My latest Decoded Science article, "The Universal Turing Machine is a Turing Machine Emulator", explains how this mathematical "construction" works.

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"Escher Drawing Hands like Mutual Universal Turing Machines" image photographed by rrenzoo
Although this was not my choice for the article's "featured" image, in retrospect I appreciate the editor's choice. This allows me to ask "What does Escher's drawing have to do with Universal Turing machines"?

My article answers that question, naturally.

Promoting my "Universal Turing Machine" Article

As always, I also publicize my articles in DeHaan Services ("The Universal Turing Machine is an Emulator") and in my Xanga blog ("A Universal Turing Machine is Math, not Astronomy").

Writing Tip

Today's writing tip may seem recycled, but that's almost exactly (but not quite!) what it is.

Rather than trying to cover absolutely new themes in every article or blog post, develop a series about one theme or concept.

Do ensure that there is enough material for two, three or  more articles.
Do your research early and separate the rough notes into a logical sequence.
Then go for it! Regular readers should appreciate getting more detail than could be covered in one large article.
By inter-linking your articles, you can help new readers find the first article regardless of where they started.

I used this approach for Mennonites in Suite 101, and obviously am pursuing it for Turing machines in Decoded Science.
 
 
My latest article for Decoded Science, "The ACM Awards the 2011 Turing Prize for Computing to Judea Pearl", reports exactly what it claims in its title.

The title of this article in my Blog of Writing refers to the writing tip in the final section.

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"Judea Pearl" image from The Big Picture by Vic Rubenfeld
Additionally, that article also names the first Turing Prize recipient.

Publicity for my 2011 Turing Award Article

As usual, I also publicize my article in DeHaan Services ("The 2011 Turing Award Went to Judea Pearl") and in my Xanga blog ("Judea Pearl Received the 2011 Turing Award").

Writing Tip

When I began writing about Judea Pearl's award, I wanted to add a few snippets about some of the other Turing Award recipients. However, there were too many, and any selection (other than the very first person) was too arbitrary.

The editor at Decoded Science agreed that, in lieu of writing one long article with an odd selection bias, that instead I should consider a series.

That's the reason for this Blog post title. Should I treat the 2011 Turing Award as a single event, or write a series about all the recipients?

The writing tip is: always consider whether your topic has enough material to become a series.
 
 
Along with warmer weather and "springing ahead" to Daylight Savings Time, one sign of the changing season is a shift in statistics at Suite 101. Readers begin to find my older insect articles as they search the Internet for information.

As a public service, therefore, allow me to present some of these articles oriented to springtime. (My apologies to Australia, South America and parts of Africa and Asia: you're heading into autumn).

The final paragraph is a writing tip, since it's become a standard feature of this blog.

Revealing the Earwig

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Earwig image by Siga
Hosted at Environmental Graffiti, "The Secret Life of the Earwig" reveals an insect that lives in gardens but can invade our homes.

Meanwhile, "The Earwig: A Best Friend To The Garden Or A Health Hazard?" lurks in Suite 101.

Entertaining Social Wasps

Social wasps also deserve at least two articles."Convincing Social Wasps To Leave The Party" has some advice on how to encourage these insects to stay away from your garden party.

"How Can a Worker Wasp Become a Queen? By Face and Fight" follows my gee-whiz-how-interesting approach to articles about Nature. Unlike honeybees, wasps do not hatch with the instant destiny of worker or queen status.

Deer Ticks and Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose; prevention is always the preferred option. "How Deer Ticks Spread Lyme Disease", as well as "Defeating Lyme Disease Transmitted by Deer Ticks", provide answers that can save people from a significant problem.

Mosquitos and West Nile Virus

Sometime in spring or summer, many of us will experience the bite of a mosquito. This is almost always a mere nuisance. However, "The West Nile Virus Triangle: Mosquitos, Crows and People" explains why and how we should protect ourselves.

Tamarisk Leaf Beetles on Our Side

"The Tamarisk Leaf Beetle Battles Salt Cedars in the American West" brings us back to an insect that actually is ecologically helpful. It's a pleasant surprise after the gloom and despair about diseases carried by insects!

Writing Tip

Today's writing tip is pretty obvious.

Some older online articles deserve to be publicized from time to time. Some topics in "Nature" arise every year because of the changing seasons. Income tax advice, or holiday suggestions, revolve around human customs. If your articles deserve to be noticed annually, remind your readers.

This approach also reminds the search engines.

Thanks for re-reading my springtime insect articles.
 
 
An important local conservation effort gave rise to my Environmental Graffiti article, "Burlington Acts to Protect the Jefferson Salamander in Ontario".

The Jefferson Salamander

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"Jefferson Salamander image" by US Dept of Agriculture via Ooinn
Isn't this a handsome amphibian?

Publicity for the Jefferson's Salamander

As always, I promote my article in DeHaan Services ("Burlington Grants Jefferson Salamanders Safe Passage") and in my Xanga blog ("Burlington Gives Jefferson Salamanders Safety for Breeding").

Writing Tip

Today's writing tip is new to this blog, I believe.

Although I may have said "Keep your eyes open for article ideas" before, the new point is to watch for good news, too.

Sometimes I've put my focus on disasters because they can be "compelling". Other bloggers write about products to entice advertising.

But sometimes, just for a change, give your readers a chance to see some pleasant scenery.
 
 
May I promote my current Suite 101 article, "Cities Mix Sugar Beet Juice with Road Salt as Highway Deicier".

I took a decisively environmental spin on the subject after explaining how the new technique works.

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"Red Snow Plow Plowing Snow" image by ww3billard
Although the red snow plow is not terribly important in the article, it's a lovely graphic and more appropriate to the subject than a field of sugar beets.

Promoting my Sugar Beet Juice Article

As always, I also publicize the main article in DeHaan Services ("Toronto Tries Sugar Beet Deicing Fluid") and in my Xanga blog ("Sugar Beet Juice plus Salt Equals Less Ice on Roads").

Writing Tips

My first writing tip is to select the "spin", slant or approach for your article.

For my sugar beet juice article, my original plan was to simply report on an interesting new technique for deicing roads. However, as I checked the Suite 101 categories, I decided that the environmental impact was most appropriate. That gave me a requisite focus.

The second writing tip is a reminder from previous tips. I had selected this topic back in January, but led off with "Sugar Beet: Sugar Cane's Unsung Rival" in Environmental Graffiti. There was more than enough material to write about sugar beets and the sugar beet juice deicing technique in two articles, so I selected the most appropriate online magazine for each topic.
 
 
My usual method of ensuring that images which I create can be traced to me, is to publish them first in a blog that I control. Welcome to these images, which are now in my Wizzley article, "Air, Table Salt and Water in a Home Experiment about Mars".

The article deals with a simple home science experiment based on a recent news item.

This post includes two other regular features. First, my main article is also promoted in DeHaan Services ("A Home Lab Experiment with Table Salt and Water") and in my Xanga blog ("Is Your Table Salt Getting Enough Moisture?"). They are noted here simply to give the search engines a reason to cross-reference the sites.

Second, this blog includes a writing tip.

Writing Tip

Although I had planned to publish the article in Decoded Science, it is now in my Wizzley compendium instead. The reason is that Decoded Science's approach is to have authors write about their primary areas of expertise. This lab experiment article does not deal with math or computers; I'm simply an amateur science geek.

This was not a surprise; I'd been in touch with the editor and knew it was a risk. In fact, I alerted her to it again when submitting the "Lab" article.

But as a writer, I did not want to waste the effort I had put into this article. Luckily my Wizzley account, so far, deserves the label "miscellaneous".

The writing tip is: know the market, write for the market, and have a back-up market just in case.

Seven Salty Images

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"Start with Salt Equipment" image by Mike DeHaan.
Here is the first image, showing the equipment used in the simple salt experiment.

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"Start with This Much Salt" by Mike DeHaan.
This is the amount of salt I placed into the bowl.

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"Start with Dry Salt in Bowl" image by Mike DeHaan
The container has water and a bowl with that tiny amount of dry salt.

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"Ending with Salt Equipment" image by Mike DeHaan
By the end of the experiment, we have three pieces of equipment.

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"Ending with Wet Salt in the Bowl" image by Mike DeHaan
The salt is quite wet at the end of the experiment.

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"Ending with Measured Water" image by Mike DeHaan
The amount of water from the container at the end of the salt experiment is very nearly the same as the amount at the start.

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"Ending with Wet Salt on a Stick" image by Mike DeHaan
The salt looks wet and clumpy on the stick. I think it's a better visual than the wet salt in the bowl.

 
 
Once again my DeHaan Services site leaps into the fray, publicizing an upcoming Toronto event.

"The Toronto 2012 St. Patricks Day Parade Will March on March 11" provides date, time, place and, yes, "so much more".

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"Saint Patrick in Stained Glass" by NeitherFanboy
Choosing between pictures of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland and the man for whom the parade is named, or a neat image of a leprechaun was not easy.Please see the article in DeHaan Services for both pictures!

As always, my Xanga blog also promotes my article; see "Toronto's St. Patrick's Day Parade for 2012".


Writing Tip

Today's writing tip repeats what I've said before, but with a slightly different introduction.

Write what needs to be written to meet someone's needs.

In this case, as I mention in the DeHaan Services article, I realized I had watched the annual commercial that publicizes the parade but had completely missed any of the useful information. If I can miss it, so can anyone.

So, in the spirit of public service, I researched the Toronto 2012 St. Patricks Day Parade and wrote my article.

Enjoy being Irish on March 17.
 

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