Archive for the ‘random thoughts’ Category

Evidence Informatics

January 20th, 2015

I sent off my revised abstract to ECA Lisbon 2015, the European Conference on Argumentation. Evidence informatics, in 75 words:

Reasoning and decision-making are common throughout human activity. Increasingly, human reasoning is mediated by information technology, either to support collective action at a distance, or to support individual decision-making and sense-making.

We will describe the nascent field of “evidence informatics”, which considers how to structure reasoning and evidence. Comparing and contrasting evidence support tools in different disciplines will help determine reusable underlying principles, shared between fields such as legal informatics, evidence-based policy, and cognitive ergonomics.

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QOTD – physical computing

October 13th, 2013

Personal computers have evolved in an office environment in which you sit on your butt, moving only your fingers, entering and receiving information censored by your conscious mind. That is not your whole life, and probably not even the best part. We need to think about computers that sense more of your body, serve you in more places, and convey the physical expression in addition to information.

Dan O’Sullivan and Tom Igoe, Physical Computing: Sensing and Controlling the Physical World with Computers

via Jon Froehlich at DSST 2013 in his talk about the UMd HCIL hackerspace.

Slides for Jon’s talk, “If You Build It, They Will Come: Reflecting on the Successes (and Failures) of Building a Collaborative Workspace to Support Creativity, Experimentation, and Making”, are available via his talks page, as a huge PPTX here). Highly recommended if you’re interested in makerspaces/hackerspaces in academic institutions.

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Temperature conversions for Americans living in mild climates

August 12th, 2012

Converting temperatures in your head is a good trick for Americans living abroad.

So here’s the trick. You memorise the following correspondences:

0 °C = 32 °F
10 °C = 50 °F
20 °C = 68 °F
30 °C = 86 °F
Then, to convert any temperature that is near these, approximate 1 °C = 2 °F. This will allow you to convert almost any naturally occurring outdoor temperature in the UK in either direction to within 1° accuracy.

Let’s try it. As I write the current temperature in Edinburgh is 14 °C. This is 10 °C plus 4° extra. From memory convert the 10 °C to 50 °F. Then convert 4 °C extra to 8 °F extra and add it back on. This gives you 14°C = 58°F. This is not exact, but close enough that you know to wear a jumper. The exact formula is

14 * 9 / 5 + 32 = 57 F
Good luck doing that in your head.

from Charles Sutton’s Converting Fahrenheit into Celsius.

A jumper, for Americans, is “A pullover sweater.”

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“Excuse my typo” signature lines, a collection

July 16th, 2012
For about a year I’ve been collecting email signature lines. After receiving an email purporting to be “Sent from my rotary phone” I thought it was time to share.
  • Touched, not typed
  • Sent from my $DEVICENAME
  • Consider any misspellings my gift to you
  • Typed with thumbs
  • Sent with mobile solution
  • Sent from a mobile operating system. Which one isn’t of any importance to you, the receiver. However, if you feel that knowing this detail would affect positively your reading of this email you can, of course, ask me.
  • Sent from my smartphone platform of choice….hint not a fruit
  • I prefer robots to fruit.
  • Fruits are for fruitcakes, Robots are for emailing.
  • bots best for smart phones
  • Smart fruit is an oxymoron
  • Sent via a really tiny keyboard
  • Sent from a mobile device. Erroneous words are a feature, not a typo.
  • Sent from mobile; pls excuse typos
  • $DEVICENAME = specific mobile operating system of choice
  • Sent from my stationary operating system of choice.
  • Erroneous words are a feature, not a typo.
  • (Short, curt and ill-formed message sent from my portable telephone machine.)
  • > Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
    > Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.
  • *Sent from a mobile phone – please excuse the brevity of the message
  • via small communication device/pardon random autocorrects and fat finger typos.
  • Warning: I either dictated this to my device, or I typed it clumsily. Expect typos and weirdness.
  • Sent from a mobile device. Excuse brevity and typos.
  • Typed by thumbs and sent by my Verizon Wireless gadget
  • Sent from a mobile device. Please excuse brevity and tpyos.
  • Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone
  • Sent from tiny touchscreen gizmo, excuse any auto correct nonsense that slips in…
  • Sent from my rotary phone
  • Sent with my thumbs (Thanks to Andy Powell.)
  • sent from my shoe (Thanks to Larry Hynes.)
  • Sent while walking into stuff(Thanks to Ryan Sarver (via Laura Dragan and Tim O’Reilly; used by David Cohen)


Previously discussed on Twitter (thanks to David Crowley and Becky Yoose for spreading my question). Apparently desktop users want forgiveness too.

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Google Docs ‘research’ tab

May 19th, 2012

Increasingly, I’m using Google Docs with collaborators. Yesterday, one of them pointed out the new “Research” search tab within Google Docs. (Tools->Research). I’m a bit surprised that your searches don’t show up on your collaborators’ screen. I’m particularly surprised that sharing searches doesn’t seem possible.

Google Docs' new 'Research' tab promotes search within Google Docs.

Apparently, it is pretty new. More at the Google Docs blog.

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Attached?

May 7th, 2012

I noticed that GMail is warning about missing attachments and heard that Thunderbird does this, too, from Arber Borix, who also responded to a request for a screenshot (below). Thanks, Arber!

Thunderbird: Found an attachment keyword: attached. Add Attachment... Remind Me Later

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Commercial Altmetric Explorer aimed at publishers

May 7th, 2012

Altmetrics is hitting its stride: 30 months after the Altmetrics manifesto1, there are 6 tools listed. This is great news!

I tried out the beta of a new commercial tool, The Altmetric Explorer, from Altmetric.com. They are building on the success and ideas of the academic and non-profit community (but not formally associated with Altmetrics.org). The Altmetric Explorer gives overviews of articles and journals by the social media mentions. You can filter by publisher, journal, subject, source, etc. Altmetric Explore has a closed beta, but you can try the basic functionality on articles with their open tool, the PLoS Impact explorer.

"The default view shows the articles mentioned most frequently in all sources, from all journals. Various filters are available.


Rolling over the donut shows which sources (Twitter, blogs, ...) an article was mentioned in.


Sparklines can be used to compare journals.


A 'people' tab lets you look at individual messages. Rolling over the photo or avatar shows the poster's profile.

Altmetric.com seems largely aimed at publishers2. This may add promotional noise, not unlike coercive citation, if it is used as an evaluation metric as they suggest:3

Want to see which journals have improved their profile in social media or with a particular news outlet?

Their API is currently free for non-commercial use. Altmetric.com are crawling Twitter since July 2011 and focusing on papers with PubMed, arXiv, and DOI identifiers. They also get data from Facebook, Google+, and blogs, but they don’t disclose how. (I assume that blogs using ResearchBlogging code are crawled, for instance.)

  1. J. Priem, D. Taraborelli, P. Groth, C. Neylon (2010), Altmetrics: A manifesto, (v.1.0), 26 October 2010. http://altmetrics.org/manifesto []
  2. “Altmetric sustains itself by selling more detailed data and analysis tools to publishers, institutions and academic societies.”, says the bookmarklet page, to explain why that is free []
  3. ‘This quote from an editor as a condition for publication highlights the problem: “you cite Leukemia [once in 42 references]. Consequently, we kindly ask you to add references of articles published in Leukemia to your present article”’-from the abstract of Science. 2012 Feb 3;335(6068):542-3. Scientific publications. Coercive citation in academic publishing. Wilhite AW, Fong EA. summary on Science Daily. []

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Juxtaposition 2

April 1st, 2012

From today’s Twitter stream, more juxtaposition:


Gabriela Avram: #LmkTH You’re half way through, and you’re all doing a fantastic job! Keep on the good work!

Laura Dragan: 50% done – #21k in 2h30min – not looking fwd to the hills that are coming :) sun still shining ..loving it!

I’m amused because Gabriela’s comment about the Limerick Tweasure Hunt could be a great reply to Laura’s Connemara marathon status update.

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Memespotting: Fail whale on Google Books

March 12th, 2012

Google Books is buying into the “fail whale” meme with their own. Moby Dick, ahoy!

Spotted via @ryancordell, original spotter was @ThomasRuysSmith.

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Galway Saturday Market: a few photos

January 6th, 2012

The Saturday market is one of my favorite weekly events here in Galway. Colleagues captured a few shots of on film.

vegetables at the Galway Saturday Market

It’s more diverse than vegetables, but that’s a good start. And pretty vegetables they are!

See also this pointer to a photoessay of Galway; and feel free to recommend others.

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