Tag Archives: Creative Commons

A children's book about cosmogenesis? Oh yeah!

Recently I was contacted by James Dunbar about his new comic book BANG! where it seems he’s doing some good ol’ self-promotion of it. James seems to have send an email to a number of people including me, explaining the concept and providing a link to the free online version of the book. I promised I’d take a look when time allows and here I am.

BANG! reads like a children’s book, with a rhyming style and lots of pictures. It tries to explain cosmogenesis and the Big Bang theory in as simple terms as possible. Unfortunately, even though the effort is admirable, the complex concepts within the book are unlikely to be grasped by children (although, of course, I could be wrong. I have to run this by my girlfriend who’s dealing with children’s books a lot). I guess it would make a good gift for teenagers but I’m afraid that the style might turn them off as it might sound like it’s made for a younger audience. It seems to me that it’s a difficult situation where the style is made for the young while the content is made for the older, therefore making it hard to use by either.

Nevertheless the concept is very well done, the large majority of the rhymes work and the art is pretty good in itself. As an adult, I enjoyed the simple and concise way it presented those complex concepts in ways that made them look as interesting as they really are. Being a children’s book does not mean that it’s not enjoyable by adults. Plus, I am really curious to see how children will actually react to it (if you have any practical examples, do tell).

The only thing that dissapointed me is that James opted to go for copyrights and place big scary copyright warnings all over the place. He should have realized that the value of his work does not lie in the ability to replicate it, which is in fact why he’s allowing everyone to read it online and sends it away as a promotion. The value of the book lies in being able to sell paper backs, and this would not have been prevented had he licensed it under a Creative Commons license.Hopefully he’ll change his mind in the future and follow a similar tactic like Cory Doctorow who gives away all his books for free online under CC licenses. Not only do you make it far less controversial for people to promote your work via sharing and posting online (as they do not have to fear about violating your copyrights) but you also create goodwill about your name.

Anyway, I thought I’d give you all a heads up to check it out if you haven’t already (as I’ve seen other atheist bloggers have promoted it) and give a thumbs up to James for the good work. I’m not waiting for the one about abiogenesis and evolution, hopefully under copylefts this time đŸ˜‰

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Smart blogging made easy

Image representing Zemanta ltd. as depicted in...
Image by Zemanta via CrunchBase

I’ve just discovered a little plugin, Zemanta1, that claims it can make my blogging easier and I was wondering how true that might be. Thus this post, which is party a test to check the capabilties.

Apparently what this plugin does it that it finds related pictures, tags, links and articles to your post content and proposes them for you to use. I am already using the Photo Dropper WordPress plugin which can find for me Creative Commons licensed content in flickr that is related to my post, but Zemanta promises to take this a step further.

Currently it comes in the form of either a browser or a server plugin. The first form would be appropriate for someone who does not want to load up his blogs with extra scripts and generally blogs from the same place always (say, home). The second form, for which I went for, is better for someone who might blog from 2-3 different locations.

As I’m using it, it looks quite good. I especially like the automatic tag suggestions, and while there are other plugins that can do the same, it’s good that you don’t need 4 different installations. The only thing that wasn’t obvious is that  you need to save your article at least once before suggestions start coming in. However once they start, they update every 300 words to give you stuff more relevant to what you are typing in.

So I think I’ll keep it. I’ve already installed it in various of the blogs I manage and I think it will be especially useful for people who just don’t have much time to look around for images or think of tags.

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  1. h/t sudobash []