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A short but w lovely book for fans of both authors, but also a lot of insight into freedom of speach, creativity and…
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On Friday, four days before the US presidential election, the United States recorded 100,000 new cases of Covid-19. This figure recorded the highest increase in cases of corona virus in a day worldwide.
In total, the United States has suffered 9 million cases of Covid-19 as of Friday, or nearly 3% of the population with nearly 229,000 deaths since the pandemic outbreak earlier this year, according to a Reuters report, October 31, 1996.
US health authorities on Friday confirmed that 100,233 people have tested positive for Covid-19 over the past 24 hours.
Friday’s tally set the highest daily Covid-19 record in the US for the fifth time in 10 days, surpassing the previous day’s highest daily spike of 91,248 new cases.
The report also represents the world’s highest national daily casualty toll during the pandemic, surpassing India’s record 24-hour spike in daily cases of 97,894 recorded in September.
On Friday dozens of states individually reported a record number of new daily cases.
Serious cases of Covid-19 are also on the rise, as hospitals in six states report having the most patients with the disease since the pandemic began. The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalized has increased by more than 50% in October to 46,000, the highest since mid-August.
Among the states hardest hit were the states most contested in the campaign between Republican President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, namely Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
More than 1,000 people died from the virus on Thursday, the third time the daily death toll has exceeded that this month, and the death rate is expected to continue rising. Covid-19 claimed at least 926 more deaths as of Friday.
The University of Washington’s latest prediction model projects the death toll, which had held at a monthly pace of more than 22,000 for most of October, will start climbing next month towards a new record of more than 72,000 in January.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s January projection would surpass the nearly 61,000 deaths in April when the pandemic first exploded in the United States and flooded New York City hospitals.
Joe Biden and his Democrats in Congress have criticized President Trump for handling his health crisis.
In the US House of Representatives, Democrats released a report on Friday condemning the Trump administration’s pandemic response as “one of the worst leadership failures in American history”.
“At least 6 million Americans have fallen into poverty and millions more are unemployed,” the report said.
The 71-page interim report by Democrat staff from the House Election Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis also said investigators identified more than 60 instances in which Trump administration officials rejected or overruled top scientist advice to advance the president’s political interests.
“The government’s response to this economic crisis has benefited large corporations and wealthy Americans, while leaving behind many disadvantaged communities and struggling small businesses,” the report said.
After being hospitalized for Covid-19 in early October, Trump continued a massive campaign that drew thousands of supporters who gathered and many were not wearing masks. The Trump campaign says rallies are safe and that masks and social distancing are respected.
A CNN investigation found that 14 of the 17 states surveyed showed an increase in the rate of Covid-19 cases only one month after hosting a Donald Trump campaign event.
Drink like the Swiss BY Andie Pilot
Switzerland has as many drinks as it does mountains, from absinthe to Kirsch, Petitie Arvine to Humagne Rouge, healthy pick-me-ups to boozy keep-me-ups. Drink like the Swiss tales you on a titillating tour of this tasty (and tipsy) aspect of Swiss culture. With nearly a hundred recipes ? from cocktails to coffee to cocoa ? and many delightful curiosities, Andie Pilot’s colorful little book leaves no bean unground and no bottle uncorked.
- listen to ebook Drink like the Swiss mp3 ==================================
Icame to Medium out of frustration. I had read an article in an online “prosumer” magazine that has the air of a serious scientific journal, but which fails to encompass the heart of science — the debate — by disallowing any comments or unsolicited rebuttals/responses to their articles.
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Do you want to publish a book on Medium?
Unfortunately, I had already manifested, through my furiously dancing fingertips, a 2,700 word essay pointing out the ignorance I felt strongly present in the magazine article, only to find there was no way to share it — cue Medium.com.
I was impressed with the response to the article on Medium, which was my first — 26K views, 7K reads, 611 fans, and 500 euros in my pocket to date. And I was even more impressed by the tools that Medium provides an author.
While the interface is as simple as paper, knowing what passages a reader highlights, how many views turn into full reads, how many people follow you after reading something that you write, what their interests are — so that you can see how people coming from different backgrounds engage with your writing — and of course, being able to have detailed responses to your work, are just nothing short of a godsend for an author. And this led me to try publishing a book on Medium.
The book is a big one, nearly 800 pages in paperback format. It’s that big because it is a collection of related writings: a set of meditation practices which are fairly simple, but which require detailed instructions since they are being communicated via text and not one-on-one guidance. However, the practices use an unusual support in place of the breath — which is the more common, but deficient in particular ways, support today. This then necessitates an explanation of the support’s uniqueness, part of which entails detailed quotations from current and ancient writings and related explanations, on this particular meditation support. But these all come from various spiritual traditions, and none of them are framed within our modern mechanistic materialism, thus there is a necessity to explain how things differ from how they are understood today, in order that the reader understand exactly what they are using. So it’s part philosophy, part science, part practice, and part historical documentation.
Why Publish a Book on Medium
You might think this is totally inappropriate for Medium, and there are some shortcomings, but for me the biggest reason to attempt publishing this book here is the potential audience, and the availability that Medium affords me as a writer.
While there are still many physical book readers — myself among them — the option to have a book on a mobile device is just such a no-brainer. And while Ebooks are good for large publishers who can (and do) command a nice bit of change for their product, for a small writer, ebooks don’t offer much of any benefit over what Medium provides. And in fact, the tools that Medium provides, which I mentioned above, are absent from ebooks.
And of course, having an ebook still leaves you searching for an audience.
So the biggest reason for launching a book on Medium has two aspects: availability and readers. Minor writers such as myself just don’t have the ability to make their work available to a very significant audience. My first book, which was self-published, was limited to Amazon’s various country web-stores. Although it enjoyed some limited success — especially for a philosophical work, it was difficult to find outside of Amazon’s universe. With Medium it is different. Anyone can access Medium.com from anywhere on Earth, so my work is widely available — and that was my biggest checkbox. And of course, the potential audience on Medium is not limited to merely members and current readers of Medium, but can be garnered via social media, word of mouth, and friends, all of whom can be directed to the Medium site, with little effort.
There is also the cost and hassle savings of not hosting your own blog, which was another alternative I considered. I still buy the domain names and setup email addresses as appropriate, but I no longer see any reason to host a website.
For many years I have maintained a Wordpress site, and that is a chore I don’t have time for. Such small websites have the same security and hacking worries as the biggest names, and it is all on your shoulders. I never realized just how much of a problem it is until I subscribed to a service available to Wordpress sites via a plugin called Wordfence, which not only scanned my server for hacks on a daily basis, but also monitored all traffic in and out. Once that was installed I could sit and watch the dozens of daily automated login attempts by hackers around the world trying to break into my site in order to hijack it into their botnets. If you have a personal website it is very likely part of a botnet, or even part of a crypto-currency mining operation. Sheesh. For a small writer it makes little sense anymore.
How to Publish a Structured Book on MediumAs for the nuts and bolts of doing it, there are three main issues you have to deal with: Medium is structured to publish “stories” of a limited length, so your work has to be forced into that format; Medium does not provide the kind of navigational tools that are available in an ebook; and readers on Medium don’t expect an article to be part of a larger work.
I’m going to take them in reverse order. It has been my experience, so far, that many Medium users don’t notice that the “story” they are reading is actually part of a larger work, even though it is in a “publication” on medium. I frequently receive responses to a carved-out “story” that is part of a larger section of the book where my reader explains to me all the things I should have said, which I have already said in the preceding and successive “stories” to that one in the book publication. This is a bit frustrating — for both the reader and myself, but hey!, Medium rocks at bringing me readers.
A related problem is that readers will see a “story” featured in one section of Medium and jump into it, while a subsequent part of the same section of the book will not be featured at all, or in some other section of Medium. Thus for the audience, continuity is fragmented.
So it is useful that Medium provides the “follow” mechanism for a publication, but it makes it incumbent upon the writer to release material in a sequential order so that the followers, who still might not realize it is a book — especially if they haven’t read the “About” introduction to it — will follow the text in somewhat of a logical order.
And of course, that workaround is only useful as you are publishing the book. Later, when the whole book is available in Medium, the sequential releasing is no longer in effect.
Given this problem, I have started to make use of the “hidden” story attribute that you can set on and off as needed in order to make sequences of articles only accessible in order, by only allowing the first part of a book section to be publicly announced, for example. The other parts are hyperlinked to the earlier ones.
The downside to that is that such unlisted stories are unavailable for generating income through the Members program of Medium.
Medium does provide a publication header on each story, that a reader can tap to get to the homepage of the publication, but I found it useful to add a standard footer image to each article as well, that provides the same function, as it is more useful — in my opinion — for the reader, after reading an article that they enjoyed, to be able to jump up to the homepage of the publication, rather than having to scroll up to the header.
When I find that I have to break a section of the book down into smaller “stories,” I add a notification below the main image so that the reader knows the “story” is part of a “sequence” of stories. I use the word “sequence” because “series” is a Medium term for a different kind of open-ended series, and “collection” does not have the same ordered sense.
I was not happy though that the only way to add this notification was either as a title/subtitle or as standard text — even with bolding and italicization available. I wanted something that was clearly setoff from my text in a different typeface, but not overshadowing it in any way either. I realized that what I wanted was a font size and style much like that of the attribution found underneath images on Medium.
My solution was to do exactly that, only with a non-visible and diminutive image. I found a 1-pixel transparent gif and I place that where I want the notification to appear. Then I place the hyperlinked text of the notification, usually linking back to the table of contents (I’ll explain shortly) for that sequence of articles, in the attribution area of the image. Voila!
The line “Do you want to publish a book on Medium?” at the top of this story, under the main image, is an example of what it looks like, although I didn’t place a link on it.
Navigation was another problem. Each publication has a navigation bar that appears just below the header of the publication’s homepage — and only there — and this is limited to a single level of story or featured stories pages.
Thus, your menu structure is normally restricted to just a top-level list of sections or groupings, each of which can only have a single story, or a list of stories without any deeper structure — you can only have a collection of stories that share a tag, a single story, or a page of featured stories. That wasn’t going to work for me, and for a while I was stymied about how to have the kind of complex hierarchy that I needed.
The first thing I did was to reproduce the publication’s navigation bar near the top of every story page in the book. I place it just above the start of the text, underneath the title. I did this because my book has a structural flow, and not just a collection of articles. Being able to move back-and-forth between sections makes sense for the kind of book I am publishing, where the reader may want to refer to another part of the text for needed information.
As an added bonus, the navigation bar I created adds a degree of empty space between the title and the body of text which in my opinion looks nicer.
I place the navigation bar in the same way I discussed above, by placing a 1 pixel transparent gif image at the location, and adding my hyperlinked top-level menu sections in the image’s attribution line. This is what the secondary navigation menu for my book looks like.ABOUT | PROEM | PRELIMINARIES | PRACTICES | INSIGHTS | APHORISMS | BACK MATTER
The one problem I was confronted with was that the long urls of each story do not always work in the apps. (I know not why) Instead, you have to use a short url, consisting of only the unique identifier of each article, if you want to create a “table of contents” to directly link to stories. Here is how I do this:
I create a story without tags and no images that will serve as a table of contents for a subsection of the book. The title is the section name, or name of the sequence of “stories” that I have cut a long section of text into. The subtitle is just “Table of Contents.” You can then add hyperlinked titles and optional short descriptions to construct your table of contents.
Note that this “story” should be unlisted so that it doesn’t appear as a story on your profile, and untagged so that it doesn’t show up in any kind of search, in case you decide to have it listed. Of course, your needs will dictate how you decide to do this. There is nothing wrong with having a TOC discoverable in a search, and available for payment under the Medium Partner program.
For example, the “About” story of Tranquillity’s Secret is accessible with this url:
To find the identifier for a story, you look at its url in a browser and copy the identifier, which is a sequence of 12 numbers and letters (a hexadecimal number). When I do this in Safari on my laptop, the url for the “About” story looks like this:
Note the bolded identifier at the end of the url — this is the number you want to append on the short form url, as I did in my example.
A story’s url can take on different forms, so it is not always structured as in the previous example. This is what a friend’s link to the About story looks like:
Note that the story identifier appears just before the question mark “?” appearing in the link. I’ve put it in bold again in the example above. The other longer string of numbers and letters at the end of the url is the bypass token for Medium’s paywall. As an aside, I had to make the About eligible for payment under the Partners program in order for a “friend’s link” to be created.
When you are editing a story, even before publishing it, there is a slightly different url, which looks like this:
Note again that the unique identifier is there just before the “/edit.” Note also, that you can just copy this initial url and truncate that suffix off of it to obtain the short url form directly.
However, you can’t link an unlisted story into the main Navigation bar of a publication, so you first have to create the TOC story, setting it as unlisted, and publish it. This way neither your followers, nor anyone else on Medium will receive a notification/email about its publication, then list it again and tie it into the Navigation bar. Once you’ve done that you can — and probably should — unlist it a final time. It will still be accessible when clicked on the navigation bar.
The final piece of the navigation puzzle is to use another hyperlinked attribution line (as in the above examples) to the next article in sequence within the book at the end of the article. I do this before any footnotes, above the footer for the publication. Here is what it looks like:
Continue on to What is Meditation? ?The end result of applying these methods is a good usability case for publishing a book on Medium.
In the apps, tapping on any one of these hyperlinks results in a quick overwrite of the present page. Returning to the previous page, in effect, backtracking through your browsing history, is built-in to the Medium apps. Simply tap on the left angle bracket in the top left corner of your display. This will return you to the page you came from. Continuing to tap on this icon will continue to backtrack to previous pages.
In the browser, the effect of clicking on one of the hyperlinks is different — a new browser page for each story opens. It’s not as friction-free as the mobile apps are, but I haven’t found a solution for this yet. You can set the browsers default behavior to opening a new tab, instead of a new window, but you still end up with a lot of tabs or windows, without the ability to retrace your progress through the book in an automated way. Instead, you have to click on the tab or window for the previous story or menu.
Finally, the medium apps allow readers to bookmark a story, and even archive it for later use, both of which are useful in reading your publication as a book.
So far the results of this have been beyond anything I thought would happen. The publication has garnered 50 followers very quickly, and a significantly higher number of visitors each day. It is, in fact, now taking off, as more readers run across it.
But this brings up the last issue with publishing a book such as this on Medium: you are limited to only a certain number of stories published each day. If you exceed that limit — which I did one day trying to gain momentum in the process of publishing the book — you get an error message that your account is locked. Presumably, Medium has that as a protection for spamming.
The only solution to this is to use the scheduling function for publishing your books “stories,” so that the stories are published in an orderly fashion without exceeding the Medium imposed limit.
That’s It so far. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!.