the whole world burns

Archive for category 'reading'

Ig Nobel Prize For Literature, 2006: Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: problems with using long words needlessly

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Does complex, jargon-heavy writing make you seem intelligent? Apparently not. Before rushing to attack Derrida, note that the study's only real result is that fluency is the key. Increased complexity may not necessarily come at the cost of fluency. Long words are only problematic if used inappropriately.

Unfortunately, the chosen samples weren't much good. The complicated samples read as though a thesaurus had been used to inappropriately substitute words. (Which, for the experiment, it had.) The simplified samples read better, but with significant loss of nuance; even if undergraduates didn't notice, a domain expert would have.

By far the most interesting point came from the fifth experiment. Copies of the same document were divided amongst two groups, but the copies given to the second group were printed badly, making the text (optically) difficult to read. The low-toner group rated the intelligence of the author higher.

[W]hen an obvious source for the lack of fluency is present, people discount that lack of fluency when making their judgement. They do so to such an extent that they end up biasing their judgement in the opposite direction!

DailyLit: books by email

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I wish I'd known about this site before I wrote my own bot to do it, I really do. Bah, humbug!

Salman Rushdie quote

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When a reader falls in love with a book, it leaves its essence inside him, like radioactive fallout in an arable field, and after that there are certain crops that will no longer grow in him, while other, stranger, more fantastic growths may occasionally be produced. We love relatively few books in our lives, and those books become parts of the way we see our lives; we read our lives through them, and their descriptions of the inner and outer worlds become mixed up with ours — they become ours.

Wikipedia:Unusual articles

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Fantastic collection of weird Wikipedia articles--probably none of which would make it into a "real" encyclopedia.

Small things, links and miscellany, sparkling with light. Sam's tumblelog.

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