Since its inception in 2010, more than $400,000 has been awarded by NASW's Idea Grants program for projects that benefit science writing and its practitioners. Read more to see a list of all the awardees and their exciting science writing projects. Visit www.nasw.org/ideagrants2014 for the latest call for proposals due November 4, 2015.
Devon Maloney gave up the freelancing life for her dream job as a pop music editor at one of the nation's biggest newspapers. Four months later she quit. Maloney writes that she isn't second-guessing her decision: "When I left, I had little to no nest-egg to live on. I had a few prospects, but nothing sustainable. Now I’m up to my ears in credit-card debt. I haven’t received a paycheck in weeks. I also can’t recall a time in my adult life when I’ve been happier."
Colin Dwyer traces the history of the book-cover blurb back to an approving note written by Ralph Waldo Emerson to a then-barely-known Walt Whitman upon the publication of Leaves of Grass. Dwyer also discusses the burden of blurbing for its busiest producers: "Some writers report receiving up to five unsolicited galleys in the mail a day, a deluge that's prompted plenty to swear off blurbing altogether. It also prompts a question: How do all the other blurbers do it?"
Maria Popova examines "the artist’s universal and necessary dance with fear" via a quote from Woolf's novel Orlando: "Anyone moderately familiar with the rigours of composition will not need to be told the story in detail; how he wrote and it seemed good; read and it seemed vile; corrected and tore up; cut out; put in; was in ecstasy; in despair; had his good nights and bad mornings; snatched at ideas and lost them; saw his book plain before him and it vanished."
NASA's latest news about signs of water on Mars strikes Tabitha M. Powledge as fishy in its timing: "Ridley Scott could hardly have asked for a better concatenation of events for his Matt Damon movie The Martian, opening today (Friday, Oct 2.) In fact, I can’t help wondering just how accidental the timing was, given NASA’s aforementioned hype machine and the fact that the movie was made with NASA’s cooperation." Also, lying as a strategy in the Planned Parenthood mess.
Erik Larson discusses the art of choosing a book title, and how he sometimes considers and rejects hundreds before picking one: "Titles are important. They should convey not only a sense of the book’s subject, but also a feeling — will this be a funny read, or a contemplative one; is it a book I’d like to read at poolside, or in the dentist’s chair waiting for the Novocaine to kick in; will it transport me to an imaginary realm, or knock me flat with trauma and despair."
When you decide it’s time to write your will or update it, it’s also time to prepare a “letter of instructions.” Ignore the legalese. The letter is an informal document that spells out where you keep important personal papers and what your assets are, among other things.
Submitted by Lynne Lamberg on Wed, 09/30/2015 - 07:22
For Getting Screwed, Sex Workers and the Law, Alison Bass interviewed sex workers, lawyers, sociologists, community activists, and others. Decriminalizing adult sex work, she asserts, would help sex workers protect themselves better from exploitation, and encourage them to practice safe sex and seek access to health care that could stem the spread of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. Funds diverted from pursuing prosecution, she contends, could benefit teenage runaways and the homeless, as well as individuals addicted to drugs.
Bradlee Frazer discusses the two-pronged test for claiming the fair use exemption against charges of copyright infringement. But he also advises that the safest course is usually to get permission first: "Anytime you use any third-party content without permission (including quotes), you run the risk of getting sued. No amount of opining by me or another lawyer can change that fact. No one has to get permission from a judge or lawyer to sue you when you use their 'stuff.'"
Steve Buttry quotes from historian David McCullough’s new book The Wright Brothers to show how easy it can be for journalists to miss history even when it is unfolding right in front of them: "After the Dec. 17, 1903, maiden flight of the Wright Flyer, the news coverage was, at least looking back more than a century later, embarrassing. Newspapers either whiffed on the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s historic achievement entirely or got major facts wrong."