Favorite Books of the 2010s

I’ve wandered in and out of various on-line solutions for keeping track of the books I am reading, but thankfully I’ve never fallen out of the habit of logging all of the books I read in a paper journal that dates back to the fall I started graduate school. Flipping through what I read in the 2010s, here are some favorites and other observations… If I had to recommend a single set of books I read, it would be Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book and then Blackout and All Clear. They’re a blend between science fiction and historical fiction, with a … Continue reading Favorite Books of the 2010s

Patchwriting and attribution

If I were teaching a writing skills course this fall, I would be tempted to assign this Language Log post about another recent plagiarism accusation just because of the side-by-side comparison of language and discussion of “patchwriting”. It would probably surprise some students to see the degree of difference between the compared text, and that this is a concern even though the text in question is cited elsewhere, just not for some very specific phrases. Also interesting is the analysis of the older text for whether it too used and attributed patchwriting appropriately – we’re clearly more easily able to … Continue reading Patchwriting and attribution

Let’s read some books!

An article on how reading is important for leadership feels appropriate for the start of the semester, particularly with it’s mention in the second paragraph of the difference between literacy and the ability for deep reading. A fun exercise is applying a bit of that “deep reading” to this article. You’ll probably notice that there’s lots of fine anecdotal accounts of great leaders also being great readers. When the evidence starts coming out, things get shakier. The supporting link for the claim that reading offers the best stress-reduction is to a newspaper article about the study that doesn’t make clear … Continue reading Let’s read some books!

Underline Shadow Strikethrough

Following up on a recent post, there are more people looking at pros and cons of reading difficulty. The question is being asked about E-readers now – do those wonderfully easy to read screens actually result in us retaining less information? More of those dots are connected in this article, though it seems like the studies to test the question remain to be done. While not entirely the same thing, I also am being tempted by a new book, Typography for Lawyers, wherein research on the persuasive and emotional impact of various fonts is discussed and recommendations for fonts, layout, … Continue reading Underline Shadow Strikethrough

one place one place one hill one joy

I’ll need someone to explain why combining Dickinson with Moby Dick is particularly interesting, but I love the interactions with the generated poem with its assignment of latitude and longitude to each stanza of the merged poem. And the javascript driving it is available for perusal as well. I think my favorite function in it is: function nailedLine(n) { var a = n % nailedEnding.length; return ‘nailed to the ‘ + nailedEnding[a]; }

Books! and Graphs!

It almost surprised that this diagram of all of the relationships in Infinite Jest is as simple as it is. Oh, it’s a huge graph, and there are a ton of people on it, but when you realize that every student ever named, for example, is included, and that some of the nodes represent categories of people rather than individuals, it is not as daunting as I would have expected. Still awesome though[1], and with tons of potential for expansion. The creator mentions adding line thickness or color to represent the importance of a connection, for example. They also mention … Continue reading Books! and Graphs!

Getting this weblog back on track…

I love Dinosaur Comics – I find it similar to xkcd (also written by a computer scientist/computational linguist!), and I have to resist the temptation to link to every single one. But anybody who took my intersession course on figurative language has got to check out the March 9th one on conceptual metaphor; trust me if you remember the Lakoff and Turner readings this one will crack you up. For everybody else, try the comic about plagiarism, which makes me laugh out loud every time I read it. If you read both you might notice they look similar – which, … Continue reading Getting this weblog back on track…

Copyright and Documentary through Comics

Two Duke law professors and an expert in the public domain have written a comic, available under a Creative Commons license, about the impact of current copyright culture and its impact on creativity. They are particularly focused on how a trend towards a positive obligation to “clear copyright” and show that use of another’s work is fair use is, in reality, stifling fair use as studios refuse to take risks on including fair use content without permission and individuals cannot afford to defend legal cases if their fair use is challenged. There is example after example given of individuals filming … Continue reading Copyright and Documentary through Comics

Where *is* our time travel technology?

I have seen the short story Wikihistory linked from a lot of places (first, I think, from Boing Boing) and finally went and read it – it’s short and amusing so you should check it out too. It does a nice job playing with online conversation structures; I think that this format for this particular story lays out all of the information you want to know about this scenario in a very compact way. I do not think I would have wanted a longer-form version of the story. I definitely like the use of the “n00b” as a justification for … Continue reading Where *is* our time travel technology?