The rise in home videoconferencing lets us browse more people's bookshelves

When I was young, the first thing I'd do when visiting someone's apartment for the first time was to browse their bookshelf and record (or tape or CD) collection. That was a great way to find connection with others and spark conversation. These days, most people's musical tastes aren't reflected in any tangible way. Same mostly holds true for books but I do think many avid readers still like having some printed matter around. These days, lots of celebrities are streaming appearances from their homes where a full bookshelf makes a nice backdrop. So what are we seeing in their home libraries? In the New York Times, Gal Beckerman looks at the books in the background at the homes of Cate Blanchett, Stacey Abrams, Prince Charles, Anna Wintour, Jane Goodall, and others. From the New York Times:

Jane Goodall On “PBS NewsHour,” April 22

1. “The Hidden Target,” by Helen MacInnes: This 1980 spy novel tells the story of an American college student on a world tour who becomes entangled with secret agents looking to stop a terrorist plot.

2. “The End of Food,” by Thomas F. Pawlick: Danger abounds at the grocery store in this 2006 expose of our current method of food production. Pawlick reveals that the vitamin, mineral and nutritional content of food is in shocking decline.

[...] Paul Rudd On “Saturday Night Live,” April 25

1. “Code of Conduct,” by Brad Thor: The 15th installment in Thor’s thriller series has counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath uncovering the inner workings of a secretive committee of elites running the world.

Read the rest

Kindle Original vs Kindle Voyage

Jason Weisberger finally upgraded. Did seven years make much difference? The answer will probably not surprise you, but the details might.

Space is awesome: Astronaut Rex Walheim answers more BoingBoing reader questions

A couple weeks ago, I got a chance to interview Rex Walheim—astronaut, test pilot, and all-around swell guy. He answered five questions BoingBoing readers had about what it takes to be chosen for the space program and what the experience of training to be an astronaut is like. Unfortunately, we only had 10 minutes to talk, so there were a lot of good questions that had to be skipped over.

But here's where the "swell guy" part comes in. Walheim liked your questions as much as I did, so he set aside a half hour for us last week, to answer some of the queries we couldn't get to during the first interview.

There's some really great stuff in here. Want to know what songs to listen to in space? Curious about what the ISS smells like? Perhaps you'd like to know why Rex Walheim thinks politicians should have to spend some time orbiting the Earth? Read on for a candid look inside the life of an astronaut. Read the rest

Five questions with astronaut Rex Walheim

Rex Walheim is an astronaut. He's gone to space three times, including on the last flight of the space shuttle. He has spent an accumulated 36 hours outside the ISS on spacewalks. He has tweeted from 240 miles above sea level.

Walheim reached those heights the old-fashioned way: Air Force test pilot school (plus a masters in industrial engineering). But his isn't the only path to the stars. Today, NASA has Walheim chatting with lots of different news outlets about the astronaut recruitment process and what it takes, in the modern world, to have the right stuff. I got to talk to him this morning. Walheim was kind enough to answer five questions, submitted by BoingBoing readers, about astronaut training, the astronaut selection process, and how the Earth-bound can recreate some of the astronaut experience in our daily lives. Read the rest