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Vote for your favorite Monopoly token — or else!

One of the six current game pieces will be voted out, to make room for one of these new ones. I’m partial to the captain’s chair in Star Trek Monopoly. What do you think about these options? Hasbro, maker of the board game available in 111 countries and 43 languages, is replacing one of the tokens with one “that’s more representative of today’s Monopoly players,” according to Eric Nyman, senior…

Towards a canon of “hypertext literature / interactive fiction / digital narrative”

Kim asked on Twitter: “Is there a canon for digital narratives / interactive stories / hypertext literature yet? A list of accepted classics and forms?” What followed was a lot of us going “we don’t know”. And I wasn’t exactly helpful, by pointing out that those three things are (in some ways) completely different. But. Nobody got anywhere but not being helpful, and to do so, I’m going to express…

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Well-chosen words

Why is English spelling such a tangle? It all started when Latin-speaking missionaries arrived in Britain in the 6th century without enough letters in their alphabet. They had 23. (They didn’t have “j”, “u” or “w”.) Yet the Germanic Anglo-Saxon languages had at least 37 phonemes, or distinctive sounds. The Romans didn’t have a letter, for example, for the Anglo-Saxon sound we spell “th”. The problem continues. Most English-speakers today…

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Stephen Coles’ The Anatomy of Type, reviewed.

Talk nerdy to me. You’re my type. What about old friend Helvetica, Miss Typography of 1957 (and pretty much every year after)? Coles theorizes that its universality stems from the fact that its “shapes and widths are unusually uniform.” This homogeneity makes it perfect for big display logos but “not as effective for long passages of text, where dynamic rhythm and unique lettershapes are vital.” Keep leafing around. Garamond Premier…

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‘My Fair Lady’ replacement shines at Arena Stage in an unforgettable evening

Wonderful, magical theater story. It was looking awfully bleak for the Saturday evening performance of “My Fair Lady” when Artistic Director Molly Smith walked onstage surrounded by her cast to deliver some grim news. She informed the nearly full house that flu had laid low several cast members, including Manna Nichols, who played the lead role of Eliza Doolittle. To have an understudy step in is usually a disappointment for…

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Study shows college students think they’re more special than ever…even those that can’t read or write and barely study

A hype-heavy treatment of a recent study (named vaguely as the “American Freshman Survey,” in the article, but not actually cited or dated… I found a copy of a 2011 report). While students are much more likely to call themselves gifted in writing abilities, objective test scores actually show that their writing abilities are far less than those of their 1960s counterparts. Also on the decline is the amount of…

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At Home In Fantasy’s Nerd-Built Worlds

In other words, more than the profound lessons on the corrupting influence of power, more than the stirring battle scenes, more even than beloved characters like Frodo and Sam, readers came to Tolkien’s books for the rich, magical world that they built out of his words. Martin has taken this lesson to heart in his work — as have some of his most successful contemporaries, like the late Jordan —…