January 2011

Those Weird and Wonderful Benford Numbers

From the Report on Business Magazine, December 2010
When WikiLeaks released nearly 80,000 classified documents relating to military operations in Afghanistan this past July, a wide range of journalists, politicians and members of the public were eager to see the data. Some of them were looking for a true tally of IED attacks, others for the number of civilian casualties, and so on. One group, led by Drew Conway, a PhD candidate in political science at New York University, had a more unusual goal. They wanted to use an arcane statistical law to determine if the data in the reports was truly raw, or if anyone had tampered with it.
The fact that Conway could do so, and reach findings that are considered scientifically valid, has ramifications in many other fields, including forensic accounting and possibly finance.
Posted: Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011 9:04am

Soft Skull galleys arrive

Good mail day from the US today. Soft Skull galleys arrive, with a cover based on work by Jerm IX, the once prolific Vancouver street artist who is now a prolific Toronto street artist.

Oddly, the big box of books came on the same day as a smaller box. In it, a sampler of smoked pepper flakes by the folks at Pure Peppers in Junction City, Oregon. Nice.

I can only hope this is a portent of sizzling times ahead.

Posted: Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011 9:50am

US Cover Finalized

 This cover was commissioned by Soft Skull and I think it turned out great. It's based on JermIX's street art installation Cascading Confession, which Jerm has described to me as the hardest thing he's ever done. You can understand why. It's a poem about a painful set of young adult experiences, laid over the pages of his autobiography. The poem is "cascading" into place with letters falling from above.

When I first saw this work in real life, I remember thinking: this is a better artistic representation of the writing process than I've ever seen before. It captures the difficulty and the hope.


Posted: Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011 11:40am

The Blue Light Project Book Trailer

The Blue Light Project book trailer is out. Click here to watch.

Thanks Scott Sellers and Dean Bernard, also DP Douglas Nelson and Editor Scott Douglas for making this happen.

Posted: Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011 2:49pm

The Blue Light Project at the Vancouver International Writers Festival


Incite April 6

7:30 PM on Wednesday, April 6th

Alice McKay room, Central Vancouver Public Library


Incite will feature a presentation from Timothy Taylor about his new novel The Blue Light Project. Involving three days in the life of a city gripped by a hostage taking in a television studio at the center of town, The Blue Light Project is part page-turning thriller. (A bookseller who read an advance copy recently posted to her Facebook page that the book had kept her up until 4:30 in the morning!)


But the novel is more importantly about the way people source hope in troubled times. From love, certainly, which never loses its capacity to surprise. But also from art, the magical power of which retains the ability to shock us out of our routines, and inspire us to look at the future in a new way.

For this presentation, Timothy will present some of the street art images that were published in the book, discussing their influence and the stories behind them.



The evening will begin with a discussion with two very exciting new writers: Gurjinder Basran (Everything was Goodbye) and Rupinder Gill (On the Outside Looking Indian).





Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011 10:06am