Tuesday, October 22, 2013

TWIC Third week of October - sci am links aplenty

Not from Sci Am: A list of Science writing competitions.

From Sci Am:
The biggest thing holding me back from being creative is laziness and a lack of urgency.  How to stop procrastinating (Gated).  One excerpt:
Learning more effective techniques for regulating emotions can counteract the tendency to delay important tasks and help people commit to their goals.
Only two paragraphs long, I am uncertain if I should excerpt a full paragraph but need to share the information of the post and describe a problem in advertising methods used at Sci Am and many other places.  Write in the third person to encourage recovery:
If a past ordeal continues to trouble you, try writing about it as if it happened to somebody else: “She crashed the car,” rather than “I crashed the car.” In a study that appeared in February in Stress and Health, doing so led to greater health gains for participants who struggled with trauma-related intrusive thinking, as measured by the number of days their normal activities were restricted by any kind of illness.
Note that the hyperlinked word (Stress) is not linking to the journal Stress and Health - see, I linked to it - but to Sci Am posts on the subject.  Some English language newspapers in a country I lived in* did this a lot, but with the apparently randomly chosen words linking to ads on the subjects.  In the paragraph above, it is particularly strange as a link should be here. Still, I like the idea of encouraging writing.  More on the value of writing.
*I can't find any examples at this time so no use smearing mud.
Added in November:  This site has semi-random words linked to ads, in the content and the comments, both. Ah, a friend linked to the post, it's not my regular news source.
I do like Sci Am, but here is another article I feel the need to critique.
In Hidden Metaphors Get Under the Skin, study subjects were told to use their non-dominant hand and to be sure they did, their dominant hand was held either next to their chest or their temple.  People with their hand held next to their chest were more emotional and those with their hand next to their head were more rational, upholding common metaphors for heart and brain.  Interesting but this feels like a priming experiment and results for such tests are pretty controversial.  Still, other parts of the article maatch  my biases so I agree with them:
 The key is variety and spontaneity: “If you want to be more creative, run freely outside and do it randomly for the day. Get away from your typical route, time of day, music or even your pace,” Leung says.
More on brains and hearts here.
Making a robot - with pen-and-paper or circuits - and unsure what it should look like?  Sci Am offers assistance.
Again leaving Sci Am, the Big Hominid discusses his Dalma-do artwork.  Somewhere online I found him questioning how, or if, his use of grey -through photoshop - improved the images.  Another thing I cannot now find.
If this post, like so many at Creativiti Project, is too writing focused, Kottke looks at film and  The five editing techniques of Vsevolod Pudovkin
I think the authors and I are in accord that the current long-term copyright protection laws inhibit creativity.  However, they have evidence that going from short-term protection to slightly longer term was beneficial.

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