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First Stanford code poetry slam reveals the literary side of computer code

Leslie Wu, a doctoral student in computer science at Stanford, took an appropriately high-tech approach to presenting her poem “Say 23″ at the first Stanford Code Poetry Slam. Wu wore Google Glass as she typed 16 lines of computer code that were projected onto a screen while she simultaneously recited the code aloud. She then stopped speaking and ran the script, which prompted the computer program to read a stream…

Computer scientists quantify elements of writing style that differentiate successful fiction

“Predicting the success of literary works poses a massive dilemma for publishers and aspiring writers alike,” Choi said. “We examined the quantitative connection between writing style and successful literature. Based on novels across different genres, we investigated the predictive power of statistical stylometry in discriminating successful literary works, and identified the stylistic elements that are more prominent in successful writings.” –Computer scientists quantify elements of writing style that differentiate successful…

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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The Period, Our Simplest Punctuation Mark, Has Become a Sign of Anger

You text your girlfriend: “I know we made a reservation for your bday tonight but wouldn’t it be more romantic if we ate in instead?” If she replies, we could do that Then you can ring up Papa John’s and order something special. But if she replies, we could do that. Then you should probably drink a cup of coffee: You’re either going out or you’re eating Papa John’s alone.…

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What to Do With a B.A. in English?

Some good tips on what to say about your English major during a job interview, and some realistic advice about English grad school. English majors choose a major that not only challenges them intellectually but gives them pleasure. They love to read and think that reading matters. Or they hope to be writers and have taken courses in creative writing to test their potential as poets, fiction writers, and dramatists.…

Theory Trading Cards

This set of 21 Theory Trading Cards, published by AltaMira Press, is based upon the online trading cards which have been so popular at David Gauntletts website www.theory.org.uk. Being actual cards, these are two-sided and contain more information; and whereas the online cards were only an official set of 12, for the published version, 21 new cards have been created based on a careful selection of top figures in cultural, media…

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Teaching “The Odyssey” at San Quentin

The opening of “The Odyssey” describes Odysseus as polytropos, a man “much turned” and “much turning.” He makes much happen, and much happens to him. When I selected “The Odyssey” as the first text for my English 101 course at San Quentin Prison, I worried about the choice. It’s a difficult work for readers of limited literary background, and I wondered how a population of mostly black and brown men…

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There’s No Substitute for Fiction

What do Peskin and Astington recommend for fostering constructive learning? Reading fiction. “Dramatic tension in stories is created when the various characters have disparate knowledge with regard to the action. This may be through error: The reader knows that Romeo does not know that Juliet lies drugged, not dead. Or it may be through deception: Pretending his assigned chore is an adventure, Tom Sawyer tricks his friends into whitewashing the…

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I Love Books: A Campus Library Evolves

I love books. I love smelling them, touching them, stacking them, unwrapping the plastic from a new purchase, and cracking the spine when I’m halfway through a hardback. (My wife *hates it* when I crack a spine). I love books. I love downloading them, searching them, copying-and-pasting passages, reading them to my kids at night when it’s dark save for the glow of my iPad (I read them the whole…

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Remember Who The Enemy Is

Good article on Catching Fire. (I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I like this analysis.) The personal is political because there is no personal. There is no private realm to retreat into. Haymitch tells Katniss and Peeta that they will never get off the train – meaning that the reality TV parts they are required to play will continue until their deaths. It’s all an act, but there’s no…