Swiss cheese metaphor for fighting the pandemic: “Multiple Layers Improve Success”

The anti-maskers are right when they say masks aren’t 100% effective. The pro-face-touchers are right when they say not touching your face isn’t enough. The bar-hoppers and close-talkers and eaters-in-crowded-diners are right when they say social distancing alone won’t stop the spread of a pandemic. The “98.2% survival rate” crowd is right that most people who get COVID-19 don’t die. But the more steps each of us takes (staying home;…

Most Television From Before 2000 Is Trapped in the Uncanny Valley

Just as the technological innovation of the mass-produced book paved the way for the new storytelling medium called the “novel,” technological innovations that allow audiences to rewatch TV shows and binge-watch whole seasons have changed the whole medium of episodic video storytelling. (Babylon 5 did it early and did it well — but the article I’m reacting to barely touches on it.) Here’s what I think is the most important…

Amusing Reference to ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’

Imagine a scenario in which circumstances outside your control confine you to a single room for an indefinite period of time — and you have basically nothing to do but stare at the walls. Available activities are strictly limited; you aren’t allowed company; you can’t really go outside; time collapses in on itself; and your sense of reality starts fraying at the edges. Does this sound like the plot of…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In December 2000, I was blogging about typeface snobbery, freedom in video game spaces, the first email message, and T.S. Eliot’s anti-semitism

In December 2000, I was blogging about Typeface snobbery (The Onion) Videogames as gendered play spaces (Henry Jenkins) Who wouldn’t want to trade in the confinement of your room for the immersion promised by today’s video games? …. Perhaps, my son finds in his video games what I found in the woods behind the school, on my bike whizzing down the hills of the suburban back streets, or settled into…

Motivation Amid Crisis (Autotrophic Bat)

As part of an independent study project, a graduating Seton Hill student wrote a blog about self-publishing her original collection of fairy-tale adaptations. She’s a double-major in creative writing and graphic design, and she freely adapted each story and illustrated each one in a different style. (She’ll be self-publishing her anthology soon, and I’ll certainly post about it.) Here is a reflection she wrote on staying motivated during the pandemic:…

Final grades are due tomorrow. My Fall 2020 is almost over. I survived.

Final grades are due tomorrow. My only unmarked assignments are just a handful of final projects with some components I couldn’t evaluate, mostly for some technical reason. It’s been a pretty rough semester, but I’m glad I started prepping for it in July, rethinking and reorganizing and rebuilding lesson plans and assignment sequences with a Covid-necessitated hybrid classroom in mind. Spending a lot of time rethinking the mechanics of my…

Details on the disappearance of the Utah monolith

Mr. Bernards, 34, of Edwards, Colo., was visiting the monolith on Friday night when, he said, four men arrived as if out of nowhere to dismantle the sculpture. Mr. Bernards had driven six hours for the chance to ogle the sculpture and to take dramatic photographs of it. Using upscale Lume Cube lights attached to a drone, he produced a series of glowy, moonlit pictures in which the monolith glistens…

The Myth of North America, in One Painting

Fascinating art history — a thoughtful close reading of a painting. Great example of multimodal journalism. The clouds are heavy and black. A grim day for fighting. In the air is the smell of damp, and mortar fire. It’s a little after 10 a.m. on Sept. 13, 1759. The battle is almost over. In the distance, the wounded French soldiers are retreating. And a young general in a red coat…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In November 2000, I was blogging about the US Presidential election, mirrors, Arts & Letters Daily, and more

In November 2000, I was blogging about Ursula K. Le Guin Why we perceive mirrors reversing things left/right but not up/down Pioneering blog Arts & Letters Daily (just a year older than my own blog) Nick Montfort’s constrained poem “Upper Typewriter Row“ The 2000 US Presidential Election controversy (ballot design, hanging chads, recounts, political cartoons) The Web Economy Bullshit Generator The Onion’s fake “Fontly Speaking” typeface design column. James Lileks’s…

Trump communications director Murtaugh rallies supporters by tweeting fake Washington Times front page

Here’s more evidence of just how crucial it is to the Trumpiverse to sustain the narrative that “the media” are the enemy. Earlier today, Trump’s Director of Communications Tim Murtaugh tweeted a picture of a Washington Times banner headline announcing the victory of “PRESIDENT GORE,” as “a reminder that the media doesn’t select the Present.” Also in the same tweet was a photo of that page plastered in what appears…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In October, 2000, I was blogging about bobbed hair, Woolf, a CFP for interactive fiction scholarship, the hyphen in e-mail, and a book with glow-in-the-dark pages

In October 2000, I was blogging about The F. Scott Fitzgerald Short story “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” (background; full text) A biography of Virginia Woolf The precarious status of English as a global language A call for papers for a special issue of Text Technology devoted to interactive fiction (I have a copy on my shelf now) Wired News picks “e-mail” over “email.” (AP Style is currently email.) A book with…

Cameras and Masks: Sustaining Emotional Connections with Your Students in an Age of COVID19

There are some sound pedagogical reasons for turning cameras on. Thus, I suggest sharing those reasons with the students before giving them the choice of what to do about their cameras. Explain why you are making your request. For example, being able to see students’ faces gives instructors a quick and easy way to discern whether students are finding the material engaging, at least in smaller classes. One instructor told me that “I asked students to turn their cameras on to say hi to their classmates at the beginning and end of class, and those were the best moments of the class.”