Time to concentrate

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It’s hard to concentrate right now. If you are working at home (as I have been for the last five years), you may have to deal with noise from neighbors, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and people cutting down trees. You may have children at home who need attention. You may have others in the house … Continued

The three questions agents and editors ask about your book proposal

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If you’re writing a nonfiction book, your proposal is crucial. It’s a complicated and diverse document. But for the acquisitions editor at a publishing house to make you an offer — or for an agent to represent you — you need only answer three questions: Is your idea a good idea? Can you write? Will … Continued

Could ranked choice voting save us from the “least objectionable candidate?”

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In Maine, you’re now allowed to indicate your second choice on your ballot — and with “ranked choice voting,” your second choice might make the difference in who is elected. We’re considering it in Massachusetts, too. Let’s take a look at how ranked choice voting works, and how it might save us from elections with … Continued

Separation, division, and unity — reflecting on 9-11

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This is the story of my experience before, during, and after 9-11 — and how it still affects me 19 years later in this once again fraught moment. My story starts on September 1, 2001. I had hired a construction company to replace 120 feet of water, sewer, and gas pipes leading to my house … Continued

Was Bob Woodward wrong to keep his book interviews quiet until now?

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The author and former Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward interviewed Trump 18 times for his new book Rage. In a February interview, Trump revealed that he knew how serious a threat there was from COVID-19. Many commentators say Woodward should he have said something as soon as he learned this. I disagree. What Woodward knew … Continued

Resignation letter from Facebook engineer Ashok Chandwaney undermines the company’s rationalizations

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When it comes to hate, does Facebook believe in what it says it does? According to engineer Ashok Chandwaney, not even close. The Washington Post published the departing employee’s resignation letter, which had been posted on Facebook’s internal message board. Let’s take a close look at the accusations. Analyzing Chandwaney’s resignation letter The resignation letter … Continued

Will GPT-3’s AI make writers obsolete?

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The Guardian newspaper in the UK assigned GPT-3, an AI writer from OpenAI, to write an essay. The results are pretty good. But as long as writing requires creativity, AI won’t replace human writers. GPT-3’s essay, and how it was created Here’s the start of what you can now read at The Guardian: I am … Continued

Must a ghostwriter adopt the author’s voice?

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If you are a ghostwriting a book, must it reflect the voice of the author for whom you’re writing it? I first encountered this question in a PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) conference talk by Blythe Campbell. Blythe speaks and writes eloquently about how public relations professionals need to listen to and understand their … Continued