4,621 reputation
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bio website johansens.us
location Michigan
age
visits member for 1 year, 10 months
seen Oct 27 at 15:44

Oct
27
comment Stories based on news: are they allowed?
Same in the U.S. You can freely write a story "inspired" by a real news story. Just change all the names and shuffle some facts around. You probably want to change some of the facts anyway to make the story more exciting/romantic/whatever. If you want to use real names, etc, and write a fictionalized account of real events, the danger is not copyright violation -- as long as you don't copy a news story word for word -- but that people that you made up facts about could sue you for libel. Whether they really would, and whether they would win, would depend on the details of the case.
Oct
10
comment How to write “number of cups per user” for short using symbols?
If the x-axis is user id, then a line graph would be totally inappropriate. You are not showing a trend, you are showing a bunch of discrete values. I'd use a bar chart.
Oct
6
comment Stranded Society Speaking Same Language
It's true that the Kennedy twins didn't start from scratch. Nevertheless they did apparently invent their own language from limited raw material. Does that prove that someone who had to start from absolute zero would invent their own language? No. But it's interesting. See the link about deprivation experiments for examples of people starting from zero.
Oct
3
comment Stranded Society Speaking Same Language
Oh, re-reading the article I see how you got that interpretation. Try this one: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poto_and_Cabengo
Oct
3
comment Stranded Society Speaking Same Language
Hmm, I found several articles on the Kennedy twins, and none says that they "learned German from their grandmother". They all say that they were neglected, no one spoke to them, and so they invented their own language. Some say that this language was a mixture of German they presumably overheard from their grandmother and English overheard from their parents and some original elements, but not entirely invented from zero.
Oct
3
comment Stranded Society Speaking Same Language
... article: Note how the writer dismisses claims that the children learned to speak on their own as obviously inaccurate observation or even fabricated. While of course healthy skepticism is always warranted, this represents a fairly typical human phenomenon: You draw your conclusions first based on your intuition or world view. Then perform the experiment, and if the results match what you have already decided must be true, then this is proof that you were right all along. If the results don't match what you have already decided, than the experiment must be flawed. :-)
Oct
3
comment Stranded Society Speaking Same Language
RE abandoned/neglected children inventing a language: Here's one case I was thinking of, that was in the news decades ago: web.archive.org/web/20020106135506/http://tlc.discovery.com/… Here's another I stumbled across: newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/67939. I recalled reading about a Pharoah who deliberately had two children isolated to see what language they would speak, and found this article that discusses that and a couple of similar experiments: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_deprivation_experiments Interesting note about that ...
Oct
3
comment Stranded Society Speaking Same Language
Forget about communicating to these hypothetical children for a moment. You and I are, I presume, both familiar with concepts like freedom, technology, etc. What picture could you draw that would convey to me the idea of "Freedom of speech creates a society of open inquiry that leads to greater innovation, and thus to more advanced technology and a higher standard of living"? Without using words, of course, you can write "technology" and an arrow pointing to some object. And of course you can't use any culturally-dependent symbol -- no using a picture of the statue of liberty, etc.
Oct
2
comment Stranded Society Speaking Same Language
The idea of conveying a message in pictures or cartoons is valid, depending on the kind of message. If the message is, "Open the door by turning the handle counterclockwise, then pulling outward", yes, you could convey that in pictures. But if the message is, "Freedom of speech creates a society of open inquiry that leads to greater innovation, and thus to more advanced technology and a higher standard of living", I can't imagine how to show that in pictures.
Oct
2
comment Stranded Society Speaking Same Language
If there are many children on the island, it's only necessary for one of them to figure out English from the picture books. He could then teach the others English, or read the message and translate. Either way, to say that one out of a dozen people achieve some feat is inherently more plausible than saying that one person just happened to be able to do it. On the other hand, for a fiction story, you can always simply postulate that the hero is smarter than the average person. If he wasn't, he would fail and there would be no story.
Oct
2
comment Stranded Society Speaking Same Language
I agree with everything but the last paragraph. Humans are not chimpanzees: the fact that chimpanzees do not speak a recognizable language proves nothing about humans. Plenty of chimpanzees have grown up in zoos or laboratories where they hear human language spoken regularly, as much as many human children do, and never learned to speak. Meanwhile, there have been at least several reported cases of human children growing up in an environment where no one taught them to speak, and they invented their own language. Language appears to be something wired into the human brain.
Sep
29
comment If I get a free ISBN through Amazon's CreateSpace now, will that impact any decisions about getting my own ISBN later?
Well, Amazon is quite happy to print and distribute a book with an ISBN that belongs to you. I did that for my second book: I am now technically a publishing company, but Create Space prints the book and it is sold on Amazon.
Sep
26
comment Is CreateSpace 100% free for self-publishing?
And there is, of course, a difference between "it's printed on pages that are the right size" and "it is an attractively-formatted book".
Sep
25
comment If I get a free ISBN through Amazon's CreateSpace now, will that impact any decisions about getting my own ISBN later?
Think of an ISBN as being like an item number in a catalog. If you have a regular edition and a large-print edition, or the first edition and the updated second edition, each must have its own ISBN. Otherwise there would be no way for purchasers to specify which they want. A given seller COULD have their own, separate catalog number to identify different editions of a book, but then what would be the point of having ISBNs?
Sep
22
comment Do I risk losing reader if I put too many religious/anti-religious views?
But we're getting way off writing and into social issues and politics. My original post on this went further than I should have. My intent was just to comment that "Christianism" was a loaded word invented by someone with an agenda, and I got a little carried away.
Sep
22
comment Do I risk losing reader if I put too many religious/anti-religious views?
... you not be allowed to do that you can do now? Get an abortion. Marry someone of the same sex. Maybe possibly limits on pornography. Compare that to the laws that have been imposed in the last few decades that Christians generally oppose. You can be forced to participate in a gay marriage whether you like it or not. The government tells you what kind of health insurance you can buy. The government tells you what light bulbs you can use. What kind of business you can open and where. Who you are allowed to hire and fire. How far toilet seats must be from the wall.
Sep
22
comment Do I risk losing reader if I put too many religious/anti-religious views?
@ghoppe Well, okay, in the same sense that Christians in the 19th century sought to impose their religious beliefs by outlawing slavery, and in general laws against stealing and murder and rape are consistent with Christian principles. But (a) No one is saying that you have to convert to our religion or be killed or otherwise penalized, as happens in many Muslim countries. No one is saying that there should be laws forcing you to join Christian churches or give them money. And (b) Suppose a group of Christians swept the next election and were able to pass every law they wanted. What would ...
Sep
17
comment Capitalization with compound nouns starting with a number
A common grammar rule is that you should never begin a sentence with a Hindu-Arabic numeral, but instead should spell out the word, and then capitalize it. However, in technical writing, many people ignore this rule because it can be confusing. I doubt I'd write "Sixteen MB of RAM are required ..." instead of "16MB of RAM are required ..." etc.
Sep
15
comment What is a good name for a character who loves money?
I'd avoid giving characters names that too obviously describe them, unless the story is intended to be a comedy or a very blatant allegory. In real life, greedy people are not all named "Mr Cash", violent people are not all named "Mr Fist", etc., and seeing names like that in a story just seems ... silly.
Sep
12
comment Do I risk losing reader if I put too many religious/anti-religious views?
... the idea that someone could say, "I think X is morally wrong, and therefore I will seek to persuade others that it is morally wrong and that they shouldn't do it. But of course I wouldn't make it illegal, because that would violate other people's freedom." Which is, in fact, the position of almost every evangelical that I know personally or who I have heard speak publicly.