You may have heard about a site called ChatGPT, where you can try out an artificial intelligence (AI) writing tool. Depending on the user, the technology (created by OpenAI) has generated a combination of excitement and fear.
Almost like magic, you can give it a prompt and, within seconds, the chatbot will spill out prose about any subject imaginable, in the style you request. You can even ask it to sprinkle in some typos and grammatical errors if that suits your purpose.
Seventh-grade theme paper about the significance of the Battle of Hastings, complete with a run-on sentence or two? Piece of cake. Outline for a dystopian mystery novel set in Victorian England? No sweat. Presentation on the importance of widgets for your next Monday meeting? Take the weekend off — you’ve got it covered.
And since it’s original copy, more or less, teachers, editors, or your employers theoretically can’t… Continue reading
Asking you to relive 2016 may be asking a lot, but here at clarknorton.com we offer sheer escapism!
Well, maybe not quite — but travel can, we hope, help take your mind off other things.
So, in that spirit, we offer up Our Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016 as found on clarknorton.com and voted on, in effect, by your clicks.
Yes, this is purely a popularity contest, with no quality control whatsoever. (Kind of like an election.) And because there was a tie for the tenth spot, there’s a bonus post to check out, should you wish to seek penance for overindulging during the holidays.
Here they are in order, counting down to Number One:
Top Ten or Top Five lists (almost) always… Continue reading
Whenever I tell someone I first meet that I’m a travel writer, I’m almost invariably asked the same questions.
They usually involve some variation on “What’s your favorite place in the world?”, “How do I get your job?”, and/or “Can I come with you?”
Depending on my mood at the moment, I may give one answer — or another — because some answers invariably lead to further discussion, while others almost always cut it short.
So here is my list of travel writer FAQs — with sometimes varying answers.
- What’s your favorite place in the world to visit?
If I have the time and inclination to talk, I say “Yap.”
I pick Yap because not only do I like it a lot, but hardly anyone has ever heard of it, so it leads to stimulating conversation.
Yap is a group of small islands in the far western Pacific… Continue reading
I WILL pack lightly enough to get all my clothes and gear into carry-on sized bags. That means eliminating the third pair of shoes I never wear, the extra shirts I bring “just in case” I might need them, and all the other extras that force me into larger suitcases. (This will be a challenge for Antarctica, where I’m headed in February, but if I have to wear three coats on the plane, so be it.)
- I WILL buy one of those nifty, easy-to-maneuver four-wheeled suitcases (carry-on size, of course) that everyone in the world now seems to have but me.
- I WILL get a new passport by October 2016, since my current one expires in April 2017. (Don’t ask me why so many countries now require your passport to have six months’ validity after your planned… Continue reading
The usual April 1 routine among publications is to write up some ridiculous story and try to convince readers that it’s true. Today I’m going to reverse that.
All of these 12 trivia items have appeared in some form on my blog over the past two years or so. Only one of them is false.
See if you can figure out which one is strictly for April Fool’s Day:
* You can fly to Mongolia from Beijing, China, in less than two hours.
* Some of the most coveted and prestigious student residences at the University of Virginia have no bathrooms.
* Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa had 16 children; her 11 daughters were all named Maria or Marie.
* The small South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has made millions… Continue reading
As a blogger, I’m always looking for helpful tips on how to expand my readership.
For instance, the tip I got to include the words “Miley Cyrus” in a headline has resulted in tons of search-engine-driven hits, even though the blog post (which was about baby boomer travel) had nothing to do with Miley Cyrus.
I ignored the tip not to use the word “algorithm” in a headline and lived to regret it, even though my use of it — “Algorithm and Blues: 99 Ways That Google Is Destroying Baby Boomer Travel” — seemed clever enough. But maybe 99 was pushing it because only my mother read it, and even she stopped at number 63.
So when I came across a tip that a blog should be written at an eighth-grade reading level, it caught my attention. It seems the majority of… Continue reading