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11.15.15: Snitching, Typeface Piracy, & Tackling NaNoWriMo

arnoKath via Flickr CC

Snitches, rats, finks, and narcs – criminal informants may not be popular among their peers, but are crucial to the work of law enforcement. Today, the risks investigators face when it uses criminals to catch other criminals. Then, we use fonts so often, it’s easy to forget that typefaces are licensed products – and just like other forms of media, they can be pirated and plagiarized - we're confronting the rampant problem of typeface piracy. Plus, the founder of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, urges our inner-writer out of its shell. 

Listen to the full show. 


Every year, the government makes thousands of deals with criminal offenders in exchange for information. From housing projects to college campuses, these deals are instrumental in investigating and prosecuting crooks. Alexandra Natapoff acknowledges those important law enforcement victories, but is concerned about the largely informal and secretive process of rewarding informants who may be serious criminals themselves. 

Alexandra Natapoff is Professor of Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. She’s author of Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice and of the blog.


The Prison System

Deborah Peagler is a woman who, according to some, has been behind bars far longer than necessary.  This story was produced in 2009 by Devon Strolovitch- about a month later, Deborah was finally released from prison. She died of lung cancer in June, 2010.

You can listen to this story again at

Typeface Piracy

We use them so often, it’s easy to forget that typefaces are licensed products – and just like other forms of media, can be pirated and plagiarized.

Steven Heller has authored, co-authored, or edited over one-hundred books on design and pop culture – he’s also  former art director for the New York Times Book Review – and he recently wrote about the rampant problem of typeface piracy for Wired.

Typeface Piracy

Well, So, Now: Asterismos

So, well, look. If you’re used to starting sentences like that, you are not alone. These words, properly called “asterismos” can be found everywhere - from board rooms in Silicon Valley to presidential speeches. What’s the story behind these words we say before we say what we really mean? Katy Waldman is Slate’s words correspondent, where she wrote about asterismos

Well, So, Now: Asterismos

No Plot? No Problem!

Chris Batyis a teacher, speaker, and writer and he’s the founder of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. He has an updated edition of the book he wrote in 2004 to help writers finally take the plunge, it’s called No Plot? No Problem!

No Plot? No Problem!

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