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Cognitive Science

Learning

Science Fiction

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Cognitive Science - the study of consciousness, learning, thought and language

Cogprints is a repository of papers dealing with the study of mind. It includes papers from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, linguistics, computer science, and biology. All papers in this archive can be read for free.

MIT CogNet is perhaps the most authoritative resource for the science of mind. Unfortunately, most of the site is available to subscribers only. Many university libraries have a subscription, so if you have access to one of these, check it out.

The Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness has a large document archive which is open to the public.

The Lucidity Institute is the lab of Stephen LaBerge, the Stanford University professor who pioneered the scientific study of lucid dreaming. The site contains many excerpts from Dr. LaBerge's books (which are written for the general public). It also has a number of research articles for those who want to dig in a bit deeper. If you have the bucks, you may want to consider attending his nine-day intensive seminar, November 5-14, 2011 on the island of Hawai'i. We're sure it would be a life-changing experience, and the profits from the seminar help support this unique research.

Another leading researcher in the study of sleep is Matt Walker. His lab at UC Berkeley examines the link between sleep and memory using cutting-edge methods and technologies.

Reith Lectures 2003: The Emerging Mind - five talks by UC San Diego neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran:

  • Phantoms in the Brain
  • Synapses and the Self
  • The Artful Brain
  • Purple Numbers and Sharp Cheese
  • Neuroscience - The New Philosophy

PLoS, the Public Library of Science is a group of free online peer-reviewed research journals. Although they don't specifically focus on the topics which obsess us at Mnemo Press, we are big fans of their commitment to making top-quality scientific research available to everyone. Most journals are only available by very expensive subscription (like MIT CogNet, above), and so access is pretty much limited to large academic institutions. It's a model which makes the journal publishers big bucks, while limiting public access to science and driving up the cost of higher education. PLoS is helping to turn that model on its head. Kudos!

 


Learning

The Exploratorium is a hands-on science museum in San Francisco. They have hundreds of cool gadgets and displays where kids (and adults) can learn a lot while they think they're just playing. The first Thursday of every month, they kick the kiddies out at 6pm and break out the wet bar for Exploratorium After Dark... and the adults get the toys all to themselves.

Science education in U.S. public schools is notoriously subpar. In the current economy it's even worse, as schools try to function with even tighter budgets than usual. The kids suffer now, and we as a society suffer when they grow up. Thank goodness, then, for programs like the Mission Science Workshop. Staffed almost entirely by volunteers (they have a paid staff of "one and a half" people), the MSW makes an enormous wealth of science resources available for free to K-12 teachers in San Francisco. Classes from schools throughout the city come to the Workshop once a week for fun and intensive "training" in the joy of exploration. MSW also provides free curriculum guidance for K-12 teachers. They operate on a shoestring, and are funded by donations and whatever grants they can procure. If you're one of those few who has spare cash to throw around, we can think of worse places to throw it.


Science Fiction

io9 zine - a great local (San Francisco) science and sci-fi blog edited by Annalee Newitz

William Gibson's blog

Quantum Muse - sci-fi and fantasy zine; 11 years old and going strong!

 


Author Resources

Critters is an online writing workshop/critique group which specializes in sci-fi, fantasy and horror.

Preditors and Editors lists an enormous number of resources for writers, as well as specific warnings about the many shady self-publishing companies waiting to prey on the naive and eager author.

The Editorial Freelancers Association lets you search for professional freelance proofreaders, editors, "book doctors," etc in your specialty. They also have a nice table of typical rates for editing services.

The Electronically Published Internet Coalition (EPIC) is an advocacy group for electronic publishing.

The MobileRead Wiki is an invaluable resource for the prospective ebook author.

Kindle Direct Publishing : If you're serious about selling your ebook, sooner or later you'll have to deal with Amazon (or pay someone a significant portion of your profits to do so). This means formatting your book for the Kindle. If you're going to do it yourself, here's where you begin.

Smashwords is the anti-Amazon. They are all about the author. You may not get the sales you will on Amazon, but you will take home 85% of the sales price of each book they sell. (They will distribute to Amazon and other retail outlets for you; then they give you 85% of whatever those outlets pay.) Smashwords is only for ebooks. They will take your MS Word file and convert it into nine different ebook formats.

Sigil: Mnemo Press is a strong advocate of open source software and open publishing standards. ePUB is fast becoming the most common open publishing format and Sigil is a great, free, open source WYSIWYG editor for ePUB files.

  • It should be noted that ePUB is a format designed for todays ebook readers, which means that it's most suitable for books which consist primarily of text. The formatting is accomplished using HTML and, like a web page, it is reflowable; that is, the text will be automatically reformatted to accomodate different screen sizes and user-defined text sizes. You can include pictures, but you will not have the kind of control over layout that you would have with, for example, a PDF.
  • You should also be aware that, while nearly every other ebook reader supports the ePUB format, the Kindle does not. Until Amazon gets with the program, you can easily convert ePUB to the proprietary MobiPocket format (which the Kindle does support) using the free and open source Calibre ebook management software.

Calibre is a free open source ebook library manager. It has far more features than we can list here, including a built-in web server which can make your library available to you everywhere and the ability to convert between fourteen common ebook formats.

Once you get your book out there, it's important to let the world know it's there. A search engine optimization (SEO) specialist can help your website get noticed. Michael Latulippe at the San Francisco SEO firm Become Noticed has given us some great advice.

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