Mark Twain on EngineeringDesign) “I have, as you say, been interested in patents and patentees. If your books tell how to exterminate inventors send me nine editions. Send them by express.” --Mark Twain, a Biography
Why did the compositor fail? • --poor problem definition • --inflexible concept generation • --terrible planning • --poor team communication • "The application was filed in 1887 and was pending eight years, mainly owing to the work of examination by the Patent Office. One of the examiners died while the case was pending, another died insane, while the patent attorney who originally prepared the case also died in an insane asylum." - John S. Thompson. History of Composing Machines.
Mark Twain on what he was good at…. • "The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say." • --Mark Twain's Notebook, 1902-1903
"I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English - it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them - then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice." • --Letter to D. W. Bowser, 20 March 1880
Mark Twain’s tips for writing • 12. Say what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it. • 13. Use the right word, not its second cousin. • 14. Eschew surplusage. • 15. Not omit necessary details. • 16. Avoid slovenliness of form. • 17. Use good grammar. • 18. Employ a simple and straightforward style.
Mark Twain and Science Fiction • “The telegraph, the telephone, the phonograph, the typewriter, the sewing-machine, and all the thousand willing and handy servants of steam and electricity were working their way into favor. We had a steamboat or two on the Thames, we had steam warships, and the beginnings of a steam commercial marine; I was getting ready to send out an expedition to discover America.” • --Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889)
1878 “A Telephonic Conversation” 1880 “Taming the Bicycle” (1917) Did Mark Twain predict the internet in 1898?
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