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Socialization at the Zoo

“The Zoo and the Carnegie Science Center are my two favorite places in the world!” chirps my daughter from the back of the van. “Can we go to the Science Center instead?” “No, honey, we’re driving to your penguin class,” I tell her. She grabs her brother’s arm. “Both of us?” she asks. “The two of you are in different classes,” I say. From the back of the van, wailing.…

Hello Worlds: Why humanities students should learn to program

A wonderfully readable, thought-provoking article about the intersection between the worlds of words and computer programming — both ways of modeling and human capabilities, experiences, and desires. It used to be that we in English departments were fond of saying there was nothing outside of the text. Increasingly, though, texts take the form of worlds as much as words. Worlds are emerging as the consummate genre of the new century,…

Scott Brown on Why Hollywood Needs a New Model for Storytelling

The Freytag Pyramid Concocted 146 years ago by a German philologist, Freytag’s pyramid was long held aloft as the one-size-fits-all narrative template, despite the fact that it describes the tidy Aristotelian side of storytelling (Ben-Hur) far better than its frayed quantum fringes (Memento). Techniques like open-ended conclusion, audience interactivity, and nonlinear chronology “were part of the avant-garde 30 or 40 years ago,” says UCLA film school dean Robert Rosen, “but…

The Day the Newspaper Died

On October 10, 1765, an Annapolis printer changed his newspaper’s title to the Maryland Gazette, Expiring. Its motto: “In uncertain Hopes of a Resurrection to Life again.” Later that month, the printer of the Pennsylvania Journal replaced his newspaper’s masthead with a death’s-head and framed his front page with a thick black border in the shape of a gravestone. “Adieu, Adieu,” the Journal whispered. On October 31st, the New-Hampshire Gazette…