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Bad Writing Costs Businesses Billions

This is thinkpiece rehtoric rather than an objectively measured result. It’s attractive to me because it supplies statistics that might help me sway the opinions of my students; I think they would be better off if they believed this, too, and if they shared this belief, our interactions would be less stressful and (I hope) more productive. But the solution isn’t as simple as hiring better writers, or putting more…

Journalism ethics and the elephant in the room.

I touched up an old handout on conflict of interest. Given Trump’s attitude toward the profession of journalism (which is far less convenient for him than presenting his unfiltered messages directly to his followers), this is a topic to watch closely. The point of “the Rosenthal Rule” is not to penalize any one political viewpoint; rather, the cub reporter who wanted to march in a protest has such a strong…

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Ringling Bros. circus to close after 146 years

The more I learned about elephants, the less I liked the idea of going to the circus. I’m interested in its place in the history of American culture, but times have changed. After 146 years, the curtain is coming down on “The Greatest Show on Earth.” The owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus told The Associated Press that the show will close forever in May. The…

Take my feedback if you want to pass.

As my students in a compressed online course start writing a term paper, I ponder the importance of feedback. I can’t force them to read it, but I do intend to give it. Should they choose to ignore it, I simply have to evaluate their work fairly and, if they ask for an explanation, encourage them to go back and read the feedback I’ve already given. From my perspective, I can…

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New “Adventure” Details from Will Crowther in Mammoth Cave Book

The new book from the University of Kentucky Press, Mammoth Cave Curiosities” A Guide to Rockphobia, Dating, Saber-toothed Cats and Other Subterranean Marvels, offers some new tidbits from Will Crowther about his ground-breaking 1970s computer game, “Colossal Cave Adventure.” In a subsection confidently headed “The First Computer Adventure Game,” we find this weaselly clunker: “Developed in 1976, Adventure was probably the first computer adventure or IF game…” (217). Probably? Of course…

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English Is the Language of Science. That Isn’t Always a Good Thing

English speakers tend to assume that all the important research is published in English. More than half of the non-English papers observed in this study had no English title, abstract or keywords, making them all but invisible to most scientists doing database searches in English. […] This problem is a two-way street Not only does the larger scientific community miss out on research published in non-English languages. But the dominance of…

Wendy’s Bests Internet Troll, Then Unwittingly Posts Completely Unrelated, Obscure Racist Meme

I fixed the clickbaity title for you. A moderately amusing cautionary tale. Recognizing alt-right internet memes is now a marketing survival skill. “We like our tweets the same way we like to make hamburgers,” Wendy’s wrote in its bio. “Better than anyone expects from a fast food joint.” It lived up to those words this week, absolutely destroying a troll who dared to question its claim that its burgers are…