Deflate when writing prose; inflate when writing essays for school.
Procrastinating on finding ways to add one page to my essay to get the page requirement! Thank you so much.
All you’re doing is giving your teacher more to cross out on your essay, that you’ll have to fill in later with, idk, actual thought. You never sound more academic by inflating your language, you just sound like you’re trying to inflate your language. Don’t waste your teacher’s time unless you want to waste your own.
I like how it says “deflate when writing prose” as if essays did not constitute prose. I dunno. Maybe they write their essays in iambic pentameter. Prolly not.
Technology concentrates power.
In the 90’s, it looked like the Internet might be an exception, that it could be a decentralizing, democratizing force. No one controlled it, no one designed it, it was just kind of assembling itself in an appealing, anarchic way. The companies that first tried to centralize the Internet, like AOL and Microsoft, failed risibly. And open source looked ready to slay any dragon.
But those days are gone. We’ve centralized the bejesus out of the Internet now. There’s one search engine (plus the one no one uses), one social network (plus the one no one uses), one Twitter. We use one ad network, one analytics suite. Anywhere you look online, one or two giant American companies utterly dominate the field.
And there’s the cloud. What a brilliant name! The cloud is the future of online computing, a friendly, fluffy abstraction that we will all ascend into, swaddled in light. But really the cloud is just a large mess of servers somewhere, the property of one American company (plus the clouds no one uses).
Orwell imagined a world with a telescreen in every room, always on, always connected, always monitored. An Xbox One vision of dystopia.
But we’ve done him one better. Nearly everyone here carries in their pocket a tracking device that knows where you are, who you talk to, what you look at, all these intimate details of your life, and sedulously reports them to private servers where the data is stored in perpetuity.
I know I sound like a conspiracy nut framing it like this. I’m not saying we live in an Orwellian nightmare. I love New Zealand! But we have the technology.
When I was in grade school, they used to scare us with something called the permanent record. If you threw a spitball at your friend, it would go in your permanent record, and prevent you getting a good job, or marrying well, until eventually you’d die young and friendless and be buried outside the churchyard wall.
What a relief when we found out that the permanent record was a fiction. Except now we’ve gone and implemented the damned thing. Each of us leaves an indelible, comet-like trail across the Internet that cannot be erased and that we’re not even allowed to see.
The things we really care about seem to disappear from the Internet immediately, but post a stupid YouTube comment (now linked to your real identity) and it will live forever.
And we have to track all this stuff, because the economic basis of today’s web is advertising, or the promise of future advertising. The only way we can convince investors to keep the money flowing is by keeping the most detailed records possible, tied to people’s real identities. Apart from a few corners of anonymity, which not by accident are the most culturally vibrant parts of the Internet, everything is tracked and has to be tracked or the edifice collapses.
What upsets me isn’t that we created this centralized version of the Internet based on permanent surveillance.
What upsets me, what really gets my goat, is that we did it because it was the easiest thing to do. There was no design, forethought, or analysis involved. No one said “hey, this sounds like a great world to live in, let’s make it”. It happened because we couldn’t be bothered.
Making things ephemeral is hard.
Making things distributed is hard.
Making things anonymous is hard.
Coming up with a sane business model is really hard—I get tired just thinking about it.
So let’s take people’s data, throw it on a server, link it to their Facebook profiles, keep it forever, and if we can’t raise another round of venture funding we’ll just slap Google ads on the thing.
"High five, Chad!"
"High five, bro!"
That is the design process that went into building the Internet of 2014.
And of course now we are shocked—shocked!—when, for example, the Ukrainian government uses cell tower data to send scary text messages to protesters in Kiev, in order to try to keep them off the streets. Bad people are using the global surveillance system we built to do something mean! Holy crap! Who could have imagined this?
Or when we learn that the American government is reading the email that you send unencrypted to the ad-supported mail service in another country where it gets archived forever. Inconceivable!
I’m not saying these abuses aren’t serious. But they’re the opposite of surprising. People will always abuse power. That’s not a new insight. There are cuneiform tablets complaining about it. Yet here we are in 2014, startled because unscrupulous people have started to use the powerful tools we created for them.
We put so much care into making the Internet resilient from technical failures, but make no effort to make it resilient to political failure. We treat freedom and the rule of law like inexhaustible natural resources, rather than the fragile and precious treasures that they are.
And now, of course, it’s time to make the Internet of Things, where we will connect everything to everything else, and build cool apps on top, and nothing can possibly go wrong.
The final duel in For a Few Dollars More directed by Sergio Leone
4 minutes of build up & 2 seconds of shooting: action done right.
I thought it was time to reblog myself. BECAUSE THIS IS SO AWESOME. Sometimes, I wake up and I’m like, “Hrm you know what would start this day out right? Watching that incredible climax from Sergio Leone’s For a Few Dollars More. Three lines of dialogue! Sergeio Leone & Ennio Morricone was unbeatable combo.
I love going to the dentist. My dentistry place appears to be staffed entirely by elves, tall and lithe, with beautiful green eyes. It’s like dentistry, Rivendell style.
To steal a music term, the hook of a song is that thing that, well, hooks you in and makes you wanna remember the song. So how does that pertain to design you ask? Well early on in the DA:I project I decided to treat the appeal of the characters I designed not through the eye of the beholder, compiling massive reference sheet of beautiful people and picking features I found appealing. Instead I decided to look through the lens of the narrative, and find their hook. I just found beauty too subjective, too mushy too, too, well lets just say I didn’t find it adequate. Luckily for me a lot of the talented people at Bioware believe in narrative so it wasn’t a hard sell to change the thinking and discussion away from “do I like what that looks like” to “does that visually say what we want”.
In the above example of Cassandra. Her hook is her power and authority. So then the trick was merely to use visual language to tell that story. I no longer had to justify what I thought was attractive. Her face became all about her aggression. Through the angle of her facial structure to the angle of her ears. It all became about giving her a strong aggressive forward visual flow.
— Casper Konefal (x)
I like to drive at night. Late, late night. Ghost-town late. I can go miles without seeing another car. But I cannot go ten feet without coming across a light of some type. A street lamp. Or a stop light. Or shop windows. Whenever I see this, I have this like other voice, this insidious voice that never shuts up, which says “Wasteful.” But I think there’s another side to it. I think, Wow. Look at these colors. Glowing red lights, and green, and orange. Pale yellow, like a moon in a jar. So much light seems like it must be a good thing. In a cartoon, if you animate a light-bulb over a character’s head, everyone knows what that means. But why is that? Why not a light bulb going out? Well light is revelation. It’s such an optimistic declaration: it’s better to be able to see something than to not see something. It means there’s more beauty in the world than ugliness. And I think all this wasteful electricity, well, that’s just one way to look at it. Another way is that lighting up the world, banishing darkness… maybe that’s a good thing.
One day, whether you
you will stumble upon
someone who will start
a fire in you that cannot die.
However, the saddest,
most awful truth
you will ever come to find––
is they are not always
with whom we spend our lives.
PoetNine’s Nine Rules of Writing Fiction
I’ve been doing writing critiques for ages, and I tend to encounter the same mistakes over and over. So much so that I’ve inadvertently created a set of rules (and explanations) that I find myself repeatedly invoking. Here, then are PoetNine’s Nine Rules of Writing Fiction:
1) Never park the car. Skip the boring parts.
2) Never write about your characters’ internal organs. No pounding hearts, constricting throats, or stomach butterflies. You should probably avoid sweat trickling down necks, as well.
3) For the same reason, never write about emotions. Telling a person about a roller-coaster is a pale comparison to riding one.
4) If you’ve ever read a metaphor before, you’re not allowed to use it. Steal and modify if you need to, but never steal outright. You’ll quickly lose all sense of freshness.
5) The plot should never be crystal clear. But it should always be apparently clear. The reader should always think he knows what will happen next, he should usually be wrong, and the ending, once revealed, must always feel inevitable.
6) No detail is an island. A detail is either significant enough to be brought up later, or it isn’t significant enough to be written in the first place. In this way, you train your readers to pay attention.
7) None of your characters is allowed to be a good Buddhist. For that matter, you should study Buddhist tenets and then have your characters behave in the opposite fashion. Desire - the wanting of something - is what drives your characters and allows your readers to empathize with them.
8) Description should always be a form of characterization. A paragraph long description of a sunrise isn’t beautiful. A paragraph long description of how a character views a sunrise just might be.
9) Voice is everything. Voice is the written equivalent of beauty. A beautiful woman can get away with murder. So can a writer with a beautiful voice.