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Numbers | Grammar and Punctuation
Green check mark The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM, an acronym which is French for Bureau international des poids et mesures) and the U.S. Government Printing Office both suggest printing temperatures with a space between the number and the degree symbol, as in 10 °C.
writing  styleguide  units  solution 
18 days ago by kme
Sean Penn The Novelist Must Be Stopped | HuffPost
“Behind decorative gabion walls, an elderly neighbor sits centurion on his porch watching Bob with surreptitious soupçon.” ― page 71
“While the privileged patronize this pickle as epithet to the epigenetic inequality of equals, Bob smells a cyber-assisted assault emboldened by right-brain Hollywood narcissists.” ― page 99

This is all, apparently, supposed to seem deeply witty and profound. Instead, it’s akin to the product of a postmodern literature bot. It doesn’t seem quite possible that a human person wrote this mess.
celebrity  writing  ishard 
october 2019 by kme
Letters of Note: It is the woman who pays
Nov. 30 '90

Dearest Marianne Brown --

It can't be said often enough, "It is the woman who pays." The miracle is that so many can and do somehow. I was in love (still am) with a widow with four kids (two not her own). She somehow raised them all on a teeny weeny salary. I told her one time, "I worry about women." She said, "Don't."

Cheers --


Kurt Vonnegut
vonnegut  letters  writing 
august 2019 by kme
'None Is' or 'None Are'? | Grammar Girl
tl;dr: Either one could be right, depending on whether you mean to say "not any of them are" (corrupted) or "not a single one of them is" (included in the cost).
grammar  english  writing  dammitbrain 
june 2019 by kme
GitHub - btford/write-good: Naive linter for English prose
Naive linter for English prose. Contribute to btford/write-good development by creating an account on GitHub.
english  language  grammar  writing  linter  stylechecker  nodejs  npm 
june 2019 by kme
Alex - Catch insensitive, inconsiderate writing |
Whether your own or someone else’s writing, alex helps you find gender favouring, polarising, race related, religion inconsiderate, or other unequal phrasing.
javascript  library  language  writing  censor  abuse  harassment 
january 2019 by kme
Big Huge Thesaurus: Synonyms, antonyms, and rhymes (oh my!) |
Get english synonyms, antonyms, sound-alike, and rhyming words from the Big Huge Thesaurus.
language  dictionary  thesaurus  reference  webservice  rest  api  poetry  writing 
january 2019 by kme
Re: Hate Mail |
But really, I don’t block my internet stalker because I’m compelled by my own shame. How much do I need to be liked? I do my best to avoid the black hole of this question: I don’t google myself. I don’t read the comments anymore. I read only the most professional reviews. But once the dark gravity of judgement has me in its grasp, once it’s in my inbox, I can’t look away. Fleetingly, it feels true that I should be tested. That in asking the world to consider my voice, I’ve invited th...
writing  harassment  theinternet  dudes  thelifeofthemind 
november 2018 by kme
Go Ahead, Put that Preposition at the End! |
This is the kind of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put. --Churchill

Those who lay down the universal principle that final prepositions are “inelegant” are unconsciously trying to deprive the English language of a valuable idiomatic resource, which has been used freely by all our greatest writers except those whose instinct for English idiom has been overpowered by notions of correctness derived from Latin standards.

The legitimacy of the prepositional ending in literary English must be uncompromisingly maintained; in respect of elegance or inelegance, every example must be judged not by any arbitrary rule, but on its own merits, according to the impression it makes on the feeling of educated English readers.
english  language  writing  style  grammar  solution 
january 2018 by kme
sometimes i'm wrong: life after bem |

let's start with this: bem recommends writing 'the article that makes the most sense now that you have seen the results' (rather than 'the article you planned to write when you designed your study'). it is pretty clear from the rest of this section that bem is basically telling us to invent whatever a priori hypotheses turn out to be supported by our results. indeed, he says this pretty explicitly on the next page:

'contrary to the conventional wisdom, science does not care how clever or clairvoyant you were at guessing your results ahead of time. scientific integrity does not require you to lead your readers through all your wrong-headed hunches only to show - voila! - they were wrongheaded.'

actually, science does care. and scientific integrity does require something along those lines. not that you tell us about all your wrong ideas, but that you not claim that you had the right idea all along if you didn't. if science didn't care, pre-registration and bayesian statistics would not be enjoying the popularity they are today.

the tension here is between sticking to the (messy) facts, and doing some polishing and interpreting for the reader so she doesn't have to wade around a giant pile of unstructured findings. i will give bem credit, he seems aware of this tension. later in the chapter, he writes:

'[...] be willing to accept negative or unexpected results without a tortured attempt to explain them away. do not make up long, involved, pretzel-shaped theories to account for every hiccup in the data.'

so he acknowledged that the results don't need to be perfect (though he seems more worried about the fact that the story you would need to tell to explain the imperfections would itself be ugly and tortured, rather than about the fact that it's important to disclose the imperfections for the sake of scientific rigor).

another (related) step is to stop claiming to have had a priori hypotheses that we didn't actually have. however, this step is trickier because editors and reviewers still want to see the 'correct' hypothesis up front. there are some good reasons for this - it is kind of a waste of time to read an entire intro building up to a hypothesis that turns out to be false. one handy solution for this is to select research questions that are interesting whichever way the results come out - then the intro can present the two competing hypotheses and why each result would be interesting/informative.*** i am told that in some areas of research this is just not possible. all the more reason for everyone to become a personality psychologist. come join us, we never know which way our results will turn out!

From the comments:
When I first encountered Bem's paper I was (quite frankly) appalled. But other's had directed me to read it, and I saw no criticisms in the literature about it, so I thought "well, that just must be the way things work."

Then (a few months later) I read a wonderful paper by Arina K. Bones (a great psychologist in her own right) and Navin R. Johnson ( On p. 409 the paper reads "We did not know whether to predict a rapid or slow change in animate associations because of conflicting existing evidence about the malleability of implicit cognition. The fragility of the hypothesis did not pose a difficulty because we proposed a priori to write the article as a good story and as if the ultimate results were anticipated all along (Bem, 2003). After all, this is psychology--only actual scientists would want to read how the process of scientific discovery actually occurred."

Exactly. And now 7 years later, your post is the second time I have seen Bem's advice criticized. I am almost sure to have missed another criticism of it here or there somewhere, but I am still amazed that this is considered mandatory reading nay, advice, for graduate students in psychology.

I found this quote from Albert Einstein on the internet one day (i.e., I am not giving accuracy to its attribution; nonetheless I find it useful): "Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either."

Sometimes science is full of boring details. So be it.
writing  science  research  publication 
november 2017 by kme
ethics - Co-authors request that others do not use "he" as a pronoun - is this reasonable? - Academia Stack Exchange

Using "they" as a singular instead of "he" or "she" is no more incorrect than using "you" as a singular instead of "thou", which thou happily dost every day.
english  pronouns  language  advice  writing 
january 2017 by kme
How a medieval mystic was the first creator of fanfiction | Aeon Essays
The idea that women’s earthiness and materiality make them incapable of higher thought is a very old one. It was certainly dominant in the Middle Ages. That doesn’t mean that men naturally read in a cold and objective way, and women naturally read in an excessive and emotional way – rather that masculinity and femininity were assigned to the two reading styles, and men and women did both, sliding between gender categories depending on the effect they wanted to achieve, or the space they wanted to inhabit. For this reason, affective piety was particularly associated with women.
reading  writing  fanfic  fiction  guiltypleasures 
november 2016 by kme
Laura Ingalls Wilder's 'Little House on the Prairie' Series and the Art of Self-Disclosure - The Atlantic
Instead of following Oprah or Sheryl Sandberg, I have—for better and worse—heeded the stoic wisdom of Wilder, who writes in Little Town on the Prairie that “grown-up people must never let feelings be shown by voice or manner.” In other words: I’m passive-aggressive, I secretly pursue my own agenda, and—the greatest of self-care sins—I hide my feelings. As an adult, I’m baffled by the stars of reality dating shows like The Bachelor, less by their appetite for public scrutiny than by their fluency in an emotional vernacular that feels both evangelical and alien. Over candlelit dinners, contestants confess their love and relate traumatic stories in order to prove they’re “ready to open up and be vulnerable.” While Little House and The Bachelor are forms of reality-based fiction, autobiographical works like the former are usually associated with self-expression. But across eight volumes and hundreds of pages, Wilder and her characters repeatedly tout the dangers of sharing your feelings. Over the years, I’ve come to accept this sentiment’s many pitfalls, while trying to better understand the historical and cultural value it held for pioneers like the Ingalls family.

I grew up 45 miles from Wilder’s birthplace in Pepin, Wisconsin, a part of the world where people spend their whole lives in the “dot-dot-dot.” We try not to bother others with our feelings, and we leave a lot unsaid. In one (perhaps extreme) example: A family friend, an elderly woman, woke up at 3 a.m. with chest pains. She thought about calling 9-1-1, but decided not to. If the ambulance came, the siren might wake the neighbors. She considered calling her kids, but she didn’t want to worry them. So she drove herself to the emergency room. When she arrived, she opted not to take one of the parking spots close to the entrance, because someone else might need it. For so many of us in Wilder country, emergencies happen to other people.
writing  feelings  adulthood  emotions 
june 2016 by kme
MM - Novel Halfway point - Traci York, Writer
You don’t know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you’re pretty sure that even if you finish it it won’t have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began—a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read—it falls so painfully short that you’re pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.
writing  doubt  motivation 
december 2015 by kme
Plato - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
he who has knowledge of the just and the good and beautiful ... will not, when in earnest, write them in ink, sowing them through a pen with words, which cannot defend themselves by argument and cannot teach the truth effectually
reading  writing  truth 
march 2015 by kme
Paris Review - A Humorist at Work, Fran Lebowitz []
A Bic pen. I’m such a slow writer I have no need for anything as fast as a word processor. I don’t need anything so snappy. I write so slowly that I could write in my own blood without hurting myself. I think if there were no such thing as men, there would be no word processors. Male writers like them because they have this sneaking suspicion that writing is not the most masculine profession. This is why you have so much idiotic behavior among male writers. There are more male writers who own guns than any other profession except police officers. They like machines because it makes them seem more masculine. Well, I work on a machine. It’s almost as good as being a mechanic.

I have a real aversion to machines. I write with a pen. Then I read it to someone who writes it onto the computer. What are those computer letters made of anyway? Light? Too insubstantial. Paper, you can feel it. A pen. There’s a connection. A pen goes exactly at your speed, whereas that machine jumps. And then, that machine is waiting for you, just humming “uh-huh, yes?”

Spelling. I am probably the worst speller in the world, so I am constantly looking things up. Every time I sit at my desk, I look at my dictionary, a Webster’s Second Unabridged with nine million words in it and think, All the words I need are in there; they’re just in the wrong order.

About this time I did a benefit reading with some other writers including Scott Spencer, whom I know slightly. Right before I went on, I asked him, By the way, how long does it take you to write four thousand words. He said, I could write that in a day. That was the worst thing that anyone had ever said to me. If I was on amphetamines I couldn’t write that much in a day. I was crushed. I felt horrible. I could barely read what I had and then I had to listen to the other writers read. When you sit up on a stage you have to pretend to look interested. It was horrible. As I was walking out he said, Why did you ask me that? I told him about my impending reading and how I had needed to fill a certain amount of time. I said, But you, you can write thirty-five hundred words a day. He said, Yes, but then I throw out three thousand two hundred and fifty. That cheered me up quite a bit.

Several years ago, someone asked me to talk to a class at Yale—a humor-writing class. To me this was the joke. Really, why not have a class on how to have blue eyes? If I was a parent and I found out that my child, on whom I was spending eight billion dollars a year sending to Yale, was taking a humor-writing class, I would be furious. I can’t imagine a more fraudulent activity than teaching a humor-writing class. Certainly those people should be in jail. I would like to arrest them personally.

Now, of course the chance of a given writer having a new idea is slim, but should they have one, that idea has to filter into the culture in a different way, through some horrible other medium, and if the idea is not destroyed, it does become distorted and vastly diminished. People truly unworthy of that idea will be the ones to set it before the society.
interview  writing  writersblockade 
march 2015 by kme
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