Weekly Web Harvest (weekly)

This is why you shouldn’t believe that exciting new medical study – Vox “In 2003, researchers writing in the American Journal of Medicine discovered something that should change how you think about medical news. They looked at 101 studies published in top scientific journals between 1979 and 1983 that claimed a new therapy or medical technology was very promising. Only five, they found out, made it to market within a decade. Only one (ACE inhibitors, a pharmaceutical drug) was still extensively used at the time of their publication. “ tags: weekly research science press truth lies reality It’s Okay To Be Smart • Science and art share a common mandate—to find… “Science and art share a common mandate—to find surprise in the ordinary by seeing it from an unexpected point of view.” Bloom tags: science art quote weekly New Tropes for Old – Futility ClosetFutility Closet “The steps below will, “like machinery in factories,” convert a Gothic romance into a sentimental novel:” tags: weekly ds106 fodder language What it’s like to teach evolution at the University of Kentucky – Boing Boing ““If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” My response was and is always the same: We didn’t evolve from monkeys. Humans and monkeys evolved from a common ancestor. One ancestral population evolved in one direction toward […]

Photography – Week 68

The flowers are starting to come out. It’s going to be harder to stop walking around in the mornings. This is at 821 Cafe which has had the skeleton on the window since at least Halloween but the internal skull image is new. They rotate a lot of local artists’ work through there. I liked the parallel skulls. I like the patterns of trees. I’ve shot this fence before. It has some colors that I like and it has a patina of neglect that I find interesting. The condition of the book with this particular title was too good to pass up. There was quite a bit of rain this week. I liked what this rain did to the roads.

In the beginning there was search

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by Bramus! We’re playing around with some online content for instructors to access on their own or to use as part of some guided online learning we’ll be doing. We started the building some elements around search because it is a place where most people are comfortable but where there’s often decent room for growth. It’s nothing that hasn’t been done before in terms of the goals but I hope we’ll be able to make it more approachable and really target the things that will be attractive to instructors in higher ed. I also want to see it as continuum that will lead people more deeply into the wild world of the web. We opted to focus mainly, although not exclusively, on the Google search realm because that’s what most people use and they have a pretty extensive variety of options that are attractive to higher ed instructors.1 The content isn’t finalized nor is the presentation but I figured writing it up would force me into articulating my choices and maybe one of you would give me better ideas or point out flaws. General Ideas The content is meant to be as succinct as possible and glaringly pragmatic for the average college instructor. There will be a number of real-life scenarios/rationales […]

Scraping Wikipedia User Data w Google Spreadsheets

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by nojhan Alice Campbell in the VCU library hosted a Wikipedia edit-a-thon today. It was interesting and we had a variety of faculty and even some students show up. Gardner joked at one point whether we had a leader board for edits. It got me thinking. I remembered that Wikipedia keeps track of the edits of logged in users and I figured I’d take a shot at scraping some of that data so we’d have a rough idea of how many edits were made by our group. I started off by looking at the contributions page. This URL will get you the page for my user name. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Woodwardtw I used the IMPORTHTML formula in Google Spreadsheets.1 It was easy because this was the first list on the page. You can see in the image above that you have the choice between trying to grab a list or a table. The other variable is what number that element is from the top of the page. You can see the working document embedded below. I considered parsing out2 the ..(+30)..3 but after talking to Alice that wasn’t the kind of data that would travel well. She was more interested in number of edits which, as it turns out, is available on the Edit […]

Photography – Week 67

I liked how the window bar works almost like one of those black bars to hide someone’s identity. He initially posed with his eyes rolled back in his head. The sign said NEED BEER so I think I needed to better explain the purpose of the photo. It bothers me to think he might have seen this as something meant to ridicule him. Trees and the old brick of the buildings here continue to interest me. I’m also still interested in your lonely pets.

An Inventory of My Thoughts

I’m no Myron Helfgott, but I’ve made a few minor changes to my life which have been at least semi-interesting. It’s not about productivity. It’s more about eliminating distractions that have wormed their way into my head. These reflexive actions are scary because they eat into the way you think or in some cases if you think at all. Nothing magical here but it’s often worth looking at how things1 are impacting your life. The drive to work is now silent. No radio. No podcasts. I just let my brain wander. It’s fun. The ride home is much noisier. On my phone I turned off all the notifications for email, Twitter, and Flickr. The only one that remains is for texts. It has surprised me how much happier I am not to see that envelope with the red badge letting me know how many emails I’ve yet to read. I can still do whatever I need should something important arise but I’ve cut the visual cue out of the equation. That has cut down on reflexive checking. Flickr and Twitter were never that busy but neither was important enough to require an instant alert. This has been done by many people, many times but I’m leaving my email program closed 95% of the day. It’s been depressing to see how […]

Improved Google Folder Shortcode Plugin

creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Steve Snodgrass In December I wrote a tiny shortcode plugin that would let you embed Google Folders in WordPress. It was mainly to get around the iframe embed issues in WordPress Multisite. This interaction seems to make a number of faculty members pretty happy. So tonight when I got a comment asking how you’d get the plugin to display a grid view instead of the list view I decided to take another look at things. The short answer is that you could not do that with the old plugin. Now that I’m pretending to write code and stuff I thought I might be able to fix that and it turned out to be fairly simple. While I was in there I also added the ability to manually set height and width parameters. The new plugin is here. It doesn’t like it when I run both on the same blog (I assume because of the shared shortcode name) so this demo required that I turn off the older plugin. To make the changes I followed the Codex advice on handling attributes. This stuff still feels like magic to me. I realize how little actual skill and knowledge I posses in the scheme of things but it is amazing fun to be […]


Weekly Web Harvest (weekly)

Education Outrage: In education, the goal should not be test scores but happiness “Teaching history in school usually spreads propaganda, typically about how great one’s country is.” tags: weekly history quote schrank Millennium Camera Documents Next 1,000 Years Of Change “The camera, which is a relatively simple construct similar to a pinhole camera, is designed to take one long exposure of the Tempe skyline until 3015, when the resulting photograph will go on display at the Arizona State University Art Museum in a month-long exhibition. “ tags: photography technology weekly camera time change tweet BBC News – DR Congo seeks Virunga park boundary change “You, Europeans, you have eaten all your animals,” Joseph Pili Pili, a senior official from the Congolese Ministry of Hydrocarbons, told the BBC, “and now you ask us to turn our backs on money the country desperately needs, the people desperately need, to protect animals?” h/t Harper’s Weekly tags: weekly quote Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

More Dates in WordPress

creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by peacay As I continue to mess around with time/calendaring in WordPress I thought it’d be helpful to be able to allow users to add specific events1 to the calendar service of their choice. That led me to the addthisevent.com javascript. It allows the user to choose the calendar format of their choice from a variety of options plus it’s free for non-profits and schools. Initially, I just threw a script link in the footer of my Time child theme but that’s not really how you’re supposed to do things in WordPress Land and it meant that a pretty useful action would be restricted to that single theme. There are also some people in the AddThisEvent comments requesting WordPress plugins. Since I’m wandering around the borders of Programistan anyway, I figured I’d write a plugin. This may be beating a dead horse in terms of detail but I’m hoping it might help other people who aren’t programmers get things done. Version 1 The first version was as barebones as you can get. It does via plugin what I did previously via the theme – stick the addthisevent script in the footer. I referenced the WP wp_enqueue_script2 page in the codex to do this. You can see it commented up below. Version […]

Dating WordPress

This post is going to attempt to document how I figured out how to mess with dates in WordPress custom fields. I don’t know how widely valuable that is but a number of the concepts are probably broadly applicable. This particular discussion will wander into areas of programistan and there is one child theme page involved.1 It’s live and working (although it may occasionally be down when I do something odd and it’s ugly as sin at the moment) but feel free to look around or add some fake events. Getting all posts with a custom field named ‘event’ to show on the front page was discussed here. I added a bit to the theme so that if there was more than one event on that day it’d display it with a different format. You can see the whole page on GitHub here. The other little chunk of code that might matter is what’s returned if there are no events on that day. It just tells you nothing is there and presents you with the events for the next seven days as defined by the FacetWP layout (which I’ll go over in a bit). Now that we had a decent way to see what was going on that day, I built the “Event Creator” form which will allow the instructor […]