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A funny writer teaches us how to write well (and funny)

This was a great and easy advice-interview on how to write, from a corporate blog of all places. The advice comes from Scott Dikkers, The Onion’s longest serving editor in chief. If you don’t know The Onion, please read this piece of genius.

TED talk notes #2, Jill Tarter: Why the search for alien intelligence matters
Friday October 23, 2020

“we live on a fragile island of life” “if we’re alone…incredible waste of space” discovering other cultured civilizations could enhance humanity’s bonds with each other “we’re a billion year lineage of wandering stardust” SETI began 50 years ago sun is one of 400 billion stars in Milky Way, among 100 billion other galaxies (!) the […]

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Below are some verbatim nuggets of gold:

Mauritius 2020. Toyota menaces Nissan’s leadership in market down 25.3%
Wednesday September 30, 2020

Mauritius vehicles market in 2020 reports considerable losses as the pandemic influences sales. Indeed, 5.041 units were sold Year To Date August, losing 25.3% compared to last year. Nissan (-24.5%) remains the leader, closely followed by Toyota (-22.9%).  Economic Environment Real GDP growth was moderate yet steady, averaging 3.8% during 2015–19. Growth was mainly driven […]

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1. Concept is king

“Your concept — and I would equate that with your headline or title — is the flag you’re raising, it’s the shingle on your door. And if it’s not a good concept or the right concept, then you’re sunk before you’ve even written a word.”

2. The key to quality is quantity

Ivory Coast 2020. Auto sales down only 2.8% Year to Date in August despite COVID-19
Tuesday September 29, 2020

Cote d’Ivoire’s vehicles market in 2020 reports surprisingly a very small drop in sales. Indeed, 6.966 units were sold Year To Date until August, losing 2.8% compared to last year. Toyota  (+12.6%) maintains the leadership, while Nissan was the worst performer, with a 39.2% drop in sales. The rising star is Volkswagen, increasing its sales by […]

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“This is how professionals work,” said Dikkers, “because they understand that most of what they write is dreck.”

[…]

4. Ruffle some feathers

“Thing is, Horatian satire isn’t really remembered because it’s toothless,” said Dikkers. “It might get a lot of laughs today but it’s not going to live in our cultural memory. Only satire that angers or offends people will be remembered.”

[…]

10. Know your joke and make sure the reader knows your joke

“Readers want to know they’re in the hands of a master who is going to manipulate them,” he said, “the way Spielberg does in his movies. He takes you on a ride, through the highs and lows.

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.