In 2015, Stanford computer science PhD candidate Andrej Karpathy decided to test out some neural network tools he'd been experimenting with, and set them to generating plausible baby names. Read the rest
Hal Varian, now Google's chief economist, wrote "How to Build an Economic Model in Your Spare Time," a classic paper, in 1994 while teaching at UC Berkeley (he's still an emeritus there). Read the rest
If you like to write with fountain pens, sketch with colored pencils or otherwise enjoy the physical art of writing, Maruman's Mnemosyne is my notebook favorite paper to write on. Quad ruling on paper just makes me feel good, a throw back to college I guess. This fantastic, top-bound and slightly smaller than B5 size notebook has both!
Fountain pen inks dry fast, don't bleed through, and all of my pens glide over this paper. The slightly warm, off-white of this paper is also super pleasing to the eye, and is wonderful to work on.
Mark Marino writes, "Kick your Norton Anthology to the curb, and check out the latest collection of digitally born literature. Published by the Electronic Literature Organization, the collection contains 114 works from 26 countries in 12 languages. The Electronic Literature Collection, vol. 3 offers a glimpse at just how wide the world of digital literature has become, including a diverse array of works, from Twitter bots to poem generators to Twine tales to poetic apps. Read the rest
proselint places the world’s greatest writers and editors by your side, where they whisper suggestions on how to improve your prose. You’ll be guided by advice inspired by Bryan Garner, David Foster Wallace, Chuck Palahniuk, Steve Pinker, Mary Norris, Mark Twain, Elmore Leonard, George Orwell, Matthew Butterick, William Strunk, E.B. White, Philip Corbett, Ernest Gowers, and the editorial staff of the world’s finest literary magazines and newspapers, among others. Our goal is to aggregate knowledge about best practices in writing and to make that knowledge immediately accessible to all authors in the form of a linter for prose.
It's in rudimentary form at the moment, but expect it to turn up in web-based form fields and popular apps soon. See also Hemingway App, which does a similar thing but with an eye toward concision and brevity rather than general style. Read the rest
The Campbell Award for best new writer is voted on and presented with the Hugo Awards -- to be eligible, you must have made your first professional sale in the previous two years. Read the rest
Charlie Stross is on a tear: he's catalogued 22 screens' worth of space opera cliches, grouped by themes: Planetary civilizations, space and cosmology, biology, economics, politics, culture, technology - space travel, technology - pew! pew! pew!, aliens... His readers have added 300 comments' worth of omissions. Read the rest
The Freewrite started life as a successful Kickstarter campaign and now it's an object of commerce: a $500 keyboard with a sharp frontlit e-ink screen that gets more than a month's use from a full battery. Read the rest
Paper Magazine's "Girl Crush" series pairs notable women for fascinating conversations, which they transcribe and publish. The series is spectacular, and this interview, between author/feminist/activist bell hooks and actor/feminist/activist Emma Watson, is the best yet. Read the rest
Lara writes, "The Alpha SF/F/H Workshop For Young Writers is running a scholarship drive February 16-23. Make a tax-deductible donation to change a teen writer's life!" Read the rest
Burt Helm and Max Chafkin studied award-winning articles and found that the following qualities prevail among them:
1. Write no less than 6500 words. 2. Ditch the present tense. It is finally, mercifully, out of fashion. 3. In general, avoid anecdotal ledes, nut grafs, kicker quotes and foul language.
It may also be heartening to know that the word “cocksucker” has never appeared in any story that has either won or been nominated for a feature writing prize.
Ah, almost forgot.
4. Be male. Read the rest
The Jerx is an anonymous, iconoclastic blog written by a heterodox magician who holds his fellow magicians in disdain for their terrible storytelling skills. Read the rest
With New Year's Resolution season on the doorstep, it's time for end-of-year articles about self-improvement, and despite the cliche and improbability of that species of endeavor, I'm recommending that everyone read "Secrets to Long Haul Creativity." Read the rest