Thursday, December 11, 2014

TWIC: Bruce McCulloch, Buzz Feed and a lot of Boingboing

I watched Bruce McCulloch and the rest of the Kids in the Hall with my dad.  As a young adult, it was one of the few things we both enjoyed.  He now has a book out.  Bruce, not my dad.
Buzzfeed is looking for science reporters in the US.  I find it interesting to look at what professional writers are expected to do as opposed to what amateurs or laypeople think is required.
Responsibilities:Find stories that make people who don’t care about science sit up and take notice
Always be reporting: Strive to get exclusives, from places where no one else is looking
Pitch early and often -- and be willing to regularly spitball the other reporters’ ideas
Work quickly
Work on more than one story at a time
Methodically fact-check every draft
Understand basic statistics (or have a statistician on speed-dial)

Requirements:A proven track record and great clips of science reporting
Proven ability to turn complicated/subtle/contentious ideas into clear and lively prose
Must have specific beats that you’re not only interested in, but have a track record of covering well
Genuine enthusiasm for reporting, even when it’s annoying
A critical, skeptical eye for hype / baloney
Love for and excitement about the internet
CBC has been promoting the Hour Of Code,
When is the Hour of Code?
Anybody can host an Hour of Code anytime, but the grassroots campaign goal is for tens of millions of students to try an Hour of Code during December 8-14, 2014, in celebration of Computer Science Education Week. Is it one specific hour? No. You can do the Hour of Code anytime during this week. (And if you can't do it during that week, do it the week before or after).
Why computer science?
Every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science. It helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path. See more stats on
How do I participate in the Hour of Code?
Sign up to host an Hour of Code event here and start planning. You can organize an Hour of Code event at your school or in your community — like in an extracurricular club, non-profit or at work. Or, just try it yourself when Dec. 8 arrives.
Hugh Howey is famous for his self-published books.  Ah, I'm sure he's famous for the content of the books as well.  Many have described their awe at his skill.  Recently, he offered a video showing how he goes from a document to a paginated book.
 I’ve had a few requests for details about how I paginate my print books, so here goes. Below you’ll find a 50-minute video of me walking through my pagination routine. It’s not quite everything, but I show 95% of what’s involved for a few sample chapters. From there, it’s just a matter of repeating the steps throughout the book. Once you do a few of these, it comes very naturally. You’ll also find that the process speeds up with practice.
Work on the right thing.  Nikole Dieker describes a variety of creative project she worked on until one just felt right and comfortable to her.
I brought the same Nicole to every project, and every time I started a new project I was prepared to become a professional children’s theater director or project manager or indie musician or whatever it was.
And I’d say I was reasonably successful at many of these potential life paths. Hard work, persistence, and natural ability does get you pretty far.
But it was only when I ended up on the writing path—and I did “end up” there as a fluke, when I started looking for ways to make extra money between indie musician gigs—that I realized my work felt different than all of my previous jobs.
Dungeons and Dragons can protect your creativity and imagination.
The French Situationist author Annie Le Brun, in her 2008 book The Reality Overload: The Modern World's Assault on the Imaginal Realm, suggests that information technology is causing blight and desertification in the world of the imagination just as surely as pollution and global warming are causing blight and desertification in the physical world. We are gaining the ability to communicate and hoard information, but losing the ability to imagine.
literally cannot get my head around what it must be like to be a child or teenager now, raised in a completely digitized world -- where fantasy and long reverie have given way to the instant gratification of electronic media. There can be no innocence or imagination or wonderment in the world of Reddit, Pornhub and 4Chan 
I think the fear of electronics killing unstructured play and imagination is overblown, the newest form of "kids these days".  But maybe there's something to the value of collaborative imagination, where a group works together to visualize and understand the bizarre.
And, my son would love the URL for the post above: it ends, "/the-awesome-glory-that-is-dung.html"

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