October 11, 2006

Computer-Aided Journalism

Tips for journalists from the NICAR (Nat'l Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting)

The New York Times Newsroom Navigator has been around for a while.

Posted by mill1974 at 2:36 AM

September 11, 2006

Gothic Mansion?

Question: what is the neogothic abbey-style mansion near 26th and Park? It doesn't seem to be on this list of Hewitt & Brown buildings, which is the usual source of gargoyles in the area. The thing really looks like a transplant directly off of the UofC campus.

Posted by mill1974 at 10:00 AM

July 9, 2006

Summer Reading List 2006

Another booklist scratchpad.

Posted by mill1974 at 8:22 PM

November 21, 2005

Cosmic Web + HVCs

Sometime I want to look into this in a bit more detail:

Dynamical simulations of the universe predict a "cosmic web" of dark matter filaments (carrying baryonic matter as well) draining into nodes (clusters) as the universe expands. Recent research (e.g. http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0509262) shows that we can sort of detect these filaments by looking at the dynamics of distant clouds. This is pretty much the Ly-alpha forest.

In our own group of galaxies, we might be able to see this mass draining out of the filaments and into our mini-node (are we really a node, or more of a knot along a filament?). Maybe the high-velocity extragalactic clouds are really filamentary material? (http://www.atnf.csiro.au/pasa/17_1/putman/paper/node3.html and then http://www.aas.org/publications/baas/v28n4/aas189/abs/S061002.html -- notice the lack of refereed papers on this so far.)

There are, however, papers (ADS) showing that we are starting to have a decent handle on dark matter in the local group, so resolving the filament structure might not be that far off.

And once you start looking at extragalactic gas in detail, you start noticing some really odd stuff. (http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0409359)

Posted by mill1974 at 7:13 PM

October 25, 2005

Notes to Self: Sox Fandom, Bike Maps

Chicago keeps applying funny Sox references to public monuments around downtown. Bless Flickr's heart, I managed to find someone who's taken pictures:


The City of Minneapolis has a web page including bike maps and the like. I think the city bike map has been updated, but I need to check on that.

Posted by mill1974 at 4:50 PM

August 4, 2005


Upcoming.org looks like an interesting service.

Echinacea seems ineffectual against the common cold, a very thorough study says. I have to admit, the stuff has seemed to work less well for me since it started coming in capsule form. Maybe bitter tea really is just a much better placebo.

Posted by mill1974 at 10:24 PM

June 3, 2005

Links from UThink

I discovered Midwest Surplus and Electronics at complex-adaptive. Also recommended is the Como Recycling Facility.

NewBooks looks like a good resource for keeping tabs on the SciEng library.

A new batch of class blogs seems to have cropped up in late May, I can see from the latest-posts page. At least one class seems to involve creating a personal blog. I'm curious to know which one.

Posted by mill1974 at 11:05 PM

May 10, 2005

Questions for Connor

  1. How were the ScavHunt All-Stars ranked?
  2. What's with the hearts on the US road map?
  3. What's up with the map covered in cuneiform?
Posted by mill1974 at 11:44 PM

March 7, 2005

Ended: Juvenile Capital Punishment

I'm the first to admit that I'm not remotely qualified to comment on the legal particulars of the decision, but in case I think of something later, here's some good commentary on the subject.

From a moral perspective, I can only applaud. Extra props to those justices that had the guts to refer to international law in formulating the opinion.

Posted by mill1974 at 7:38 PM

February 14, 2005

EGAD in the Ecosystem

This cute snippet of code (remove spaces where obvious):

<script language="javascript" src= "http://www.truthlaidbear.com/MyDetails.php? url=http://blog.lib.umn.edu/mill1974/EGAD/&style=javascript"> </script >

reveals EGAD's current standing in the Blog Ecosystem.

Posted by mill1974 at 2:28 PM

February 9, 2005

Ash Wednesday


Catholic Masses in Israel courtesy of the Christian Information Centre.

The Catholic Information Network has daily readings and such.

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most useful resource at New Advent.

Posted by mill1974 at 2:26 PM

January 1, 2005

Keeping an eye on

Comet Macholtz C/2004 Q2 will pass by the Pleiades on the 7th. With new moon on the 10th, I might even stand a chance of spotting it from here. But I'll probably need an optical aid. Note to self: look for cheap binoculars.

Things I want in my medicine cabinet: a WHO Emergency Health Kit. They don't do things halfway there. One kit is designed to meet the basic health needs of 10,000 people for 3 months. That's a link to UNICEF's catalog, so you can order them as needed. Well, probably not you. The NYTimes says the WHOs shipping in 15 to Sri Lanka.

Posted by mill1974 at 9:59 PM

December 28, 2004

Blog Audition

Auditioning Undernews for inclusion in the Daily Bitstream.

Posted by mill1974 at 12:42 AM

November 30, 2004

Google Scholar CV

Google Scholar comes to the rescue already!

So I've been working on the NSF fellowship application, and realized that I still don't have a good list of papers to list for my grid computing work. But this year I can hop over there and do a quick search for the same; sweet -- turns out I'm in the acknoledgements of a half dozen papers that I never saw.

No need to gripe that I should probably be a co-author on a couple of them, since that's not really my field anymore. Although it would be nice if, say, the SPIE could get its act together so the stuff that's in my field and for which I actually am a co-author would show up.

Currently, that list contains (those items that could in some sense be considered "published" and actually refer to me):

Posted by mill1974 at 4:16 PM

September 29, 2004

Journal Club

I'm expected to do a journal club presentation once a semester, and I leave the country on Friday. So that leaves tomorrow.

Title: "Two recent papers on B-mode contamination in CMB polarization"

List of relavent abstracts from ADS

Polarization from Secondary Vector and Tensor Modes

Lensing as a Contaminant

Hu, Dodelson review paper for background

astro-ph entry for above (to get the figures)

Posted by mill1974 at 9:00 PM

Techno-political Anthropology

A fascinating, if less coherent than I would like, article just went by in the Anthropological Quarterly, linked to by this Groklaw article, with additional discussion. The thesis of the thing is that FOSS has gained its pervasive and thus highly potent status as a movement precisely by virtue of its apolitical nature.

This strikes me as a smidgeon sloppy, since FOSS advocates routinely intervene in politics, on issues that touch upon our ability to develop software. Just because the community backs no particular candidates (the leanings probably average out to slightly libertarian) and would generally rather change the world through good software, does not mean that it lacks political goals.

Since the idealized FOSS community is, as noted elsewhere, a "transparent meritocracy," there is little patience for popularity contests, and where they do crop up (e.g. vi versus emacs), they are couched in the language of technical critique. This leads to an appreciation of law as code, and specific proposals as correct or incorrect, characterized both by the likelihood of beneficial or deleterious effects, and by the potential for unforseen consequences, a la "bugs" in the legal code. Politicians are characterized as using legislation to advance or hinder a particular agenda. This is loudly condemned by the FOSS community as being beholden to external interests, rather than to the people whom they represent.

The contradiction here is that the FOSS community quite naturally has an agenda of its own, namely, technical excellence and the freedom to strive for that goal, unmolested by legal interference. However, since the community conceives of itself as an essentially populist structure, due to its distributed nature, a politician acting in its particular interest would be acclaimed as working "for the people."

Posted by mill1974 at 4:43 PM

September 23, 2004


Obviously I knew of LJ -- any number of my friends use the thing, and apparently a significant chunk of the teenage-twentysomething set does likewise. So I was rather interested to run across this presentation on slashdot detailing the architecture and evolution of the system. Particularly when it led me to discover that the LJ software is actually open.

I must say, it always does my heart good to see a major software project running on Perl -- it may be my favorite language, but it just doesn't get the press of Java or the fanboy devotion of Python, despite being highly useful for the same sorts of tasks, and better at a number of them.

I'll even forgive them for rewriting memcached in C -- Perl isn't really made for pushing bits around, after all. Cool idea, by the way, to use spare memory on your servers as a distributed disk cache, although it seems that you must have an awfully fast and uncongested internal network for that to be faster than disk seeks.

Now I'm wondering if there are bits of the LJ code that would be useful for the ScavCode project. There are certainly ways in which a blog-like functionality could be a useful complement to the wiki paradigm, on the front end. On the back end, my hand-rolled database interface has always been a bit of a kludge, out of the necessity that one guy be able to maintain it. Maybe I should look into how LJ does it.

Posted by mill1974 at 9:59 PM

September 4, 2004

Free Desktop Publishing

Scribus, the GIMP, and one I hadn't heard of before, vector graphics package Inkscape -- evidently now the combination of choice for at least one commercial newspaper.

Not the kind of thing I actually ever do anymore, with all of my document production being in TeX and various visualization tools that happily spit out Postscript, but good to know about anyway.

Posted by mill1974 at 12:41 AM

August 30, 2004

Not a Blog

The Tangled Bank aims to be a weekly Carnival highlighting the best of the week's blogosphere action in the sciences.

Plus, they link to so-called Carnivals in a number of other categories, as well.

Posted by mill1974 at 5:27 PM