Category Archives: writing & Such

From “Tell It Slant,” Excerpt #2: Encouraging Rejections

(Excerpt #1 is here.)

In the spring of 1956 — Chuck was in eighth grade — orders came for the family to  leave an Air Force base in California. His father, now a major, was aircraft commander of one of the largest bombers ever, the B-36.

Click was assigned to join a squadron of these bombers at Ramey Air Force Base, in the northwest corner of Puerto Rico. These planes flew long missions — often reportedly carrying nuclear bombs — likely around the periphery of the Soviet Union and “Red” China, though their course was secret too.

Some of the Puerto Rico experiences were pivotal for Chuck, in several ways.

For one thing, since there was no local English-language TV service, Chuck was perforce obliged to wean himself from TV, and thereby transferred almost all his
free time to reading. Here he had help from the Caribbean climate and the Air Force: Puerto Rico was continually hot and humid, with frequent rainstorms (and a major hurricane, Betsy, in late 1956); air conditioning was still a rare luxury. Continue reading From “Tell It Slant,” Excerpt #2: Encouraging Rejections

A New Book: A Quaker’s Life in Our “Interesting,” Tumultuous Times

Emma Lapsansky-Werner and Chuck Fager at the Quaker History Roundtable, summer of 2017

Continue reading A New Book: A Quaker’s Life in Our “Interesting,” Tumultuous Times

Announcing: A Very Special Quaker Publishing Award

For years, I’ve been loudly protesting the sky-high, exclusionary prices on “academic” or “scholarly” books and monographs.  The particular focus of my ire has been publications by or about Quakers and Quakerism, though the price-gouging has infected many other fields of study.

Today I want to recognize and celebrate a successful challenge to this uber-inflationary practice. Continue reading Announcing: A Very Special Quaker Publishing Award

Quaker Book Giveaway: Turning the Page on Florida Censorship

Florida Quakers give away hundreds of Black-history books

BOOK GIVEAWAY A SUCCESS — Members of the DeLand Quakers stand in front of a portion of the books on Black history collected to be distributed at the recent rescheduled Juneteenth celebration. In front, from left, are Kathy Hersh, Heba Ismael, Carol Reed and Bill Brennan. In the back row, same order, are Jim Cain, Beverly Ward, John Heimburg and Bill Kwalwasser. PHOTO COURTESY KATHY HERSH

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Chatbot fantasies

Spend enough time with ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence chatbots and it doesnt take long for them to spout falsehoods.

Described as hallucination, confabulation or just plain making things up, its now a problem for every business, organization and high school student trying to get a generative AI system to compose documents and get work done. Some are using it on tasks with the potential for highstakes consequences, from psychotherapy to researching and writing legal briefs.

Continue reading Chatbot fantasies