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Father copes with toddler son’s cancer by creating ‘empathy’ game

Green and Larson both admit that even the most seasoned gamers might be disturbed when they realize they can’t simply “win” this level by battling some final boss or shooting at a group of hungry zombies. But this discomfort is part of the point — by allowing player to fail in a certain sense, they believe they can give a more realistic depiction of what struggling with a chronic illness…

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How Poetry Helps You Improve Your Writing

While I’d rather see a reminder that we need to know the rules of formal writing, so that we can choose to ignore them deliberately, otherwise this author makes a good case for the value of poetry. (Great training for the art of writing engaging headlines and story leads.) Poetry is not bound by the constraints of sentence and paragraph structure, context, or even grammar. In the magical world of…

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Lego-Building Tween Refers to “The Hobbit” Text

My daughter, having just received a hand-me-down paperback, is annotating it and consulting it as she cannibalizes multiple generic Lego sets for what looks to be an epic DIY “Lego Hobbit” video. (We did buy her a small “Riddles in the Dark” set so she could have a Gollum, Bilbo, and ring, but everything else is remixed from some other set.)

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Disruptions: Texting Your Feelings, Symbol by Symbol

Being a word-oriented thinker, I don’t have much interest in emoji icons. I dislike it when an autocorrect turns a traditional sideways smiley into an icon. My daughter, who at age 11 is too young for a Facebook account, sometimes uses my Facebook account to chat with her slightly-older teen friends, which means that when I am using Facebook on another device, chat windows pop up and fill themselves with…

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The 1931 Histomap: The entire history of the world distilled into a single map/chart.

This “Histomap,” created by John B. Sparks, was first printed by Rand McNally in 1931…. This giant, ambitious chart fit neatly with a trend in nonfiction book publishing of the 1920s and 1930s: the “outline,” in which large subjects (the history of the world! every school of philosophy! all of modern physics!) were distilled into a form comprehensible to the most uneducated layman. The 5-foot-long Histomap was sold for $1…

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Summer Project: Responsive Web Design

I spent more time than I’d like to admit this summer redesigning my WordPress website. The new theme emphasizes thumbnails, which are very easy to create on an iPad or handheld and upload via the WordPress iOS app. Most important for me, though, is the fact that this new theme is responsive — that is, it arranges the content in a manner that is useful for very narrow screens through…

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Why I Like Papers, Please

At a certain point, the transit papers will get so complex that you will, inevitably, start making a lot of mistakes. This can become a serious problem as every incorrectly reviewed passport will deduct more and more cash from your pay at the end of the day. With your family’s lives on the line and the job getting tougher and tougher, the game asks you — like actually asks you,…