Saturday, February 2, 2013

Electracy


Electracy, according to Gregory Ulmer, "is to digital media what literacy is to print." Writers and poets are no longer merely literate. They are electrate.

This means that they need to be more than traditional writers. They have to be coders as well. This means knowing some HTML, CSS, and maybe even JS (JavaScript).

Take poetry. In the ebook world, lines need to coded so that in a reflow environment lines wrap in a visually pleasing way:

<style>
div.i2 {
      margin-left: 2em;
      text-indent: -2em;
}
</style>


<div class="i2">I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,</div>
<div class="i2">Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,</div>
<div class="i2">The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,</div>
<div class="i2">The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,</div>
<div class="i2">The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,</div>

(the lines are from Leaves of Grass) becomes (italics added)

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,



Screenwriting also has coding challenges.

Mathematical writing is elevated by MathJax (a JS library) that allows the writer to include \(\LaTeX\) code between \‍( ... \‍) (inline math) and \‍[ ... \‍] (block math) delimiters.

\‍[\exp \left( -\frac{1}{4\pi\alpha} \int \partial_z X_\mu(z,\overline{z}) \partial_{\overline{z}} X^\mu(z,\overline{z}) \, dz^2 + i \sum_{i=1}^N k_{i \mu} X^\mu (z_i,\overline{z}_i) \right)\‍]

from superstring theory becomes

\(\small{\exp \left( -\frac{1}{4\pi\alpha} \int \partial_z X_\mu(z,\overline{z}) \partial_{\overline{z}} X^\mu(z,\overline{z}) \, dz^2 + i \sum_{i=1}^N k_{i \mu} X^\mu (z_i,\overline{z}_i) \right)}\)


To be electrate means to code.




Tip: Add <script src='http://cdn.mathjax.org/mathjax/latest/MathJax.js?config=TeX-AMS-MML_HTMLorMML' type='text/javascript'></script> to the <head> of blog to enable MathJax.