📺 Blogging Basics | YouTube

Watched Blogging Basics by Greg McVerry from YouTube

Learn in six easy steps how to become a master blogger (Caveat the only way is to read and write a lot)

I’m reminded here of my friend and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Millard Kaufman who once told me while standing in front of his immense library, “If you want to be a good writer, then practice writing; if you want to be a great writer, then read everything and then steal from the best.”

📑 Our Cultural Commonwealth

Quoted Our Cultural Commonwealth: The report of the American Council of Learned Societies Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences [.pdf] by Marlo Welshons (ed.) (acls.org)
...cyberinfrastructure is something more specific thanthe network itself, but it is something more general than a tool or a resource developed for a particular proj-ect, a range of projects, or, even more broadly, for a particular discipline.  

Quote highlighted in the video from module 1 of EDU522

Looks like an interesting report. I’ll note that Jeremy Dean has annotated a bit of the report in the past, so it may be useful to circle back around and read the entire thing.

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👓 Trump Allies Don’t See “Three-Dimensional Chess” In Dinesh D’Souza’s Pardon | BuzzFeed

Read Trump Allies Don’t See “Three-Dimensional Chess” In Dinesh D’Souza’s Pardon by Tarini Parti, Chris Geidner (BuzzFeed)
President Donald Trump's announcement that he was pardoning far-right commentator Dinesh D'Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to campaign finance fraud, caught many in Trump world by surprise Thursday morning, but they insisted it was not indicative of possible pardons for Trump allies ensnared in the Russia probe.

The former official said he doesn’t think Trump is playing “the sort of three-dimensional chess people ascribe to decisions like this. More often than not he’s just eating the pieces.”

This certainly gets the prize for the quote of the year concerning Donald Trump.

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❤️ drmichaellevin tweet about cybernetics

Liked a tweet by Michael Levin (Twitter)
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Quoted Slack chat by Chris BeckstromChris Beckstrom (chat.indieweb.org)
...holy crap this stuff [IndieWeb] is great. When I started getting webmentions from social media using Bridgy I flipped. It's like we're in the future!!!

I remember the early days of Twitter when people were excited about what it was and what it could do. Even then I don’t think people were as excited as Chris Beckstrom was when he made what is certainly the IndieWeb quote of the week this morning.

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👓 Scripting News: August 17, 2017

Read Scripting News: August 17, 2017 by Dave Winer (Scripting News)
Another shift happened a few years ago, when I decided it was okay to develop just for myself, with no intention of ever releasing the stuff I was working on. That led to a new style of product, and a happier developer. I was always doing it for myself, and fooling myself into believing it was for other people. I'm no less a narcissist than anyone else. Once you own that, you get a lot more powerful, I have found.

A great advertisement for selfdogfooding.

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Quote from Mastodon, Twitter and publics 2017-04-24

Quoted Mastodon, Twitter and publics 2017-04-24 by Kevin Marks (kevinmarks.com)
The furore over Fake News is really about the seizures caused by overactivity in these synapses - confabulation and hallucination in the global brain of mutual media. With popularity always following a power law, runaway memetic outbreaks can become endemic, especially when the platform is doing what it can to accelerate them without any sense of their context or meaning.

One might think that Facebook (and others) could easily analyze the things within their network that are getting above average reach and filter out or tamp down the network effects of the most damaging things which in the long run I suspect are going to damage their network overall.

Our synapses have the ability to minimize feedback loops and incoming signals which have deleterious effects–certainly our social networks could (and should) have these features as well.

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Indieweb Quote of the Day: Vladimir Bukovsky On Samizdat

Vladimir Konstantinovich Bukovsky (— ), a Russian writer, neurophysiologist, and activist who was prominent in the Soviet dissident movement of the 1960s and 1970s and spent a total of twelve years in psychiatric prison-hospitals, labor camps and prisons within the Soviet Union
in To Build a Castle: My Life as a Dissenter (Viking Press, 1979, ISBN 978-0-670-71640-1)

 

Etymologically, the word samizdat derives from sam (Russian: сам, “self, by oneself”) and izdat (Russian: издат, an abbreviation of издательство, izdatel’stvo, “publishing house”), and thus translates as “self-published”.

With exception of the jail portion, these ideas underlie much of the Indieweb movement.

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Quote from The Master Switch by Tim Wu: History shows a typical progression

Quoted The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empire by Tim Wu (Vintage)
History shows a typical progression of information technologies: from somebody's hobby to somebody's industry; from jury-rigged contraption to slick production marvel; from a freely accessible channel to one strictly controlled by a single corporation or cartel--from open to closed system. It is a progression so common as to seem inevitable, though it would hardly have seemed so at the dawn of any of the past century's transformative technologies, whether telephony, radio, television, or film. History also shows that whatever has been closed for too long is ripe for ingenuity's assault: in time a closed industry can be opened anew, giving way to all sorts of technical possibilities and expressive uses for the medium before the effort to close the system likewise begins again.

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The Real Theme of Charlotte’s Web

It's a story about the vagaries of the writing process and not about the cycle of life, but then again writing is life...

E.B. White’s backstory

Elements of Style Elwyn Brooks “E. B.” White (July 11, 1899 – October 1, 1985) was an acclaimed American writer who contributed to The New Yorker magazine and co-authored the quintessential English language style guide The Elements of Style, which is commonly known as “Strunk & White” ostensibly making him the writer’s writer.

He is probably best known by most as the author of children’s books Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte’s Web (1952), and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970).

While re-reading Charlotte’s Web and then watching the movie version of Charlotte’s Web (Paramount, 2006) while thinking about the struggling writer in White (and all of us really), I’ve found a completely different theme in the piece as an adult that I certainly didn’t consider as a child when I viewed it simply as a maudlin, coming-of-age, commentary on the cycle of life.

An Alternate Theme

One can think of the characters Charlotte, the heroine spider, and Templeton, the despicable rat, as the two polar opposite personalities of almost any (good) writer. Charlotte represents the fastidious, creative, thinking, and erudite writer that writers aspire to be–which White espouses in The Elements of Style.

The rat was swollen to twice his normal size, Charlotte's Web, page 147 illustration, 1952, GM Williams
The rat was swollen to twice his normal size, Charlotte’s Web, page 147 illustration, 1952, GM Williams

Templeton is a grubbing, greedy, and not-so-discerning writer who takes almost any word to get the story written so he can feast on his next meal of left-over slop.

Wilbur, the runt Spring pig desperately wanting to live to see the first snow, represents the nascent story. It too starts out stunted and scrawny, and it’s not really quite clear that it will live long enough to get published.

Wilbur summersaults like any developing story
Wilbur summersaults like any developing story
The writers struggle represented by Charlottes Web
The writer’s struggle represented by Charlotte’s Web

And so the struggle begins between the “Templeton” in the writer, and the “Charlotte” that the writer wants to become.

Charlotte represents care, devotion, creation, and even life (she not only desperately tries to creatively save Wilbur’s life, but dies to give birth to hundreds), while Templeton is a scavenger, doing the least he can to get by and generally taking advantage of others. Charlotte is crafting art while Templeton represents the writer churning out dreck in hopes of making a buck.

Alas, once the written work emerges to finally see its first “Spring”, one finds that Charlotte has died the death we knew was coming, while Templeton remains–as selfish and dreadful as before–ready to gorge himself once more.

There’s also the bleak and looming fact that Charlotte is now gone and only the vague hope that one of her few progeny will survive to live up to even a fraction of her good name. (Will my next book be as good as the first??)

The Writer takes on the Editor

The other two voices a writer often hears in her head are those represented by the characters of Fern, the doe-eyed youngster, and John Arable, the pragmatic farmer whose sir name is literally defined as “suitable for farming”, but not too coincidentally similar to parable, but without the ‘p.’ The sensible farmer (editor) says kill the runt pig (read: story) before you fall in love with it, while Fern (the creative writer) advocates to let it live a while longer–naively perhaps–wanting to know what results.

Dont Kill Wilbur! John Arable fights with his daughter Fern over an axe as he intends to kill the runt Wilbur.
A visualization of the struggle between the creative author and the sensible and pragmatic editor.

Who will you be?

So as you work on your own writing process, who will you be? Templeton, Charlotte, Fern, or John Arable? Whichever you choose for the moment, remember that all of them are ultimately necessary for the best story seeing the proverbial Spring.

Though your story may not win the “blue ribbon at the fair”, the fact that it has a life that extends the winter is a special prize all on its own to the team that created it.

On Why E.B. White Actually Wrote Charlotte’s Web

E.B. White, author (September 29, 1952)
in a letter to his editor Ursula Nordstrom of Harper & Row, who asked him why he wrote Charlotte’s Web

 

Now that I’ve sketched out the argument, I suspect that most writers will now know, as I do, why E.B. White wrote Charlotte’s Web.

–Achoo!

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I’ll meet you tonight under the moon.

Replied to a post by Rick MendesRick Mendes (Rick Mendes)
“I’ll be your friend in daylight. I’ll treat you as a comrade in every gas-lit ballroom. But alone, under moonlight, I’ll not pretend that I want you for anything but mine.” - Courtney Milan #quote
Groucho Marx (), comedian
in The Cocoanuts (1929), written by George S. Kaufman

 

Meet me under the moon.
I’ll meet you tonight under the moon.
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A lady doesn’t discuss her age or her budget

Paula Wagner (1946– ), producer
on finance in the entertainment industry
in Paula Wagner Turns to Producing on Broadway in The New York Times on 11/4/12

 

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