Saturday, July 23, 2011

The style sheet Hemingway appreciated

Hemingway told a reporter in 1940,"...the best rules I ever learned for business of writing." (about the style sheet of the Kansas City Star)

Few of those rules:

  • Use short sentences.
  • Use short first paragraphs.
  • Eliminate every superfluous word
  • Be careful of the word “also.”
  • Be careful of the word “only.”

Hat tip:

Hemingway's page at Kansas City Star:

Style Sheet:


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Final journey: Guiding to the Burrow

From :
( You may want to read first before watching ) known for its unusual reproductive behavior, which involves stinging a cockroach and using it as a host for its larvae...

...A 2003 study[2] using radioactive labeling demonstrated that the wasp stings precisely into specific ganglia of the roach. It delivers an initial sting to a thoracic ganglion and injects venom to mildly and reversibly paralyze the front legs of its victim. This facilitates the second venomous sting at a carefully chosen spot in the roach's head ganglia (brain), in the section that controls the escape reflex...

...The wasp proceeds to chew off half of each of the roach's antennae.[1] Researchers believe that the wasp chews off the antenna to replenish fluids or possibly to regulate the amount of venom because too much could kill and too little would let the victim recover before the larva has grown. The wasp, which is too small to carry the roach, then leads the victim to the wasp's burrow, by pulling one of the roach's antennae in a manner similar to a leash. Once they reach the burrow, the wasp lays a white egg, about 2 mm long, on the roach's abdomen. It then exits and proceeds to fill in the burrow entrance with pebbles, more to keep other predators out than to keep the roach in...

(Hat tip to DR)


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Writing Tips from Maria Gardiner & Hugh Kearns

From the article of Maria Gardiner & Hugh Kearns in Nature:

  1. Write before you feel ready — because you might never feel ready. It's amazing how people magically feel ready when there is an imminent deadline.
  2. Don't wait to have a clear picture of the paper. As you start putting down your ideas, you may actually clarify them.
  3. Snack write — work in short, frequent bursts instead of waiting to sit down for big blocks of time. Those blocks hardly ever come, and when they do, they don't usually get used very productively.
  4. Set specific times in your schedule for writing — don't leave it to chance, because chances are it won't happen.
  5. Writing means putting new words on the page or substantially rewriting old words. It does not mean editing, reading, referencing or formatting — and it definitely does not mean composing e-mails.
  6. If you refrain from writing because you worry that what you write won't be good enough, try noting the adage that to write well, you first have to write.
  7. To really increase the quality and quantity of your writing, get feedback from mentors and colleagues — it can be painful, but it works.