R.I.P. Doc Watson

Doc Watson
Doc Watson

Country Guitar Wizard Dies at 89: “Doc Watson, the guitarist and folk singer whose flat-picking style elevated the acoustic guitar to solo status in bluegrass and country music, and whose interpretations of traditional American music profoundly influenced generations of folk and rock guitarists, died on Tuesday in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was 89. Mr. Watson, who had been blind since he was a year old, died in a hospital after recently undergoing abdominal surgery, The Associated Press quoted a hospital spokesman as saying.” (NYTimes)

The Most Comma Mistakes

I think I’m good with my commas. It just seems intuitive to me. Punctuation errors have a close relationship to imprecision of thought, but people are not given permission to use their common sense when they are taught grammar and punctuation. There is also, as the article points out, a relationship with voicing a sentence internally while you are writing it. Notice your pauses. Here’s a rundown of how to think about some comma decisions. (Ben Yagoda, NYTimes)

Words to Avoid Online If You Don’t Want to Join the Government’s Watch List

English: Seal of the United States Department ...

“The US Department of Homeland Security has released a list of the keywords and phrases the agency monitors online to find potential threats. Obviously posting “Al Queda” and “dirty bomb” online will get the government to start looking at you real closely, but “pork” and other oddly normal words are also on the list.

In response to a freedom of information request, the department posted its Analyst’s Desktop Binder (a manual for the agency’s security analysts) containing this hotlist. The keywords cover domestic security, HAZMAT and nuclear, health concern, infrastructure security and other threats.

According to the Daily Mail, the Department of Homeland Security says it only uses this keyword list to look for genuine security threats, not signs of general dissent. Nobody wants Big Brother looking over her shoulder—and you shouldn’t have to feel like you need to censor yourself in this way—but if you’re particularly paranoid about the government spying on you, you might reconsider using too many of these keywords together when you post something online. Here’s the full list.” (Lifehacker).