Fair Use Legends

Interesting convergence of different dimensions of my world: an article on [“Fair Use Legends”][] — they insist on prefixing *urban*, but I have a firm belief that we can work with librarians. 😉

[“Fair Use Legends”]: http://publications.arl.org/rli270/17

Deep State

Speaking of conspiracies, the World Bank — the World Bank! — has a post in one of its blogs on the nature and role of the “deep state.” [Great read][] to make you paranoid.

[Great read]: http://blogs.worldbank.org/publicsphere/deep-state-confronts-accountability-revolution

Sacred Frequencies

Can we add mysteries of the mind that seem to have been solved? I like those too. In the case of [“sacred frequencies”][] it’s fun to imagine that there are mechanical ways to make us more focused or more productive or more something…

[“sacred frequencies”]: http://altered-states.net/barry/update205/

Area 51

I’ve always liked conspiracies. Vatican Conspiracies are perhaps the best, with their ability to reach far back in time and around the globe, but alien ones come close. [Area 51][] is a song sung by sirens, I tell you.

[Area 51]: http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB443/

The Spark File

Steven Johnson, author of _Where Good Ideas Come From_, keeps a [spark file][]. It’s a version of the [“one Big Text File”][] idea that circulated, as [one commenter][] put it earlier this year, in the “mid-naughties.” There are plenty of [one-file][] [approaches][], and [rejections[], and even variations like [one-directory][] approaches. The canonical entry is probably [Doctorow’s][].

[spark file]: https://medium.com/what-i-learned-building/8d6e7df7ae58
[“one Big Text File”]: http://www.43folders.com/2005/08/17/life-inside-one-big-text-file
[one-file]: http://dougtoft.net/2011/08/27/creative-habit-capture-ideas-in-a-big-ass-text-file/
[rejections]: http://www.oreillynet.com/mac/blog/2005/08/living_in_text_files.html
[one-directory]: http://danlucraft.com/blog/2008/04/plain-text-organizer/
[Doctorow’s]: http://www.craphound.com/lifehacks2.txt

Creating a Space for the Digital Humanities

[Paige Morgan has a post][] about how to create a space, what she calls a microclimate, for the digital humanities. Morgan is a PhD candidate at the University of Washington, and she at first worked with one other graduate student, now two, to offer a series of workshops to provide an “introduction to digital humanities and multimodal scholarship, and some of the activities associated with digital humanities (DH) — professionalisation through social media, working with code, and project development.”

What I like about her approach is its realistic expectations about what time and energy their audience possessed and how best to manage it: “We avoid assigning readings, because the majority of our students are already carrying a full course load, and teaching. We can’t make this a stealth 5-credit seminar for which they don’t actually get credit. Instead, we send out email teasers, in which we often highlight one paragraph, or even one sentence, from an essay or website, and we teach using that.”

There’s more. Follow the link above.

[Paige Morgan has a post]: http://www.paigemorgan.net/rmmla-panel-on-digital-humanities-microclimates-demystifying-digital-humanities/

Machine Learning Explosion

[Why the explosion in machine learning?][q] As always, major and minor reasons. Major reason? Data. Lots and lots of data, both because we human beings have put so much up ourselves, but also because businesses, and other organizations — Hello!, NSA! (Call when you’re ready to talk about how I can help!) — have collected so much. And that’s the minor reason right there, if one can consider it minor: organizations want to “learn” things from all this data.

[q]: http://www.quora.com/Machine-Learning/Why-are-we-experiencing-such-an-explosive-growth-of-machine-learning-and-its-applications-today-even-though-the-space-exists-for-more-than-3-4-decades

Raspberry Pi Ready!

Inspired by the wonderful folks at [Kano][], I think 2014 is the year I get my daughter programming. Kano has done a marvelous job of making the Raspberry Pi experience more Lego-like, and that works well in our household. I’m not patient enough to wait until July 2014 for their hardware to ship, but I contributed $29 for access to the software (and for the tee shirt). We can pick up a Pi and a case and other bits that we might need off Amazon.

When we need inspiration, we might look to [Make][], which regularly features [posts like this][].

[Kano]: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alexklein/kano-a-computer-anyone-can-make
[Make]: http://makezine.com/
[posts like this]: http://makezine.com/2013/04/14/47-raspberry-pi-projects-to-inspire-your-next-build/

Humanities Crisis Coverage Conventions

[Michael Hills’ discussion][] of the so-called “crisis in [of?] the humanities” in various media outlets as a form of fill-in-the-blank reporting begins terribly well. Having read more than a few of these articles, his ability to compress them down into a few generic moves made for a fun read: it also made me wonder if one couldn’t do something computationally with a collection of those texts, which is, after all, sort of what a fill-in-the-blank activity asks of us.

Sadly, Hill wasn’t content to leave it at that but to offer his own “cure for what ails us.” He isn’t quite brave enough to engage in a similar fill-in-the-blank exercise for balms of the sort he offers, but his advice struck me as open to such an approach as the others: I’ve read plenty of accounts that assert that we need to “get back to basics” or get “back to teaching” — I don’t know who these people are that live the life of luxury that got away from such things, but I can assure you that it’s just not possible in a regional public university. If anything, we are fighting to keep from being reduced to nothing more than the basics and teaching.

[Michael Hills’ discussion]: http://chronicle.com/blogs/conversation/2013/11/19/humanities-crisis-mad-libs/