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Censorship tells the wrong story
Source: Reporters Without Borders

Censorship. Dead air, loud bleeps, horrible pixelation, and my personal favorite: PG overdubs.

“I’m gettin’ a little tired of these monkey-fightin’ snakes, on this Monday thru Friday plane!”

The rights laid out by the first amendment seem strikingly clear, giving us freedom of speech and freedom of press (among other freedoms). Yet somehow the lines have ended up a bit blurred, with “obscenity, indecency, and profanity” being regulated by organizations like the FCC.

The FCC manages to walk that thin line through a little known technicality: they can only act on complaints from citizens. And what’s more, the modes of censorship we see most today leave almost all of the meaning intact. Has anyone actually ever missed the sentiment behind a “f[BLEEP]ing”?

So the censors really only serve to point out that thin line. They serve as glaring reminders to us all – we are the ones who ultimately decide what is “proper”. And we are the ones who get to fill in the blanks. And the beeps. And those fuzzy chunks of pixels.

If you’re still curious, head on over to The Verge and check out the gorgeous article that inspired this post.

Clichéd advice that actually works: Write what you know

In this video Ricky Gervais shares the writing advice that shaped his style. It’s simple advice. It’s advice that is repeated so often that it sometimes turns into background noise.

Write what you know.

Sometimes this advice is understood very literally. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as beautiful, intriguing nonfiction can come out of that interpretation. A story about your mother cleaning an old woman’s house can be a work of art.

But I’ve always interpreted it more liberally. A writer may not have the actual experience to back up a particular piece of story – most fantasy authors have probably never ridden a dragon – but the concept still applies. Honesty can still be at the heart of even the most “unrealistic” story. The art of storytelling isn’t limited to fiction, nonfiction, novels or screenplays, but in every medium it relies on resonating with the audience. And nothing resonates like honesty.

Give your eyes a break with f.lux

The way we work has changed. More writing happens in front of a computer screen than ever before, and it’s not uncommon to spend hours in front of a screen every day.

It turns out, that’s not great for your eyes. But eye strain can seem hard to avoid – when almost all your work is on-screen, how are you supposed to keep your eyes rested?

One option available is f.lux. f.lux adjusts the light coming from your computer screen to mimic the natural light cycle of the day. It can help ease a bit of the eye strain, and some users have seen improvement on insomnia as well. Give it a shot at justgetflux.com.

This is literally the worst change to the English language since ‘irregardless’

Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation:

The definition of the word literally has been changed. Dictionaries including Google, Cambridge, and Merriam Webster have all made the controversial move. Frustrated grammar nerds everywhere can probably take a guess at the new meaning; it’s like their worst fears have literally come to life.

Literally now officially means “used for emphasis or to express strong feeling while not being literally true.” That’s right, figuratively is now actually an antonym and synonym for the word.

For those of you out there ready to commence with the weeping and gnashing of teeth, know this: Dictionary.com’s got your back. They’re holding their ground, though an editor’s note does mention the controversy.