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Thursday, October 23, 2014

HOW DO YOU GET NEW IDEAS?


DID YOU EVER WONDER WHERE PEOPLE 
GET NEW IDEAS?


In 1959, the fabled sci-fi author, Isaac Asimov (I, ROBOT, FANTASTIC VOYAGE) was asked to work for the government.

He had to decline since any access to secret info would limit his freedom of expression in his writing.

But he wrote an essay on where new ideas came from to help those in the Think Tank he was saying NO to.

It has just now been released:
http://www.technologyreview.com/view/531911/isaac-asimov-mulls-how-do-people-get-new-ideas/


It is a hard topic since even those generators of new ideas rarely know where they came from.

He looked at Darwin and Alfred Wallace (did you know he simultaneously thought of Evolution along with old Charles?)

Both traveled to far places, observing strange species of plants and animals and the manner in which they varied from place to place.

Both were keenly interested in finding an explanation for this,

and both failed until each happened to read Malthus’s “Essay on Population.”

So what is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field,

but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected.

 Thomas H. Huxley is supposed to have exclaimed after reading On the Origin of Species:

“How stupid of me not to have thought of this.”


But why didn't he think of it?
 

 It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable.

 A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance.

Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us.

A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others.

And creation always occurs in isolation since when alone one dares to imagine the impossible.

(Oscar Wilde expressed that viewpoint -- which I had him do again in my DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE.)

 The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it.

His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it.

The famous example of Kekule working out the structure of benzene in his sleep is well-known.  

(At least it was to a genius like Isaac Asimov!)

For a work to be truly creative, it has to depart from the status quo at some point. 

That departure makes many people uncomfortable.

 Bias is present in most people during periods of uncertainty -- 

which explains why society has a history of rejecting its greatest innovations --

And why at this very unstable time in the world, NOW would be a very bad time to be innovative!




OH, YOU THOUGHT I WOULD TELL WHERE TO GET STORY IDEAS!


1) TURN THE ORDINARY INTO THE EXTRAORDINARY:

You know those cute little girls selling their lemonade?  

What if their father spiked that lemonade with a designer bug ... one to which he alone had the cure?


2.) NO PEOPLE ARE LITTLE - JUST THE MINDS OBSERVING THEM:

Ever think of all the mini-slices of life your local mail deliverer sees?  Day by day, week by week, month by month.

What if he were a closet blackmailer?  

A timid soul longing to be a vigilante?  

A bit of healing in a cold world, leaving money, dolls, or clothes where they were badly needed.


3.) MIND {and MINE} YOUR SURROUNDINGS:

Stuck at a dull lecture or civic function?  

Try to imagine the wildest curve that could be thrown to this pompous occasion and write a short story of it.

Observe keenly all the interactions around you no matter if you are eating out, or at the mall, or in the doctor's office.


4.) SEE THE BRUISED HEART BENEATH THE ODDBALL:

While waiting at a distant city's gas station and Quick Shop, I saw a homeless man, wearing a long brown blanket as if it were a cape. 

He walked across the busy interstate, moving his arms as if he were swimming.  I breathed a prayer he would make it safely across.

What had his childhood been like?  Had his mother held him, cooing at the lovely baby given her?  What had fragmented his mind?


Was he happier than most of us who thought we were sane?

Where do you get your ideas from"

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY?


The other day I was looking up a topic on Google and wrote WHAT ...

Google Search provided me with WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY?

To which I intelligently went HUH?


As it turns out, WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY? is a very strange, nonsensical but upbeat song  

(I could only take about 10 seconds of it!):




Like Hibbs with RIVER FACE from his little book, THE CUB WITH NO CLUE, I had found a new game:

I found though that Google Search just gave me a record of what questions I had earlier asked until I got to N

Neuro3X was brought up:


Remember that little clear pill from LIMITLESS?


Some folks are selling "Brain Boosting" pills, using the movie and Will Smith's testimonial to hawk them.

 Neuro3X boosts your IQ in just minutes 

but not before you, in your denseness,

 give your credit card info to a company who will not accept PayPal.

The website has been newly registered with a short life expectancy, 

which follows the pattern used by many fraudulent and fake selling websites.

Please be vigilant and take extra care before providing any payment information.


But wouldn't it be fun if it were valid?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A TOURIST IN THE DIGITAL AGE

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, LENNY LEE!
MAY YOUR DAY HAVE BEEN FANTABULOUS!!


Ghost of Mark Twain, here, Roland.



Beejeebers, I don't want to say you"suck" as the phrase goes these days, 

But, son, you suck!  Not one comment. 

 Hemingway is chortling.  I kicked him for you.  Of course, I then ran like the blazes.  Man simply cannot take a joke!



I admit to being a tourist in the Digital Age.

Look at the cyber-world of Instagram and Pinterest.




People aren’t sharing narratives anymore, they’re sharing basically emotions.

You can see that one result in the total visualization of communication.

Increasingly, people are exchanging images rather than (or in addition to) text.

Like any tool, the internet has its dangers.




Glibbness and artificial charm.  Manipulation of others. A grandiose sense of self.  Shallow emotions.  Easy lying.  Lack of empathy.

The above is what many experts accuse the internet of implanting in its users.  They are also the symptoms of a sociopath.

Consider the BroApp:

 It not only sends scheduled texts, but comes preloaded with 12 messages to help users get started.


Say a guy starts using BroApp with his girlfriend, set to send a message around 12pm each weekday.

Guy observes that girlfriend is now much happier when he arrives home from work.

Guy is no longer stressed about finding time during a busy day to text.

Girl is much happier because her boyfriend is more engaged with their relationship




Most Americans
Most Americans now believe that their children will be worse off than they.  First time in America's history.

America is still the best place to live but no longer a good place to dream. 

Martin Luther King's dream has become a nightmare of school shootings and Ferguson.

Is it because we have become increasingly
emotionally isolated? 
Has Facebook replaced actual interpersonal communication? 
Can we actually hold a conversation on
character-poor Twitter?
HOW LOW CAN THE BAR BE SET FOR INTERPERSONAL INTIMACY?

What are your thoughts?

Monday, October 20, 2014

WISDOM IS NO ONE'S MOTHER TONGUE


"Wisdom is no one's mother tongue.  It has to be worked for."
- Samuel McCord



AMERICAN SCHOOLS ARE TRAINING CHILDREN FOR A WORLD THAT DOESN'T EXIST.

Browse FB, skim Twitter, listen to the talking heads on TV.

Americans are getting dumber in crucial ways.

Our math skills are being stunted by strange ways of getting to simple solutions


 (But it does prepare kids for the nonsense of our political response to practical problems.)


“A man who has both feet planted firmly in the air can be safely called a liberal

as opposed to the conservative, who has both feet firmly planted in his mouth.”
- Mark Twain

 
Our reading skills are withering. 

(Yet, no subject of study is more important than reading, for all other intellectual powers depend upon it.)


Our kids learn within a system of education devised for a world that increasingly does not exist.

Over the next 20 years, our planet with sag under the weight of an additional two billion people.


OUR PLANET CAN LONGER FEED ITS PEOPLE.

The climate will continue to change.  Our coastlines and its populations are doomed unless we start thinking outside the box or make an entirely new one.

Microbiological threats will increase as our traditional techniques of anti-microbial defense lead to greater and greater resistances,

and to fight these we must discover new approaches to medical treatment.



AMERICANS NEED TO LEARN HOW TO DISCOVER.


Being dumb in the existing educational system is bad enough. 

Failing to create a new way of learning adapted to contemporary circumstances MAY PROVE TO BE FATAL.

DISCOVERY has always prompted interest.  It is fun to see the curtain lift before your eyes.  



CAN YOU REMEMBER SCHOOL EVER BEING FUN

It is worse in today's classrooms with combat-fatigued teachers and bored, unruly students.

But the good news is that Nature has a way of
wiping the slate clean and starting over.

What our leaders choose to do with education
in the next few years
may well determine
if we are around
after the slate cleaning.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

11 REASONS YOU SHOULD QUIT WRITING_Victor Standish

 


"A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it to be God."
   - Victor Standish

Roland's zoned out asleep.  So I thought I'd write this post for him.

When nutcases aren't trying to kill me, I surf the net and sometimes I read your blogs.  And while I don't feel your pain, I do sense it in many of your posts.

You want to quit writing, don't you?  No fibbing.  I read not only between the lines of your blogs but under them, too.

I'll make it easier for you:

I'll give you 11 reasons why you should
STOP WRITING!

1.) The septic tank of self-publishing.

        a.) Yeah, in the septic tank of self-publishing, the
              biggest chunks rise to the top.
       
b.) Discoverability on the Internet sucks.
       
c.) Trying to find the secret of standing out is like
              pulling teeth out of roosters: by the time
              you find there aren't any -- you're all cut up!

 
2.) You believe editing compromises your authenticity.
 
         a.) Because only the unhampered, unrefined,
              half-drunk and totally transcended
              creative word-barf you spray on the wall is true art.
         
b.) And as everyone knows: no one wants to read art anymore!

 
3.) The bookpocalypse is upon us.

        a.) Walk into any B & N or BOOKSaMILLION. 
       
b.) All they sell anymore is coffee and board games, except in the back
 
where you will find three zillion dog-eared copies of  50 SHADES OF  GREY and 72 copies of the latest issue of MAXIM.

 
4.) You think grammar rules is for wussies.

        Your sertain its only a matter of time til someone
        seas you’re genius 4 real and then its on and all them
 
teachers can go suck a broom for all you care cuz you gonna be rich and famous and totally kick ass wit the book you writed.

 
5.)  Your cat keeps burying your manuscript in her kitty litter box.

        a.) This is just between us, now. Your book's not that good, is it?
       
b.) Lots of spelling errors. Commas breeding like lice in the scalp that is Roland's cooking.
       
c.) All the structure of an up-ended box of Scrabble letters.
       
 d.) The last time an agent looked at your work, she sent it back wrapped around a hand grenade.

 
6.) You’ve stopped reading books in the eighth grade, because they tarnish your style.

        a.) Like Grandma Moses or Alley Oop, you are an artist in the primitive, unvarnished mold.
       
b.) Every word you read stains your original style with the Philistine brush ...
 
except for THE NATIONAL INQUIRER which keeps you in touch with reality.

 
7.) It’s really HARD.

        a.) Writing? It’s hard.
       
b.) It’s like, you have to sit there? And you have to make stuff up? For a living?
       
 c.) And there’s all this… typing involved.

 
8.)  You suffer from writer’s block 364 days a year.

        a.) Your muse isn't a muse.  She's a hermit.
       
b.) You suffer from imagination constipation, and they don't sell prose laxative at Wal-Mart.

 
9.) Writing ain't writing no more.

        a.) The title “writer” is the sorriest description of the job I’ve ever heard.
        b.) Total. False. Advertising.
        c.) Man, writers have to like… edit, blog, market, learn good business practices,
 
engage in public speaking, train on computer repair, and actually be like ... pleasant on social media.
        d.) Total, major bummer.

 
10.) Ah, where did my toes go?

        a.) Writing is a sedentary activity. You sit on your butt all day.
        b.) Jabba the Hut is sending you love letters.
        c.) The only parts that move are your darting eyes as they follow the cursor and your fingers as they piston-pound out text.
        d.) Your cat thinks you've become Darth Vadar the way your over-worked lungs wheeze.

 
11.) Writing Really Cuts Into Your Internet Time.

        a.) The Internet is like a… delightful hole you fall into, a Wonderland of Facebook and Pinterest and tweets and porn and funny cat pictures.
        b.) Porn? 
 
"Alice, I wrote no such word.  Ah, that word IS porn, isn't it?  Ah, Alice, no getting blood on Roland's laptop!  Alice!"
 

    

Saturday, October 18, 2014

HOW TO GET PEOPLE TO LOVE TO READ YOUR BLOG




NO, NOT THAT WAY!

 Uh, well, maybe in a sense ... Gee, now I sound like Obama,
  
A projected 128 million people in America will read blogs in 2014

Don't you wish you could get 1% of them to read your blog?

BAD NEWS


On the average only 33% read your ENTIRE post.  

That means basically your mother and your cat looking over your shoulder.  

And both will probably understand just as much of it.

Most read only the headline

skim quickly the body of your post, 

and then only slightly less quickly dart through your summary or conclusion.

Sadly, this culture cannot focus for long.  In fact, most will zone out in the middle of this very sentence!

 Statistically speaking, 

this is the golden spot in my post at which I’ve lost all the disengaged readers, 

and am speaking only to a small cluster of engaged learners. 

(Hi, friends. Thanks for sticking with me.)



THE "HOW TO" PART 

It is in the middle 1/3 of your post that the focus of your engaged reader will be the most "hot."


MAKE IT WORTH THEIR WHILE

How?  

 
IMAGES!

Got your attention, didn't I?

Now, you understand why I don't give out Halloween candy at Meilori's anymore, don't you?

If you get people to read your first 3-4 sentences, they’re more likely to read your entire post

Draw their eyes downward after those sentences with a riveting image, 

and they will read the next few sentences.


THEN, WHAT?



TELL A STORY at the start or in the fabric of the body of your post.

A post with a narrative introduction -- a story -- has nearly 300% higher time full-page reads, and 520% higher time spent on page. 

 People love stories, regardless of their age, background, intellect, and beverage preference.


We love stories.  It is why we tell them in prose or on Facebook.



There was a reason Aesop just didn't give his audience the moral up front.  

A reader will grasp your points herself with the story, making the points a part of her. 

When we hear mere information, we are merely taking in the words and deciding what they mean.

When we hear a story, our brains react as if we are feeling the events ourselves.


DESIGN YOUR POST FOR SUCCESS 


Blunt instruments of solid prose in your post will drive off readers.  No solid walls of text.


USE DESIGN TO GIVE ORDER TO YOUR POST:


The larger the text, the more the eye is drawn to it.  

Your eye will go to prose in bold font.  

Color will draw the eye as well.



DIRECT THE FLOW OF THEIR MINDS:

Word design is all very well and good.  But you must direct the flow of their minds as well.

ENTICE their minds to follow your thinking with logic, with questions, with humor.


HOW DO HUNTERS HUNT DUCKS?

They go where they are.  They know what they like.  

They lurk in the marsh, scatter out decoys to indicate good eating is there, and they make duck calls.

"Come on down!  There are good groceries down here!"



GIVE THE READER 
WHAT THEY WANT


No matter your target audience, you know what is on their minds, the questions they want answered.

Answer them: honestly and with humor.

And as with the text, font, and images of your post:


MIX IT UP WITH 
THE TOPICS OF YOUR POSTS 

Never become predictable.  No one likes to eat the same meal every day.  

Muse one day.  Make them laugh the next.  Spin a tale from your past or one of your WIP's.

Write a post on a topic you wished someone had written for you to keep you from researching for hours.




REMEMBER THE OTHER END OF YOUR BLOG

The person reading it at home, at work, 
or while riding the subway.  

Think they could use a friend?  Of course they could.  A laugh on a grey day?  

Try to be the healing moment in their day.  


WHAT WAYS DO YOU THINK
 YOU CAN MAKE YOUR BLOG 
ONE PEOPLE WILL LOVE?