At a dig outside Florence, a group of researchers have unearthed a massive stone tablet, known as a stele, covered in Etruscan writing. The 500-pound stone is 4 feet high and was once part of a sacred temple display. But 2500 years ago it was torn down and used as a foundation stone in a much larger temple. READ MORE: Rare example of lost language found on stone hidden 2500 years ago | Ars Technica
When we think of novels, of newspapers and blogs, we think of words. We easily forget the little suggestions pushed in between: the punctuation. But how can we be so cruel to such a fundamental part of writing? Inspired by a series of posters, I wondered what did my favorite books look like without words. Can you tell them apart or are they all a-mush? In fact, they can be quite distinct. READ MORE: Punctuation in novels — Medium
Samim Winiger, whose work we’ve covered recently–sent along his latest experiment. He used an open-source neural network that was trained on 14 million passages of romance novels by Ryan Kiros, a University of Toronto PhD student specializing in machine learning. Called the Neural-Storyteller, the network was trained to analyze images and retrieve appropriate captions from its vast store of sexy knowledge, creating “little stories about images,” says Kiros.
And what stories! Winiger fed the network a series of images, and it’s hard to even decide where to begin…Not all of the stories (or any of them, really) make perfect sense: What we’re seeing is an artificial neural network struggle to identify objects in a photo, and make links between images and the passages that it’s trained on. READ MORE: It Was Inevitable: Someone Taught a Neural Network To Talk With Romance Novels | Gizmodo
This handy infographic from Curtis Newbold reduces the rules of proper punctuation to a series of color-coded blurbs. Even the most hard-boiled grammar delinquent is sure to get the message. INFOGRAPHIC: The 69 Rules of Punctuation | Electric Literature
This is a long form article discussing editing of Wikipedia content specific to the medical field.
Can the site’s dwindling ranks of volunteer editors protect its articles from the influence of money? READ MORE: The Covert World of People Trying to Edit Wikipedia for Pay | The Atlantic.
I’d love to have a toolkit that promised me great, creative ideas every time I sat down to work. Obviously that’s not going to happen—creativity doesn’t come from tools. But luckily there are some tools that can improve our chances of working creatively. According to research, these six tools can help inspire your next big idea. READ MORE: The 6 Best Tools For Creative Work, According To Science | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.
A British health website, DrEd.com, delved into the entire corpus of literature, both fiction and nonfiction, to explore the way certain words having to do with “venereal” matters have appeared, faded, or been associated with new companion words over the last two centuries. READ MORE: Sex Talk in Literature: How It’s Changed Over 200 Years | Flavorwire.
A Quick Guide to Avoiding Common Writing Errors | Harvard Business Review
You’re looking at an e-mail you just wrote, and you’re not sure whether you have the right word: Do you want affect or effect? Further or farther? Gray or grey? Getting it wrong can make you look bad — people do judge you by the way you write — but you also don’t have all day to look up words. It helps to have an easy reference for the basics, bookmark some resources, and learn how to choose your battles.
The Essential Guide to Crafting a Work Email | Harvard Business Review
You, like me, probably rattle off emails quickly, all day (and sometimes all night) long. And that means the people receiving your emails are doing exactly the same thing. Whether this is good or bad for us, generally speaking, is an open question. But until we all get better at dealing with email overflow, how do you make sure the ones you send get noticed – and for reasons other than an unfortunate Freudian typo?
When writing business documents (aside from emails), most people turn to word-processing software. That’s not the only option. You can do everything — outlines, drafts, revisions, and even layouts, if you’d like — in PowerPoint or similar presentation programs. That’s what I’ve used to write my books, internal documents, sales collateral, and web copy, for several reasons. READ MORE: Why I Write in PowerPoint | Harvard Business Review
Raise your hand if you like sitting through slide-show presentations. How about reading dense, jargony business documents? These are the staples of modern business communication, and yet they’re enjoyed by precisely no one. Enter Nancy Duarte, CEO of Duarte Design. Duarte thinks she can redesign business communication with Slidedocs, a new concept she defines as “a visual document, developed in presentation software, that is intended to be read and referenced instead of projected.” Think of it as a kind of a hybrid between slide-show presentations and prose documents—but one that eliminates the most annoying qualities of each. Duarte’s new book on Slidedocs, which she wrote entirely in PowerPoint, has just been released as a free download on her website. READ MORE: Book Written Entirely In PowerPoint Aims To Reinvent How Businesses Communicate | FastCompany
[E]ven those who have mastered the art of brevity in traditional business communication may have a tough time mastering online communication. Whether it’s email, chat, or a social network, word count isn’t just a matter of style—it’s often a technical requirement. Add to that the expectation that your online voice should sound conversational, engaging, or even funny, and communicating online may be the biggest (and certainly most frequently encountered) writing challenge that we face in business today. Here are some guidelines that can help make those messages productive and satisfying—rather than a liability. READ MORE: Using Social Media Without Jeopardizing Your Career | HBR.