Douglas Rushkoff :
I don’t believe in writer’s block. Yes, there may have been days or even weeks at a time when I have not written — even when I may have wanted to — but that doesn’t mean I was blocked. It simply means I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or, as I’d like to argue, exactly the right place at the right time.
The creative process has more than one kind of expression. There’s the part you could show in a movie montage — the furious typing or painting or equation solving where the writer, artist, or mathematician accomplishes the output of the creative task. But then there’s also the part that happens invisibly, under the surface. That’s when the senses are perceiving the world, the mind and heart are thrown into some sort of dissonance, and the soul chooses to respond.
That response doesn’t just come out like vomit after a bad meal. There’s not such thing as pure expression. Rather, because we live in a social world with other people whose perceptual apparatus needs to be penetrated with our ideas, we must formulate, strategize, order, and then articulate. It is that last part that is visible as output or progress, but it only represents, at best, 25 percent of the process.
Real creativity transcends time. If you are not producing work, then chances are you have fallen into the infinite space between the ticks of the clock where reality is created. Don’t let some capitalist taskmaster tell you otherwise — even if he happens to be in your own head. — Douglas Rushkoff on creativity and breaking through creative blocks (via explore-blog)
(Source: , via explore-blog)
Science fiction opens itself unconsciously to its own fears. Judging by its typical subject matter, it has plenty. It is visibly in fear of death. It has a terror of not being special in the universe. It has a terror of being both vulnerable & out of control. It fears injury. It fears disease. It fears disorientation. It is frame dependent in the perceptual rather than the physics sense & will almost despairingly construct contexts & continuities to appear seamless. It fears the puzzled messiness of being human & is always seeking a fix or a cure or a techno-betterment. It is in denial of its understanding that “organisation” means something different to the universe than it does to human beings. It is afraid of entropy. It is afraid of the irreversibility of action & the rigid nature of objects. Its obsession with unlimited access to vast spaces indicates a deep undermining recognition of its own limits. It fears both that the universe is infinite & that it isn’t infinite enough. But sf’s greatest fear, other than that of generally being alive, is the fear of appearing to be wrong–that is, without argumentative defences: effectively a version of that nightmarish condition in which the individual is self-discovered naked in a public situation. — mapping the nightmare | the m john harrison blog
A student journalist at Bryan College, a conservative Christian institution in Tennessee, apparently is being pressured by his school’s administration to back down on accurate reporting regarding a faculty member.
The story is being covered by long-time media scrutinizer Jim Romenesko on his blog.
The original post, detailing how the student uncovered that the inappropriate circumstances behind a professor’s departure were concealed, is here. Briefly, the student wrote a story for the campus paper using public records, the administration spiked it, and the student distributed it anyway.
The follow-up, detailing that the student was pressured to ask for the post to be taken down, and may be censured by the school, which has misrepresented his reporting, is here.
It is important to note that the student, Alex Green, represents himself as a Bible-believing Christian in tune with his school’s overall values. It is out of those values, he said in the original post, that he stood up for the truth being told about the professor’s behavior.
If you disagree with the journalist’s treatment by his college, and the concealment of misbehavior by a professor, please consider contacting the college:
Bryan College, Dayton TN: http://www.bryan.edu
College president: Stephen Livesay
- on the college site
- on LinkedIn
Update: Here is a post by a mom in the college community, verifying Romenesko’s reporting and objecting to the censorship.
Let me make one thing very clear: writing is damn hard work. The simple mechanics of turning to a fresh page in a notebook, opening a text file or the admin panel of your website are one thing. But what trips most people up lies in the confusion and frustration behind cracking the nut of discipline and focusing on the deliverable. Creativity is often a painful and seemingly unnatural act. Even after years of earning a living as a writer, I’ve still not reconciled the tensions between physical act of writing and the emotional satisfactions that comes from actually having written —
from Jason Konopinski: Develop The Discipline & Do The Work | Jason Konopinski - Write. Think. Do.
7 ways to make your work easy to fact check (from Poynter.org - click thru to read them all) -
…Here are several tips for making your stories easy for yourself and others to fact check, based on interviews with Peter Canby, senior editor and head of fact checking at The New Yorker, whose fact checking department is probably the most famed in the country, and Jonathan Weiner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Beak of the Finch” and a professor at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. These tips were written to apply to freelancers or new newsroom journalists, but they apply universally…
Schrodinger's Rapist. He never goes away. A must, must read. -
I debated whether or not to write this post. And then I debated whether or not to put it on Tumblr…but I decided it was important. Because in my own way, I can (unfortunately) point out exactly what is wrong with men when they don’t realize how hard it is to be a woman. How we do not have equal opportunities and freedoms in everyday life….
Chagas outbreak in Brazil may be foodborne (promedmail.org) -
The Abaetetuba municipality, in the northeast of the [Para] state, has a Chagas disease outbreak. Of the 35 cases registered in Para state, the city registered 11. The suspicion is that the occurrences are related to consumption of acai [a palm, _Euterpe oleracea_, cultivated for fruit, juice or hearts of palm. - Mod. TY]. “We have an recent outbreak in the Abaetetuba municipality. We have about 11 people who are ill, including a man who grinds up acai and 2 people in his family. We know that this number [of ill individuals] is going to increase. Health Surveillance and Epidemiology of the municipality is working [on the situation] and we, as state government [officials], are supervising their actions,” explained Elenild Goes, state coordinator for Chagas disease. According to the state Secretariat of Health (SESPA), Para is the state [in Brazil] with the most cases of the disease. In 2011, 141 cases were registered. From 1 Jan - August, 2012, the Secretariat total is 35 cases…
Cargill to open $250mm China poultry broiler plant in 2013 (Reuters) -
PHUKET, Thailand | Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:47pm
(Reuters) - U.S. agribusiness company Cargill Inc said on Wednesday that it plans to start operating one of China’s biggest broiler production facilities by the middle of next year, boosting its presence in the world’s top meat consumer. With an investment of $250 million, the integrated chicken broiler facility under construction in Anhui province would include a feed mill, farms, hatchery and processing plants, said Christopher Langholz, business unit leader for Cargill Animal Protein, speaking at an industry event in Thailand. “We are doing the construction right now and hope to start by June or July next year,” he said. “We will raise 65 million birds a year and it will be one of the biggest integrated plants in China.”…
oh god my eyes. Karl LAGERFELD?
Karl Lagerfeld was really hot when he was young
Oh just great: Rifampin-resistant meningococcus in France (EuroSurveillance) -
n April 2012, a cluster of two cases of meningococcal disease caused by rifampicin-resistant C meningococci was reported in the Champagne-Ardenne region, France. The two cases occurred in a student population living in the same town but studying at different schools. Bacteriological and epidemiological investigations of cases have shown that the isolates of both cases were non-differentiable.
…In April 2012, at an approximate interval of 10 days, we observed two cases of IMD caused by rifampicin-resistant C meningococcus in students in the Champagne-Ardenne region. Failure of chemoprophylaxis, due to antibiotic resistance, could lead to the occurrence of secondary cases [13–15]. Therefore, the use of rifampicin in chemoprophylaxis against already resistant bacteria creates a positive selection for resistant strains that may then provoke secondary cases. The detection of the cluster of two cases with non-differentiable isolates of rifampicin-resistant C meningococci suggests the possible carriage and circulation of the ST-11 strain in the student population of the Champagne-Ardenne region. …
Senators Urge FDA to Collect More Data on Antibiotics in Agriculture (FoodSafetyNews.com) -
BY HELENA BOTTEMILLER
AUG 17, 2012
Thirteen senators from both sides of the aisle wrote to U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg this week asking the agency to collect more data on antibiotics used in food animal production.
As FDA has noted before, the agency does not have detailed data about veterinary drug usage. Antibiotics sales are reported to FDA, but the agency does not collect any data on which species are treated and what percentage of the drugs are used for disease prevention, growth promotion or therapeutic treatment. Without this data, it’s nearly impossible to accurately track whether the industry is reducing its usage of medically important antibiotics — which scientists and public health advocates have long argued would help combat antibiotic resistance.
"This is of great concern to us, and we urge the agency to design a system with relevant agencies and stakeholders for gathering and analyzing necessary information to assess the effectiveness of the new policies," read the letter, which was signed by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME). "Should you find any critical gaps in your statutory authority, we would welcome the opportunity to work with you to provide additional authorities and resources."
…The letter was also signed by Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), John Kerry (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Facing the end of antibiotics (latimes.com) -
August 6, 2012
Consider an all-too-common scenario: You’re burning up from a high fever after a routine surgical procedure, and an infection specialist is called to help treat your problem. You assume that a short course of antibiotics will quickly turn things around. But the specialist candidly admits: “I’m sorry, I can’t treat your infection. You’ve got a resistant bacteria, a super bug.”
Any of us might hear those frightening words sooner than we think…
Follow-up on the earlier post regarding appalling behavior by Progressive Insurance. They denied they defended the driver who caused the death of Matt Fisher’s sister. Matt Fisher, however, remembers the courtroom scenes very clearly.
Progressive, you suck.
Today, in response to my blog post entitled “My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court,” Progressive released a statement saying that ”Progressive did not serve as the attorney for the defendant” in my sister’s case. I am not a lawyer, but this is what I observed in the courtroom during my sister’s trial:
At the beginning of the trial on Monday, August 6th, an attorney identified himself as Jeffrey R. Moffat and stated that he worked for Progressive Advanced Insurance Company. He then sat next to the defendant. During the trial, both in and out of the courtroom, he conferred with the defendant. He gave an opening statement to the jury, in which he proposed the idea that the defendant should not be found negligent in the case. He cross-examined the plaintiff’s witnesses. On direct examination, he questioned all of the defense’s witnesses. He made objections on behalf of the defendant, and he was a party to the argument of all of the objections heard in the case. After all of the witnesses had been called, he stood before the jury and gave a closing argument, in which he argued that my sister was responsible for the accident that killed her, and that the jury should not decide that the defendant was negligent.
I am comfortable characterizing this as a legal defense.
I wrote about this case on my blog because I felt that, in the wake of my sister’s death, Progressive had sought out ways to meet their strict legal obligation while still disrespecting my sister’s memory and causing my family a world of hurt. Their statement disavowing their role in this case, a case in which their attorney stood before my sister’s jury and argued on behalf of her killer, is simply infuriating.
Scottish schoolgirl dead of E.coli had recently returned from US (Scotsman.com) -
An 8-year-old who died of E. coli O157 was “not part of an outbreak” and recently visited the US. Did she acquire the infection here? (ht Pat Gardiner)
Wednesday 15 August 2012 11:18
A schoolgirl from Ayrshire, who died after contracting e.coli 0157, had recently returned from visiting her father in the United States. Rachel Shaw, 8, died in Yorkhill sick children’s hospital in Glasgow after suffering a bout of sickness and diarrhoea. Reports today note that she had been visiting her father during the summer holidays and had recently returned from her trip. Cindy O’Driscol, head teacher at Dalrymple Primary, paid tribute to Rachel. She said: “Rachel was a well-loved member of our school community. She was always bright and cheerful and will be sorely missed. “Our thoughts and best wishes are with her family at this difficult time.” NHS Ayrshire and Arran said in a statement that it was satisfied that the case was not part of an outbreak and that a particular source had been identified.