Sibley on Ivory-Billed

If you've been following the Ivory-billed Woodpecker re-discovery story, David Sibley's post on the topic (posted to his blog today) may be of interest to you.

I completely agree with what he has to say.


Email of the Day

... reads:

"A squirrel was on the loose this morning on the 2nd floor, outside Room 211. We have called Facilities in an effort to locate and remove it. If you happen to see a squirrel in the building, please let someone in Room 208 know so we can update Facilities."


Writing (in) New Media

Mike Wesch has another nice film about educational environments, new media, and stuff like that. He's developed quite a style of writing in, on, and through his films.

UPDATE: Climbing up the boards all day today, w/ roughly 80,000 views as of this evening. Nice!



Debbie Hawhee, who I think you know, has put up a nice little post about exams (you calling my post little?) over on her station. It reminds me that I once thought up what I imagined to be the ideal exam structure. I would go like this:

→ read extensively in the field(s) for a year or so
→ write somewhere between one to three articles for publication based on and using that reading
→ have committee member read said article(s), providing revision suggestions
→ meet for oral examination
→ move on to diss, integrating written materials in some way

I should say that the PhD exam process I went through in grad school was not completely dissimilar from this, the main difference being that the writing got condensed into 72 mad, wild, crazed, fret-filled hours. My MA exams were neolithic, involving six hours, small desks, and several blue books. As I had to take the exams twice (I wrote about Katherine Hayles' Choas Bound the first time around; not a popular topic with my reader), that meant twelve hours total and double-the-blue-books.

Anyway. What I like about the write-an-article/have-a-conversation model is that it approximates the work we do, and that seems to make sense to me in terms of assessment.


Typewriters on YouTube

The amazing, fun, brilliant students in the Writing Technologies class have been researching the typewriter for the past week or so, and have put together a great wiki on the topic. (No permission to link yet; the wiki is amazing!)

This video of a typewriter hooked up to a Commodore 64 is one of the most amazing treasures they've turned up. (Though this video on the IBM Selectric is a close second; it concludes with the narrator saying "Now if they could only invent a typewriter that could spell!")

Found Friday (Two Days Late)

Recently found on the street. My theory: this artist/kid is happy.


Side Projects

I've been meaning to post something here about my recent side project—my video writing journal—but am still holding off on it so I can get a bit more perspective on the thing. One reason I'm into side projects, though, is that they give me plenty of time to think about my main project(s).

One side project I finished up last night involved restoring this old Schwinn Corvette.

It was even more trashed than it looks, with missing and frozen bearings, a bent fork, and years worth of grime and gook. I contemplated repainting the frame but kinda like the dings and original lettering.

After taking it all apart, I looked online for remedies for rusty chrome. It turns out that aluminum foil does wonders, and after a lot of work I ended up with ... this!

For me, it's all about the side project, the thing to do when writing and reading and grading and prepping turn the mind to mush. It's all about the side project for producing something you can see, feel, play with, or ride.

And I'll post something soon (I promise!) about video writing journal.


Zotero Bibliographic Tool

I've been frustrated lately because the two tools I've used for a long time to produce bibliographies in multiple formats and keep my reading database—Endnote and Filemaker Pro, respectively—have been bugging me. I can't stand Endnote's interface (visually), and switching back-and-forth between the two applications has been prohibitive. In addition, I've started to resent applications that live on my hard drive(s) instead of online.

So this morning I started using Zotero ... and I think I might like it. As you may know, Zotero is a plugin for Firefox, so it allows you to collect citations, export bibliographies (drag-and-drop, man), and keep notes right in your browser window.

In addition, Zotero creates funky little time lines based on the citations you have in a reading list, so you can visualize when the stuff you've found was published in relation to everything else.

What I'm less crazy about, using Zotero, is how time consuming it will be to import my existing records (six years worth) from Endnote and Filemaker Pro. It looks like I can do it, but lining up the fields in the merge will take some time.