Posts tagged “booklamp”

ChittahChattah Quickies

Reading, writing, and calculations…

Like Pandora? Try A Literary Offshoot, Booklamp [] – The folks at Flavorwire gave the book-recommendation engine Booklamp a little ammo, with comic results. Such as the “Lyrics of Sting” being recommended based on enjoying Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.” I tried to play too, but I lost interest after a cursory search for some of my favorite books and authors came up altogether empty. is a new website that is similar to Pandora – it creates algorithms and breaks down your book preferences by main themes. For instance, if you liked White Teeth, then Booklamp discerns that you’re into: Culture, Life/Death/Spirituality, Extended Families, Explicit Language, and “Elements of Time.” This results in some odd recommendations, such as The Cestus Deception (Star Wars: Clone Wars) by Steven Barnes. (Really? Because we are just never going to be in to that.) However, another suggestion was The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis, which makes some sense. So click through and see what hilarious, interesting, and arguably accurate choices we found on our trip through the site.

Slowpoke: How to be a faster writer. [] – So it’s not just me! Agger’s quietly funny column includes some aha’s into the process of writing, some moments of vigorous nodding-and-agreeing (such as in the intro, excerpted below) and a rare banana-nut muffin pop-culture reference.

Hunched over my keyboard, I’m haunted by anecdotes of faster writers. Christopher Hitchens composing a Slate column in 20 minutes-after a chemo session, after a “full” dinner party, late on a Sunday night… So what’s holding us back? How does one write faster? Kellogg terms the highest level of writing as “knowledge-crafting.” In that state, the writer’s brain is juggling three things: the actual text, what you plan to say next, and-most crucially-theories of how your imagined readership will interpret what’s being written. A highly skilled writer can simultaneously be a writer, editor, and audience. Since writing is such a cognitively intense task, the key to becoming faster is to develop strategies to make writing literally less mind-blowing.

Do you Suffer from Decision Fatigue [] – Daily calculations become more taxing as they mount, to the point of fatigue; the effect is exacerbated by glucose levels. More wild-cards in trying to understand how people make decisions. Lots of great stories of research projects throughout the article.

No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts…Once you’re mentally depleted, you become reluctant to make trade-offs, which involve a particularly advanced and taxing form of decision making. In the rest of the animal kingdom, there aren’t a lot of protracted negotiations between predators and prey. To compromise is a complex human ability and therefore one of the first to decline when willpower is depleted. You become what researchers call a cognitive miser, hoarding your energy. If you’re shopping, you’re liable to look at only one dimension…When there were fewer decisions, there was less decision fatigue. Today we feel overwhelmed because there are so many choices. Your body may have dutifully reported to work on time, but your mind can escape at any instant. A typical computer user looks at more than three dozen Web sites a day and gets fatigued by the continual decision making – whether to keep working on a project, check out TMZ, follow a link to YouTube or buy something on Amazon.


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