The Old Testament as the divinely inspired Firefly

I’ve been listening to the Old Testament as I drive to work these days and am working through Isaiah right now.  The titular character, like many other key OT figures, is a prophet commenting on the life and times of his nation and culture.  Thinking like a publisher, it occurred to me that if you think of the 66 books of the Bible as nonfiction backlist, they are the divinely inspired version of “Firefly,”  i.e. a high-quality and popular series that produced way too few episodes.

At an average of roughly 1-4 books per generation, the ~70 generations between 70 AD and today could support as many as 280 additional books of the Bible, each telling the history of a nation or set of nations over a generation or  two.  The implied author would be a prophetic persona, the style Biblical, probably more like NIV than KJV.  Many challenges and opportunities in this approach.  For  example, how about a New Apocryphica covering the years 1776 to 1815?  A clever author could use this as a platform to comment about the history of the entire world, Napoleon, China, Jefferson, Sally Hemings, and all.

Nicolas J.S. Davies: ~6M killed in recent US wars of choice

The latest from Nicolas J.S. Davies, author of an extremely well written Nimble book, Blood on Our Hands (2010):

In the first two parts of this report, I have estimated that about 2.4 million people have been killed as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, while about 1.2 million have been killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a result of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.  In the third and final part of this report, I will estimate how many people have been killed as a result of U.S. military and CIA interventions in Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen.

Source: How Many Millions Have Been Killed in America’s Post-9/11 Wars? Part 3: Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen – Consortiumnews

Algorithmic Publishing Results

Today’s Dose of Samuel Johnson

THINLY (THI’NLY) adv.[from thin.]Not thickly; not closely; not densely; not numerously.
It is commonly opinioned, that the earth was thinly inhabited before the flood.Brown’sVulgar Errours,b. vi.

Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2012’s The Avengers and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the nineteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, with a screenplay by the writing team of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and features an ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, and Chris Pratt. In Avengers: Infinity War, the Avengers join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy to stop Thanos from amassing the all-powerful Infinity Stones. The film was announced in October 2014 as Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1. The Russo brothers came on board to direct in April 2015 and by May, Markus and McFeely signed on to write the script for the film, which drew inspiration from Jim Starlin’s 1991 "The Infinity Gauntlet" comic and Jonathan Hickman’s 2013 "Infinity" comic. In July 2016, Marvel shortened the title to Avengers: Infinity War. Filming began in January 2017 at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia, and lasted until July 2017, shooting back-to-back with a direct sequel. Additional filming took place in Scotland, England, the Downtown Atlanta area and New York City. With an estimated budget between $300–400 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made, and the most costly in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.Avengers: Infinity War held its world premiere on April 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, and is scheduled to be released in the United States on April 27, 2018, in IMAX and 3D. The sequel is scheduled to be released on May 3, 2019.

John Keats

John Keats (; 31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) was an English Romantic poet. He was one of the main figures of the second generation of Romantic poets, along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, despite his works having been in publication for only four years before his death from tuberculosis at age 25.Although his poems were not generally well received by critics during his lifetime, his reputation grew after his death, and by the end of the 19th century, he had become one of the most beloved of all English poets. He had a significant influence on a diverse range of poets and writers. Jorge Luis Borges stated that his first encounter with Keats’s work was the most significant literary experience of his life.The poetry of Keats is characterised by sensual imagery, most notably in the series of odes. This is typical of romantic poets, as they aimed to accentuate extreme emotion through the emphasis of natural imagery. Today his poems and letters are some of the most popular and most analysed in English literature. Some of the most acclaimed works of Keats are “Ode to a Nightingale”, "Sleep and Poetry", and the famous sonnet "On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer".


In Norse mythology, Mjölnir (Old Norse: Mjǫllnir, IPA: [ˈmjɔlːnir]) is the hammer of Thor, the Norse god associated with thunder. Mjölnir is depicted in Norse mythology as one of the most fearsome and powerful weapons in existence, capable of leveling mountains. In his account of Norse mythology, the Prose Edda relates how the hammer was made by the dwarven brothers Eitri and Brokkr, and how its characteristically short handle was due to a mistake during its manufacture. Similar hammers (Ukonvasara) were a common symbol of the god of thunder in other North European mythologies.

Shania Twain

Shania Twain, OC (; born Eilleen Regina Edwards; August 28, 1965) is a Canadian singer and songwriter. She has sold over 100 million records, making her the best-selling female artist in country music history and among the best-selling music artists of all time. Raised in Timmins, Ontario, Twain pursued singing and songwriting from a young age before signing with Mercury Nashville Records in the early 1990s. Her self-titled debut studio album saw little commercial success upon release in 1993. After collaborating with producer and later husband Robert John "Mutt" Lange, Twain rose to fame with her second studio album The Woman in Me (1995), which brought her widespread success; it sold 20 million copies worldwide, spawned widely successful singles such as "Any Man of Mine" and earned her a Grammy Award. Her third studio album, Come On Over (1997), became the best-selling studio album of all-time by a female act in any genre and the best-selling country album, selling nearly 40 million copies worldwide. Come On Over produced twelve singles, including "You’re Still the One", "From This Moment On" and "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!", and earned Twain four Grammy Awards. Her fourth studio album, Up! (2002), was also certified Diamond in the United States. In 2004, Twain retired from performing and began an indefinite hiatus from music, later in 2017 revealing that diagnoses with Lyme disease and dysphonia, led to a severely weakened singing voice. She chronicled her vocal rehabilitation on the OWN miniseries Why Not? with Shania Twain in 2011 and released her first single in six years, "Today Is Your Day", as well as publishing her autobiography, From This Moment On. Twain returned to the concert stage the following year with an exclusive concert residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Shania: Still the One, which ran until 2014. In 2015, she launched the North American Rock This Country Tour, which was billed as her farewell tour. Twain released her fifth studio album and first in fifteen years in 2017, Now, and will embark on the Shania Now Tour in 2018. Twain has received five Grammy Awards, 27 BMI Songwriter Awards, stars on Canada’s Walk of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. According to the RIAA she is the only female artist in history to have three (consecutive) albums certified Diamond by the RIAA. Altogether, Twain is ranked as the 10th best-selling artist of the Nielsen SoundScan era.

Star Trek Mirror Universe

The Mirror Universe is a fictional parallel universe in which the plots of several Star Trek television episodes take place. It resembles the fictional universe in which the Star Trek television series takes place, but is separate from the main universe. The Mirror Universe has been visited in one episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, five episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a two-part episode of Star Trek: Enterprise and a storyline in Star Trek: Discovery, as well as several non-canon Star Trek tie-in works. It is named after "Mirror, Mirror", the original series episode in which it first appeared.


Stormbreaker is a young adult action-adventure book written by British author Anthony Horowitz, and is the first novel in the Alex Rider series. The book was released in the United Kingdom on 4 September 2000, and in United States release on 21 May 2001, where it became a New York Times Bestseller. Since its release, the book has sold more than nine million copies worldwide, been listed on the BBC’s The Big Read, and in 2005 received a California Young Reader Medal. The book’s plot revolves around Alex Rider being secretly recruited into MI6 to investigate the Stormbreaker computer factory and stop a terrorist attack that will kill hundreds of thousands of British school children. A film adaptation, starring Alex Pettyfer as Alex Rider, was released in 2006.


Thanos (UK: , US: ) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Mike Friedrich and writer-artist Jim Starlin, the character first appeared in Iron Man #55 (cover dated Feb. 1973). He is the son of Mentor and the brother of Starfox. The character appears in various Marvel Cinematic Universe films, including The Avengers (2012), portrayed by Damion Poitier, and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and its untitled sequel (2019), portrayed by Josh Brolin. The character has appeared in other Marvel-endorsed products, including animated television series, arcade, and video games.

Toronto van killing

The Toronto van attack occurred on April 23, 2018 when a rented full-size moving van was driven into pedestrians at speeds of about 60 to 70 kilometres/hour along Yonge Street in the North York City Centre business district of Toronto, killing 10 and wounding 14 others. The suspected driver, 25-year-old Alek Minassian, was arrested 26 minutes after the start of the attacks, just south of the crime scene. It is the deadliest vehicle-ramming attack in Canadian history and the worst mass killing in Canada in decades.

All Nimble books now available in online store

I’ve finished updating the Nimble Books online bookstore and all 317 Nimble published books are now available once again.

Classic Bookstore

This is referred to as the “Classic Bookstore” to distinguish from the “Algorithmic Bookstore”, which is coming soon.

Two limitations that I mean to remove in future:

  1. the store currently presents print and Kindle editions on separate pages.
  2. I have not yet added category & genre filters. So, if you are looking for a particular book, use the “search” bar. 

article about Nimble Books in Italian

I missed this when it first came out in 2015.  A good article — understands what I was trying to achieve with PageKicker (and am once again!).  Italian (Google Translate is available).

L’algoritmo nel libro

Orientato invece al “market research” è l’algoritmo di cui si avvale W.Frederick Zimmerman – tecnologo, avvocato ed ora anche editore – ideatore della piattaforma Nimble Books. Su questa piattaforma i sistemi AI lavorano soprattutto in funzione pre-pubblicazione, rastrellando in rete tutte le informazioni rilevanti per il progetto editoriale: l’originalità rispetto alle tendenze di mercato, l’adesione o meno dell’argomento con i contemporanei gusti del pubblico ecc. Insomma, per l’algoritmo di Zimmerman la priorità è comprendere – il più rapidamente possibile– quale potrebbe essere il “miglior libro potenziale del momento” da pubblicare prima che qualcun altro se ne accorga. È evidente, che il “core” di Nimble Books non è la scrittura automatica di un testo, ma la fase che la precede, ovvero quel processo in grado di fornire – dopo messo insieme tutti i pezzi giusti –  all’editore la soluzione di un difficilissimo puzzle:  veder finalmente apparire la sagoma di un best seller.

Aspetto interessante è che la soluzione scelta da Nimble Books propone un modello dove l’algoritmo non vuole sostituire tout court il fattore umano, ma opera a fianco ad esso integrandolo ed incrementandolo

Instead oriented to “market research” is the algorithm used by W.Frederick Zimmerman – technologist, lawyer and now also editor – creator of the Nimble Books platform. On this platform AI systems mainly work in pre-publication function, raking all the information relevant to the publishing project online: the originality with respect to market trends, the adhesion or not of the subject with the contemporary tastes of the public etc. . In short, for Zimmerman’s algorithm the priority is to understand – as quickly as possible – what could be the “best potential book of the moment” to be published before someone else realizes it. It is evident that the “core” of Nimble Books is not the automatic writing of a text, but the phase that precedes it, or that process that can provide – after put together all the right pieces – the editor the solution of a difficult puzzle: finally see the shape of a best seller.

Interestingly, the solution chosen by Nimble Books proposes a model where the algorithm does not want to replace the human factor tout court, but works alongside it, integrating it and increasing it.

PageKicker v2.1.1-Keats improves acronym suggester

Version 2.1.1 of PageKicker replaces an acronym-identifying regex with a narrower one that produces better results.  It is still far from perfect.

#sed 's/[[:space:]]\+/\n/g' $txtinfile  | sort -u | \
 egrep  '[[:upper:]].*[[:upper:]]' | sed 's/[\(\),]//g' | uniq
sed 's/[[:space:]]\+/\n/g' $txtinfile  | sort -u | \
  egrep [A-Z][a-zA-Z0-9+\.\&]*[A-Z0-9] | sed 's/[\(\),]//g' | uniq

I reviewed a number of text analytics approaches prior to selecting this simpler and stupider regex approach.  Most of the available tools require that the full phrase be immediately followed by the acronym, often in parentheses.  There’s one that doesn’t require that but it is in Java which means I’d have to traverse a learning curve to plug it in.   Also, I’m not really looking just for acronyms, I’m also looking for technical initialisms such as B8 or B-8.

There is a very simple test file included in the commit that includes these terms:


Output from old version:


Output from new version: