Latest TTC course was Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft by Brooks Landon. Pretty specialized: the 24 lectures not only concentrate mainly on sentence construction, but on a particular kind of sentence he calls the cumulative sentence.
Fairly handy, but a bit US-centric. He spends a lot of time trying to un-teach bad, formulaic composition advice that is apparently taught in US colleges; emphasizing short, boring sentences. However, in the unStrunked remainder of the English-speaking world, a lot of that seems pointless.
One thing he pointed out was that Hemingway did make some use of semi-colons (see Wikiquote for examples). He did make judicious use of long sentences, and when he did often used long strings of semi-colon-delimited clauses to put them together.
The course doesn't put much emphasis on formal grammar: he's more interested in creating emotional affect than getting things strictly correct.
Overall, fairly interesting. You'd need to spend time and effort working through the exercises and putting the theories into practice to derive any benefit from it in your own writing, however. Don't really care enough myself.
What I'm Reading
Finished The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton. First volume of the Void Trilogy, set in the same universe as the Commonwealth Saga, but set 1,500 years later with only a few of the same characters.
I enjoyed it a lot, but I think you have to be into SF to read it: the characters and their relationships are painfully badly done, and the writing is pretty clunky with enormous info-dumps of exposition. However, he does seem to have upgraded a bit since the Commonwealth and Night's Dawn trilogies: this time the first volume has more action than set-up, and the females aren't described quite as lubriciously.
What you do get for your money is an enormous slice of good old space opera. With the weak-minded mundanes weeded out we're free to have as much complexity as we like: ultrafast and enormous spaceships from various factions dashing around the galaxy, cyber-augmented James Bond type agents in search of a couple of human McGuffins, several enormous battle fleets and a classic Big Dumb Object. There's also a quite neat fantasy-ish story worked in. Hamilton alternates between multiple viewpoints as usual.
Overall, if you like space opera, this is certainly worth a look. Doesn't really need you to read the Commonwealth Saga first, but since the second and third Void volumes aren't out yet, you might want to read a complete series. There's not a lot of plot resolution here.
Next TTC is Religions of the Axial Age: An Approach to the World's Religions (Axial age WP). Then either Great Philosophical Debates: Free Will and Determinism or Origins of Great Ancient Civilizations.
Borrowed some books. I'm not sure that I'll finish. Economics of the Public Sector by Sara Connolly and Alistair Munro: may just skim through the later sections. It's meant as a undergraduate textbook: lots of charts, sidebars and differential equations, but suffers a distinct lack of narrative flow.
YouTube: The best and most ridiculous fight ever filmed.
Totem Destroyer Flash game.
We suggest that the common economic interest of the minority of the population that is rich, as identified by Buchanan and Faith, functions as the vital ingredient in identity politics. That is, secessionist political communities invent themselves when part of the population perceives secession to be economically advantageous.
Before elaborating, it might be useful to give a concrete example of this process at its clearest, namely Scottish nationalism...
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