Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Thu, Sep 22 2005

Engineers, Horticulturists And Inventors

I saw the author of 1491 : New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus on TV a few evenings ago. Charles C. Mann admits he is not a true historian or scientist, but instead a reporter, and he seems to have gotten interested in the whole topic after his own travels to remote regions of the Americas.

One of the surprises to me was the intricate society in which earlier people operated. Often we're taught that people led very simple lives and did very little on a scientific level, when in fact the earlier work they did laid a fair foundation for what we like to think of as our more sophisticated research and development today. If you're looking for a way to help your mind put to rest the stereotypes we've heard about Indians doing little but sitting around chanting by the fire this book is probably a great place to start.

posted at: 12:43 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Both Paid And Free Content Is Duplicated

It seems that The New York Times wants to use TimesSelect to let readers view at least some of their content for a fee. And they want those news outlets paying for syndication of certain content to use print publication only--not online publication (unless the outlet has a specific arrangement with The Times). One person decided to actively circumvent the rules.

I wouldn't choose to do this same sort of thing. But I have, as a blogging writer, gone to Google and done a search for news stories that were listed on more than one news site. If I want to link to the story as a reference for a blog posting I make an effort to find that same story published on a news site that doesn't require reader registration. I opt to do this so that I don't purposely lead Write Lightning readers to a site where they might not already have open access. If I feel a strong need to link to something that has only sources that require registration I will mention it. But more often than not I simply skip linking to stories that require registration to read.

If every news site starts requiring registration or a paid subscription it will certainly change the way blog writers handle these things. I'm hoping that most news sites, including those of major news agencies, appreciate the increased traffic our links send their way. If they all begin to decide it isn't worth the seepage of raw news material I suppose we'll all just have to adapt.

posted at: 10:03 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!