Putting a Bad Interface on Things

“But here’s the dirty little secret that may go farther in explaining why usability stinks: Most developers and designers don’t give a rat’s ass about it. The developers want the thing to have lots of features, so usability is the designers’ problem. The designers want the project to look great, so how it works is the developers’ responsibility. And most companies never even bother to test their sites or applications…

Astronaut's Touching Mail

“Hello from above our magnificent planet Earth.|The perspective is truly awe-inspiring. This is a terrific mission and we are very busy doing science round the clock.|Just getting a moment to type e-mail is precious so this will be short, and distributed to many who I know and love.|I have seen some incredible sights: lightning spreading over the Pacific, the Aurora Australis lighting up the entire visible horizon with the cityglow…

The Great Tattling Scare on Campuses

“As students, they were members of free-speech movements; now that they’ve earned tenure, they have become advocates of speech codes. Radicals when they were on the bottom, they’ve become censors when they’re on top. And they see no discrepancy in their actions.” Daphne Patai –The Great Tattling Scare on CampusesChronicle) I recently had a very interesting conversation about the use of offensive racial language in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Since…

Relatively Speaking

“But however it may be in the art gallery, in moral issues we often cannot agree to differ. Agreeing to differ with Genghis is in effect agreeing to tolerate fox-hunting, and my whole stance was against that. Moral issues are frequently ones where we want to coordinate, and where we are finding what to forbid and what to allow. Naturally, the burden falls on those who want to forbid: in…

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Fake CNN Website Taken Offline

“The Fake CNN News Generator was online only a week, but generated a lot of controversy after ersatz news stories were picked up by local outlets and reported as real. Phony stories about the death of musician Dave Matthews, or the Olsen twins attending local universities, for example, appeared in a number of local newspapers, as well as regional radio and TV news reports. Fake stories were generated the site’s…

The Hoard

I built a bloated icebox made to store my ripe ingredients. Its shelves are crammed with shrunken tentacles, and scalps are jammed beside the vats of larva, pulp, and gore. The handle’s slick. It’s hard to shut the door against the swelling mold. It must be slammed. This foul refrigerator of the damned will always stretch to hold a little more. The fearful call this fridge a gate to Hell,…

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Knife Wounds: Horror and Minimalism

“Horror is the genre of the jolt, the shock, the spark. The horror story’s conflict is always a matter of life and death, but death — even to an undead creature — always comes as a surprise. The climax of a horror tale is almost unilaterally a killing blow, catching someone or something unaware. Death almost always comes too soon — that’s why we fear it. Life is always too…

The Secret Life of Pronouns: Flexibility in Writing Style and Physical Health

“[I]ndividuals randomly assigned to write about emotional topics evidence improved physical health compared with those who write about superficial topics…. [F]lexibility in the use of common words — particularly personal pronouns — when writing about traumatic memories was related to positive health outcomes.” R. Sherlock Campbell and James W. Pennebaker –The Secret Life of Pronouns: Flexibility in Writing Style and Physical Health.pdf; Psychological Science) In other words, people who varied…