Photography – Week 26

I figured I’d expand this series to include more of the picture I took over the entire week. So “Walking at Work” didn’t work very well for a title any more.


Weekly Web Harvest (weekly)

Toward a Universal Theory of ‘Cool’ – Derek Thompson – The Atlantic “Cool means departing from norms that we consider unnecessary, illegitimate, or repressive—but also doing so in ways that are bounded. The 1984 Apple ad that said, essentially, “you have a choice; don’t buy IBM!” was considered one of the coolest commercials of all time, because it was, in the researchers words, “autonomous in an appropriate way.” But a 1984 Apple ad saying “you have a choice; don’t pay federal income taxes!” wouldn’t be cool, because taxes are legitimate; and a 1984 Apple ad saying “burn IBM’s headquarters to the ground!” wouldn’t be cool, because that’s just overdoing it. Cool requires a bit of Goldilocks. “ tags: sociology thoughtvectors society weekly Ralph Waldo Emerson Writes a Job Recommendation for Walt Whitman (1863) – | Open Culture “of strong original genius, combining, with marked eccentricities, great powers & valuable traits of character: a self-relying large-hearted man, much beloved by his friends; entirely patriotic & benevolent in his theory, tastes, & practice. “ tags: job recommendation ralph walt whitman weekly english Nobel Prize in physics: Andre Geim went from levitating frogs to science’s highest honor. “The Friday Night Experiments (FNEs) are often so outlandish that they try to limit how long someone works on them—usually just a few months, so as not […]

Some FeedWordPress Advanced Filters Details

Here are a few things that have come up recently that might be of value to others wandering the FeedWordPress/FeedWordPress Advanced Filters Syndication highway. Same Name, Different Pictures I ran into this with the Field Botany page. A variety of factors came into play here. We now have over 1300 posts with at least one image, usually more per post. This ups our chances for conflict. A lot of these images were taken on mobile device, in particular Apple devices, which have a very unimaginative naming structure (essentially Picture 1, Picture 2 etc.). This doubles down on our chances for conflicts. We are using Advanced Filter for FeedWordPress to pull those images into the mother blog. What would happen is that a post would come in on Blackberries. It would have a few images named Picture 11, Picture 14 etc. Later on a post would come in on Poison Ivy and it would have some pictures. One of them might be named Picture 14. As a result, the original Picture 14 would appear and it’d look like the wrong label/picture had been given. It’d all be correct when you traced it back to the source blog. You can see how this might happen in the example below. The cure (no known hiccups at this point) is to use the developer […]

Losing Arguments Cards

I’ve always found the following use of Godwin’s Law to be an interesting idea. For example, there is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress.[8] This principle is itself frequently referred to as Godwin’s law. I ran into one a week or two ago at VCU’s online summit. Someone literally said to me “Well, I’m older.” My response was something like “You’re really going to play that card?” and so Losing Arguments Cards has been in my head ever since. The following is my homage to this particular losing strategy. There was a time when merely surviving to old age meant you were wiser than just about anyone. You could find food during famine. You knew the poisonous berries and where to find good water. You survived the bears, wolves, and radioactive cannibals. You earned respect by simply not dying . . . However, we live in a civilization. There are legions of people dedicated to keeping you from dying of your own stupidity. Things are labeled poisonous even if no one in their right mind would ever eat them. We killed most every animal that might eat you. Maybe you learned something […]

Walking at Work – Week 25

It was a busy week so not quite as much outside photography as I’d like but a few decent shots from our online course development initiative. Out of focus but I still like this. The remains of an insane hail storm.


Weekly Web Harvest (weekly)

Chilean artist reportedly burns $500 million worth of student loan notes – Boing Boing ““It’s over,” he says in the video. “It’s finished. You don’t have to pay another peso [of your student loan debt]. We have to lose our fear, our fear of being thought of as criminals because we’re poor. I am just like you, living a sh—y life, and I live it day by day.” “This is my act of love for you.” More on the controversial video and the history of student debt in Chile here, and here. Updated reports indicate the artist-activist may have some jail time” tags: weekly chile student debt education The Future of Ed-Tech is a Reclamation Project #DLFAB “So I’ve come lately to cite Antonio Gramsci: “I am a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.” But I’m going to will myself to craft a story for you today about education in 2030 that resists that dystopian narrative. I want to project a story for the future where learning technologies support and foster learner control and learner agency. It’s a story where students are the subjects not objects when it comes to education and education technology. It’s actually a story we could tell starting today. We have the technology to do so. It is the will that we […]

Field Botany WordPress Site Breakdown

The Field Botany class is underway and the vegetation is rolling in despite floods and hail. There are 20 student participating on 20 different blogs. Right now we have almost 700 posts in the mother blog. Amazing to see all this great work and to be able to keep it instead of having it stuck in paper notebooks which only a few people ever saw and no one in the public could use. This early days for the site but in the end the intrepid biology duo of Jill Reid and Dianne Jennings will worked with their students to create a site that local residents can use to identify plants in our James River Park System. The nice thing about this setup is it can be used as is or modified to support a variety of other scenarios pretty readily. It has already inspired a sister project that will be documenting mortality and local cemeteries with Susan Bodnar-Deren (who just finished the first round of theOnline Course Development Initiative). Plugins Used On The Mother Blog/Set Up NS Cloner – Site Copier – This was handy for setup. In this case we wanted student sites to have the categories, pages, themes, and plugins already activated. This plugin let me do that easily from a blank template site. The free version doesn’t […]


WordPress Short Code Plugin

It wasn’t too long ago I wrote my first WordPress plugin. Essentially, I Googled “wordpress plugin tutorial” and wandered from there. Another helpful piece for me is downloading plugins that do something close to what I want and trying to figure out what they did. Inspired in part by Boone Gorges and his description of how he handled iframe embed issues in multisite, and David asking for some way for students to embed Debate Graph I figured I could write a plugin to allow a shortcode embed for that site. The dead simple example is below.1 It allows you to put [debategraph url=””] and it returns the needed embed code. I’ll probably set it up with height/width as a user option but I wanted it as pure as possible initially. I’ll also need to tie them in with the main WP editor sooner or later. In writing this and trying to piece together how I figured this out, I also found this shortcode generator which might be very helpful in the future. This was hiding2 at the bottom of the WP Codex page on shortcodes. This is pretty much a barebones template so when we had a little stutter this morning around embedding Google Forms. I was able to alter it in a few minutes and have something functional. I’ll […]