Friday, October 05, 2012

Who Won the Presidential Debate?

Who won the presidential debate? That seems to be the main question bandied about in the wake of the October 3rd debate between President Obama and Governor Romney. And the general consensus seems to be that Mitt Romney won.

However, there is more to this debate than that simple question. Clearly President Obama could have done a lot better, but the big surprise is how well Governor Romney performed. He had been vague on his campaign policies, and that vagueness did show-up in this debate, but he had a better over-all strategy for his policies than in the previous several month. And, I'm sure, his recent release of semi-candid remarks had sparked many people to watch the debate simply to see if he would verbally misstep again.

President Obama, it was evident, was prepared to debate on some of the few points of policy that Governor Romney had brought-up along his campaign trail. However, that was no help to the President and he was found floundering, as Governor Romney debated in favor of his new policy ideas.

All this being said, Governor Romney showed himself to be a much better contender than was previously evident. If President Obama prepares himself better for the next debate, which I am sure he will-and with the help of his aids-then we should have a quite interesting and lively debate when they meet again on October 16th.

A side note: It was very refreshing to see how the candidates were so congenial with each other at the debate on October 3rd-a definite change from previous years. Let's hope that continues.

Links: 2012 Presidential Debate Schedule

Monday, August 13, 2012

He or She? His or Her?

Which is correct? Or are both correct? I am writing an article in which I reference the reader's child. I am finding myself writing "his or her" and "he or she", etc. It used to be the practice to write the masculine form to include both male and female. Somewhere around the 70's or 80's, "he/she" and "him/her" began to crop-up amongst the "he"s and "him"s. Then, in the 1990's, writers began using the feminine to refer to both. Is there an accepted form for modern writing? What does the reader prefer, generally? If I settle on a particular set, am I making a statement (if inadvertently)?

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Looking for Advice on Anecdotes vs. Generalities

I am working on an article about patient advocacy. I have come to a point in the article where I am not sure which "road" to take. I can either give anecdotes from my personal experience or just write in general terms. There are pros and cons for each, but I am particularly curious about two things.

The first, which do readers relate to better. Would they feel an affinity with my story and understand what I am trying to convey through that means? Or would they have difficulty relating it to what they may be experiencing? If so, does that mean generalities would communicate more effectively?

Secondly, which approach does the audience actually prefer? In other words, is there any data that shows which technique leads to greater readership.

I welcome any and all comments on this subject. I will continue in researching this on my own, as well.

Back to writing...

Monday, August 06, 2012

Writing

I'm trying to streamline my writing process-or, at least, get it going on a regular schedule. I just cleaned-off the desk in my bedroom and set it up with the tools I need for writing. Of course, I have pens, pencils, reference books, a desk lamp and space for my computer. But I also have a few things that inspire me: three antique books, my Baby Ben clock, and some hand-made items from my kids.

I picked-up a book called Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer by Moira Allen. Of course, I have been doing some freelance writing for a while, but nothing that could be considered close to living wages. When I paged through the book, I saw many things I already new about (such as writing query letters, basics of writing articles, etc.). However, I also saw a few subjects I could use some improvement on (finding timely subject matter, exploring the market), as well as others that I had previously not considered (for example: strategies for marketing articles).

I am hoping that, by blogging about this process, I will encourage myself to continue and not give up. Perhaps, it will encourage others as well.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Prometheus: The Questions it Inspires

Warning: Spoiler Alert regarding the movie Prometheus.

My husband and I went to see the movie Prometheus yesterday. While the story was, for the most part, predictable, I found it incredibly fascinating. The stunning cinematography and the realistic visual effects drew me in, but the psychology of the story and the interaction of the characters are still haunting my thoughts.

One of the questions I have from viewing the film is centered on the character David. David is the artificial life form that watches over the crew during the years-long voyage of the ship Prometheus and aids the human members in various tasks. While he can emulate the appearance of different emotions, he supposedly does not experience them. Also, we are led to believe, he does not do things based on his own decisions. He can make decisions, but they are always to serve the programming and mission requirements that are given him.

At one point, he finds a black, organic, viscous material. After a conversation with Dr. Holloway, he puts a small amount of this material into a drink that he gives Dr. Holloway. My question is this: did he do this because he was instructed to (or in order to accomplish his mission, etc.), or did he choose this action as an experiment on his own-to see what would happen?

My husband thinks that it was part of David's mission. But I could find no support for or against this theory in the movie. I keep thinking that David wanted to see what would happen. I find I attribute an intrinsic curiosity to every android in popular movies and television. Wouldn't it be a vital part of the nature of an artificial intelligence for its creators/designers to include intellectual curiosity as part of its learning functions?

If David did perform this action out of his own curiosity, did he have an idea of what might happen? Did he have a personal agenda? Did his own "survival instinct", coupled with the philosophical questions raised by the crew of potentially meeting their own "makers", lead him to the decision to put the strange material in Dr. Holloway's drink?

There are other questions that have arisen in my mind, after view this film. But the question above is the one I have been continuously turning over in my mind. Of course, I may never find the answer to any of these questions. However, the fact that the movie has inspired so many questions is a tribute to the importance that movies have in our lives and their ability to inspire creativity.

I welcome any comments in regard to this question. If you have anything to add, please do. I would love for this to evolve into a dialogue.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

What I'm Reading: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Cell Phone Spam

It's a new year that brings new opportunities for spammers. I have already received 3 spam texts and this is just the 1st day of the new year. I went to the National Do Not Call Registry website. Good news: Registration no longer expires. If you register your phone numbers after February 2008, you won't have to do it again. So, now's as good a time as any. If anyone calls or texts after you register, you can file a complaint at the same site.