Archive for the “Alumni and other friends” Category

James Boyle opines on a web without science in the Financial Times. He’s right about the problems but he needs to come to the 2nd North Carolina Science Bloggers Conference in January (registration now open) and check out some of the solutions.

Josef Woodman, author of Patients Beyond Borders: Everybody’s Guide to Affordable, World-Class Medical Tourism, gets a bunch of good quotes and a sidebar from the AARP Bulletin in “Traveling for Treatment: Soaring U.S. health costs are driving more Americans abroad for medical treatment.”

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Fred Stutzman is part of a four person panel discussion at the BlauExchange along with Miia Akkinen, Paul K. Lawton, and Sarita Yardi.

Topics for the Spring 2007 Roundtable

1. Personal experiences in graduate school

2. Origins of studying interests

3. Influential people for graduate work

4. Most memorable conference experience(s)

5. Biggest challenges and rewards in graduate school

6. Teaching elementary and high school students about the Web

7. Politicians doing smart things on the Web

8. Brainstorming a “web use” seminar for politicians

9. The future for studying the social dynamics of technology

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Folkstreams head and documentary film maker Tom Davenport writes to tell us of a time lapse video of decomposing pigs and why that is important:

My childhood friend Jerry Payne who attended Upperville school and Marshall High School two years ahead of me, did ground breaking research on insect succession in dead bodies. I made transfer of his old 1965 time lapse film and posted it here on Youtube.

His work became a foundation in modern forensic science to determine the date of death.

Here’s the YouTube text:

Jerry Payne’s experiment that led to idea of “succession” in decomposition. During the mid-1960s, when he as a graduate student at Clemson University in SC, Jerry Payne began to lay the groundwork for another modern approach: succession. Simply stated, succession is the idea that as each organism or group of organisms feeds on a body, it changes the body. This change in turn makes the body attractive to another group of organisms, which changes the body for the next group, and so on until the body has been reduced to a skeleton. This is a predictable process, with different groups of organisms occupying the decomposing body at different times. In his landmark paper, published in the journal Ecology in 1965, Jerry Payne detailed the changes that occurred during the decomposition of pig carcasses that were exposed to insects, compared to the changes in pig carcasses that were protected from insect activity. This work built on and refined studies conducted almost 70 years earlier in France by Megnin. Megnin recognized nine stages of decomposition, but Payne recognized only six, introducing the system currently used by most forensic entomologists. Payne further emphasized the great variety of organisms involved in the process, recording over 500 species. Payne also conducted other experiments, including studies of submerged carrion.


“The technique of time-lapse photography is employed to illustrate the rapid removal of carrion (4 days reduced to approximately 6 minutes). The film demonstrates the sequence of tissue destruction and the role of insects in the ultimate dismemberment of the pig carcass and soil movement. The pink and purple beads were added to show the intense activities of the insects in moving the carcass and soil.

The original film (copyright 1965) is with Jerry Payne in Musella, GA. Tom Davenport (Hollinfarms) grew up with Jerry in rural Northern Virginia.

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Skia become Google (low tech sign mod)
WRAL’s Rick Smith breaks the story of Google’s offices on Franklin Street here in Chapel Hill.

Following on Fred’s post and the comments there, Rick traced Google’s purchase of Skia, a local start up, and with some dot-connecting (possibly via The Way Back Machine) to tell us a little about the company.

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Sally points me to this NYTimes article, Trying to Clear Absinthe’s Reputation, by Harold McGee.

Basic points: High alcohol is the killer, not wormwood. But wormwood is psycho-active — so is sage with the same chemical. Czech absinthe generally sucks. If it’s not green, it’s not the real thing. If it doesn’t cloud well, it’s not the real thing. Champagne has its own secrets; unclean glasses work best for bubbles.

Framed by a Hemmingway story. Male journalists all want to be like Papa. Why?

An alert NYTimes forum member sends us to a Terra online video feature, Forbidden Fruit: The Absinthe Drinker, (about 7 1/2 minutes) in which retired neurosurgeon David Cook (who is wearing Merrell Mocs) talks about absinthe and the myths and bad science associated with it.

And Ze Frank explains the real way that champagne works.

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Science Blogging Conference logo
Just had coffee with Anton Zuiker (aka MisterSugar) to talk about the Science Blogging Conference upcoming on January 20. There are over 100 people signed up. The plans all seem pretty solid and the schedule is interesting and engaging while flexible and bloggercon-ish.

Sign up and come.

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Fred is predicting the 2007 changes in the Social Networking space. Hint: Shake out, consolidations and transformations. The details are the devil. Read his post.

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The very cool interactive remembrance of the US military dead in the Iraq War was done by former ibiblian Gabriel Dance.

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Saw Kirk Ross of Exile on Jones Street (no known relation to Kirk or to the street) at the John Edwards return rally at Southern Village. Kirk has the early report here with video at his Carrboro Citizen site.

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Local Tech Wire and WCHL are reporting that Google is in discussions with NC Dept of Commerce about opening a Google in the Lenoir (Caldwell County) area. But the Google quote shows that it’s far from a done deal:

“We are evaluating a number of sites, including one in Lenoir, N.C., as possible locations for new technology infrastructure to support the strong and growing demand for our services,” said Barry Schnitt on behalf of Google. “We appreciate the efforts of the state and local governments to work with us through the evaluation process and hope to have additional details to announce in the coming months.”

The Local Tech Wire story also mentions a larger installation planned for the Charleston, SC area.

This post is a follow on to Fred’s post of about a week ago.

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The Marketplace bit on On Demand Books ran this morning. Running time less that one minute. The show isn’t chopped so you need to listen (carefully) or advance the stream. The books on demand story starts at 3:33. My one sentence is said at about 3:55 in. And the whole books piece is ends at 4:25 (out of a show that runs 8:24).

UPDATE:
The show is chopped and online and has its own webpage. Very Nice! (and very brief ;->).

Here’s the text (also on the Marketplace site).

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: A vending machine for books — Janet Babin reports from the Marketplace Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio.

JANET BABIN: The machine looks like an elaborate printer. It can produce up to 20 fully-bound books an hour, in any language, all by itself.

On Demand Books is marketing the machine. You can see a demo of it on the company’s website:

[ Demo: "All fully-integrated, automated, and under the control of one computer." ]

Professor Paul Jones at the University of North Carolina says this type of machine will make it easier for bookstores to compete with online retailers like Amazon:

PAUL JONES: One of the things we’re going to see more of is the ability to be able to walk in and have your reading and other interests satisfied right there.

The company says it will have access to more than two million book titles, most in the public domain. But Jones says it will need much more content to become successful.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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A few minutes ago I was listening to WCOM and noticing an interesting mix of music — some modern country, some North African singing, the Byrds doing the not-often-heard “Tribal Gathering” etc. As the announcer/DJ began to go over the setlist, I was listening to hear what he had to say. The next thing I know he’s announcing a contest. The prize for the first caller is a pair of tickets to the upcoming Chris Hillman – Herb Pedersen concert at the ArtCenter.

I was the first caller. Woo! Woo! Just for paying attention while I was washing dishes.

The show was Roots Rampage and the DJ was Triangle Slim. Thanks Slim. I’m looking forward to seeing Chris Hillman.

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Jimbo Wales and Wikia announce a Google search competitor, Wikiasari, while Eric Raymond and Rob Landley map out Linux desktop plans for world domination by 2008. At the same time, librarians in Georgia release their F/OSS solution for library management.

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Fred asks if Google really has a Chapel Hill office. Off the blog, there rumor is stronger and based on pizza at the Computer Science department amongst other reliable markers that cannot be linked to.

Have you been to their office? Have you played pinball there? Let Fred know.

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Cleaning up year end things in the office and listening to the variety of seasonal songs that Roger McGuinn has been sharing over the years on his Folk Den. This year it’s Joy to the World.

One of my favorites is Roger’s version of the Longfellow poem “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” which seems appropriate these days. Interestingly Roger recorded this on December 1, 2001.

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Kirk Ross of the Cape Fear Mercury posts these great pictures of Dionaea muscipula Ellis (Venus flytrap) and Gentiana autumnalis L. (pine barren gentian).

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The folks here in the lab aka ibiblio.org socked it to me for Christmas. Kristina delivered the goods and took this picture.

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Our favorite social space and coffee provider is being boarded up and moved out of their/its building for renovations. The Daily Grind was moving into a trailer yesterday. Not even an Airstream (to Don’s disappointment), but a rectangular FEMA trailer or one like you might see at the State Fair or at a, say, steeple chase event (to cover a couple of ends of the social spectrum).
Don and I are now in Carrboro working outdoors at the Weave.

Interestingly enough, we are running into many of the people here that we often see at the Grind — or make that saw at the Grind.

The Grind will reopen in the trailer then in the renovated space. But in the meantime, we’re in mourning.

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And so am I. Time chooses YOU, meaning all of us participating in media and information construction and sharing on the Internet, as their Man (now Person) of the Year.

Time begins: “Person of the Year: You — Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.”

As long as we have Net Neutrality that will be true.

And JJB points us to a Chrysler advert which gets it right by getting it wrong.

Dan Gillmor points out that the correct pronoun would be US not YOU.

NOTE to pathetic PR employees working for the anti-Net Neutrality duopoly: I won’t allow your obvious spammish links and misleading comments on this blog. In fact I’m more likely to do even more pro-Net Neutrality articles in response to your postings.

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Annoyatron

An otherwise distinguished colleague brought his new toy into the ibiblio office today. It wasn’t very big and it easily took up residence hidden in the ibiblio cubeless cube frames. It was annoying and amusing tho.

What it was was an annoyatron.

How do you use it?

Three easy steps:

  1. Turn on.
  2. Hide it.
  3. Muahahaha…

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