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There’s a word for that?

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Tower of Babel

A Dictionary of Cool Words That Hide True Feelings & Meanings from Parents Many of the strange vocabulary words, that Jude and her friends, from my new novel The Far Side, use, arise from their need to create a sense of linguistic privacy from the grownups. These are real and come from hard-to-translate words from other languages, professions, or sub-cultures. Age-otori — a feeling that you look worse after the haircut. (Based on a Japanese word.) Ataraxia — a sense of stoic calm. (Based on an ancient Greek word.) Backpfeifengesicht — a face in need of a fist. (Based on a German word.) Chingada — a hellish place where all that annoy you go. (Based on a Spanish word.) Desenrascanço — to find a creative way out of a bad situation. (Based on a Portuguese word.) Dépaysement — the sense of displacement one feels when visiting a foreign country and being far from home. (Based on a French word.) Doppelgänger — a duplicate of a person. (Based on a German word.) Dustsceawung — the contemplation of the idea that everything turns to dust eventually. (Based on an Old English word.) Eudaimonia — deep fulfillment and the resulting happiness, even as…

Radio Play: The Red Pen

The Red Pen

An evening of The Carmen Online Theater Group’s Chronicles of Terror. The Full Transcript of the Story The package arrived battered and ripped. Exotic stamps covered so much of the brown paper exterior that it was hard to read the sender’s address. But David Gatewood’s address stood out just fine, as well as the “To Editor” addendum next to his name. Most requests for an editor came via email these days, but hey, work is work. David took the package to the kitchen table and pulled out some kitchen scissors, which were clearly necessary to unwrap the package—it was liberally smothered in packing tape. But twenty minutes later, all David had to show for his efforts was a paper cut on his finger and a slash across the palm of his left hand; jabbing scissors into several layers of tape and cardboard hadn’t been a good idea. The person who had sent the package had obviously made the box himself (or perhaps herself, no point in being sexist here) from several boxes. Underneath the rips and tears, David could just make out an Amazon logo. With so many packages delivered by that behemoth of a company, it wasn’t a surprise…

Treasure Trove of Creative Writing Online Classes

The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania (1846) by Joseph Noel Paton

I discovered Brandon Sanderson a few years back, introduced him to my son, and we basically read all that he has ever written (that we could buy). He is a very talented fiction writer. And now I discovered that he is a great teacher: good at explaining, generous with ideas, and easy with advice. He doesn’t shy away from talking about his own experiences, thus making his classes gain a very concrete dimension. I have enjoyed his online lectures so much, that I am now posting his classes in sequence and adding additional links to similar lectures that are still worth scanning through. I hope these are as useful to you as they were to me. Happy writing! Very Grateful: Thank you writeaboutdragons for adding careful notes and creating 2012 BYU videos! Very grateful to the Camera Panda team, Jon Deering and Earl Cahill, for filming, editing, and providing careful annotations (shown here in quotes). Excellent work! Another shout out to zmunk who posted videos of Brandon’s presentations at JordonCon. Brandon Sanderson’s 2012 Semester at BYU: 1. Creative Writing — Ideas & Outlining 0:12 / Introduction to being a writer – Writing is not about inspiration, ideas, or luck –…

Sci-Fi Bites: The Boy Who Finds

Accident_with_Dog

Short Science Fiction Stories for Kids Timur has always been good at finding things. Need to find that screw that rolled under the desk? Ask Timur. Need to locate the missing reading glasses? Timur is on it. Lost some change in a couch? Timur knows just where it is. The boy had a gift. One day, he and his mother were driving to school and a large dog ran across the street. Timur’s mom veered and swirled and the car didn’t hit the foolish animal. But the mother was freaked out. Her body shook, her heart beat faster, her hands got sweaty. But most significantly, Timur’s mother lost something in that almost accident — she lost a day of her life. And Timur found it. At the time only six years old, the boy didn’t know what he found, but he carefully picked it up and put it away for safe keeping. Over time, he found more and more chunks of time, sometimes whole days, mostly an hour there, a few minutes in another place. But time adds up. As the world gently span on its axis, the people living on it marched steadily through time, spending the lives a…

My First Three Science Fiction Books

First three books

I wanted to be a scientist and go into space. I got my B.A. from Columbia University in Mathematics and Astrophysics and I worked at NASA on the Pioneer Venus Project as a programmer. I received my masters from U.C. Berkeley in Education of Math, Science, and Technology and went on to earn my doctorate in education. Together with my husband and business partner, I conceive, design, and create products, ideas, websites, and exhibits. Along the way, I’ve learned how to write. I’m also a binge reader — I find an author I like and I read everything they’ve ever written! I love science fiction. I have consumed voraciously thousands of books (some are neatly shelved in alphabetical order and some lie completely disorganized in piles on the stairs — my children now read science fiction too and it’s more difficult to keep things in place). I wrote my first story when I was about eight — I got hooked on a book series about an orphan boy who traveled the world with his uncle collecting animals for zoos. Unfortunately, only the first three books were translated into Russian. So I wrote what happened next (I didn’t have a choice,…

Tools to Jump-start Product Design Process

product design proposal: user groups

I often encounter the Blank Page Syndrome among our clients. They have an IDEA, but find it difficult to translate the nebulous desires into plans and actions that become a business. I hear a lot: “I know what I want, I just don’t know how that gets translated into something tangible.” The problem though is that most times, these individuals don’t know what they really want. And my job as a designer is to do product design therapy to uncover the real needs and separate them from vague desires. There are a few strategies for this (cognitive scaffolding for the design process). From the point of view of the final product, it is important that the client buys into the ideas and makes them their own. When I hear my words spoken back to me a few weeks into the process, I feel more confidant that the final result will be the practical manifestation of my client’s desires. Define the Categories of Product Users When one runs a business, selling products or providing services, it’s important to keep in mind that in most cases it’s not about you (typical mirroring error). The products and services have to appeal to end…

Colorblindness Test on iPhone Google Traffic Map

2013 iPhone Traffic Google Map Colorblind Test

Google Traffic Map on an iPhone (or any other mobile device) is a great product… unless you are colorblind. Then, it’s a nightmare! 5% to 20% of the population has some kind of color processing disorder. Here is a simple test if you are one of those. Which of the following look the same to you? Click on the image above to enlarge. Red/green confusion — Protanopia: red/green color blindness, no red cones; Deutanopia: red/green color blindness, no green cones; Protanomaly: anomalous red cones; Deutanomaly: anomalous green cones — are the most common visual processing problems. But there is also blue blindness — Tritanopia: blue/yellow color blindness, no blue cones; and Tritanomaly: anomalous blue cones. The most rare cases are the monochrome colorblindness, the true loss of color — Achromatopsia: low cone function; and Atypical Achromatopsia: low cone function with some color. As designers, we have to be aware of our audiences’ limitations and strength. And visual processing and comprehension is no exception. In the past, I’ve written about colorblindness: . But unfortunately, the site that helped identify problems with design doesn’t seem to work. Here’s a new sit e for your reference: Colorblind Web Page Filter If you are…