Clear and to the Point

21 November, 2011

Book reviews: Big Al’s Books and Pals

Filed under: books — monado @ 14:11
Tags: ,

Not only does the blog name rhyme, but the reviews are clear, careful and thorough. If you are interested in e-books, take a look at  Big Al’s Books and Pals for recommendations.

2 April, 2009

My favourite typo

Filed under: accuracy,writing — monado @ 22:42
Tags: , , ,

sm-getoffunicornThis is far and away the most unfortunate, longest-brewing, disappointing typographical error that I know. I’ve seen typos in headlines. I’ve seen typos in books. I’ve seen typos that caused confusion or absurd mental images. But a book title!

Get Off the Unicorn contains fourteen short stories of science fiction and fantasy by Anne McCaffrey. Years after the fact, the author confided that the title she’d chosen and sent to the publisher was Get of the Unicorn.

17 February, 2009

Jacques Barzun, researcher and editor

Filed under: technical communication — monado @ 21:55
Tags: , , has a moderately detailed biography of Jacques Barzun. For seventy years, Barzun has written and edited over 30 books of critical and historical studies on a wide variety of subjects.

His book The Modern Researcher has an excellent chapter on writing well.

8 November, 2008

Larry Niven should be proud

A term that Larry Niven invented, “flash crowd,” has entered the lexicon in a useful way. It’s sometimes called “flash mob,” which has an ethological ring reminiscent of “mobbing behaviour” by birds. Modern concepts are discovered this way: I believe it was Theodore Sturgeon who anticipated the traffic jam.

It has also been organized into a useful group effort. It’s like a barn-building “bee” that calls on participants to volunteer at random instead of calling one well-known neighbours.

Here’s an example: “Flash mob cataloging party.”


Mob cataloguing is also done online by people publishing photographs of their bookshelves and letting viewers catalogue what they see.

This represents a new and powerful way of using Internet contributions deliberately to accomplish tasks that otherwise would not attract the resources to do them.

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