Amazon’s self-publishing tools mean its never been easier to publish a book—and scammers have figured out how to churn out low-quality content to earn large amounts of money. The Washington Post (a company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos) takes the time to explore one such entrepreneur who has “written” more than eighty books....more
Posts Tagged: Washington Post
The Internet loves correcting other people’s grammar. But
you’re your grammar mistakes are often the result of how the brain functions rather than ignorance, cognitive scientists have learned. The Washington Post reports that the reason we often end up with homophone errors is that the brain double checks our writing with the way a word sounds, leading to common errors:
The brain doesn’t always consult a word’s sound, but studies have shown that it frequently falls back on it, and sound tells us nothing about the difference between “you’re” and “your.” Research on typing errors reveals that sound creates even odder mistakes, such as people writing “28” when they mean to type “20A.” It’s no wonder that people who know better will routinely confound closer pairings such as “it’s” and “its” or “know” and “no.”
Proving that the quest for high scores on the SAT is as tragically unhip as ever, The Princeton Review is making headlines for setting off a grammar grudge match with pop sensation Taylor Swift. Swift’s lyrics are not only included in a section on pronoun agreement errors, they’re misquoted (although as Eugene Volokh points out at WaPo, this doesn’t seem to have changed the grammatical point in question)....more
Even after spending so much time, effort and money on getting the dust jacket just right, most publishers go back to the drawing board to design the paperback version. That always seems to me like a waste of hard-won brand awareness, but I’m told most books don’t sell well enough to establish any brand awareness…
For the Washington Post, Ron Charles looks at how publishers re-brand books once they move to paperback....more
The standoff between Amazon and Hachette has harmed authors more than either corporation. The corporations are surviving on massive war chests and alternate revenue streams. Authors, however, are far more adversely affected by reduced book pre-sales and the sale of electronic books (available immediately) versus physical books (artificially delayed by Amazon)....more
(n.) a neighbor whose house is on fire; from the Ancient Greek character Ucalegon, an Elder of Troy whose house was set on fire by the Achaeans when they invaded the city.
Accomack is a small county that looked half-gutted even before the fire started, where love and fire could combine to transform two ordinary people’s lives into an epic romance.
Slender Man and the Hunger Games salute have crossed the boundaries from the fictional world to the real world. Begging the questions, what are the stories that remain with us? That we manifest into reality?...more
Common wisdom has it that the Internet has disconnected people from their sense of empathy—but maybe it’s just exposed society at large to greater numbers of people who were already unempathetic.
This Washington Post blog post reports on a Canadian study which “found that trolling correlated with higher rates of sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism, a certain lack of scruples when it comes to deceiving or manipulating other people.”
Is that better or worse?...more
What exactly does it mean that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has purchased the Washington Post?...more
Kelly Clarkson’s Inaugural Song Means the Death of Country Music
Inaugural country singer Kelly Clarkson said that her story is America’s story.
If that’s the case, America should be slightly concerned. Ms. Clarkson is a walking example of the American dream — as she eloquently puts it, “the American story is in many ways my story — I even played Brenda Lee in a TV show called “American Dreams.’”
She has overcome numerous obstacles, struggled against opposition both internal and external — in order to excel in country western singing, a field that may very well be obsolete....more
An article in the Atlantic discusses the Washington Post’s graph that charts undergraduate degrees and their expected income levels.
The Post’s graph seems pretty deterministic (or maybe it just reflects how trendy it is to plot income level against groups of people), implying that all humanities majors get ready for frugal lifestyles in education and social work....more
Joe Lieberman is introducing something he calls the Terrorist Expatriation Act–TEA Act for short, though the redundancy seems lost on them–which would make it possible for the State Department to strip the citizenship from anyone they determine is “involved with terrorist activities.”
Lieberman claims that he’s simply trying to update existing law....more
“What are the best books? The answer is always subjective, and I’m not a literary arbiter. But the message I received from this year’s lists was painfully familiar. It forced me to explain to my students — the next generation of writers — that the men in the class have double if not five times the chance of this kind of recognition....more
Is the Bible too liberal for you? Too much of that “help the poor” and not enough sinner-smiting? Do you have no knowledge of ancient Greek and no experience in translation? Then you’re perfect for this project.
Shirley Dent talks about the difference between idiom and slang, especially as it relates to culture....more
North Korean women risk their lives to escape across the border to China, where they often face lives of indentured servitude and the ever-present fear of being outed by the husbands they marry or communities they join and sent back to North Korea....more