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from swerve of shore to bend of bay

links for 2010-11-19

  • Comparisons and analogies are a natural part of everyday argument; philosophers have used them as far back as Plato. Educators love them because they help students understand complicated concepts. But propagandists and ideologues also love them, because it is easy to hide a flawed argument inside of an analogy.

    Unlike deduction, there are no clear formal rules for using analogies. So how do we distinguish good analogies from bad? In this article, we look at the different ways in which analogies are used in arguments. By understanding why people use analogies, we can come up with some informal guidelines for using them properly. Given these guidelines, hopefully we can give Hitler some rest.

  • Adobe today released Reader X, the next version of its popular software that includes a "sandbox" designed to protect users from PDF attacks.

    Reader X on Windows features Protected Mode, a technology that isolates system processes, preventing or at least hindering malware from escaping the application to wreak havoc on the computer.

  • In a crowded and competitive field of admirers, one of the altarpiece's most ardent contemporary devotees is Noah Charney, the author of a new history called "Stealing the Mystic Lamb" (PublicAffairs; $27.95) that ascribes another superlative to the piece: the world's most frequently stolen artwork. In the book, with the breathless voice of a lover smitten with the one that got away (again and again), Charney charts the wrangling over a work that "collectors, dukes, generals, kings, and entire armies desired to such an extent that they killed, stole, and altered the strategic course of war to possess."
    (tags: art theft Belgium)
  • I’ve seen many guides to choosing the right social media consultant. Many of them fall short because they don’t give you simple empirical guidelines to follow. I think that’s a mistake and I’ve decided to rectify that oversight.

    One of the main points I feel is most important is that the social media “Expert” must be deeply involved in social media. The experience you gain in personally building a large social network is essential to understanding social media. The criteria here is how do you find an “Expert” so the bar is set high. One of the commonly quoted rules is that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert- that’s 2 months short of 5 years. Which means there are very few true social media experts around.

  • I had to learn on the job: it was very much a case of in-at-the-deep end. I remember doing a lot of reading to understand how users read online, and how best to write. A lot of the standards set by the likes of Jakob Nielsen still apply today.

    Nowadays writing is a part of what I do, but it isn’t my whole job. But I still manage writers on a daily basis and wanted to share some of the rules for web writing that I’ve embraced, adapted or created.

    Before we begin I should point out that Yossarian remains my foremost literary hero and rules are always there to be broken.


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