Long Live The English Major—If It’s Paired With An Industry-Recognized Credential

What does this simple question and its results tell us? It’s not the English major that’s the problem. It’s an industry-recognized skill attached to the English major that’s the opportunity. I’ve long advocated for a rebranding of the term liberal arts. Americans generally and employers more specifically value the elements of a liberal arts degree such as critical thinking and skilled communication. But the words “liberal” and “arts” get in the…

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In December 1999, I Was Blogging About Joseph Heller, E-Journalism, and Travel Writing

In December 1999, I was blogging about: The death of Joseph Heller (author of Catch-22, which invented the term) “On the Internet, every page is hot off the presses… or could be, if editors and publishers simply realized that ‘[i]nteractive media eliminates the holy deadline.’ What’s left over feels more like gardening.” Dot-coms hiring journalists, (A “dot-com,” so named for the web address, was the trendy term for companies flailing…

How Artists on Twitter Tricked Spammy T-Shirt Stores Into Admitting Their Automated Art Theft

Yesterday, an artist on Twitter named Nana ran an experiment to test a theory. Their suspicion was that bots were actively looking on Twitter for phrases like “I want this on a shirt” or “This needs to be a t-shirt,” automatically scraping the quoted images, and instantly selling them without permission as print-on-demand t-shirts. Dozens of Nana’s followers replied, and a few hours later, a Twitter bot replied with a link…

My Freshman Comp Student Didn’t Recognize the Term ‘Word Processor’

Most of my students use MS-Word, but maybe a third use Google Docs (that’s a big increase lately) and a handful (but a bigger handful) use Pages. Today during a writing conference, a freshman comp student blinked in confusion when I asked her to “take me to your word processor.” I tried again. “Open up a blank page so I can write something.” That made perfect sense to her, and…

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In November 1999, I was blogging about books, camomile tea and Skylon 4, the death of Star Trek, and the “active user paradox”

In November 1999, I was blogging about John’s Book Pages (by a CS grad student who had recently read Gene Wolfe and Anthony Bourdain, among many others) What camomile tea has in common with the attack squadron over Skylon 4 (rec.humor newsgroup reference to a disastrous “tandem story” assignment) “Nimoy is, to say the least, amused by the notion that ‘Star Trek’ is on its death bed.” The paradox of…