Category Archives: interests

Crowdsourcing for Good

My beautiful friend, Serene has been training for several months to run her FIRST half marathon in Fairfield, Connecticut. She will run this coming Sunday. I can’t summarize her well enough, so in her own words:

Inspired by my recent trip to Cambodia and the incredible PBS documentary “Half the Sky”, I am running in honor of a most worthy charity, The Somaly Mam Foundation. With my run, I am hoping to raise money and awareness for the issue of child trafficking/child sex slavery. Thanks to the overwhelming support I have received, I have decided to raise my goal to $3,000 – the cost to rescue ONE GIRL, and bring her through to rehabiliation, education and reintroduction into her community with dignity, marketable skils, and economic hope.

She created an online fundraiser with Crowdrise, here is the link:

I realize this is not the forum to ask for donations but I know many of you are international school teachers and like-minded about these issues. To put it into perspective, a donation of $30 would pay for one medical examination for a girl or woman who has been exploited in the sex trade.

And now to pull this back to something that relates to COETAIL or this blog… Although Crowdrise is a for-profit website, I am thoroughly impressed how online crowdsourcing has worked in this situation. My friend set a goal, surpassed it, raised her goal and has now surpassed that. I tweeted out her mission and it was immediately retweeted by the Half the Sky movement, then retweeted again by others from there.

PS: I encourage you to read or watch the “Half the Sky” book or documentary.

I write like…

Recently I got tipped about a new web site which has a tool that analyzes a block of your text, then tells you which author you “write like.”

I don’t know who could pass up a chance to play around on this web site. I hop on over and first paste a block from a recent blog entry. I have to admit, I almost feel a little bit nervous as I click the big “Analyze” button. Something like the feeling you get when you hand a finished exam to a teacher and he or she gives it a once over while you’re still standing there. My first result? Margaret Atwood. I am quite pleased with this but always a supporter of a bigger sample size, I start to paste a few more paragraphs. I intentionally choose what I consider to be a few different styles.

Second try? Cory Doctorow. This was a blog about my “identity crisis” in China. I don’t know who this Cory Doctorow is but my friend Wikipedia offers a bit of insight. Hmm… okay, I’m alright with being similar to this guy.

Third try. Dan Brown. Aaaaghh… I run screaming.

Fourth try. Stephenie Meyer. I am as annoyed as a vampire who needs blood. Or something like that.

Thankfully, my next three pieces from my blog return Cory Doctorow. I am satisfied with that at first. Then, I realize that when I write to my blog, it’s kind of a casual tone which it sounds like Cory might. So I look for the only pieces of academic writing on my hard drive. The first paragraph of my Master’s thesis reminds this analyzer of Vladimir Nabokov. Shocking. My graduate school admissions essay? Jonathan Swift. A part of a huge curriculum project I wrote is like the writing of H. P. Lovecraft. This last one is particularly hilarious because the paragraph I used described the developmental age of eight year olds.

Were there any lessons learned from the 30 minutes I wasted fooled around on this web site? I would say… 1) I have multiple personality disorder, 2) I write like Cory Doctorow 3) My thesis might be as strange as Lolita 4) This web site doesn’t really work.