge, she said, but they also don’t think it matters.” Link “I thought Europe was a country”