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Posted by BeauHD

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Google and a leading nuclear fusion company have developed a new computer algorithm which has significantly speeded up experiments on plasmas, the ultra-hot balls of gas at the heart of the energy technology. Tri Alpha Energy, which is backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, has raised over $500 million in investment. It has worked with Google Research to create what they call the Optometrist algorithm. This enables high-powered computation to be combined with human judgement to find new and better solutions to complex problems. Working with Google enabled experiment's on Tri Alpha Energy's C2-U machine to progress much faster, with operations that took a month speeded up to just a few hours. The algorithm revealed unexpected ways of operating the plasma, with the research published on Tuesday in the journal Scientific Reports. The team achieved a 50% reduction in energy losses from the system and a resulting increase in total plasma energy, which must reach a critical threshold for fusion to occur.

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Posted by Dan Evon

A meme made the demonstrably false claim that Wendy's had replaced workers with machines at thousands of its restaurants, thanks to a minimum wage increase.
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Posted by BeauHD

A new study published Tuesday in the journal American Medical Association found that 110 out of 111 brains of those who played in the NFL had degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). NPR reports: In the study, researchers examined the brains of 202 deceased former football players at all levels. Nearly 88 percent of all the brains, 177, had CTE. Three of 14 who had played only in high school had CTE, 48 of 53 college players, 9 of 14 semiprofessional players, and 7 of 8 Canadian Football League players. CTE was not found in the brains of two who played football before high school. According to the study's senior author, Dr. Ann McKee, "this is by far the largest [study] of individuals who developed CTE that has ever been described. And it only includes individuals who are exposed to head trauma by participation in football." A CTE study several years ago by McKee and her colleagues included football players and athletes from other collision sports such as hockey, soccer and rugby. It also examined the brains of military veterans who had suffered head injuries. The study released Tuesday is the continuation of a study that began eight years ago. In 2015, McKee and fellow researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University published study results revealing 87 of 91 former NFL players had CTE.

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Posted by BeauHD

According to Variety, AT&T's pay-TV business has lost a record 351,000 traditional video customers in the second quarter, with the internet-delivered DirecTV Now service failing to fully offset the losses. From the report: In Q2, historically a seasonally weak period for the pay-TV business, DirecTV's U.S. satellite division lost 156,000 customers sequentially, dropping to 20.86 million, compared with a gain of 342,000 in the year-earlier quarter. AT&T's U-verse lost 195,000 subs in the quarter, which was actually an improvement over the 391,000 it lost in Q2 of 2016. AT&T touted that it gained 152,000 DirecTV Now customers in Q2, after adding just 72,000 in the first quarter of 2017. Overall, it had signed up 491,000 DirecTV Now subs as of the end of June, after the OTT service launched seven months ago.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Posted by BeauHD

According to the Wall Street Journal, Toyota is in production engineering for a solid state battery, which uses a solid electrolyte instead of the conventional semi-liquid version used in today's lithium-ion batteries. The company said it aims to put the new tech in production electric vehicles as early as 2020. TechCrunch reports: The improved battery technology would make it possible to create smaller, more lightweight lithium-ion batteries for use in EVs, that could also potentially boost the total charge capacity and result in longer-range vehicles. Another improvement for this type of battery would be longer overall usable life, which would make it possible to both use the vehicles they're installed in for longer, and add potential for product recycling and alternative post-vehicle life (some companies are already looking into putting EV batteries into use in home and commercial energy storage, for example).

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Posted by BeauHD

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer: Chinese authorities in the province of Xinjiang are forcing locals of the Uyghur Muslim minority to install an app on their phones that will allow the government to scan their device for "terrorist propaganda," local media reports. In reality, the app creates MD5 hashes for the user's files and matches them against a database of known terrorist content. The app also makes copies of the user's Weibo and WeChat databases and uploads it to a government server, along with the user's IMEI, IMSI, and WiFi login information. The app is called Jingwang (Citizen Safety) and was developed by police forces from Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital. Authorities launched the app in April, and also included the ability to report suspicious activity to the police. At the start of July, Xinjiang officials started sending WeChat messages in Uyghur and Chinese to locals, asking them to install the app or face detainment of up to 10 days. Police have also stopped people on the street to check if they installed the app. Several were detained for refusing to install it. Locals are now sharing the locations of checkpoints online, so others can avoid getting arrested.

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Does Curry Cure Cancer?

Jul. 25th, 2017 17:51
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Posted by Gaia Cantelli

Recent attention-grabbing headlines have been suggesting that curry powder – and in particular one of its most prominent ingredients, turmeric – are the newest and most exciting trend in curing cancer. Most of the hype has ... Read more


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Posted by BeauHD

New submitter flote shares a report from The Guardian: Sperm counts among men have more than halved in the last 40 years, research suggests, although the drivers behind the decline remain unclear. The latest findings reveal that between 1973 and 2011, the concentration of sperm in the ejaculate of men in western countries has fallen by an average of 1.4% a year, leading to an overall drop of just over 52%. The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction Update by an international team of researchers, drew on 185 studies conducted between 1973 and 2011, involving almost 43,000 men. The team split the data based on whether the men were from western countries -- including Australia and New Zealand as well as countries in North America and Europe -- or from elsewhere. After accounting for factors including age and how long men had gone without ejaculation, the team found that sperm concentration fell from 99 million per ml in 1973 to 47.1 million per ml in 2011 -- a decline of 52.4% -- among western men unaware of their fertility. For the same group, total sperm count -- the number of sperm in a semen sample -- fell by just under 60%.

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Posted by msmash

Cloudflare is not happy with the RIAA's efforts to hold the company liable for pirate websites on its network. From a report: Representing various major record labels, the RIAA filed a lawsuit against MP3Skull in 2015. Last year a Florida federal court sided with the RIAA, awarding the labels more than $22 million in damages. In addition, it issued a permanent injunction which allowed the RIAA to take over the site's domain names. Despite the multi-million dollar verdict, MP3Skull continued to operate using a variety of new domain names, which were subsequently targeted by the RIAA's legal team. As the site refused to shut down, the RIAA eventually moved up the chain targeting CDN provider Cloudflare with the permanent injunction. The RIAA argued that Cloudflare was operating "in active concert or participation" with the pirates. Cloudflare objected and argued that the DMCA shielded the company from the broad blocking requirements. However, the court ruled that the DMCA doesn't apply in this case, opening the door to widespread anti-piracy filtering. The court stressed that, before issuing an injunction against Cloudflare, it still had to be determined whether the CDN provider is "in active concert or participation" with the pirate site. [...] Cloudflare now wants the dangerous anti-piracy filtering order to be thrown out. The company submitted a motion to vacate the order late last week, arguing that the issue is moot. In fact, it has been for a while for some of the contended domain names. The CDN provider says it researched the domain names listed in the injunction and found that only three of the twenty domains used Cloudflare's services at the time the RIAA asked the court to clarify its order. Some had never used CloudFlare's services at all, they say.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Posted by BeauHD

Motorola has announced a new flagship smartphone that will be available on every major U.S. carrier. Some of the noteworthy specifications include a nearly indestructible screen and dual rear-facing camera sensors. The Verge reports: The Moto Z2 Force is the closest thing to a flagship phone that Motorola has released this year, and it's got all the hardware specs to show for it: inside is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. It runs Android 7.1 with a promised upgrade to Android O to come. That's all standard fare for an expensive 2017 smartphone, and the Z2 Force is certainly expensive at around $720. It's priced even higher on some carriers like AT&T ($810). This version is much thinner than last year's phone, but that sleek design comes with a significant sacrifice in battery capacity; the Z2 Force has a 2,730mAh battery compared to the 3,500mAh battery in the old Moto Z Force. Between this and the Moto Z2 Play, Motorola sure does seem obsessed with slimming things down lately, and what are we gaining? Oh, there's no headphone jack on this thing either. Be prepared to go wireless or live the dongle life.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Posted by BeauHD

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Companies in the United States, Germany, Japan, and other countries are racing to develop self-driving cars. But India's top transportation regulator says that those cars won't be welcome on Indian streets any time soon. "We won't allow driverless cars in India," said Nitin Gadkari, India's minister for Road Transport, Highways, and Shipping, according to the Hindustan Times. "I am very clear on this. We won't allow any technology that takes away jobs." Gadkari is taking a very different approach from politicians in the United States, where both the Obama and Trump administrations have been keen to promote the development of self-driving vehicles. "We are bullish on automated vehicles," said Obama Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx last year. His successor, Elaine Chao, has also signaled support for self-driving technology, while also expressing concerns about safety risks and potential job losses.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Posted by Bethania Palma

An article reporting that a federal judge had implemented "sharia law" in the United States is fake news that was originally posted on a satire site.
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Posted by Dan MacGuill

River Falls-based Three Square Market is giving its workers the option of voluntarily having a microchip implanted in their hands.
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Posted by msmash

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Apple CEO Tim Cook has committed to build three big manufacturing plants in the U.S., a surprising statement that would help fulfill his administration's economic goal of reviving American manufacturing. From a report: Apple CEO Tim Cook called Trump to share that the iPhone-maker would do more manufacturing domestically, Trump told WSJ. "I spoke to [Mr. Cook], he's promised me three big plants -- big, big, big," Trump was quoted as saying. Apple has already said that it would start a $1 billion fund to promote advanced manufacturing jobs in the United States. With its wide network of developers, Apple has already created two million jobs in the United States, according to Cook.

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Posted by msmash

The number of posted tech jobs rose by 10.7 percent in the first half of the year from 2016 in the Seattle area, as eight tech hubs continue to dominate the U.S. technology industry, according to a new study by Indeed. From a report: But while Silicon Valley retains its spot as the premier technological center in the U.S., tech listings plunged by 5.9 percent in the western and southern valley around San Jose in the first half of the year, and an even higher 7.8 percent in San Francisco and along the eastern Bay Area, Indeed said. Raleigh, NC, saw the largest plummet, with tech listings dropping by 14.6 percent.

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Posted by msmash

The maker of the Roomba robotic vacuum, iRobot -- which we have talked about several times in the past -- has found itself embroiled in a privacy row after its chief executive suggested it may begin selling floor plans of customers' homes, derived from the movement data of their autonomous servants. From a report: While it may seem like the information that a Roomba could gather is minimal, there's a lot to be gleaned from the maps it's constantly updating. It knows the floor plan of your home, the basic shape of everything on your floor, what areas require the most maintenance, and how often you require cleaning cycles, along with many other data points. [...] If a company like Amazon, for example, wanted to improve its Echo smart speaker, the Roomba's mapping info could certainly help out. Spatial mapping could improve audio performance by taking advantage of the room's acoustics. Do you have a large room that's practically empty? Targeted furniture ads might be quite effective. The laser and camera sensors would paint a nice portrait for lighting needs that would factor into smart lights that adjust in real time. Smart AC units could better control airflow. And additional sensors added in the future would gather even more data from this live-in double agent.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Steal Like an Artist

Jul. 25th, 2017 20:06
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Posted by Wil

I’ve been struggling a lot to keep writing, to keep creating, to find the inspiration and the focus I need to do my job. A lot of it is related to my Depression, but there comes a point when the difference between being a professional and a hobbyist is actually doing the work, even — especially — when it’s hard.

So this weekend, Anne and I took the kids up to Santa Barbara to celebrate our birthdays (which are all in the next two weeks), and to get a change of scenery for a couple of days. It was a gorgeous trip, emotionally and spiritually, and while it didn’t give me the magic bullet to suddenly break through the struggle I’ve been having, I made a ton of progress, because I read a book that I took with me. Here’s my review that I posted to my Goodreads thingy:

Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon, is essential reading for all artists.

It’s a quick read that you can finish in one sitting, but the ideas and advice it contains will stay with you long after you’ve put it down. Some of Austin’s suggestions will validate what you’re already doing, some will challenge you to fundamentally change a creative practice, others will inspire you to grab a notebook and get to work immediately.

Because it’s such a small and accessible book, you’ll want to go back to it from time to time. Just like Stephen King’s On Writing, as you change and grow as an artist, it reveals new ideas and inspirations to you that you may have missed on a previous read.

This is a fantastic addition to your library, and a wonderful gift for any creative person in your life.

I’ve been profoundly inspired by Austin’s book, because he reaffirmed things I’ve already been doing as an artist, but mostly because he gave me permission to think about the entire creative process differently.

For a long time, I have felt like a travel writer who never leaves the house, and Steal Like An Artist helped me find the door so I can get back on the road.

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Posted by ScienceBlog.com

In the first systematic review and meta-analysis of trends in sperm count, researchers from the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai report ... Read more


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Posted by Xeni Jardin

As Senators vote on proceeding to debate the secret Trump/GOP health care plan aka Obamacare repeal plan *they haven't even seen,* protesters in the senate chambers and outside shouted “Kill the bill, don't kill us.”

(more…)

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Posted by msmash

An anonymous reader shares a Bloomberg Businessweek article: For almost a half-century there's been a clear speed limit on most commercial air travel: 660 miles per hour, the rate at which a typical-size plane traveling at 30,000 feet breaks the sound barrier and creates a 30-mile-wide, continuous sonic boom. That may be changing. In August, NASA says, it will begin taking bids for construction of a demo model of a plane able to reduce the sonic boom to something like the hum you'd hear inside a Mercedes-Benz on the interstate. The agency's researchers say their design, a smaller-scale model of which was successfully tested in a wind tunnel at the end of June, should cut the six-hour flight time from New York to Los Angeles in half. NASA proposes spending $390 million over five years to build the demo plane and test it over populated areas. The first year of funding is included in President Trump's 2018 budget proposal. Over the next decade, growth in air transportation and distances flown "will drive the demand for broadly available faster air travel," says Peter Coen, project manager for NASA's commercial supersonic research team. "That's going to make it possible for companies to offer competitive products in the future." NASA plans to share the technology resulting from the tests with U.S. plane makers, meaning a head start for the likes of Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing, and startups such as Boom Technology and billionaire Robert Bass's Aerion. [...] NASA is targeting a sound level of 60 to 65 A-weighted decibels (dBa), Coen says. That's about as loud as that luxury car on the highway or the background conversation in a busy restaurant. Iosifidis says that Lockheed's research shows the design can maintain that sound level at commercial size and his team's planned demo will be 94 feet long, have room for one pilot, fly as high as 55,000 feet, and run on one of the twin General Electric engines that power Boeing Co.'s F/A-18 fighter jet.

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Posted by msmash

The chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday asked the chief executives of Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon.com, AT&T, Verizon Communications and other companies to testify at a Sept. 7 hearing on the future of net neutrality rules. From a report: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is considering tossing out 2015 Obama administration net neutrality rules that reclassified internet service like a public utility. The rules bar providers from blocking, slowing or offering paid prioritization of websites. Many internet providers want Congress to step in and write permanent rules. Other chief executives asked to testify include the heads of Comcast, Netflix and Charter. Some companies including Facebook said they were reviewing the letter but none immediately said if they will testify.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Posted by msmash

An anonymous reader shares a report on Quartz: The DJI Spark, the smallest and most affordable consumer drone that the Chinese manufacturer has released, seems to be having flight problems that could have dangerous side-effects. On DJI's support forum, multiple users -- Quartz counted at least 14 separate complaints across two forum posts -- have reported that while they were flying, their Spark drones have switched off and fallen like rocks out of the sky. In some cases, the drones were close to the ground and were easy for their owners to retrieve and send diagnostic information to DJI, but in others, the drones crash landed in thick woods, or, in a couple of instances, in lakes. [...] It's not clear what caused these crashes -- some forum posters suggest some could've been user error, but others shared their drones' flight logs and showed nothing out of the ordinary had been happening before the crash. DJI told Quartz it was looking into the issues on the forums we uncovered. "DJI is aware of these reports and we are investigating to determine the causes," a spokesperson added.

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Posted by PG

From Fox Business:

An activist investor wants Barnes & Noble Inc. to try again to sell itself, arguing the bookseller needs an owner who can invest in its beleaguered operations.

Sandell Asset Management  has recently started buying a stake in the New York bookstore chain and is already among its 10 biggest investors, according to people familiar with the matter.

. . . .

Even though physical bookstores have declined in popularity in the U.S. in the internet age, Sandell reckons they aren’t going away and that Barnes & Noble’s status as the only national chain could attract a well-heeled private-equity firm or another retailer.

. . . .

The company has explored several possible deals to sell or break itself up over the years, including a buyout attempt by its chairman, Leonard Riggio. But none of the plans came to fruition and the stock has slumped 60% in the past two years, with the company’s market value plunging to just above $500 million.

Like many retailers, Barnes & Noble has struggled to compete with Amazon.com, which dominates the online sale of physical and digital books. For the fiscal year ended in April, Barnes & Noble’s revenue declined 6.5% to $3.9 billion, while earnings rose to $22 million. The bookseller, which currently has more than 600 stores, said it expects sales at stores open at least a year to show a percentage drop in the low single digits in fiscal 2018.

Link to the rest at Fox Business and thanks to Nate at The Digital Reader for the tip.

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Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

Conservative Iranian state television presenter Azadeh Namdari makes a big deal about how important it is for women to obey an Islamic dress code. But someone took a video of her drinking a bottle of beer and not wearing a hijab while she was on vacation in Switzerland. When the video was made public, Namdari said the video was taken immediately after her scarf fell off. She didn't explain how the bottle of beer ended up in her hand. I reckon a squirrel in the tree overhead dropped it she accidentally caught it. Then she took a sip to find out what it was. Since alcoholic drinks are forbidden in Islam, she definitely spit it out.

(more…)

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Posted by Jason Weisberger

This eraser wheel is wonderful. It removes old, weathered decals in seconds.

I attached this eraser to my cordless drill and effortlessly rubbed some very old and bad looking decals off my VW Van. I replaced them with something closer to my heart.

I cleaned up with rubbing alcohol after removing the decal.

ABN Decal Eraser Wheel Pinstripe Removal Kit via Amazon

[syndicated profile] boingboing_feed

Posted by Jason Weisberger

Paris, France is making good on its promise to reopen long polluted waterways to bathers.

Up to three hundred people at any time can use the lifeguard-protected pools, although the pools only have locker space for 80. Located in a part of Paris already popular as a place to stroll in fine weather, the new bathing spot is likely to prove a major hit in an already hotter-than-average summer. Early reports suggest that the water is indeed delightful, though a small residuum of green algae does make a post-bathe shower a good idea.

How did Paris pull this off? The city’s been working on cleaning up the waters here for decades. Paris’s canals here were once unsurprisingly filthy, running as they do through a former industrial area once packed with cargo barges and polluted by sewage. Since the 1980s, however, regulations managing industrial run-off have tightened substantially, while Paris has invested heavily in wastewater treatment and in preventing sewage from being discharged into the canal during periods of high water. Two years ago, following a concerted clean-up, bacteria levels dropped below safe levels, and rogue bathers have been jumping in the water here for a while. Meanwhile, the Canal Saint Martin, which runs downstream from the basin down to the Seine, was entirely drained and cleaned in 2016, a process that sent a powerful visual message to Parisians that the area’s historic filth was being swept away.

Via CityLab

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Posted by Jason Weisberger

There are no good reasons, and a lot of bad ones, that your dog can be vaccinated for Lyme disease but you can not. Profiteering and vaccination fears have teamed up to leave humans defenseless from a terrible malady.

WBUR shares the story:

For Dr. Stanley Plotkin, a prominent vaccine scientist, Lyme disease is personal. His son, Alec, collapsed from a slow heart rate when he was 39, brought down by a rare heart complication from Lyme.

His son survived, but the incident helped cement Plotkin's resolve to pursue a human vaccine against Lyme disease. Using his bully pulpit as an emeritus professor of infectious diseases at the University of Pennsylvania, he’s taken his case from The New York Times to the New England Journal of Medicine, in which he called the lack of Lyme protection "the worst recent failure to use an effective vaccine."

That’s because we used to have a vaccine for Lyme, called LYMErix, but it was pulled from the market. Now, the only family member who can get a Lyme vaccine is your dog.

LYMErix had some problems. It required three doses at $50 each, and they were not covered by insurance -- so involved some inconvenience and out-of-pocket money. Despite a good safety record in clinical trials, some people experienced what they thought were side effects and sued SmithKline Beecham, the manufacturer. In 2002, SmithKline pulled the vaccine, after only four years on the market. (More on the history of the Lyme vaccine here.)

While the official line is that poor sales led the vaccine's maker to pull it, most experts think the specter of lawsuits was a key factor. Though an FDA panel ultimately found no link between the vaccine and arthritis, SmithKline settled lawsuits making that claim. And by then, the vaccine was already dead.

That cautionary tale still reverberates at companies developing new potential Lyme vaccines. "When I talk to manufacturers, they essentially ask me: 'Will it happen again?' " Plotkin said.

Random Fact

Jul. 25th, 2017 17:07
[syndicated profile] thepassivevoice_feed

Posted by PG

Seven percent of American adults believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows, according to a survey conducted earlier this year by the Innovation Center for US Dairy.

This has nothing to do with books, but PG found it interesting/disturbing. He doubts that many Canadians would be so ill-informed.

 

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Posted by PG

From TCK Publishing:

One of the factors that decides whether your book will be successful or a flop on Amazon Kindle is the formatting.

While reading a book, have you ever seen the text all run together, paragraphs with weird characters, or chunks of text that just seems to go on forever?

How did you feel about it?

You probably just ended up putting that book down.

You can have an astounding title, a spectacular cover design, and awe-inspiring content, but if you don’t format your book correctly, it will affect your readers’ overall experience.

Poor formatting makes it difficult to read your book. It also affects how your readers perceive the quality of your book. Readers have been unconsciously trained to read books designed in a particular format—and to expect that format every time. They pick up on the layout and arrangement more than they think. If the formatting of your book is not what they are used to, they may feel that it’s been cheaply made or done by an amateur.

Does this mean you have to hire a professional to format your book?

No.

I’ve seen a lot of authors spend hundreds of dollars just to have someone format their book. They think they don’t have the knowledge or skill to do it themselves.

I’ve formatted my ebooks myself and I’ve mastered the techniques to do it quickly and efficiently. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars just to get your book looking professional and well-formatted. I can teach you how it’s done. All you need is to study the steps and implement them with the next book you publish.

. . . .

One point that I want to make is that the series of steps that I’m going to show you offers a guide to formatting your manuscript. You can still choose to make changes to the basic template! You can change how big your title is going to be, customize the subtitle, alter chapter headings, and all that. You can also change the alignment to centered or justified.

However, there are some things that I think you don’t have to bother with.

An example is the font. If you have a special font that you want to use, that’s fine.

But truth is, the font doesn’t really matter because 99% of readers choose their own fonts on their device. They can make the font bigger, smaller, or fancier as they wish. To make this process quick, I just utilize the style set on MS Word and set it to “Simple.”

“Style set” basically tells MS Word what kind of fonts to use for your title, headings ,and paragraphs. I use “Simple” because it’s the easiest and most straightforward style.

To change the style set in your document, just click on Change Styles, scroll over to Style Set, and select the option Simple.

. . . .

End this section by inserting a page break. What this will do is ensure that your readers won’t see the next section or chapter of your book until they click on the Next button and scroll to the next page on their Kindle device. So, at the end of title page, every section, and every chapter, you’re going to insert a page break to make it nice and neat.

Click on the Insert tab and click on Page Break.

Link to the rest at TCK Publishing and thanks to Carl for the tip.

The OP doesn’t lend itself to further excerpts because it includes detailed instructions with screen grabs from Word illustrating each step.

PG has used Jutoh to format Mrs. PG’s books for a few years and been generally satisfied with the results. As with many things computer, once PG finds a solution that works for him, he doesn’t tend to continue his research into alternative solutions in that particular area. (In a better world, Alan Ashton and his students would still be running WordPerfect and PG would still be using it.)

However, PG thinks he would have noticed if a much better ebook formatting solution was discussed by indie authors during his wanderings around the net.

PG was intrigued by the approach in the OP because he always goes through Mrs. PG’s manuscripts using Word to clean up and standardize formatting, etc., prior to dumping the the results into Jutoh.

Since Mrs. PG is a writing genius, PG doesn’t want to interfere with her creative process by asking her to worry about formatting when she is communing with her muse.

On the other hand, PG’s muse was kicked out of the Muse Guild for bad behavior a long time ago, so PG is less concerned about his muse refusing to commune on command because PG’s muse can’t stomp off to inspire anyone else without the consent of the Guild. PG’s muse throws hissy fits and sulks a lot, but, in the end he always returns.

But enough of Muse gossip.

So the question for PG is whether expanding his tweaks to the Word file would be faster/easier/better than using Jutoh to prepare the file for uploading to Amazon. He likes Jutoh and knows how to use it to finish the formatting job, but is always interested in improvements to his current methods of operation.

Feel free to express opinions on Jutoh vs. Max Word in the comments.

 

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Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

I bought some of these 7W Ultrabright mini LED flashlights a while back and they are my favorites. They are surprisingly bright (it has a bright/dim/strobe setting) and a zoom feature to focus the beam on a small area or spread it out. A twin-pack is just $9. It uses either a single AA battery or a 3.6 volt type 14500 Battery (rechargeables are cheap).
[syndicated profile] writerbeware_feed
Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

On July 20, the Authors Guild and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announced that they had together reached an agreement with Hungary-based Galaktika Magazine.

For at least a decade, Galaktika re-published stories by multiple authors without seeking permission or remitting payment. Galaktika claimed that, since the stories had been published online, they were in the public domain--which is contrary to copyright law.

From the joint press release:
Under the terms of the agreement, Metropolis Media, Galaktika’s publisher, promised to seek permission for any works they use in the future and to compensate the authors whose works were published without permission. Galaktika has agreed to pay each author whose work it infringed fair compensation, with the fee to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis....

The agreement comes as a result of efforts by the Guild, SFWA, literary agents, and authors to hold Galaktika’s publisher accountable for reproducing copyrighted works in print and online issues of the magazine in violation of the authors’ rights.
Complaints about non-payment by Galaktika date back to at least 2006, and infringement complaints go back to at least 2012.

The problems didn't get wide exposure, however, until March 2016, when journalist Pintér Bence conducted an investigation for Mandiner Magazine that found "blatant copyright infringement" of dozens of authors in 2014, 2015, and 2016. In the March 2016 edition, for instance, "of the five [English-language] authors published in the magazine, not a single one was informed of the publication; they had not consented, nor were they given royalty in exchange."

SFWA also became aware of the infringement in 2016, in part as a result of Bence's article, but also because of several complaints to the SFWA Grievance Committee and to Writer Beware. In September 2016, SFWA issued a statement on the situation, formally recommending "that authors, editors, translators, and other publishing professionals avoid working with Galaktika until the magazine has demonstrated that existing issues have been addressed and that there will be no recurrence."

SFWA and the Authors Guild joined forces in the fall of 2016, after literary agent Jonathan Lyons brought the problems to the Guild's attention.

The agreement, say the two organizations, "sets a benchmark for transparency and gives individual authors leverage in pursuing their claims." Metropolis Media won't be off the hook for infringement claims until all authors' claims have been settled to the organizations' mutual satisfaction. To assist with that, SFWA is making public a complete list of all authors who are owed money, and had not already come to an agreement with Galaktika as of June 1, 2017.

The list will be online within a few days; I will link to it here. Alternatively, affected authors can request the details of the unauthorized publication(s), including the names of stories and publication date. Contact settlement@sfwa.org.
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Posted by PG

From Nerdy Book Club:

I was an absolute book fanatic from the start. Or, to be more precise, I was an absolute PICTURE book fanatic. When adults asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always the same: picture book illustrator.

Every week as a child, my mother took my brother and sister and me to our public library. Every week I brought home an enormous stack of books. In the evening, I would sit on the living room couch next to my mother as she read the words to books like Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and Where the Wild Things Are to me. And I would interpret the pictures for her.

. . . .

Years passed, me checking out as many books as I could carry and drawing nonstop. And then one day, around the start of a new school year, everything changed. Suddenly I was too old for picture books. It was time for me to move on to middle grade books.

I could not process this idea. How could I be too old for picture books? I wanted to BE a picture book illustrator!

Besides, middle grade books were serious. Middle grade books were realistic. And worst of all, they had no pictures!

But at least I had Robert Newton Peck’s “Soup” books. These middle grade books were about a boy and his buddy named Soup, who ran around together having adventures and getting into all kinds of trouble. In short, these books were about me. I almost wondered if Robert Newton Peck wasn’t somewhere nearby, watching my life unfold and scribbling down brilliant, new material in his notebook.

. . . .

But eventually my teacher pressed me to broaden my horizons. I had no such interest, so when asked to choose from a cart of books that had been wheeled into our classroom, I picked a book called A Taste of Blackberries by Doris Buchanan Smith. Judging by the cover illustration, it was practically the long awaited third installment in the Soup series– two buddies, running around (this time among blackberry bushes), having adventures and getting into trouble.

One should never judge a book by its cover. (Spoiler alert) Unlike the Soup books, the Soup-like buddy in A Taste of Blackberries dies. I was shocked. I was confused. It had never occurred to me that such a thing could happen in a book. Was that even allowed?  I had so much to think about. Despite my best efforts, my horizons had indeed been broadened. It was an intriguing feeling.

Link to the rest at Nerdy Book Club

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Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

Trump's plan seems to be: 1) force Sessions to resign. 2) appoint Giuliani to be attorney general during the Senate recess session as a way to avoid the Senate confirmation process. 3) ask Giuliani to fire Mueller, who is investigating bribery, extortion, and money laundering in the Russo-Trump empire. 4) profit!

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Posted by Cory Doctorow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F5G_fqo-yM

Ladder lockdown is a metal tray with super-grippy patches on its underside; set it down on any surface (including ice!) and then set your ladder's feet in the tray and cinch it in place and the ladder won't "kick out" and injure you and your loved ones. (more…)

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