The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months

“I have always understood the Nazis,” Golding confessed, “because I am of that sort by nature.” And it was “partly out of that sad self-knowledge” that he wrote Lord of the Flies. Rutger Bregmen writes: “began to wonder: had anyone ever studied what real children would do if they found themselves alone on a deserted island?…

Unearthing a Long Ignored African Writing System, One Researcher Finds African History, by Africans

Not only is this a fantastic story about language and culture and colonialism, it’s also a great example of how a talented PR writer used journalistic storytelling strategies to turn a scholarly study into an appealing narrative. We start with a very specific, very personal story about a man returning home for his father’s funeral.…

Eco-critical Code Studies: Reconfigurations of nature in the born-digital artifact “Colossal Cave Adventure” from text to VR

Video game history is colliding: Sierra founders are bringing a seminal text adventure game to VR (The Verge) Colossal Cave Adventure (Crowther 1976; Crowther and Woods 1977) (photo credit) Photo of Ken and Roberta Williams; Wikipedia photo of Adventure on a CRT Sierra On-Line (Sierra Entertainment, Inc.); King’s Quest, Space Quest, Phantasmagoria; original publisher of…

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

In June, 2002, I was blogging about… a female autistic scholars lament, Dr. Seuss, Orthodox Christianity and coding, Shakespeare, and weblogs after 9/11

In June, 2002, I was blogging about A female autistic scholar’s lament The origins of Horton Hears a Who A NatGeo article on the media-saturated life of Iowa college students The function of “er” in speech A Pravda article on parallels between Orthodox Christianity and computer programming Dr. Toast’s Amazing World of Toast (I really…

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

Why did I only blog 3 times in June 2001?

What was I doing during the summer of June 2001?  My daughter was born about nine months later, so I know at least part of what I was doing at the time.  04 Jun 2001 Violent video games encourage violent behavior (Contemporary Pediatrics) 06 Jun 2001 Sci-Tech Web Awards 2001 08 Jun 2001 Author “used…

Engrossing but difficult to watch: “Man in Cave” documentary on caver Floyd Collins

I’m conflicted. This is a very well done animated documentary, creating visuals that were not part of the original press coverage of Floyd Collins, the caver trapped in Sand Cave in 1925, and the subject of the first media circus, fed by the emerging new medium of radio journalism. The animation adds sight gags and…

Between static hand-coded HTML pages and modern content-management systems, there used to be a wonderful bazaar of “mildly dynamic” websites

When I started my blog in 1999 (by adding a date to a “Link of the Day” archive I had been maintaining for a year or so), I coded everything in HTML, by hand.  This was before Facebook, before YouTube, before Wikipedia, and around the time that the domain google.com first went live. Most of…

‘I saw the possibility of what could be done – so I did it’: revolutionary video game The Hobbit turns 40

.. Realising that statistics wasn’t for her, Megler answered a newspaper advert for a part-time programming job at a local software company called Melbourne House. It was 1980, and she was halfway through a course that focused on designing operating systems and developing programming languages. “The day I was hired, the first thing my boss…

The Enduring Allure of Choose Your Own Adventure Books

I didn’t realize how involved the children of divorced dads Packard and Montgomery were in the creation of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” gamebooks. (The children of divorced dad Will Crowther were one motivation for, and were early playtesters for, Crowther’s original Colossal Cave Adventure; the history of parser text adventure games and branching path…

The Wedding Present

I’m approaching day 900 in my Duolingo adventure in German. (I have no practical reason for this study. It was a routine I could keep up during the COVID-19 lockdown.) Latin is seductive—the consummate logic of its syntactical cases, the mercurial dance of the ablative absolute. It retains muscle in its ruins (Cicero) and tragic…

State officials: Bushy Run staff must consult with Native groups before staging reenactments

When my kids were younger, trips to Busy Run (and other local historical sites) were often a big part of starting a new year of home-schooling. If historic Bushy Run Battlefield Park intends to host future reenactments or programs portraying Native Americans, park management first will have to consult with appropriate Native groups. That’s the…