Summer is about to start, so it’s time to repost my annual warning for 2014:
How to recognize when someone is drowning.
It’s not what you think. Before you take your kids or loved ones into the water, read this article.
I just saw the umpteenth iteration of “If only this had been edited!” which I’m not linking to because why and also because it’s always and everywhere. You can’t swing a dead pixel without hitting some forum comment lamenting that There Are Errors Where There Shouldn’t Be.
The verb “edit,” when it’s applied to text, does not mean “fix.” I don’t care what the dictionary says, it doesn’t. It means “change.”
Obviously, yes, we hope the changes we make will be improvements. We’re trying to fix things when they’re broken, correct inconsistencies, smooth out sentence structures, fix verb tenses, switch out that off-key word with a clearer one, whatever. Edits are an attempt at improving things.
However, sometimes an edit creates a conflict with something else in the text. Sometimes it’s just a flat out error. What’s more, as a reader we can’t tell if an error was added in the first draft and missed in revisions or if it was added on the very last pass through.
Hey, mistakes happen, even when you edit.
Last Friday, a funny conversation popped up on Twitter. It started with Kameron Hurley, when she tweeted this:
Click through to read the whole thing, but there was also this:
I think it’s worth saying that science fiction and fantasy is a small, disparate field, even on the internet. Those writers whose names you see on popular blog posts or online articles, or who have award nominations, or several thousand Twitter followers? You might be surprised by how much they struggle getting their books out there. Getting noticed, convincing readers to try their work instead of that other author’s, racking up enough sales to keep going and maybe, just maybe someday earning enough that all those hours of writing pay off at something like minimum wage.
Sometimes I think of the internet as a huge cave complex with innumerable caverns. Where I am standing, it may seem crowded with people, and many of the voices I can hear seem so big they echo off the walls, but people just one cavern over have never heard of any of us and don’t care a whit for the drama that sucks up all of our time. And beyond that cavern is another and another, all filled with people that we can’t reach.
The U.S. has a celebrity culture, which seems to be spreading beyond our borders, that encourages folks to assume that “well-known” somehow means “powerful” or “successful.” I’m just saying it’s not so, not with writers. A footprint that might seem large to an individual is probably smaller than you think in real terms.
Anyway, Kameron Hurley has a cool series you should check out, and so does Tobias Buckell. If you haven’t had a chance to check them out, you should. That’s how Big Name Authors are made.
1) The LEVERAXE! which twists in your hand to split wood faster. It’s science!
2) Was the drop in crime caused by unleaded gasoline?
3) Orion, The Masked Man. The singer, not the comic book character.
4) How to make a “sick edit” with mountain bikes. I don’t even know much about mountain bike videos, but I learn a lot from parodies.
5) Is “mankind” the right word to use when you refer to all human beings? Scholars weigh in.
6) German man builds a “web shooter.” This is very similar to the “mini-railgun” ranged weapon my buddy gave to his Champions martial artist years ago.
7) Lip sync battle between Jimmy Fallon and Emma Stone. Video. This is just flat hilarious and amazing.
Occasionally, I’ll see an article or post suggesting that traffic would move faster and be safer if we would only remove our street lights and stop signs. Let people self-regulate, the claim goes, and not only will they be more careful, they’ll get where they’re going sooner.
Well, here’s a time-lapse video of an intersection in the heart of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. No traffic control, lots of scary moments.
Note, according to wikipedia, Ethiopia’s traffic fatalities per 100,000 people is slightly below the world average.
It’s not just about the original story; it’s also about the way people responded to that story.
When my son first started going to Pokemon league, I always made sure to sit in the back of the room. The game store where it was held had a cafe attached (a pretty good one) where I could have relaxed with a beer and some fries, but I always hung at the very back and watched.
The main reason was that, for the first few weeks, an older guy decided to teach him out to play the game. The guy gave me the skeevies for a lot of reasons, not least that his shirts were always filthy in back between the shoulder blades, as though he was sleeping outside (now that sex offenders have to register and inform their neighbors of their criminal history, many have become homeless).
Did I know the guy was a pedophile? Nope, but there was no way I was going to take the chance, and I wasn’t going to leave my son’s safety in the hands of the store/event staff.
Now, this is different from a convention-type event. Pokemon League took place in a room about the size of the cafe I’m sitting in right now. In a convention, people range farther, it’s a bigger space, and there’s way more to see. In that situation, the organizers absolutely have to step up.
If the event is going to have little kids in attendance, pron and other sexual materials should be forbidden. If the whole point is pron and sexual material, the organizers should not allow anyone under 18 to attend.
More importantly, if the people attending have zero faith in the organizers’ ability to keep their attendees safe (especially 11yo girls) that’s a huge, huge problem.
1) What is NeoRealism? Video. Extraordinarily interesting contrast between neorealist and Hollywood movie techniques. h/t @RodneyRamsey
2) The Uncomfortable, a collection of deliberately uncomfortable everyday objects.
3) Sony gets Blender-made animated short pulled from YouTube even though they have no copyright claim to it. You can still watch it on Vimeo, though.
4) Vatican to digitize 41 million pages of ancient manuscripts. Of course, the manuscript pages themselves will outlast whatever file type the Vatican chooses to put them in.
5) Workouts inspired by your favorite fandoms. Heh.
6) What if the moon was a disco ball? Video. A question we’ve all asked at one point or another.
7) The Love Me Letters, Open Letters to Random People.
1) The inevitable D&D-themed yoga. So cool, Brewster.
2) True Detective as Hardy Boy’s style covers.
3) I have never been as deeply moved by anything as this lady is about curtains. True salesmanship. Video.
4) The High Five Camera. Video.
5) Which pet should I get? A Flowchart.
6) Visual charts showing how people around the world communicate. Very interesting and completely authentic, I’m sure.
7) The ten words in English with the most meanings. Another chart.