Punctuation is notation for the music of speech.
The written words themselves convey the sounds, but the punctuation gives you emphasis and rhythm. Speech that is monotone may engage the linguistic areas of the brain, but effective writing and artful writing engages much more: it engages the emotions and triggers memories and the imagination. It is a whole-brain experience.
I realized at some point (I suppose when I started reading to my son before he could read for himself) that I read silently even more slowly than I read aloud, which seems remarkable because silent reading is far less encumbered by the mechanics of spoken language. Most people, of course, read much more quickly when doing so silently.
My eyes and mind still move at a very high speed when reading silently, but there are many loops and backtracking and retracing. My mind rolls the words around in my head; I re-read some significant percentage of words and sentences. Occasionally I will re-read particular sentences or phrases many times, and go off on tangents related to the idea or way of expressing it.
For me, the experience of the art of the written word–participating in that as a reader–is as big a part of the experience as gleaning the literal meaning the writer is trying to communicate.
This means that in my lifetime of reading, I will only have read a fraction of what I would have read if I read faster. I am certainly not saying it is better, per se.
What I am saying is that when you are editing your own writing, if you read what you have written out loud, instead of just silently, and make a sincere effort to decode it as a reader would decode it–pause for the commas and don’t pause where there are none, and so on–I believe this might provide some insight for you into how to improve the music of your writing in the ears of your readers.
The BBC is reporting that scientists have announced sunshine is good for you. Of course, getting burned is still not recommended, but nobody ever thought that it was.
Sunshine, fat in the diet, coffee, alcohol, salt…I wonder what’s next for us to discover is not so bad for you after all.
This is the second study that caught my eye showing evidence that practices that elicit relaxation response, such as meditation, prayer, yoga, etc. are changing the expression of people’s genes.
It has long been known that stress, through the action of cortisol has an immune-system dampening effect, and that is one of the ways it damages health. But it’s nice to see such potent validation of the practices used for millennia to reduce stress and improve the health of the body and mind through relaxation.
A systems biology analysis of known interactions among the proteins produced by the affected genes revealed that pathways involved with energy metabolism, particularly the function of mitochondria, were upregulated during the relaxation response. Pathways controlled by activation of a protein called NF-κB—known to have a prominent role in inflammation, stress, trauma and cancer—were suppressed after relaxation response elicitation. The expression of genes involved in insulin pathways was also significantly altered.
“These data suggest that previously reported (therapeutic) effects of yoga practices have an integral physiological component at the molecular level, which is initiated immediately during practice,” writes a research team led by Fahri Saatcioglu of the University of Oslo. The team’s study is published in the online journal PLOS ONE.
I just installed the plugin, left it with the default settings and uploaded an mp4 that demonstrates my app for the iPhone called, “Suggestiny.” The mp4 is about 2Mb in size and seems to be streaming, not downloading first, which is good.
My hosting does not include FFMPEG libraries, which are needed to automatically handle the thumbnails, so I uploaded an image to use as the thumbnail.
Here’s what it looks like embedded.
This seems like a workable alternative to youtube / vimeo hosting of videos, for those times that is not the best option.
This is a pretty impressive video demonstrating infant water survival training. The website of the company that developed this program is here: infantswim.
This reminds me of why science always seemed magically wonderful when I was a kid. It still is.
This is an outstanding video. Watch it.
I had a modest collection of computer wallpapers a couple months ago when my friend Markus got a new computer and asked me for a jump start on his collection. But in doing some googling for wallpapers sites to recommend I found a couple sources that I ended up downloading a lot of images from. One was Reddit, the other is Minus.com.
After my other work is done, or sometimes when I am listening to a podcast or other audio, I like to browse through whatever is new on these sites and let my mind drift. Often, it turns into a quest of sorts, as so many things do for me. My excursions into the digital wilderness sometimes lead me to caches of treasure, and I love hauling back the loot. It reminds me of my Everquest days long ago.
I’m up to a little over 2000 images and now I’m finding that I have ideas for wallpapers of my own. Normally a quote grabs me and I monkey around with graphics apps till something grabs me. I usually do remixes and since the origin of the images is typically unknown, I can’t post them here. But I made a couple last weekend that I wanted to share.
The first is one I made, based on a wikimedia creative commons image from Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-14597 / CC-BY-SA, and a quote by German playwright Heinrich Heine that was truly prescient and still as meaningful today as it was when he wrote it. I am not sure whether the creative commons license requires that subsequent work remain licensed the same way, but to be on the safe side, I’ll say you can do anything with this image as long as it retains the original attribution.
This is a smaller version, but if you click on the image, you can see the full-sized version.
The second wallpaper is one I made from one of my own photos of Lake Erie and with a Zen saying that is so true it stings. If the spirit moves you, you’re welcome to do what you want with it.
Now I have no pretensions of having inherited the full magnitude of artistic genes that my brother got from my mother, but it’s a step in the right direction, however modest. It’s relaxing and enjoyable to give the keys to the right hemisphere of your brain and see where it takes you sometimes.