My name is Zach. I teach college.
What I do
I have taught Writing as Communication a few times. My student projects have been awesome.
I am a graduate student in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts, working on a dissertation about digital sharing technologies.
I am an avid proponent of Creative Commons, especially the share-alike license, under which Wikipedia is licensed. I believe that although information wants to be free it is really people who want to be free. If knowledge is really power (and I believe it is) then knowledge should be free as in "freedom" (which is why I love Wikipedia).
I enjoy puzzles, and have participated in the MIT Mystery Hunt for the past seven years.
I consider myself a foodie. I spend a good amount of time thinking about, preparing/cooking/brewing, or consuming tasty edibles.
Sometimes I use British spellings or just British words not used in the US just because it is fun. Especially the term for the lightweight metal with the symbol Al. I have never lived in GB.
I think that the plural of "Octopus" is way more fun as Octopodes and try to find ways to use it in sentences.
I think Cryptozoology is awesome.
I enjoy etymology and I wish I studied more Latin, Greek, German, and French.
My username is a reference to a few things
- The title of one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands (and University of Massachusetts former students), the Pixies
- The film that the song refers to
- My favorite quote from my favorite Greek philosopher - "I have come to debase the coinage" (shifting the status quo and encouraging free thinking).
- 42 aka The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life the Universe and Everything
- The most excellent number and constant citation by nerds, from one of my favorite books of all time
Stuff for Students
Grammar / Editorial Opinions
FYI: I believe in the serial comma. I expect good grammar but I don't always follow it. Sometimes rules are made to be broken, but only after proving that you know the rules in the first place. That being said, I'm not very tolerant of students messing up their, they're, and there. Or it's and it is. In all honesty, no academic writing (especially that in an encyclopedia) should use contractions - it helps things read more professionally.
If you spell "a lot" as "alot", you are referring to a monster and not a synonym for "many". Just sayin.
Bad spelling in general is pretty silly since everyone now has a spell checker.
When in doubt, follow the Manual of Style.
Here's a video I made about how to write better essays. Some of it helps with Wikipedia.
- McDowell, Zachary. www.zachmcdowell.com. Missing or empty