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You’re not going to read this

I ask my students to contextualize links with informative text, rather than hype. Puppies! Schadenfreude! Thinly veiled primal urges! If you aren’t weeping angry tears by the 3rd paragraph, a gargoyle has your soul! Prove your cleverness and sensitivity by sharing this link! Also so you can find this article again! Link traffic! Earlier this month, there was yet another lengthy public debate about Upworthy, the two-year-old publisher that has become one…

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Feature: History Lesson: the treasured past of LucasArts point and clicks

I played more of the Sierra point-and-click adventures than the LucasArts ones, but “The Dig” and “Full Throttle” were probably as important to me as half a dozen of my once-favorite TV shows or movies. (I’ve revisited these games by watching YouTube longplay videos.) There’s a fondness throughout the catalogue for the catalogue. Monkey Island pokes fun at obscure adventure Loom. Indiana Jones props cameo all over the place. Monkey…

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“Let It Go,” Idina Menzel’s Frozen ballad: It sends the wrong message.

This author is probably overthinking things, but I myself have been known to overthink musicals, so this is worth blogging. It turns out that Elsa is wrong — unleashing her powers in this particular manner brings disaster on the people she was trying to spare (though of course she also wants to flee their judgment, so her flight is not solely altruistic). I love thrilling to Elsa’s race up the…

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The Formation of Love

Relationships start with a period of courtship: on Facebook, messages are exchanged, profiles are visited, posts are shared on each other’s timelines. The following graph shows the average number of timeline posts exchanged between two people who are about to become a couple. We studied the group of people who changed their status from “Single” to “In a relationship” and also stated an anniversary date as the start of their…

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What It Was Like to Watch the Beatles Become the Beatles

Beyond their music itself, their greatest strengths were clarity of image and the way they balanced. It’s a truism that no pop format is any good unless it can be expressed in one sentence, but the Beatles went beyond that, they could each be said in one word: Lennon was the brutal one, McCartney was the pretty one, Ringo Starr was the lovable one, Harrison was the balancer. And if…

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Rethinking TV news, Part III: First, kill the stand-up

I’ve told my journalism students that TV is not my favorite medium, but we are doing a unit on video journalism nonetheless. They have to know, and be experienced in, the conventions of television journalism if they are going to have a chance of escaping (and maybe transforming) its worst effects There is *no* reporting to be done at the bridge. None. There are no officials there. There are no…

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‘Hunger Games’ to digitally recreate Hoffman

filmmakers behind the “Hunger Games” movies will digitally recreate late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in a major yet-to-be-shot scene, sources from the flick said. Editors will use computer graphics and camera tricks — instead of rewriting the script — to film at least one heartfelt scene featuring Hoffman’s character, the gamesmaker Plutarch Heavensbee. “You can do digital things, you can have conversations where you’re not focusing on him but the…

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The Out-of-Control Author

When you’re writing just for yourself, you’re in control. Of everything. You control what your characters do, what they say and think and wear, what happens to them, where their story begins and ends. Every aspect of the story is completely in your hands. It’s your book. All yours. When you work with a publisher, that changes. All of a sudden, you’re not alone. You have a team. Other people…