Monthly Archives May 2018

Critique Technique, Part 3: How Do You Feel?

New members of a critique or writers’ group will often say, “I don’t know how to critique.” The tendency, I suspect, is to think they have to do what they did in high school or college English classes: identify and explain the symbolism in a passage, say, or compare and contrast the use of metaphor with onomatopoeia.

Nope! Nope, nope, nope. That’s not what critique or writers’ group feedback is about. It’s about helping the author get better by identifying what worked, what didn’t, and why.

How Do You Feel?

Let’s start with the easiest thing: how did the piece make you feel? Did it:

  • excite you
  • anger you
  • make you happy
  • make you sad
  • confuse...
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Science Education Under Attack—The Problem of Really Large Numbers

Before I get into today’s post, three updates to last week’s. First, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has come out publicly in favor of teaching evolution and cosmology, specifically the “Big Bang” theory, which Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas wants to eliminate, in the public schools. Second, it’s important to note that Superintendent Douglas does not have the last word on this issue, the state Board of Education does, and Douglas is only one member. She does, however, control what is presented to the Board, so this is not entirely good news...

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Science Education Under Attack: Evolution as “Just a Theory”

Portrait of Charles DarwinArizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas, the state’s top education official, is once again on the attack against teaching evolution in public schools. Douglas has learned that she can’t just delete it from the curriculum, especially in favor of so-called “intelligent design,” because federal courts have ruled that that’s a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s “establishment clause,” which establishes the clear separation between church and state. So she’s trying to do it through the back door, by replacing the word “evolution” with phrases that sound similar to the layman but are not.

For example, according to a recent Capitol Media Services report, instead of the requirement that students be able to evaluate how inherited traits in a population can...

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Children of the Thunder Review

Dark, dystopian, and deeply flawed. And yet….

Author John Brunner’s late 20th century England is a mess: the economy is collapsing, environmental degradation is rampant, the government is corrupt, religious fundamentalists are taking over, and a renegade general is advocating xenophobia and racism at home and nuclear war abroad. Things in the U.S. are similar, minus the general. Meanwhile, Japan and continental Europe are doing fine, or better.

Peter Levin is a freelance reporter. Few newspapers will buy his work and they are in danger of closing. Claudia Morris is an American sociologist. She made her name with a provocative book, but she now thinks she might have gotten her thesis wrong, and has come to England on sabbatical to do research and write a new book...

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