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Allen Baler of Food4Patriots on Lessons Learned from The Walking Dead: How to Prepare for Disaster

According to Allen Baler, founder of Food4Patriots, the zombie mania that’s taken over American culture could teach us a thing or two about how to prepare for disaster. With the widespread popularity of shows like The Walking Dead and a slew of hit zombie movies like World War Z and 28 Days Later, there’s no denying that zombies are a consistent theme, and maybe there is a good explanation for this phenomenon.

Zombies are a hot topic among cultural theorists, who have presented countless explanations for the fascination. But perhaps one reason consumers are so obsessed with them is because of the interest in apocalyptic scenarios and the idea of surviving disaster. While the end of the world may be far off, natural disasters, pandemics, and economic disaster are real possibilities. If we prepare ourselves as if there is an impending zombie attack, we’ll be ready for whatever may happen. Read more

Mediabistro Course

Novel Writing: Editing Your Draft

Novel Writing: Editing Your DraftStarting July 16, workshop your novel in-progress with a published author! Erika Mailman's course will function as a workshop, with the emphasis on sharing your work for review and providing critiques for your peers. By the end of this class you'll have up to 75 pages of you novel workshopped and developed patterns to improve your writing. Register now! 

American Teens Spend an Average of 4.2 Minutes Reading on Weekend Days

bookstack304Americans between the ages of 15 and 19 spend an average of 4.2 minutes of their weekends and holidays reading, according to new research from the Labor Department.

The research revealed that 20 to 24 year olds spend an average of 10.2 minutes reading on weekends and 55 to 64 year olds spend a whopping 26.4 minutes on weekend days reading. For the most part, the average time spent reading goes up with age, except among 25 to 34 year olds who only spend an average 7.8 minutes reading on weekends.

Vox Media has more: “The oldest Americans, meanwhile, read for more than an hour a day. These data only include reading for fun, however, which may be why the count for the student-age population is strangely low.”

Kickstarter Creates Journalism Category

kickstarterCrowd-funding site Kickstarter has launched a new category for fundraising: Journalism.

The site already has 993 projects that fit into the category ranging from books and photo essays to live tweeting events and digital magazines.

Drone on the Farm: An Aerial Expose by Will Potter is an investigative journalism piece that will use drone photography to see what industrial farms are hiding with ag-gag laws. Iran at the World Cup by Negar Mortazavi is a Twitter reporting project in which the author will will live-tweet “everything about Iran’s national team at the World Cup in Brazil; during their matches, trainings, and rest.” Bitcoin: The Past, Present, and Future by Daniel Fernandez is a book about the history and future possibilities of Bitcoin.

Kindle Used to Swear in U.S. Ambassador

suzilevineSuzi LeVine, the US Ambassador to Switzerland & Liechtenstein, became the first ambassador to be sworn in with a Kindle.

In her swearing in ceremony last week, LeVine placed her hand on an eBook edition of the U.S. Constitution stored which was opened on a Kindle. U.S. Embassy London tweeted the event:

Levine still received her oath in print form, as you can see from her tweet below:

(Via The Washington Post).

Why Newspapers Need Big Data To Stay Alive

News and media veterans like Steven Korn have seen a truly amazing shift in news within the last decade. As media finalizes its shift to online-based content delivery, exciting new opportunities come to companies who take advantage of it.

Of course, on the other side of the spectrum are the companies that have not hopped onto the trends related to online media. These companies are typically smaller local media and newspaper companies. In many cases, local and small media are missing out on a great deal of potential. This holds particularly true with the concept of big data. And without big data assisting them, newspapers and local media companies are falling behind on how news works in the Internet age. Read more

The Habits of British Book Readers: INFOGRAPHIC has created an infographic called, “The Habits of British Book Readers,” which explores where readers like to read and how often they spend reading.

According to the graphic, 62 percent of readers read in bed at night; 16 percent read while relaxing over the weekend; 7 percent read in bed in the morning; 7 percent read in the bath; 3 percent read on their lunch break; 4 percent read while commenting; and 1 percent read somewhere more exotic.

We’ve embedded the entire graphic after the jump. Read more

TransProse Creates a Musical Score Based on the Emotions in a Novel

transposeDo you ever wonder what your novel would sound like if it was adapted by a composer?

New York City- based programmer/musician Hannah Davis and Saif Mohammad, a Research Officer at the National Research Council Canada (NRC), have created software that will allow you to answer this very question. TransProse reads a novel and identifies different emotions that are evoked throughout the book. Then it takes this information to automatically create music based around those  identified values.

We’ve embedded TransProse’s musical adaptation of Peter Pan below.

Read more

Amazon is Now Delivering Books on Sundays in Select Cities Throughout the U.S.

amazonpublishingAmazon first started Sunday delivery back in November in New York and Los Angeles. The online retailer has extend the service to 15 new cities  including: Austin, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; College Station, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas; Indianapolis, Ind.; Lexington, Ky.; Louisville, Ky.; New Orleans, La.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Philadelphia, Pa.; San Antonio, Texas; Shreveport, La.; and Waco, Texas.

According to Mike Roth, Amazon’s vice president of North America operations, books are among the most common items that the company delivers on Sundays, alongside baby supplies.

Amazon has plans to extend the Sunday service to more cities in the U.S. later this year.


Ty J. Young On How The Dodd-Frank Reform Has Backfired On Small Businesses

According to financial expert Ty J. Young, the Dodd-Frank Law was anything but a victory for economic recovery. While the groundbreaking financial reform act was originally designed to regulate the financial system and prevent another economic catastrophe, many believe that the act is actually doing the opposite. The reform could burden small banks with its regulations, and these small banks are something we can’t afford to lose.

The financial overhaul bill, known officially as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, went into law on July 21, 2010 but is still only in partial effect. The comprehensive bill has a laundry list of goals aiming to protect consumers and ensure a stable financial market.

But, as The Wall Street Journal points out, what started as a mission to “streamline and modernize the financial system” actually resulted in “2,300 pages of new agencies and new powers for the very authorities that fomented the financial crisis.” The anxious environment spurred by the financial crisis didn’t get much assuagement from a bill that is filled with costly regulations for small businesses, the article asserts. Read more

Scholastic Has Two New Digital Reading Programs

Scholastic LogoScholastic has introduced two new digital reading programs: Storia School Edition and Core Clicks.

Storia School Edition is an online reading program designed to support classroom reading. The program includes library of both fiction and nonfiction titles for reading with grade-appropriate dictionaries to help young readers build their vocabulary. The platform includes comprehension quizzes so that readers can test their progress, as well as highlighting and note-taking tools. There also also audio features that help younger readers learn how to pronounce vocabulary words.

The Core Clicks program is made up of a “three read” approach. Readers are asked to read, analyze and discuss a text. This platform also includes interactive exercises and quizzes, as well as video content.