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The Benefits of Writing Crap (A Reminder)

A first draft gives you something to go on in the future. Because you will rewrite this draft. And you’ll rewrite it again after the first time. So, don’t rush the process. (And I’m talking to myself as much as to you.) At the same time, I think its important to acknowledge that writing “masterful literary debuts” does not have to take years. (For instance, the above-mentioned Isabel Allende started…

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The Pointlessness of Unplugging

What sex was for the Puritans, technology has become for us. We’ve focussed our collective anxiety on digital excess, and reconnecting with the “real” world around us represents one effort to control it. | And yet the “real” world, like the “real” America, is an insidious idea. It suggests that the selves we are online aren’t authentic, and that the relationships that we forge in digital spaces aren’t meaningful. [...]…

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The Little Girl from the 1981 LEGO Ad is All Grown Up, and She’s Got Something to Say

Great article featuring the little girl from the 1981 Lego ad. What’s the problem with girl LEGOs? Why is everyone against pink? ask many parents. I’ll let Rachel Giordano answer that question: “Because gender segmenting toys interferes with a child’s own creative expression. I know that how I played as a girl shaped who I am today. It contributed to me becoming a physician and inspired me to want to…

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TSA Agent Confession

It was May 2007. I was living with a bohemian set on Chicago’s north side, a crowd ranging from Foucault-fixated college kids to middle-aged Bukowski-bred alcoholics. We drank and talked politics on the balcony in the evenings, pausing only to sneer at hipsters strumming back-porch Beatles sing-a-longs. By night, I took part in barbed criticism of U.S foreign policy; by day, I spent eight hours at O’Hare in a federal…

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School ditches rules and loses bullies

Swanson School signed up to the study by AUT and Otago University just over two years ago, with the aim of encouraging active play. However, the school took the experiment a step further by abandoning the rules completely, much to the horror of some teachers at the time, he said.When the university study wrapped up at the end of last year the school and researchers were amazed by the results.…

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The Rise of Curiosity Journalism

Katz and his kindred might just as well call themselves “curiosity journalists.” Curiosities draw the most attention when the story about the story exceeds the story itself. In this case, the question of why American dialects even matter as a topic of public knowledge and citizen debate has been abandoned, for better or worse, in favor of the idea of its existence. That is to say, popularity online now depends…

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Code is not literature

A literate programmer describes his attempts to get fellow programmers to “read” code the way writers read literature. (He concludes that the deep study of code requires a different analogy.) Preparing for the talk I’m going to give to the Girls who Code cohort, I started thinking about what to tell them about code reading and code they should read. And once again it struck me that for all the…

What blogging was

I’ve maintained this blog since the spring semester of 1999, though at the time I considered it an “annotated list of links.” Updating it meant editing the HTML by hand. Like Crichton’s dinosaurs, blogs have evolved into everyday things that we may not recognize as the powerful, conspicuous giants they once were. Blogs have evolved into the social media outlets where most of us (including me) do most of our…

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This Is What It Is Like To Be Deaf From Birth

Ultimately, I got sick and tired of both groups trying to tell me how to live my life. The deaf culture advocates tell me I should fling away my [cochlear implant (CI)] and make my home within the community. The CI advocates tell me that I should give up using [American Sign Langauge] and become fully immersed in the hearing world. My experience in the firestorm of the culture wars…

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Portrait of a Ten-Year-Old Girl

This thoughtful article demonstrates how to use colorful details to keep a reader engaged enough to absorb statistics and trends. What could be just an amusing slice of a Canadian girl’s life of carpools, playdates, and self-invention becomes a launching point for social commentary. The author does refer to herself, but deliberately, selectively; to serve the story, not drown it out. Saving this for the next time I teach “News…