Thursday, July 12, 2012

Around the Word

I Can Haz English. Ah, the youth of today. Much has been made of the debate over the effect of the Internet on language and the "dumbing down" of America. This latest example from former college English professor James C. Courter bemoans how a seeming decline in literacy is effecting students' ability to translate common English phrases they hear, but aren't reading, into writing. The result are some pretty egregious (but hilarious) unintended puns, which Courter describes as a "stream of unconsciousness."  Some "gems": a "poultry excuse," experiencing "inclimate weather," observing "toilet tree" etiquette, and a lack of understanding "Taco Bell's Cannon."  Is there any hope for future, or should we just resign ourselves and rename these up-and-comers Gener8tion [sic]?

Reading Rainbow: There's an App for That. One proven way to get kids reading and avoid those embarrassing errors: start 'em young. For nearly twenty years, beloved PBS series Reading Rainbow was a great source of reading-list fodder for today's Gen X and Y-ers, and now the program, which left airways in 2006, is hoping to reach a new generation of readers with an iPad app. Like the show, the app will feature video field trips, as well as granting subscribers access to 150 books.

The Emotional Life of Freelancers. Freelancing may not be the easiest gig, but it turns out that by and large, freelancers are a pretty happy bunch. Check out this great infographic on Mashable, based on results from the 2012 Salary Survey & Job Market Report. According to the survey, freelancers report a high level of job satisfaction, expectations for salary increases in the coming year, and a disinclination to return to the permanent employment. Freelancing isn't all roses, though. Respondents reported that while work-life balance, flexibility, and salary are definite pluses, there are still issues that "keep them up at night," including meeting deadlines, staying relevant, and lack of a clear career path.

A Literary Exquisite Corpse Goes Live. For only $15, you too can be a published author.  In a new experiment that take the concepts of crowdsourcing and -funding to the next level, Canadian filmmaker and writier Dan Perlmutter is inviting patrons to literally buy into his new novel. Rates range from $15 for one sentence to $1000 for determining the ending. Almost every aspect of the book is up for sale, from choosing the genre ($750) to inventing a character (a mere $30). Perlmutter plans to include all paid contributions, and when it comes to attribution, the "author" claims this is just the ultimate use of Creative Commons “'Yeah, well, my name is going to be large on the cover still," he said. "[But] authors are always stealing ideas from all over the place. This is just going to be a little more explicitly done.'”  What do you think? Would you pay to play?

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