At Computers and Writing #cwcon for the weekend.

Am I wise now? At an event for encouraging graduate student research, a 26yo grad student said she had just heard the term “impostor syndrome,” and she asked how long she’d have to be in the profession before she got over her fears that she was just faking it and didn’t belong. I looked her in the eyes and told her that her parents, her mentors, and all of their…

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How the Ballpoint Pen Killed Cursive

The ink used in a fountain pen, the ballpoint’s predecessor, is thinner to facilitate better flow through the nib—but put that thinner ink inside a ballpoint pen, and you’ll end up with a leaky mess. Ink is where László Bíró, working with his chemist brother György, made the crucial changes: They experimented with thicker, quick-drying inks, starting with the ink used in newsprint presses. Eventually, they refined both the ink…

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STEM Education Won’t Solve the World’s Problems

I love STEM. My SAT score for math was exactly the same as verbal. When I was in grad school, struggling with Sausserian semiotics and Beowulf in the original Old English, I taught myself C++, Turbo Pascal, and Java for fun. For some project I was coding I learned how to do 3D matrix transformations so that I could simulate light bouncing off of a solid surface. I had part-time…