Aside  —  Posted: July 26, 2013 in Twitter

☞ Research on how the brain responds to missing objects in the immediate physical world may also have an impact on research on narrative. There are missing objects and missing information aplenty in narrative, especially in the earlier stages of our response to a narrative. How the brain responds to them may give us a clue on how we respond to narrative, and how narratives are usually structured, and in this connection, on the most effective way to present a narrative to its readers or audience.

❝You’ve lost your keys. Or cell phone. Or child. Your focus sharpens. Where is it?

For your brain, such search-and-rescue efforts go beyond run-of-the-mill problem solving. According to new research published in Nature Neuroscience, the areas of the brain normally dedicated to abstract thought pitch in to help out with the hunt for the missing object.

These searches involve a complex mix of both visual and non-visual regions of the brain, which optimizes on problem solving by directing all of its resources to finding the misplaced item, whether it be a child or a set of keys. “As you plan your day at work, for example, more of the brain is devoted to processing time, tasks, goals and rewards, and as you search for your cat, more of the brain becomes involved in recognition of animals,” the authors said in a statement.

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❝The Humanitarian Photographer

If you were to Google the definition of what is a humanitarian photographer, you will not find a definition is the normal places like Webster dictionary, Wikipedia or Google.  It is a new term used to describe not so much a style as the humanitarian organization for which photography is done.

When you Google “humanitarian photographer,” I have a few friends that will pop up to the very top of the lists: Gary S. Chapman and Esther Havens both do humanitarian photography.

You will see every style of photography being done for humanitarian organizations that primarily distribute aid.

Three ways that humanitarian organizations distribute aid

  1. Relief
  2. Rehabilitation
  3. Development❞

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☞ Lest you thought that the capacity to distinguish fact from fiction is a natural ability… This is a progressive ability of course, with children not always being able to distinguish fact from fiction. However, if the ability is not enhanced in later years, it might prove problematic. Thus the urge to ensure that teens are competent in news literacy, which includes the ability to distinguish fact from fiction.

❝When Ife Adelona saw a picture circulating on Twitter of singer Selena Gomez as an adult magazine cover girl, the 17-year-old knew what she had to do.

“I immediately went for a second source to make sure it wasn’t true,” Ife said.

A quick Web search confirmed the Montgomery Blair High School student’s instincts: The photo was a fake.

“Second source” is more a journalist’s jargon than part of a teen’s everyday vocabulary. But with information so readily available via social media, the Internet and traditional news sources, educators say news literacy — teaching students how to identify credible information and good journalism — is increasingly important.❞

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☞ Genres are not immune to being influenced by the external environment. This has always been one of my fundamental beliefs in the study of narrative. But climate change? Could it create a new literary genre?

❝When Superstorm Sandy hit New York City last fall, the publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux, like most everything else, totally shut down. It was a week before power returned to FSG, according to Brian Gittis, a senior publicist. When he got back to his office, he began sorting through galleys — advance copies of books. And one of them caught him off guard.

Its cover had an illustration of the Manhattan skyline half-submerged in water.

“It was definitely sort of a Twilight Zone moment,” Gittis recalls.

The book was Odds Against Tomorrow by Nathaniel Rich. …❞

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Jeff Giles,

English is a tricky language, and no one method is universally accepted as the best way to learn it — but quite a few teachers have found that playing their students Beatles songs can help.

Article included in my e-zine on Flipboard, Language Matters

❝HOW THE GUN LAW GOT SHOT DOWN – Of all the senators who attempted Wednesday to rally support for the doomed Manchin-Toomey background check amendmentConnecticut‘s Democratic freshman representative, Chris Murphy, probably faced the greatest temptation to borrow the moral authority of the Newtown families. They are his constituents and many were present in the chamber.

He’s young – the youngest sitting senator, actually – and an early Obama supporter, given to occasional bouts of (understandably) overwrought emotional rhetoric. During his very first floor speech as a senator last week, which itself took on gun legislation, he read the names of the Newtown victims – and some of the 3,000 other victims of gun violence since 14 December – into the congressional record.

Murphy’s also been a vocal, unusually sharp critic of the National Rifle Association. He described their response to the Newtown tragedy – the “National School Shield” Program – as “unhinged”, “revolting”, and “tone deaf”, declaring himself “flabbergasted” by the group’s press conference and calling out the program for what it was: a bald ploy for further political power.❞

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❝Since the inception of Malaya in 1957 and the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, the political narrative of our country has been one of race. Campaigns, parties, social movements rely on appealing to ethnocentric sentiments to remain relevant.

Post-1969, this narrative hardened and played on fears of ethnic violence. To a large extent, it has reinforced barriers between Malaysians, and created a siege mentality of “us versus them”.❞

In The Malaysian Insider

❝This destructive belief that skin color makes one group of people superior to another has dominated American culture, our institutions and our narratives consciously or unconsciously for centuries.❞

Gail C. Christopher

A Little Blog of Books

‘Blindness’ by José Saramago is a fable about an unexplained mass epidemic of blindness which has unsurprisingly chaotic consequences.  The story begins with a man suddenly going blind as he is waiting in his car at some traffic lights.  Several other characters who come into contact with him also lose their sight.  The blind are quarantined in a mental asylum and left to fend for themselves but criminals soon gain control as society rapidly breaks down completely.  Only the doctor’s wife is still able to see for unknown reasons but she doesn’t reveal this fact.  Can she still help the others?

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