Writing…

In my critique group, one of my fellow writers talked about a workshop he attended. He said the proper way to write was in composition notebooks. Or, so he learned in his workshop.

That tidbit sparked a small debate about whether it was a different experience to write by hand versus by computer. Something about people who type directly into the computer are wordier than those who don’t.

I never like broad generalizations, but it’s an interesting theory.

I still don’t understand why the composition notebook. What’s wrong with looseleaf paper in a binder or blank books or spiral notebooks? Isn’t paper, well, paper?

In the interest of the experiment, I bought a couple composition notebooks. Luckily, they’re for sale for a quarter at Target. I love back-to-school sales! Yesterday I wrote in one for awhile while my daughter slept.

Okay, I’ll admit at this moment I’m just happy to be writing. So in the purposes of science, how long would I have to write to make a good determination? What variables should I keep track of?

You might be able to tell I’m a recovering engineer. Recovering because I no longer go to meetings.

That statement might not be totally true, since those critique groups run at specific times and places. Ah well, it’s very difficult to get away from all meetings. I should just be happy I’ve cut down.

A writing experiment on paper versus computer makes me wonder what things to track. What do writers look for in their sessions? Well, words for one thing. Good words are a bonus. The only problem is, whether the words are good or not is extremely difficult to tell.

I mean, if it were easy to know what the best part of the story was, we wouldn’t have pieces of advice like ‘kill your darlings,’ would we?

Geek Appeal

Do you think left-brain and right-brain dominance is exclusive?

I have a writer friend who questions whether or not she ought to accept a rooommate who cannot punctuate a return email. As someone who lives with a man who can’t spell to save his life, I’d bet on him in the math department against almost any of my writer friends.

Most of my enginerding buddies have difficulties in the spelling, grammar, and/or punctuation departments. It isn’t about their intelligence – it’s simply an emphasis on the other side of the brain. The logic side, I think. Does that mean our language isn’t logical? Perhaps. I haven’t heard a single person try to argue that one.

In fact, there are a lot of spam eamils to the contrary- “If the plural of mouse is mice, is the plural of house hice?” One moose, two moose; one goose, two geese. While I know some math nerds who will argue that 2 + 2 can equal anything from 3 to 5, there is still logic in that statement.

Geek Appeal

Northwestern University is using nanodiamonds to deliver insulin to fight infection and heal wounds. Perhaps they’re not just a girl’s best friend anymore? Just kidding, nanodiamonds would never be visible or good for resale. Read about it here.

It’s actually very interesting to have new ways to beat infection. Nanodiamonds are something I haven’t heard of. I might have to do some research to figure out what else they could be used for!

Geek Appeal

Or, perhaps this one is about Geek Unappeal… Read 4 ways to drive scientists mad here.

I think engineers are just as bad. Of course, they have the upper hand, since it’s much easier for them to drive the rest of the people crazy. Think about it! They are imaginative enough to spell words hundreds of ways, rather than just one. They get so technical they can drive the fun out of things. They also make you feel silly for not knowing what those buttons on your calculator do.

How would I know? Oh, didn’t I mention that engineering degree getting dusty on the shelf?

Geek Appeal

For Father’s Day, I gave my husband a book to read to our daughter. I’m not sure how amused he was, but it fits today’s topic, so I thought I’d give the authors a plug.

Science Verse is a fun picture book with rhymes about various things science-related. Some of them are taken off known songs or poems (Glory, glory, evolution). I just like to see theĀ  take the authors did.

No, I swear I didn’t buy it just because it had the periodic table inside the front cover!

I’m putting the other book by the same authors, Math Curse, on my wishlist! They’re the perfect gifts for those geeky parents who wish to doom their kids, like I do. Wait, did I say that out loud?

Geek Appeal

What do children know of grammar? According to this article, perhaps more than you think.

It talks about innate knowledge of nouns and verbs by the time a child turns two. There is a brain response to incorrectly using the nouns and verbs.

Of course they’re not sure what this will mean for language learning yet, but the implications could be interesting. It also says the toddlers aren’t capable of using the words correctly as they know they’re supposed to be used. What if that isn’t true?

I suppose it will take more research to figure that out.

Geek Appeal

Read more here.

In the never-ending struggle against old age, the newest study says aerobic exercise helps.

So, as I get older, I’m supposed to exercise more. I’m also supposed to do fun puzzles to keep the brain stimulated. Am I missing anything? Oh, yes, and believe I can get to whatever age – with the stipulation that I will be happy, healthy, and mobile!

You’d think if it were that easy, anyone could do it.

Geek Appeal

Check out information on The Art of Science on Nancy Famolari’s blog!

“A Tiny Frozen Microbe May Hold Clues to Extraterrestrial Life”

The article talks about things that might hold more clues to life on other planets from 120 000 years ago. I know it’s always an unanswerable question right now about whether there is or is not life besides us out there.

It’s something that works into my stories. There’s life. Somewhere.

… or at least, it’s there in my head!

Geek Appeal

Excessive Gaming

I think a lot of things taken to excess can cause sleepiness, but I find it interesting that seven hours a week constitutes excessive gaming.

In other news, my friend’s baby shower last weekend had me thinking of fun things to write on onesies. Being me, I tried to make something funny and also fitting for the child. I know my daughter is doomed(?) to geekdom, and my friend’s son will be, too, most likely.

On the front:
“Nerd in Training”

On the back:
Several equations, such as E=mc^2. I wrote most of the Pythagorean theorem, but I had trouble remembering exactly how it went. Not that I wrote it wrong, just that it’s usually shown with certain symbols, and I didn’t use them.

My husband rattled it off to me when I proudly told him about the onesie. I almost had it. It’s not like I screwed up the units for gravity or anything. (That one I nailed.) I just don’t remember the last time I used it. And when you stop using something, you might forget.

I need to put up little memory boards on the walls in my office!

Geek Appeal

Link here.

So many science fiction scenarios talk about asteroids hurtling toward Earth. They’re about struggling with an imminent catastrophe – Armageddon comes to mind.

Recently scientists recovered the first bits of an asteroid that was detected in space in the Sudan desert. A few fragments recovered only a portion of the car-sized asteroid. They were taken by surprise but are making the most of it by trying to analyze the pieces to identify more asteroids by their type.

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