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bio website johansens.us
location Michigan
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visits member for 1 year, 11 months
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Nov
19
comment Demo data in screenshots! What are the best practice?
@kindall Sure, but be careful clients don't get confused. I once used "Sir Isaac Newton" as a sample name, and the client said that they didn't want "Sir" in front of the name.
Nov
10
comment Use of punctuation within quotes with single words or letters
@LaurenIpsum How would bolding or italics have helped? I suppose you could put the text to type in bold and other text in ordinary weight, so the first period would be bold and the second period would be lighter. But I don't think that would stand out visually very well.
Nov
10
comment Use of punctuation within quotes with single words or letters
I once wrote instructions for use of a software product where I wrote, 'Do not include a decimal point in the number. Don't type, "10."; type "10".' The editor at corporate, following the style guide, put the final period inside the quotes, so it read, Don't type "10."; type "10." Which I'm sure made it completely clear to the reader.
Nov
10
comment Use of punctuation within quotes with single words or letters
I agree that it's awkward and unclear, but that's the "American" convention. The "British" convention is to only put the punctuation inside the quote marks when the punctuation is part of the quote. As an American, it pains me to admit this, but the British convention makes a lot more sense to me. If no one is imposing a style on me, I always use the British style. But of course if you are writing for a publication or for a class that adheres to a particular style guide, you should follow that style guide.
Nov
7
comment Why do heroes need to have a physical mark?
@AE Sure, each character should have a distinctive personality. But I think it would be quite a stretch to suppose that each character's distinctive personality would show through with every word they say or every single action they perform. Stories where the author tries to push that idea -- e.g. EVERYONE has a distinctive accent or way of speaking -- get hackneyed real fast. Giving the reader some convenient tags to distinguish characters seems like a good idea to me.
Nov
7
comment Is a glossary needed in a novel?
@AE Yes. Like the OP gives the example of "keris", a kind of dagger. If IN THIS STORY there is no particular importance to it being a keris and not any other kind of dagger, I'd just write, "He was stabbed with a dagger" or whatever. If it's important that it's a ceremonial religious item, then I might write, "He was stabbed with a keris, a ceremonial religious dagger." If that's insufficient to make the significance clear, then maybe there's call for a footnote, or for adding a paragraph to the text explaining it.
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?