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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Writing to analyse, review and comment

As well as analysing texts, you need to be able to write about them successfully. Think about your audience, the genre of your text and the main point of your analysis. By staying focused you will write more effectively.

Essential tips for writing effective articles

Capture your reader’s eye and attention

  • Start with a catchy headline.
  • Consider adding an attractive, unusual or interesting image to your coursework. For exam writing use boxes containing a written description of the image – there is no need to be an artist!
  • Divide a longer article using sub-headings to guide your reader and add interest and clarity.

Start as you mean to go on

  • Use a short or intriguing, lively and involving opening sentence.
  • Directly address and involve the reader by using pronouns such as 'you', 'we' and 'our'.
  • Consider the use of an initial question.

Prioritise important information but keep it interesting

  • Work out what is important and interesting for your reader to know first and write about this in a concise, snappy way. Leave less important aspects and finer detail until later.
  • Give relevant facts immediately by briefly answering questions such as what, who, where and when?
  • Use a mix of shorter and longer sentences but always keep sentences clear and concise.
  • Use mainly formal standard English but consider using a little well-placed conversational language to develop a friendly and inviting tone.
  • Open each paragraph with a topic sentence that tells, in a nutshell, what the rest of the paragraph will explore in more depth.
  • Use both direct and rhetorical questions to involve the reader.
  • Use discourse markers to help create flow and fluency, for example, 'clearly', 'even so', 'therefore', 'following on from this'.

Gain your reader’s trust - be authoritative and convincing

  • Be sincere and write in a natural, lively style. Avoid pretending you’re someone other than an interesting lively teenager.
  • Remember that if your writing doesn't capture the trust of your reader, it won't be effective.
  • Create a confident tone but avoid the kind of bold unsupported assertions that suggest arrogance. Words like 'could', 'might' and 'perhaps' help to keep your suggestions open.
  • Consider making up an interview with an expert to add authority. (Although this is made up it needs to be believable and entirely realistic).
  • Would the use of evidence from authoritative sources help the sense of trust? Your sources will also be made up but sound believable and realistic.
  • Keeping the needs of your audience in mind at all times, vary your vocabulary and include appropriate technical terms. (This is a mark scheme requirement for this piece of coursework.)
  • Avoid the trap of being overly personal or emotional. In the real world an article would have a wide, unknown audience so you wouldn't know your readers and they wouldn't know you. This means you must write in a way that you yourself would appreciate as a reader. Be calm, polite, mainly formal but friendly and, above all, be yourself!
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A bra for your butt?! Biniki promises a lift in all the right places

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Biniki Butt Bra is Butt Shaper & Lifter, Buy Shapewear for Women & Men's Buttocks Support
  • Holds up the weight of the buttocks
  • Smoothes out the back of the thighs
  • Lifts and defines the buttock’s curvature
  • Maximizes small/flat derrieres
  • Leaves no visible line under most clothing
  • Enhances the effect of form fitting clothes
  • Adds comfort because of support
  • Provides a put together look
Does your backside need a boost? A new bra-like contraption for your bottom promises to do just that.
The Biniki - a strappy device worn around the derriere - is the creation of Dr. Karen Hart, a California-based psychologist, who was unhappy with the flattened appearance of her rear after losing weight.
She started by fashioning a DIY butt-lifter out of self-adhesive tape, worn under her clothes. When women at her gym noticed her handiwork and were enthusiastic, the idea for the Biniki was born.
"Most people would agree that the breasts and the buttocks look best when held high on the body. This motivates millions of women to wear a bra," Hart told the Daily Mail. "The derriere has panties, thongs, boy shorts and horizontally shaping compression, but no bra."
Hart, who is in the process of patenting her work, according to her Web site, has also created a Maniki for men, and the Throng, a thong version of the Biniki.
The products retail for around $35 and are available online at

F.B.I.’s Crime-Fighting Web Site Focuses on Bank Robbers

Bank robberies may be down from a recent peak, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation is nevertheless making a push to track down suspects, enlisting the public’s help through a new Web site.
The site, called BanditTracker NorthEast, features images of robbers in New Jersey and New York culled from security cameras over the past few years.
In a modern take on the “wanted” notices adorning post office walls, the site also includes information about the suspects in question, like their heights, races and builds. Telephone numbers are provided so people can call if they think they know the whereabouts of a suspect.
In the past, it took F.B.I. agents a few days to prepare these types of posters and similar announcements about bank robberies. With that lag, information was sometimes not mentioned on a local newscast because the story had been deemed old, said F.B.I. agents who unveiled the site on Wednesday at a federal office building in Lower Manhattan.
Now, because images can be posted online within hours of the crime, possibly even from a bank that is robbed, it means agents might be able to arrest robbers still making their getaways.
Spectrum Management, a technology company based in Texas, created the site. It is providing the service free to the F.B.I.
The company set up the first BanditTracker in Dallas in 2007, and followed it with similar versions in Little Rock, Ark.; Indianapolis; Chicago; and Atlanta.
On Wednesday, when the Northeast site opened, it displayed images from 29 robberies. Five images from higher-priority cases were at the top of the page, rotating on eight-second cycles.
One was of a robbery on Feb. 22 in White Plains, when a man wearing a camouflage cap displayed a gun to an employee at the Hudson City Savings Bank and demanded cash, the site said.
Farther down on the site’s page are other images, like that of a person who held up a Bank of America branch at Broadway and West 107th Street on the Upper West Side on Aug. 20, 2009.
Though that robber, like many featured on the site, seems hard to identify, Spectrum officials say similar sites in other cities have produced useful leads. Indeed, they said, tips from the BanditTracker site led to the convictions of the so-called Scarecrow Bandits, a group of bank robbers in Dallas, named for their floppy hats and flannel shirts.
The effort comes despite a sharp decline in bank robberies in the region. In 2009, there were 222 robberies in New York City, said James Margolin, an F.B.I. spokesman, compared with 444 in 2008 and 283 in 2007. The F.B.I. said the 2008 figure was the highest in a decade. In New Jersey, there were 190 robberies in 2009, 202 in 2008 and 162 in 2007, said Steven Siegel, a special agent who focuses on bank robberies in that state.

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