26

Weekly Web Harvest (weekly)

IBM’s Watson Can Now Debate Its Opponents “Watson then presented three relevant arguments in favor of banning violent video games for minors, but qualified its assessment by bring up several relevant counterarguments and considerations. In all, it was a fairly cogent review of the data. “ tags: ibm watson debate ai weekly argument thoughtvectors BBC News – YouTube star Michelle Phan sued over copyright breach “Michelle Phan found success posting make-up tutorial videos, attracting more than six million subscribers to her channel since she started it in 2007. She is a member of a group of YouTube stars whose popularity rivals that of many mainstream pop stars. “ tags: bbc youtube copyright weekly tweet breaking the spell – Text Patterns – The New Atlantis “Ben Jonson’s frustration that Shakespeare’s plays were far more inconsistently and incoherently put together than his own but were nevertheless, somehow, more popular, and commented that this was just it: Jonson’s plays were put together, more like “mechanical models of plays” than the real thing, whereas Shaksepeare’s plays had all the odd growths and irregular edges of organic life. This is my chief complaint with much fiction of the past fifty years, including much very highly regarded fiction, like that of John Updike: these aren’t novels, they are mechanical models of novels. Precision-engineered down to the last […]

Grave Trails

I went driving looking for things of interest to photograph. I saw a small cemetery on the side of the road and stopped to take a look. I thought it might be a local family cemetery and it was . . . only the family was from much farther back than I thought. View Snead Cemetery at Edgewood in a larger map That he was born within 9 miles of Hanover court House on the 23 day of May 1762, that, he has seen a record of his age in the family Bible, and that he believes it is now in possession of Benjamin Thomas, of the said county; that when he went into service, he lived at the place of his nativity, that since the Revolutionary war, he has lived in the same county near Ground Squirrel Meeting house1 and still lives in the same place; that he served many tours; the first he substituted himself for his brother John Snead, in the company of Joseph Cross, that he marched as a private in that company in the fall or winter of 1778, as he thinks to Williamsburg; that he served at that place and at a place called Rich Neck [in Richmond County] until discharged after two months; that during this tour Gen’l [Thomas] Nelson2 commanded; that there […]

Photography – Week 33

There are two men inside the artist, the poet and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman. Emile Zola Letter to Paul Cézanne (16 April 1860), as published in Paul Cézanne : Letters (1995) edited by John Rewald As I continue to take more pictures, more consistently, and with a bit more focus1– I find I wander farther afield (both geographically and conceptually) rather than narrowing and, perhaps, perfecting. Or at least improving more rapidly. It seems I follow a path in photography similar to the way I wander in everything else. I don’t really know if this leads to greater or lesser progress. Does taking landscapes influence your street photography? Do macros influence your portraits? Is it all part of a greater whole which shapes how you see the world? I have no idea. I’m hoping for the last one. It seems our society bets heavily on the opposite. It’s interesting to me to look at how the extrinsic “reward” elements of photography plays out as well. It’s a tricky thing in my opinion. There is this idea of “pure” art for art’s sake versus a kind of “compromised” art for audience. This feels overly polarized to me. Art and audience seem inextricably intertwined. Weighing the value of audience against your own ideas and intent […]

20

The Web is Plastic

Twitter really needs to seriously rethink the *mandatory* & unalterable displaying of images in one's timeline on http://t.co/kklAvPC4K8 — Digital Maverick (@digitalmaverick) July 20, 2014 I saw the post above this morning and thought to myself that this is a problem I can solve. You can still bend and shape it to your desires, even if it’s not technically yours. There are lots of ways to deal with this issue but I figured I would look at removing the image preview entirely using CSS. Turns out there is a Chrome Stylebot extension that lets you set custom CSS styles for particular sites and it is dead simple to use even if you don’t know CSS. Embedded below is an under one minute example of how to use Stylebot to deal with the image preview issue.

19

Weekly Web Harvest (weekly)

Is Coding the New Literacy? | Mother Jones “Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot, but consider what the city pays to keep it running: $9 a month in hosting costs. “I figured that even if it only led to a few fire hydrants being shoveled out, that could be the difference between life or death in a fire, so it was worth doing,” Michaels-Ober says. And because the CFA team open-sourced the code, meaning they made it freely available for anyone to copy and modify, other cities can adapt it for practically pennies.” tags: coding literacy programming computational thinking computer science socialmedia weekly It turns out that rather than increasing the number of kids who can crank out thousands of lines of JavaScript, we first need to boost the number who understand what code can do. the greatest contribution the young programmers bring isn’t the software they write. It’s the way they think. It’s a principle called “computational thinking,” and knowing all of the Java syntax in the world won’t help if you can’t think of good ways to apply it. depending on who’s defining it . . . probably not computational at all . . . broader than that The Eccentric Genius Whose Time May Have Finally Come (Again) – Doug Hill – The Atlantic “The world of […]

Gravestone Iconography

I found a decent paper on gravestone imagery and a few other sites as I explored around. There are quite few people interested in gravestones. I figured I’d create a little mini-guide using the images I’ve taken at Hollywood Cemetery. It’ll likely make sense to do something more formal later on but doing elements of possible future student work helps me work through things. Clasped Hands The “handshake” on the grave can mean different things. In this case you’ll notice that the sleeve on the right is feminine and the one on the right is masculine. This tends to mean a husband and wife joined in life and death. Three Chain Links This one is often a Masonic symbol or the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (new to me). I had thought it was something to do with the Father/Son/Holy Ghost. Flowers It is interesting to think of flowers of symbols of short life. It bring a new perspective on their use at funerals. IHS While it looked like a dollar sign to me initially . . . IHS are the first three letters of the Greek word for Jesus and may also represent hoc signo vinces (in this sign you will conquer) or Iesus Hominum Salvator (Jesus, savior of men). The Dove A symbol of peace and rebirth. Southern […]

Hollywood Cemetery – Preliminary Thoughts

I’m pretty excited about a new project we’ll be working on this year. We’re going to look at a local historically significant, but still active, cemetery through a variety of disciplinary lenses. Hollywood Cemetery is the permanent home of two presidents of the USA (James Monroe and John Tyler) and one president of the CSA as well as a variety of other interesting local people. Dr. Ryan Smith from VCU’s history department has already had students doing quite a bit of work with local cemeteries. Back Story also recently republished a podcast (Grave Matters) which mentions Hollywood cemetery quite a bit and is all kinds of good. Even the Girl Scouts have some great information on Hollywood Cemetery1. So that brings up the question- What can we do that hasn’t been done and how can we make this something really valuable to the community- both locally and at large? The Players and Their Lenses Looking through the lens of sociology, Dr. Susan Bodnar-Deren will be helping us think through work around mortality, social status etc. by analyzing the data from gravestones.2 Dr. Bernard Means will be bringing an archaeological3 and 3D imaging background4 that he has honed in VCU’s Virtual Curation Lab. Dr. Ryan Smith will round out our professorial group with his focus on history. I will be playing […]

14

Jetpack Tiled Gallery Example

I turned on the Tiled Galleries (directions on that link) in the WordPress Jetpack Plugin. This is an example of what it looks like. It’s easy to do and has some decent options. You do have to accept what you’re given but such is the price of convenience . . .