Posts by smithsawn_@1

The current “future”- In a world where privacy is up for debate

Posted by on Jun 13, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

The current “future”-  In a world where privacy is up for debate

The current “future” – by Matthew Smith  In a world where privacy is up for debate and identity is increasingly fading. What do you do when the world begins to resemble the likes of a sci-fi novel? People find Science fiction interesting, creative and thought provoking, but what happens when it is no longer an idea, but part of our everyday lives? “Fiction” has become reality.  Already we see people glaring at devices instead of conversing in the “real”; preferring online personas to real human interaction.  Why be yourself when you can essentially portray what you want to be; filters, editing and face correction… showing a visible difference between who we really are and who we would like people to think we are.  For some, your online self is more relevant than your real self and if you don’t have online popularity, you’re irrelevant. Progress is change, and change is inevitable – but to what extent? Since the creation of the internet, the lines of privacy have become increasingly blurred.  Gone are the days where “privacy” simply referred to your physical self.  With the evolution of technology, the very definition of “privacy” has changed.  Your “private” information is at risk and “Cyber bullies” or “trolls” lurk the internet, creating viruses and stealing peoples’ identities.  The world is becoming increasingly complicated with the older generations being left behind by a tech-savvy youth that has access to more information than they could possibly need. Along with the general privacy implications of technology, we now live in an era of false information where with a few simple photographs and some free software, you can insert anyone into an image or video of your choice; most frighteningly, pornographic images/videos or GIFs.  (https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/24/16929148/fake-celebrity-porn-ai-deepfake-face-swapping-artificial-intelligence-reddit ) On an even more frightening note, Google is currently experimenting with the possibility of AI adapting to social cues from humans – body language, facial expressions and what makes humans happy.  Although the intention may be to help AI better understand human needs, there is always the possibility of things going wrong – “Terminator” comes to mind.  If companies like Google and organizations like MIT are able to successfully “teach” AI to have emotional intelligence, it could be extremely good for the “future”, but it could also mean complete human redundancy.  With Technology already able to best the average human (or even above average) with regards to equations and so forth, all humans will have left is their emotional intelligence, which we are teaching to technology. (https://qz.com/1209466/google-is-building-ai-to-make-humans-smile/) However, if you fear that technology is going to surpass you, don’t worry – Elon Musk is working on it.  Elon Musk; CEO of SpaceX, CEO of Tesla, Inc and Chairman of SolarCity; and the same man who is planning to take humans to Mars within our lifetime; is currently working on “Neuralink”(A thin mesh device inserted into the skull) -essentially merging your mind with a computer and creating an interface.  (https://futurism.com/scientists-cant-replicate-ai-studies/) Sounds fantastic; but why would you ever bother trying to learn again? The purpose is so that we can have a fighting chance against AI, but humans adapt, and over time it could be our downfall.  Not to mention the implications of direct marketing – really, really direct. What about Privacy? Viruses? Hackers? There is a never ending list of complications that may or may not arise, not to mention the social; religious and economical implications. (https://www.outerplaces.com/science/item/17444-neuralink-brain-implant-elon-musk-black-mirror) Recently people in Europe couldn’t pay for purchases due to a Visa network outage – further proving our reliance on technology. https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/1/17418684/visa-cards-europe-not-working-network-outage Furthermore, people are leading such busy, competitive lives, that we are leaving...

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Steps to Writing a Novel

Posted by on Apr 21, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Steps to Writing a Novel

Plotting the structure and pace of a novel must not only personify a unique way of looking at the world, the aim should consistently be to bring all aspects of the story together to hold the readers’ attention. While it helps to create a preliminary framework of the story to give you direction, it should be flexible. A good rule of thumb is to write off the cuff for at least the first fifty pages; allow the story to unfold without being restrictive to too many pre-determined notions. Where does your story take place and when? Imagine what would occur by visualizing the sequence of events. Create a mental picture of the setting, which should encompass not only a description of the environment but also time. Bear in mind that the reader depends on your choice of words to visualize the setting that plays a vital role in the unfolding story. Keep the description authentic so that the reader can relate; if the setting is in a city, explore relevant details such as a particular part of the city, street, building and circumstances why the story occurs there. Decide who is telling the story; it may be a first-person narrator, omniscient narrator, or third person narrator. Who is telling the story? First person narrative – identified as “I” or “we” – refers to the person telling the story where the story is told by one character at a time. This character may be speaking about themselves or relaying perceived experiences. Similarly, the readers’ perception is influenced by the speaker, hence our understanding of the roles the different characters play, conflict and plot development are based on what we learn from the narrator. The first person is also an alternative to third person omniscient narration, which uses “he” “she” or “it” when to describe events. This is a common form of narration in which the teller of the tale often speaks with the voice of the author and assumes an all-knowing perspective about the unfolding story. Why is the story being told? In the early stages of writing it is important to introduce the main character, someone that features strongly at the centre of the action. Allow your story to develop without restraint, whether it’s grammatically or content-driven. Write a paragraph, a page or a chapter, depending on your focus. It could be a brief description of a scene or an event that covers several pages. Try not to put yourself under undue pressure to maintain sequential order of developments; you can piece the novel together at a later stage. A good rule of thumb is to introduce a conflict situation at the start of the novel incident that will prompt the reader to understand why this story is being told. Always write in active voice It is essential to set a deadline to complete the first draft of your manuscript. Consider that a standard novel comprises 200 manuscript pages or about 60,000 words. There are a certain set of steps to writing a novel. First, familiarize yourself with the principles of this genre – conflict, setting, voice, dialogue, view point and creative description of the environment or mood – as well as when the “conflict” will shatter the so far even-keeled pace of the story. How would your hero react to and resolve the discord?  Always write in the active voice; touch on perceived options so that the reader is able to relate to an outcome. Incorporate dialogue that facilitates the development of the story. Set aside at least an hour or two every day to writing and editing your manuscript; compose a thousand words on day...

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Academic Essay Writing

Posted by on Mar 29, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Academic Essay Writing

The purpose of an academic essay is for a scholar to not only demonstrate their understanding of a particular subject and develop their own ideas, but also to understand the ideas of other scholars. Writing an academic essay is also an opportunity for the student to communicate their understanding of the prescribed text and research material, with their lecturer or supervisor.   Enough time Never rush writing an essay. The process to follow starts with fully understanding the topic or questions. Brainstorm ideas that best outline the topic, including your responses and insights. Write a rough draft and read it critically; consult with your supervisor to verify that you have devised a comprehensive table of contents. Understand the essay question Define the problem and find the “introduction words” in the topic. These words tell you what to do; whether you need to analyze, discuss, analyze or argue in order to bring clarity to the essay question. Read the prescribed text as well as different scholarly studies on the same topic; make notes. Express your own views in relation to that of other writer views. Writing & Editing An academic essay contains your own interpretation of other scholars’ work, published in books, journals and research studies. The essay must be written in a formal voice and in a carefully structured manner. Take note that the format of the essay takes the reader step-by-step through a well-ordered sequence that connect ideas. All essays must have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Each paragraph must be logically connected to the thesis statement. It is vital that the content be well written, free of grammatical and spelling errors. Include references that are not older than three years. Follow the referencing style required by the tertiary institute. The introduction summarizes the problem and the proposed solution. The body of the essay or research study explains the solution in detail, including an explanation how the task will be done, what research methodology will be applied, when the work will commence, and when the procedure will be concluded. The conclusion emphasizes the positive outcome of applying the solution to the problem  The tone in which the closure is written must be confident and assertive.              ...

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Tips on writing

Posted by on Mar 23, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Tips on writing

Write a book for a ready readership Choosing a topic to write a book manuscript that targets a wide readership is perhaps just as daunting as it is to follow one’s subjective notion of a theme’s importance. On the one hand it might seem logical to opt for a topic that you know well or would like to know more about through research. On the other hand if a published work does not yet exist, it makes sense that you should write it. There is of course the risk that many ‘new’ subjects may already be works-in-progress and not yet announced. Concise outline While it is of course necessary to do extensive research to determine what you are up against, it is essential to take the subject in a direction that surpasses, by comparison, similar literature. In other words, the author should consider what message the book will need to convey to be a real game-changer. Without giving away too much, it is wise to present publishers with a brief synopsis of the proposed book; and a list of chapter headings, each with a concise outline what each chapter covers. Topic ideas I’ve toyed with numerous unconventional topics that I believe people in our modern age might be interested in to expand their knowledge, such as developing critical life skills to shape a better future; the pros and cons of emerging technologies; is mankind prepared for an evolutionary leap?; survival in a hostile environment; merging human capital with artificial intelligence; unlocking our DNA; and initiating new “breakthrough” earth-friendly business industries. Writing isn’t easy Most writers agree that the hardest part of writing a manuscript is creating a fairly rigid routine and adopting an attitude of dogged persistence to yield a well-written piece of work. A complete manuscript does not magically appear; it starts with typing the title and the authors’ name, followed by the opening sentence and several paragraphs until an entire chapter has materialized. Structured plan Writing a book manuscript occurs in three critical phases: the beginning, planning ahead to stay motivated to enthrall the reader, and bringing the project to a fantastic close. Before you can start writing you first need to create a framework of various aspects of the topic and sub-areas you want to explore. Knowing what your book is about allows you to focus not only on the word count but also a timeline from start to finish. The length and number of chapters depends on the type of book you plan to write. For instance a white paper has 10 000 words, short eBook comprises 20 000 words, standard nonfiction novella (40 000 to 60 000 words), long novel (60 000 to 100 000 words) and epic-length novel/academic publication/biography (100 000...

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Must-Read Books about Writing

Posted by on Sep 3, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Must-Read Books about Writing

Books on overcoming the struggles of writing The Writing Life by Annie Dillard The author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek shares words of wisdom in this handy book where she discusses the difficulties of writing. She writes about how hard it is to write and how sometimes it is necessary to destroy paragraphs, phrases and words to re-form them as something even better. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron From time to time, every writer suffers from burnout or writer’s block. Julia Cameron’s book focuses on the craft of writing and training yourself to be even more creative. Word Work: Surviving and Thriving as a Writer by Bruce Holland Rogers Word Work is packed with practical advice for overcoming procrastination, finding happiness in writing and even conquering writer’s block via useful exercises. It also covers how to handle rejection and success. Books on honing your craft On Writing by Stephen King Part memoir, part guidebook, Stephen King’s classic will appeal even to those who avoid King’s renowned horror-packed tales. In this book, King discusses how he came to be the writer we know today. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott Bird by Bird is an essential part of any writer’s toolbox. In this work, Lamott shares herself and her craft with readers, including anecdotes that tie the pieces together into all-around great writing. Writer’s Market edited by Robert Lee Brewer Writer’s Market helps aspiring writers become published ones. Its listings contain hundreds of pages of suggested markets for nonfiction writers, as well as those looking to sell short stories, including details for how to pitch your work. On Writing Well by William Zinsser This classic book targets nonfiction writers and includes writing tips, as well as the fundamentals of craft. Zinsser discusses many forms of writing, from interviewing and telling stories about people to writing about travel. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White For years, writing teachers have assigned The Elements of Style to their students. Brushing up on the basics from time to time is critical for continually developing your skills, and this book contains simple truths that every writer needs to know. The Associated Press Stylebook 2017 by the Associated Press AP Style is known by many as the “go-to” writing style for journalists and public relations pros. The 2017 Associated Press Stylebook contains more than 3,000 entries detailing rules on grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviation and word and numeral usage to help you master news writing. How to Write Bestselling Fiction by Dean Koontz While many books on this list are aimed at nonfiction writers, this one is for those who dream up their own stories to tell. If anyone is qualified to tell people how to write bestselling fiction, it’s prolific author Dean Koontz, who’s sold more 450 million copies of his books. This book was written in 1981 and is out of print, but has valuable insight for writers who manage to snag a copy (check the library!). Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg Goldberg’s book examines the craft of writing including how to start brainstorming, the importance of learning how to listen, the vital role verbs play in writing, and even how to find an inspiring place to write. Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell Aimed at fiction writers, this book tackles everything from models to help with story structure to a variety of techniques to help with crafting great stories from start to finish. You’ll even find tips on creating plotting diagrams. and tools to overcome various plot problems that can arise. A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld This book focuses on how to be a happy and successful...

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