Category Archives: Blogs and Internet

My year in books, 2016

Henry Beston and David Maraniss were my new faves of 2016.

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My year in books, 2015

I have still one book to report on to Goodreads, but I can go ahead and set up the link now.

2014’s list.

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My year in books, 2014

Or at least all the books that I’ve told Goodreads about.

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A milestone: 6

It’s been ten years since my first Wikipedia edit. I’ve been a lot more active in the last two years than the previous eight.

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That radar array is really a cooking grill

Leta responds to misdirected customer complaints and requests for service.

Dear Ms. Hall,

Is the meat in tsc’s tsatziki steak flatbread conventionally raised or organic?

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A milestone: 5

Congratulations to the Bird Phenology Project and its volunteer digital transcribers. Over the weekend, the project’s one-millionth migration record was transcribed to digital format. An observation of a House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) (AOU code 721a) by Vernon Bailey in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico Territory in September, 1904 was the card that did it.

(Bailey was the husband of Florence Merriam Bailey, in whom I am currently interested.)

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Sooner than I expected

Just call me Matt Dillon.

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Some links: 60

Teddy Wayne’s piece is long but worth checking out.

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Calling all botany geeks

I invite you to participate in the development of a Q&A site for questions about botany. The site would be part of the successful Stack Exchange network, of which Stack Overflow is the flagship.

One of the features of a Stack Exchange site that makes it successful is the liberal awarding of brownie points to users who constructively participate in the site. Jeff Atwood and his team have figured out the alchemy that makes a community-managed site work.

At this point, the proposed Botany site is in the stage of soliciting sample questions. Follow the link below and add your own!

Stack Exchange Q&A site proposal: Botany

Update: The proposal for this Q&A site has been closed, alas.

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Hat tip

The New York Times: Marco Arment shares in my confusion about the difference between a “via” link and a “hat tip.” Maybe the answer to the question of the second kind of attribution is to be explicit: if someone or something inspired you, say so.

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Scott M. Fulton III explicates the idea behind Maria Popova’s Curator’s Code project, and gives a name to a practice that I try to avoid (with little success): LWIR.

Popova proposes the Unicode [CANADIAN SYLLABICS SH (U+1525)] as a shorthand for “via,” to indicate “a link of direct discovery,” and [RIGHTWARDS ARROW WITH LOOP (U+21AC)] to replace the various forms of “hat tip” that acknowledge indirect links and inspiration. I rather like these one-character squiggles of attribution, and the bookmarklet available at Curator’s Code makes it easy to snag them onto the clipboard. (Be it noted that the bookmarklet embeds its own link back to the project site.) I’ll give them a try; here’s hoping that G+ and Twitter play nicely with them.

Of course, half the time my trouble is making a note of my link source at the time I capture the link. It may be several days later when I get around to sharing the link. I use Instapaper’s summary field (available through the Edit link) to some advantage here.

And here I’d been using H/T incorrectly all along.

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(Not me)

Oh. My.

Geoffrey K. Pullum has had enough.

No, what I discovered a year ago was that what displeased me the most was dopiness. Asininity, dim-wittedness, doltishness, dullness, dumbness, foolishness, idiocy, nescience, witlessness, pig-ignorance, senselessness, stupidity, — to capture it in a word, the kind of sheer knuckle-dragging moronic lack-wittedness that makes you think you would rather be listening to Vogon poetry.

What I discovered about myself was that the pain of seeing the dopey things posted by some commenters (not you) outweighed all the pleasure of doing the blogging.

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Ad novam vitam

He took a large, stout manila envelope from his sixties G Plan sideboard. “Everything’s here. New passports, birth certificates. An address in Ilkley—no point in pretending you’re not from Yorkshire, open your mouth and you’ll betray yourself—utility bills to that address, you’ll be able to set up a new bank account wherever it is you’re going. France is it? You should go somewhere that doesn’t extradite. New national insurance number as well, and as a little extra, you’ve got a profile on Facebook and you’ll be pleased to hear that you have seventeen friends already. Welcome to the brave new world, Imogen Brown.”

—Kate Atkinson, Started Early, Took My Dog, p. 323
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Something useful

A brilliant idea: injecting low-tech graphics into a woefully constrained communications channel: collects the best examples of sparktweets.

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Nicht lachend

One more casualty of the SEOing of everything: witty headlines. (I differ with Jakob Neilsen on this point.) David Wheeler attends a copy editors’ workshop. I have no problem with mundane headlines for hard news stories. But for a magazine article about cooking, what’s wrong with a little kick?

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