Where I Want to Live

Ostensibly an essay on urban planning, and how Houston doesn’t plan for walking, Not Just Bike‘s “How I Got Into Urban Planning (and Why I Hate Houston)” is really an exploration of how traveling to, and spending time in, different places can open your eyes to what you think of as given and how it can lead to you choosing something different. It could be argued that every society gets things right and gets things wrong, and if you are lucky, you will, or get yourself to, be mobile enough to view a selection of societies and then choose the one that fits you best. But what if you are not lucky? What if you aren’t mobile? What if you are stuck? I think too often, and this is one of the subtexts of the essay (I think), we do not recognize that poverty isn’t a choice, but a lack of choices. How societies strive, or whether they strive at all, to give everyone within its bounds the ability to make fundamental choices is probably a better measure of its health than many other metrics we use.

Trust the People Who Do the Work

I do occasionally read in the business press, like the Inc. article linked below but also Forbes, Fast Company, and _Bloomberg. As an academic who spent some time in the business world, I think the chance to think about things from different perspectives is important, and I am especially curious about the evolving culture of business(es) as the world around us changes. I was especially struck by Inc.‘s coverage of Siemens’ new remote work policy, which comes down to two things:

  1. Focus on outcomes rather than time spent in the office.
  2. Trust and empower your employees.

This is based on Siemens assertion, to itself if no one else, that if you don’t trust your employees, then you are hiring the wrong people.

Article Link.

Scott’s Cheap Flights

I subscribe to Scott’s Cheap Flights, mostly for aspirational reasons, but even if me and my family travel relatively rarely, the service has still saved us more than its cost of subscription in the past few years. A recent email included this reminder about optimizing your chances of finding a great deal:

Things that actually will help you get a better price: searching in the Goldilocks window (2-8 months for international flights and for 1-3 months for domestic), searching flexible dates, avoiding peak travel times, and acting fast when you find a great deal.

The link in the quotation is to a page on their website that has more details.

MkDocs

I am working on a static site to house papers and other materials, and I am building it using MkDocs. The most useful page at the moment is the one on custom themes, which walks you through the various {{short codes}} that appear to be a part of the Jinja package — I am not entirely sure because I am still working my way through both sets of documentation. The Google Group — yes, those still exist — has been helpful.

For those interested, the site is johnlaudun.net. I may very well merge my teaching materials onto it at some point, or at least port the CSS over. (I don’t think my students necessarily need, or want, to see everything else about me.)

Found note

Found with the date 26 July 2016:

Books/master notes for a class on “Folklore and Psychology” as well as, looking backwards, perhaps the same thing for Louisiana Folklore. The idea being that the book would also be interactive with questions and guided experiences as well as case studies.

Rooth 1980: “Pattern Recognition, Data Reduction, Catchwords and Semantic Problems”

If, like me, you are committed to finding prescient work in the realm of computational approaches to the humanities, it means you are often tracking down somewhat difficult to find volumes and quickly photocopying an article or two while you still have the volume in your hands. Anna Birgitta Rooth’s “Pattern Recognition, Data Reduction, Catchwords and Semantic Problems” is one such article, and the PDF I am making available has been OCRed.