rivkat: Dean reading (dean reading)
([personal profile] rivkat Oct. 22nd, 2012 10:46 pm)
Vampire Diaries: (1) Whoever sends CW summaries to the DVR folks made the mistake of sending “Nina [as in Dobrev] adjusts to the realities of vampirism.” Heh. (2) Alaric/Damon from beyond the grave! Thank you, show, that was just what I needed.

On fannishly identifying the passive voice:  “If you can insert ‘by zombies’ after the verb, you have passive voice.”

Oh, John Scalzi, why must I enjoy your blogging and not your novels?  (I did like the Night Dragons story.)

Dan Ariely, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves: Ariely engagingly presents research on what encourages (and sometimes discourages) cheating of various kinds. If assured of not being caught, most people will cheat a little; if you authorize it with various kinds of social signals, they will cheat a lot, which explains a lot of progressively worsening bad behavior in organizations. If they see someone from a group they think of as “not us” cheating, however, they will cheat a lot less, and they’ll even cheat less if they just see a picture of eyes. People who know they’re wearing counterfeit sunglasses cheat more. Et cetera—though some of this has appeared in his earlier work, it’s still quite interesting. Among other things, his research suggests that a context-neutral task—like the ones he uses in standard testing, where you solve matrices and then either self-report how many you solved or hand in your solutions (thus creating a control group for how many problems an average participant can solve)—people from different countries cheat at virtually the same rates, despite the researchers’ expectations. It’s only the contexts, like whether bribes for certain things are commonplace in your home country, that authorize or discourage cheating.

Sam Leith, Words Like Loaded Pistols: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama: Mostly entertaining for the examples it offers up, plus a catalog of terms at the end. There’s nothing but rhetoric in our speeches—high, low, or in-between—and that can be a good thing, as long as you know what to look for. Some goodies: Julian Barnes, analogy: “And does history repeat itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce? No, that’s too grand, too considered a process. History just burps, and we taste again that raw-onion sandwich it swallowed centuries ago.” Isocolon, a balancing of clauses of the same length: “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.” Lord Mancroft: “A speech is like a love-affair—any fool can start it, but to end it requires considerable skill.”


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