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Publishing Kills the Weak and Weakens the Strong

Writing is hard work. Hurtful work. Deadly work.  Putting together a book is a long and painful process of recognition, writing and ongoing negotiation.

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Virtual Chats Using Famous Avatars

The University of Illinois at Chicago have come up with a method of providing interactive video chat online using realistic avatars:

UIC also has developed technology that provides viewers with 3-D images that do not require wearing special glasses.

One important factor in the project is to impart appropriate body language to the avatar as it responds to comments and questions, said Steve Jones, a UIC professor of communication.
“In real life, it’s just assumed that you can read a person’s responses without saying anything,” said Jones.

A subtle hesitation before speaking can have meaning, but such nuances have been mostly lacking in software programs created so far.

The project will use video cameras to record a person’s mannerisms, and that information will be fed into the programs that activate the avatar, Jones said.

This technology means you could become your favorite actor or politician or family member and “chat” online as that person or even with that person.

Professors could hold online virtual meetings with students — and neither student or instructor would have to dress up or even look special for the occasion.

We are quickly moving into the Age of Masks and with that virtualization of our real selves, we must remember to always preserve our humanity in the negotiation.

Cheating to Get Ahead

There is no greater harm to intellect or the education process than plagiarizing.
When you steal or purchase the thoughts of others and claim them as your own — the entire salvation of the world crumbles to ash.

We were thrilled to learn this week that Google have refused to accept advertising from Paper Mills as reported by Chronicle.com:

Term-paper and essay-writing services join prostitutes, firearms dealers, and hacking sites in Google’s forbidden-advertising zone, the company announced yesterday. Academic paper-writing services, or “paper mills,” will no longer be able to buy search terms in the Google AdWords program, and thus their ads will no longer pop up in the
“sponsored links” sections of a Google search-results page. (Links to those sites could still be found among the results on the main part of the page, however.)

The paper mills, which offer buyers papers written to order for a fee, have been the subject of sharp complaints from universities, which view them as sources of plagiarism. But the companies themselves have a different view.

It is only in the free discussion of ideas that thought gains purpose over emotion and instinct.

We are humanized by our minds and the facts of our shared human memory.

Boles Books GIS and Glencoe McGraw-Hill

After a hard-nosed — but always friendly — negotiation, we are pleased to announce the small involvement of Boles Books Writing & Publishing ™ in providing some GIS (Geographic Information Systems) material from our ongoing Dramatic Medicine project concerning GIS in Public Health to Glencoe/McGraw-Hill publishing in a three book textbook deal.

World Geography and Cultures

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The Enemy of the Arts

My great mentor, Dr. Howard Stein, claims the enemy of the Arts is the Humanities.

I often reflect on his statement.

Dr. Stein’s advice is timely and terribly true.