Saturday, March 8, 2014

TWIC: Teaching edition

A powerpoint slideshow on why using powerpoint is bad.  I agree with most of the content but I don't give lectures; I lead seminars.  Also, my handwriting is terrible - everyone wants me, maybe not others, but me, to use PPT rather than writing material on the boards.  And, I never have answers fly or spin into position on the screen (that was slide 25, I think).
I have considered using phone versions of 'classroom clickers' -the same type of clicking devices used on various game shows for voting but in an app form rather than the $30/per dedicated electronics.  I haven't tried any yet but coworkers have said good things about Socrative.  iclicker tops the Google search I did but while playing with my phone's app search I found several others - just not while I'm typing this.

It's funny; one of the points of my first link -about the dangers of PPT - basically reminds educators to focus on content not style but I am interested in 'classroom clickers' without knowing what precisely I would do with them.  I want to use but may have to mangle a lesson plan to fit them in.  Kinda kidding; I won't use them for one class only so I need to learn how they work and see if I can mangle several classes!
Scandinavian schools don't restrict creativity. Also, Toca Boca apps look interesting.
Some Getty images are available free of charge.
Gaming the Bestseller list.  I disapprove of a church paying for get on the bestseller list but Scott Sigler managed a similar feat (and commented on my post).
Moral Hazard in science fiction (and here).  Even though real life has no guarantees of justice, readers want it in their stories and that takes some jiggering.
The parameters of ‘‘The Cold Equations’’ are not the inescapable laws of physics. Zoom out beyond the page’s edges and you’ll find the author’s hands carefully arranging the scenery so that the plague, the world, the fuel, the girl and the pilot are all poised to inevitably lead to her execution. The author, not the girl, decided that there was no autopilot that could land the ship without the pilot. The author decided that the plague was fatal to all concerned, and that the vaccine needed to be delivered within a timeframe that could only be attained through the execution of the stowaway.
It is, then, a contrivance. A circumstance engineered for a justifiable murder. An elaborate shell game that makes the poor pilot – and the company he serves – into victims every bit as much as the dead girl is a victim, forced by circumstance and girlish naïveté to stain their souls with murder.
 Seinfeld on productivity.
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day.
“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”
You’ll notice that Seinfeld didn’t say a single thing about results.
It didn’t matter if he was motivated or not. It didn’t matter if he was writing great jokes or not. It didn’t matter if what he was working on would ever make it into a show. All that mattered was “not breaking the chain.”
This looks like good advice.  I'm sure that it is.  And yet, I don't connect with Seinfeld with continued output.  His book came out in 1994, right in the middle of his series and, as best I recall, repeated much of his TV material with little novel content.  I brought up this same point a year ago.  At that link, Seinfeld is described as a relentless maximizer, endlessly honing and improving his content more than creating new content.

Again, I'd call it valuable advice and I should go looking for a calendar to write on.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Writing, science and Beyonce

Some notes on Korean Science Fiction in English.
Planning a Bond-villain-ian style lair?  Here's one for the ocean (Sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads extra).
The periodic table of story telling.
William S Burroughs gives writing advice.
But is it art? Fan fiction and publishers.  When will Sean Keane's Riding Miss Daisy get the attention it deserves?
Pursuing this subject a little finally led me to a definition of 'pastiche':
pastiche is a work of visual art, literature, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists.[1] Unlike parody, pastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates.[2]The word pastiche is a French cognate of the Italian noun pasticcio, which is a pâté or pie-filling mixed from diverse ingredients.[1][3] Metaphorically,pastiche and pasticcio describe works that are either composed by several authors, or that incorporate stylistic elements of other artists' work. Pastiche is an example of eclecticism in art.
Allusion is not pastiche. A literary allusion may refer to another work, but it does not reiterate it. Moreover, allusion requires the audience to share in the author's cultural knowledge.[4] Both allusion and pastiche are mechanisms of intertextuality.
I need to fight Clinomania to get actual work done.
Related: Productivity myths
  • For instance, some people believe that sleep is important. The evidence for this, however, is not so clear. In fact, studies have shown that productivity levels fall dramatically when you’re asleep. While sleeping, you will be hard pressed to succeed in writing that paper or responding to those emails.
  • Some people also believe that meals are important. Now, what can you accomplish at the dinner table that you can't do sitting at your desk?
  • Some people believe that personal hygiene is important. Staying clean, however, is a Sisyphean task: an endless cycle of bathing and getting dirty, bathing and getting dirty, bathing and getting dirty. Keeping the dirt away is a futile endeavor, and should be abandoned without a second thought. There are too many memos waiting to be read.
How science professionals got their start.
How scientifically-oriented fish get their start. Well, the article is about fish using tools, which I guess is similar to the title I gave it.
Beyonce soundboardt.
For artists, the best economic model is Winner Take All. For publishers and marketers, The Long Tail works better.