Weekly Web Harvest for 2021-02-14

How Shipping Containers End Up in the Ocean – WSJNice multi axis interactive visual explanation of how a ship loses shipping containers in rough seas. The Ingenuity of The ‘Ha-Ha’ | Amusing PlanetIn those early days, before mechanical lawn mowers, sheep and cattle were often allowed to graze on the ground to keep the grassland trimmed. A ha-ha was typically constructed between the estate’s gardens and grounds to prevent grazing animals from crossing over to the manicured lawn and gardens adjoining the house, while generating a continuous vista of the garden and landscape beyond. Unlike an ordinary trench, which may turn into a moat or become overgrown with vegetation, a ha-ha keeps the estate ground in an impeccable state by allowing livestock to graze right up to the stonewall. Citibank just got a $500 million lesson in the importance of UI design | Ars TechnicaRaj thought that checking the “principal” checkbox and entering the number of a Citibank wash account would ensure that the principal payment would stay at Citibank. He was wrong. To prevent payment of the principal, Raj actually needed to set the “front” and “fund” fields to the wash account as well as “principal.” Raj didn’t do that. Citibank’s procedures require that three people sign off on a transaction of this size. In this case, that was […]


VCU: The Long Goodbye (Art)

Man. These are taking some time to write and I know I’m missing all kinds of stuff. I really have to think through how to do this better for the future. I also found out VCU turned off the Google Takeout option so there’s no easy way to archive my mail or get anything else from there. I don’t think that’s a well thought out decision. So I better get these done while I still have access to my reference materials. Anyway, on with “Things Tom Remembers About Art-Related Projects.” Socially Engaged Art This course with Bob Paris ran for a number of semesters. Initially we’d clone the old site to a URL like sociallyengagedmedia-fall2019 and then clean out the old course so he could start anew. This got to be a bit much as the media library grew so eventually I built a shell course that we’d clone and then we’d just rename the old site in WPMU admin. That was a lot easier and smarter. I should have done it much earlier. Bob played a major role in the look of the site and you never knew what kind of image might greet you on visiting the home page. I’ve actually written about this course in 2016 and 2017. I still like his attention to detail and the […]


VCU: The Long Goodbye (AFAM and ANTH)

Here’s another stuff-I-did-in-the-past post. It may be doing this does a couple things for me. Whenever I’ve entered a new job I have felt like a moron who knows nothing desperately trying to show I know something and am useful without coming off as desperate.1 Trying to make new friends while learning new acronyms and navigating new political structures probably doesn’t make anyone feel too comfortable. So writing down the successes (or at least work) that has happened helps remind me that it takes time and that I’ve done this before. Additionally I really do forget this stuff and need to write it down. You can see a jumble of people and departments as I write this. I keep having to go back and add things I completely forgot about. It’s taking forever but hopefully this will help me when I need to sift through and find old examples in future conversations. And finally maybe it’s useful to someone else as I realize just how poor a job I’ve done writing about this stuff consistently. So let’s start with things that come to mind under the letter A . . .2 African American Studies Brandi Summers wasn’t at VCU all that long but it was great to work with her while she was there. Race & Space This was her […]


VCU: The Long Goodbye (part one)

I’ll be leaving VCU and starting a new job at Middlebury College as of February 15.1 Turns out I’ve been working at VCU since November of 2013.2 That’s a long time for me. I tend to move around a lot more frequently or at least change jobs within the institution. I’ve been working with Matt and Jeff to make sure we’ve got things under control for my departure and it’s been bitter sweet. There is a lot of work out there. It represents a lot of effort with a lot of people. Given my memory gets filled up with other things, I thought I’d take this opportunity to document some things about my time at VCU. This is going to be fairly long and rambling.3 Despite the length, I’m still going to omit huge portions and only tell things from my perspective. I’m also going to focus on the happy stuff. All stories have sad parts but rehashing them here won’t solve any of the issues or make anyone happier. So consider this the Disney version. Big Picture I came to VCU to work with Jon Becker and Gardner Campbell. I had been the Director for Instructional Technology at Henrico County Public Schools. My supervisor4 there had suddenly died and I watched most of what we’d worked so hard to […]


Weekly Web Harvest for 2021-02-07

The Wrong Question – O’ReillyMaking people angry might increase shareholder value short-term. But that probably isn’t a sustainable business; and if it is, it’s a business that does incredible social damage. The “solution” isn’t likely to be legislation; I can’t imagine laws that regulate algorithms effectively, and that can’t be gamed by people who are willing to work hard to game them. I guarantee that those people are out there. We can’t say that the solution is to “be better people,” because there are plenty of people who don’t want to be better; The Chegg Situation is Worse Than You Think –In fact, Chegg got many of its homework problem answers by licensing them directly from the textbook publishers.


Weekly Web Harvest for 2021-01-31

Update on the Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress | Library of Congress BlogThe Library now has a secure collection of tweet text, documenting the first 12 years (2006-2017) of this dynamic communications channel—its emergence, its applications and its evolution. Today, we announce a change in collections practice for Twitter. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, the Library will acquire tweets on a selective basis—similar to our collections of web sites. The Library regularly reviews its collections practices to account for environmental shifts, diversity of collections and topics, cost effectiveness, use of collections and other factors. This change results from such a review. Alfie Kohn: The Tests Are Lousy, So How Could the Scores Be Meaningful? | National Education Policy CenterIn short, am I really so addicted to data that I prefer misleading information to none at all? –worth remembering that educators are so starved for validation that they’ll put X company certified educator in their email signature A Look Back – Futility ClosetOn the grounds of the Fortress of Kruševac, in Serbia, is a “window to the past” that depicts the donjon tower as it appeared in its medieval heyday. At its height it served as the entrance to a medieval fortified town, the seat of Moravian Serbia. Remembering Coffee High School of Florence, Al. | FacebookThat’s my grandmother in […]


Weekly Web Harvest for 2021-01-24

Super Punch: Adversarial fashion“The patterns on the goods in this shop are designed to trigger Automated License Plate Readers, injecting junk data in to the systems” minmax() – CSS: Cascading Style Sheets | MDNThe minmax() CSS function defines a size range greater than or equal to min and less than or equal to max. It is used with CSS Grids. saw someone use it like so . . . minmax(55ch, 65ch) Pioupiou | Hide-and-seek Earth at a Cute Angle. Satellite imagery surrounds us?—?from… | by Robert Simmon | Nightingale | Jan, 2021 | MediumUnfortunately, the top-down view lacks the visual cues that convey a sense of depth and obscures the relationship between terrain and landslide. Oblique imagery, however, is more like our everyday perspective and gives an immediate sense of how topography contributed to the disaster.


Weekly Web Harvest for 2021-01-17

Aaron Ansuini ??? on Twitter: “HI EXCUSE ME, I just found out the the prof for this online course I’m taking *died in 2019* and he’s technically still giving classes since he’s *literally my prof for this course* and I’m learning from lect Trump pardons Steve Bannon, Elliot Broidy, Lil Wayne, others — 73 pardons, 70 commutations | Boing BoingDeion Sanders, who also wrote in support of this pardon, calls Mr. Wayne “a provider for his family, a friend to many, a man of faith, a natural giver to the less fortunate, a waymaker, [and] a game changer.” Micromodal.js – Tiny javascript library for creating accessible modal dialogsMicromodal.js is a lightweight, configurable and a11y-enabled modal library written in pure JavaScript


Strip Google Span Tags When you Cut/Paste into the WordPress Editor

You may note that when you cut/paste from Google Docs into the WordPress editor you get a bunch of span tag and inline CSS garbage. It’s awful . . . so you could paste into the plain text editor . . . but you may also find that you want to keep a bunch of the other HTML in there like links and lists and stuff. via GIPHY Jonathan Nicol figured this out way back in 2015 and I keep having to re-Google it or remember which theme I had it in so I’m putting it here to help me find it more easily. You can see my slightly tweaked version below. All credit to Jonathan and thanks to him for documenting it publically.


Weekly Web Harvest for 2021-01-10

VirtualSky Amara – Award-winning Subtitle Editor and Enterprise OfferingsAmara’s award-winning technology enables you to caption and subtitle any video for free. For larger subtitling projects the platform makes it easy to manage teams of translators. And you can always purchase high-quality captions or translations from our passionate team of professional linguists. Fan Is A Tool-Using Animal—dConstruct Conference TalkI’ve read this many times and apparently never bookmarked it. Olympedia – James Snook“. . . at The Ohio State Penitentiary” – at least they are consistent. Bumble removes political filter after use on Capitol rioters – Business InsiderThe dating app Bumble temporarily suspended its political filter in the US after multiple people tweeted about using it to find conservatives who took part in last week’s Capitol insurrection and turn them into law-enforcement authorities. Super Punch: Some sea shanties were elaborate diss tracks; Turning pop songs into sea shanties; Are you on Sea Shanty Tiktok or Driver’s License Tiktok?All kinds of good things. Archivists Are Mining Parler Metadata to Pinpoint Crimes at the CapitolOthers who have managed to get their hands on the Parler data have begun to make lists of videos and photos that have GPS coordinates on Capitol Hill, and have written scripts to pull those videos from the broader dump so people can analyze them. On an IRC chat channel, […]