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Award-winning author David Brin's celebrated works of science fiction have been translated into more than 20 languages, but his prolific writing extends to technology, science, culture and politics. He also writes about writing: He's received so many requests for advice from would-be authors that he gathered his thoughts on writing in an excellent essay available on the Internet called the A Long Lonely Road. Trained as a scientist, David's worked as a physics professor and NASA consultant in addition to creating the acclaimed Uplift book series. We called up David for a -- tad contrarian -- conversation about writing:

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Blog Du Jour

Grammar Police

The following blogs aim to keep grammatical foibles in check:

Literally, A Web Log, tracks abuse of the word "literally." You'll literally flip over the entries -- oops.

Apostrophe Abuse, even pings the New York Times for mussing up an apostrophe.

Groaners are overused, hackneyed phrases that ignite "a firestorm of controversy" in news writing.

Grammar Hell, urges you to fight back against "brutal assaults" on language.

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A name is the title of your story.

You may think you're naming your company or your product. But in fact you're putting a title on the story you're telling investors, shareholders, customers, and employees. If you're smart and lucky, the name you choose will be the title of a great story. A saga. A legend. A tale told around the campfire for generations.

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Naming and branding expert Nancy Friedman, this week's guest contributor to our Candlepower section, sent us these book recommendations:

The Making of a Name: The Inside Story of the Brands We Buy, by Steve Rivkin and Fraser Sutherland: A thorough, highly readable survey of name types, the name-development process, and the naming business.

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Blog Excerpts

Word History

The Online Etymology Dictionary explains that it is "a map of the wheel-ruts of modern English. Etymologies are not definitions; they're explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago." To learn the story of your favorite word, click here.
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Stop noodling with your axe and gimme a vamp on your doghouse, can you dig it? To help translate this deliciously jazzed up sentence, drummer Brian Floody, a professional musician active in New York's jazz scene, graciously gave us this list of jazz-related words and their meanings:

Axe Any musical instrument
Box Guitar
Tubs Drums
Doghouse Upright acoustic bass
Licorice Stick Clarinet
Chops A dual meaning: Technique, or for horn players, the spot where the horn meets their lips.
Woodshed Practice (see Shed)
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What makes a story so compelling you can't shake it from your mind? To find out we called up veteran public radio broadcaster and award-winning storyteller Tony Kahn, a special correspondent on the news magazine The World, and the creator of Morning Stories, a weekly feature on WGBH Boston radio and web where people tell true tales in their own voice -- tales that stick.

Tony has honed his storytelling skills by writing, producing, narrating and hosting over 50 radio and TV programs and series for PBS, NPR, Nickelodeon and others. In an interview we read on the online Transom Review, he says:

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