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Coal is pretty amazing stuff. A single fist-size lump of bituminous coal contains about 12,000 Btu - enough energy to power a 75-watt bulb for two days. It's relatively easy to dig out of the ground and dirtcheap: about one-sixth the cost of oil or natural gas per Btu. Most of the modern industrial world we see around us was built with coal power.
But coal has issues. Each lump can contain large amounts of sooty particulates, sulfur and nitrogen compounds (which cause acid rain), and traces of mercury and other toxic metals. Although coal-fired power plants are cleaner than they used to be, they are still bad news for the environment and human health. A recent study concluded that coal emissions contribute to 10,000 premature deaths in the United States each year. And coal is by far the largest single source of greenhouse gases in the U.S. So it is no surprise that coal has long been the primary target of proposals to cut air pollution and carbon-dioxide emissions.
Until now. Just in time to skirt the various plans to cap or tax CO2, coal is getting rebranded. The new buzzword is "clean coal"-and it's being portrayed as the high-tech, low-emissions fuel of the future. Senators John Kerry, D-Mass., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., recently wrote a New York Times op-ed piece calling for the United States to become the "Saudi Arabia of clean coal." U.S. energy secretary Steven Chu has called on his counterparts around the world to promote the "widespread affordable deployment" of clean-coal technology.
- Meigs, James B. "The Myth of Clean Coal." Popular Mechanics, February 2010: 50-51.
Captain Bezu Fache carried himself like an angry ox, with his wide shoulders thrown back and his chin tucked hard into his chest. His dark hair was slicked back with oil, accentuating an arrow-like widow's peak that divided his jutting brow and preceded him like the prow of a battleship. As he advanced, his dark eyes seemed to scorch the earth before him, radiating a fiery clarity that forecast his reputation for unblinking severity in all matters.
Langdon followed the captain down the famous marble staircase into the sunken atrium beneath the glass pyramid. As they descended, they passed between two armed Judicial Police guards with machine guns. The message was clear: Nobody goes in or out tonight without the blessing of Captain Fache.
Descending below ground level, Langdon fought a rising trepidation. Fache's presence was anything but welcoming, and the Louvre itself had an almost sepulchral aura at this hour. The staircase, like the aisle of a dark movie theater, was illuminated by subtle tread-lighting embedded in each step. Langdon could hear his own footsteps reverberating off the glass overhead. As he glanced up, he could see the faint illuminated wisps of mist from the fountains fading away outside the transparent roof.
- Brown, Dan. The Da Vinci Code. Bantam Books, 2003.
Comparing the content of both passages, one can easily differentiate Technical Writing from the Academic Writing. Technical writing is based on precision and conciseness. The technical passage justifies the reader's confidence in the accuracy of its content, style and organization, and abstains from making claims merely based on suppositions. It strictly focuses on exact hard facts. At the same time, it also avoids giving any unnecessary details that may disrupt flow of the document. This ensures that the document conveys the information in an effective manner. The passage has shorter and less complex sentences and vocabulary, and is more much straightforward. In short, the passage uses the most accurate and the most effective words to make the point.
On the other hand, the second passage uses fluffy language to describe the turn of events. The passage is based on the author's imagination and is filled with frills and filler sentences. The writing looks impressive with the use of complicated sentence structures and complex vocabulary. The writer has added some important fluff while connecting important sentences, which adds to the beauty of writing. However, the writing lacks the qualities of conciseness and concreteness.
In a nutshell, the first passage succeeds in achieving the target of persuasion by staying focused on facts, whereas, the second passage succeeds in impressing the reader about the development of thought and imagination.
What Good organization means. The subject and purpose are clear. All information is related to the subject and purpose. The ideas are grouped and presented in a logical way. All necessary information is included. Good organization also helps you get your ideas across without upset audience.
As an aspiring technical writer you'll find yourself in a unique position to build a successful freelance writing career, but there are a few things you'll need to keep in mind as you get started. Technical writing is a specialized skill and your clients will be looking for a specific level of expertise.
Today we'll start by looking at the organization and tone of a technical paper. Organization is essential to any project, so you should be able to carry these ideas into the rest of your writing as well.
When organizing a technical paper, you should include:
A strong introduction that explains exactly what the paper will cover.
A summary for each section. The summary will explain what is covered in the next section as well as give you the opportunity to make a smooth transition. They also help readers identify specific pieces of information if they are not prepared to read the entire paper in one sitting.
Transition statements. Make sure the transition statements at the end of each paragraph support the new thought you're going to introduce in the next one.
A strong conclusion. Write a strong conclusion, but make sure it's not redundant (ie. don't use or repeat the word "conclusion" a dozen times. It's unnecessary).
In academia, writing and publishing is conducted in several sets of forms and genres. This is a list of genres of academic writing. It is a short summary of the full spectrum of critical & academic writing. It does not cover the variety of critical approaches that can be applied when writing about a subject.
Writing in these forms or styles is usually serious, intended for a critical and informed audience, based on closely-investigated knowledge, and posits ideas or arguments. It usually circulates within the academic world ('the academy'), but the academic writer may also find an audience outside via journalism, speeches, pamphlets, etc.
Technical writing, a subset of technical communication, is used in fields as diverse as computer hardware and software, chemistry, the aerospace industry, robotics, finance, consumer electronics, and biotechnology.
Technical writing (aka Information Development) exists to communicate and disseminate useful information. Technical communications are created and distributed by most employees in service organizations today, especially by professional staff and management. Writing well is difficult and time-consuming, and writing in a technical way and about technical subjects compounds the difficulties. To be useful, information must be understood and acted upon. Fortunately, tools and techniques are available to make writing more accessible and easy to understand. A simple everyday example of technical writing is a recipe for baking a cake.
Fortunately, you can use the same kind of tone for most business messages. "The business writer should strive for an overall tone that is confident, courteous, and sincere; that uses emphasis and subordination appropriately; that contains nondiscriminatory language; that stresses the "you" attitude; and that is written at an appropriate level of difficulty" (Ober 88). The only major exceptions to these guidelines are when you need to write a negative business message, such as when you deny a job offer or a customer request.
Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when considering what kind of tone to use in your letters and how to present information in that tone:
Be courteous and sincere.
Use appropriate emphasis and subordination.
Use non-discriminatory language.
Stress the benefits for the reader.
Write at an appropriate level of difficulty.
You can feel confident if you have carefully prepared and are knowledgeable about the material you wish to express. The manner in which you write should assume a confident tone as well. As you prepare business documents, you want the reader to do as you ask or to accept your decision. In order to make the document effective, you must write confidently.
Consequently, a confident tone will have a persuasive effect on your audience. The reader will become more inclined to accept your position, and will notice the confidence that you have. Employers are inclined to hire individuals that appear confident and sure of their abilities.
You can help your readers to understand which of your ideas you consider most important by using emphasis and subordination. You can choose from a variety of strategies to emphasize an idea or to subordinate it.
To emphasize an idea, place it in a short sentence. A short and simple sentence will most effectively convey an important idea. You can provide further explanation, sufficient examples, or evidence in following sentences. To subordinate an idea, place it in a compound sentence.
It is essential that you write at an appropriate level of difficulty in order to clearly convey your message. Consider your audience and prepare your writing so that the reader will clearly understand what it is that you are saying. In other words, prepare your style of reading to match the reading abilities of your audience. Do not use complex passages or terms that the reader will not understand. Accordingly, do not use simple terms or insufficient examples if the reader is capable of understanding your writing. A competent writer will match the needs and abilities of their reader and find the most effective way to communicate with a particular reader.
The tone of a technical paper is important as well:
Put your conversational style away when writing this type of paper. You need to remain professional and scientific at all times.
Never write in the first or second person when putting together a technical paper. It's not about "I," "You," or "We." It's about the "science of writing a technical paper."
Avoid filler words, fluff, and random lists of facts. You should be able to incorporate the information you need seamlessly into your statements. Don't include any statements that aren't important or support the theories you presented in your introduction. Using too much filler material is called "snow" and educated readers don't appreciate it.