Links for 22nd April 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. How the Other Half Writes: In Defense of Twitter

    "Again, I fail to see any clear distinction between someone's boring Twitter feed – considered only semi-literate and very much bad – versus someone's equally boring, but paper-based diary – considered both pro-humanist and unquestionably good.
    Kafka would have had a Twitter feed! And so would have Hemingway, and so would have Virgil, and so would have Sappho. It's a tool for writing. Heraclitus would have had a f***ing Twitter feed.
    Finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, now that the other half writes – those everyday people who weren't suppose to have thoughts, who aren't known for reading David Foster Wallace or Dostoevsky or James Joyce, those overlooked people from whom we buy groceries, who fix our cars, clean our houses, and vote differently than we do – it seems comparable only to a kind of police action that the people who once thought they were the chosen writers, that they were this generation's idea-smiths, are now so up in arms. " Geoff Manaugh

    Tagged with: writingTwitterGeoff-Manaughegalitarianismgatekeeping

  2. Five (and One Silly) Ideas For Avoiding the Paradox of Choice in Writing

    "There’s a general rule of thumb that’s often offered as writing advice, which is, when you need to make a decision like a character aspect, or a plot element, you should not go with your first notion. Or your second. Or even you third. It sometimes takes pushing past the first several ideas that come to mind because the ideas that most easily come to mind are typically cliches. Even if you at first don’t think they are, keep pushing for an alternative anyway.Try writing a story in which each time you need to make a decision, before writing, you come up with three ideas, and discard the first two you think of. See where that leads you." Jeremiah Tolbert.

    Tagged with: writingadviceplotchoiceindecisionfictionparadox

  3. J.G. Ballard

    "He became a sage and prophet, whose visions of the cost of living in the modern world were an integral part of our understanding of the shape of things to come. At least one English dictionary has accepted "Ballardian" as a term descriptive of the landscape of the late 20th century: bleak, rusted out, choked with Ozymandian relics of the space age now past, dystopian – a landscape which surreally embodies the psychopathologies of modern humanity." The Clute obituary, natch.

    Tagged with: sfliteratureJG-BallardobituaryClutewriter

  4. Damaged Barrier Reef coral makes ‘spectacular’ recovery

    "A "lucky combination" of rare circumstances has meant the reef has been able to make a recovery. Abundant corals have reestablished themselves in a single year, say the researchers […]

    "Three factors were critical," said Dr Guillermo Diaz-Pulido. "The first was exceptionally high regrowth of fragments of surviving coral tissue. The second was an unusual seasonal dieback in the seaweeds, and the third was the presence of a highly competitive coral species, which was able to outgrow the seaweed.""

    Tagged with: seacoralreefenvironmentecosphere

  5. The End of the Cell

    "Another possibility is that mobile networks that already exist will open up to VoIP companies like Vonage, Skype, and Google Voice. That's a scary prospect for them, because it effectively redefines them from "the company you pay for mobile-phone service (and maybe get some data over your phone too)" to "the company you pay for your handheld computer to be connected to the internet." In other words, wireless carriers will have to lower their drawbridges and allow two-cent-or-less-a-minute VoIP calls (for which they're not getting paid at all) to compete with their current, much higher rates." Yeah; they're gonna drag their heels about it, though.

    Tagged with: technologycommunicationmobilephonewifivoipinternetconvergence

  6. "Racism and Science Fiction" by Samuel R. Delany

    "Racism for me has always appeared to be first and foremost a system, largely supported by material and economic conditions at work in a field of social traditions. Thus, though racism is always made manifest through individuals’ decisions, actions, words, and feelings, when we have the luxury of looking at it with the longer view (and we don’t, always), usually I don’t see much point in blaming people personally, white or black, for their feelings or even for their specific actions—as long as they remain this side of the criminal. These are not what stabilize the system. These are not what promote and reproduce the system. These are not the points where the most lasting changes can be introduced to alter the system. "

    Tagged with: Samuel-Delanyraceracismsfsciencefictionliteraturewriting

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