In this new link roundup: maths are impressive, typography art and book review, language used online can identify anonymous users, great biology related collections from the Biodiversity Heritage Library and The Macaulay Library, Italo Calvino’s books will now be published by Gallimard, screens are getting smaller, buying YouTube followers for cheap, Leos Carax about “foreign-language films”, another film adaptation based on a novel by Don DeLillo, Sandy Hook truthers, collection of open images, Blaise Pascal’s Pensées online, a PEW study about American people who track their health and, finally, the small blog post by Matt Mullenweg that launched the idea for WordPres… ten years ago.
As usual, images link directly to the content they illustrate. All those links were first collected on @aphelis (Twitter).
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The Wall Street Journal: “Don’t Let Math Pull the Wool Over Your Eyes” by Carl Bialik, January 4th, 2013.
In the latest study, Kimmo Eriksson, a mathematician and researcher of social psychology at Sweden’s Mälardalen University, chose two abstracts from papers published in research journals, one in evolutionary anthropology and one in sociology. He gave them to 200 people to rate for quality—with one twist. At random, one of the two abstracts received an additional sentence, the one above with the math equation, which he pulled from an unrelated paper in psychology. The study’s 200 participants all had master’s or doctoral degrees. Those with degrees in math, science or technology rated the abstract with the tacked-on sentence as slightly lower-quality than the other. But participants with degrees in humanities, social science or other fields preferred the one with the bogus math, with some rating it much more highly on a scale of 0 to 100.
Sebastian Lester was trained in Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins, he now works in Lewes in East Sussex as a type designer, illustrator and artist. If you’re into typography, both his official website and his Tumblr blog worth browsing through.
SC Magazine: “Linguistics identifies anonymous users” by Darren Pauli, January 9, 2013.
Up to 80 percent of certain anonymous underground forum users can be identified using linguistics, researchers say. The techniques compare user posts to track them across forums and could even unveil authors of thesis papers or blogs who had taken to underground networks. “If our dataset contains 100 users we can at least identify 80 of them,” researcher Sadia Afroz told an audience at the 29C3 Chaos Communication Congress in Germany. “Function words are very specific to the writer. Even if you are writing a thesis, you’ll probably use the same function words in chat messages. Even if your text is not clean, your writing style can give you away.”
Check the original presentation at the 29C3 Chaos Communication Congress website where one can download a PDF copy of the slides as well (4.2MB). One can also watch the presentation on YouTube (about 1hr30mins).
The Biodiversity Heritage Library:
[The BHL is] a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.” BHL also serves as the foundational literature component of the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL).
The Macaulay Library is the world’s largest and oldest scientific archive of biodiversity audio and video recordings.
Our mission is to collect and preserve recordings of each species’ behavior and natural history, to facilitate the ability of others to collect and preserve such recordings, and to actively promote the use of these recordings for diverse purposes spanning scientific research, education, conservation, and the arts.
Slate: “Fonts of Inspiration. A book for the typography nerds we’ve all become.” Seth Stevenson reviews The Anatomy of Type, Jan. 4th, 2013.
If you merely wish to be annoying at cocktail parties, Simon Garfield’s 2011 book Just My Type covers the Ikea incident, the Comic Sans saga, and lots of other fun waypoints in the history of typography. If, however, your aim—like mine—is to blow past jovial dorkery, level up, and ascend to a realm reserved for the truly insufferable pedant … may I recommend a new coffee table hardback from Stephen Coles? The Anatomy of Type offers granularity that would glaze the eyes of a normal, well-adjusted human. I couldn’t get enough of it.
L’Express: “Italo Calvino revient en librairie sous la casaque Gallimard” by Sophiane Meddour, January 14, 2013.
Après trois ans d’absence, Le baron perché, célèbre roman d’Italo Calvino, retrouve sa place dans les librairies françaises, publié en Folio chez Gallimard ainsi que deux autres romans, Le Vicomte pourfendu et Le Chevalier inexistant.
Le Monde donne les raisons pour lesquelles les oeuvres du célèbre écrivain avaient disparu des rayonnages, alors qu’Italo Calvino, mort en 1985, était un auteur emblématique du Seuil : après un long conflit, la famille de l’écrivain a imposé en avril 2010 le pilonnage de l’intégralité des oeuvres. Conseillée par l’agent littéraire Andrew Wylie, alias “le chacal”, elle estimait, entre autres, que les traductions s’éloignaient trop du texte original. François Wahl, ancien traducteur au Seuil et ami de l’écrivain, affirme pourtant que chaque écart par rapport au texte original avait été approuvé par Calvino en personne.
Au printemps 2012, un nouvel accord confidentiel a été trouvé entre les ayants droit et Gallimard, portant sur les couvertures, l’ordre de publication, et naturellement les conditions financières.
From the Twitter account (@tnyfrontrow) of The New Yorker movie editor Richard Brody comes this clever thought:
In the future, there will be lots of 70mm movies: that will be the size of the screens. (January 11, 2013)
The Daily Dot: “I bought myself 60,000 YouTube views for Christmas” by Chase Hoffberger, January 13, 2013.
I purchased the views at a number of YouTube view-buying sites, all of which I’d learned about after publishing a story on a number of major music channels losing what amounted to billions of YouTube views right before Christmas. A litany of emails flowed into my inbox in the days that followed its posting. All of them alluded to the size and scope of the YouTube view-buying industry. They said that view buying was rampant—that it happened in and around all corners of the site.
Variety: “Foreign-language film: Leos Carax explains it all” by Jon Weisman, January 14, 2013.
“Holy Motors” director Leos Carax wasn’t able to accept his prize for best foreign-language film in person at the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.’s awards on Saturday night, but the French helmer sent the following speech, which is as eccentric and surreal as the film for which he won:
“Hello, I’m Leos Carax, director of foreign-language films. I’ve been making foreign-language films my whole life. Foreign-language films are made all over the world, of course, except in America. In America, they only make non-foreign-language films. Foreign-language films are very hard to make, obviously, because you have to invent a foreign language instead of using the usual language. But the truth is, cinema is a foreign language, a language created for those who need to travel to the other side of life. Good night.”
Variety: “Cronenberg, DeLillo, Branco reteam for ’Body Art’” by John Hopewell, January 29, 2013.
The Cosmopolis team ―director-actor David Cronenberg, novelist Don DeLillo and producer Paolo Branco– are re-uniting on “Body Art,” helmed by Italy’s Luca Guadagnino. Cronenberg will co-star alongside Isabelle Huppert and Denis Lavant in the adaptation of DeLillo’s The Body Artist. Branco’s Paris-based Alfama Films is producing, has French distribution rights and will handle international sales. Written by Guadagnino, “Body Art” stars Huppert as a grieving widow who discovers that a stranger is living in her upstairs room. Shooting is scheduled for summer.
Salon: “Meet the Sandy Hook truthers” by Alex Seitz-Wald, January 9, 2013.
Yes, there really are Newtown truthers.
But in the crazy world of Sandy Hook conspiracy theories, this one may be the worst yet. (Maybe you’ve already heard some of the others, like the one about fantasy ties between the gunman’s family and the LIBOR banking scandal and a related theory about the Aurora shooting and the “Dark Knight Rises.”) Most of the theories are really pieces of a larger meta-theory: that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax, perhaps by the Obama administration, designed to stir demand for gun control.
Open GLAM’s Open Collection:
Here we list openly licensed datasets from several cultural institutions. All collections provide digital scans or photos that can be freely used without any restrictions. Most of the objects are in the Public Domain because of their age, or are licensed under an open Creative Commons license (CC-BY/CC-BY-SA).
Speaking of open content. I’ve changed the license for Aphelis from CC BY-NC 3.0 to CC BY-SA 3.0 after reading this report mentioned in this blog post (also from Open GLAM blog): “Consequences, risks and side-effects of the license module “non-commercial use only” by Joris Pekel, January 8, 2013 (read the comments as well). Get the report in PDF.
L’édition électronique des Pensées de Blaise Pascal:
Ce site, créé en 2011 par D. Descotes et G. Proust, s’adresse à la fois au grand public, aux étudiants, aux enseignants et chercheurs. Il présente l’édition électronique des Pensées de Blaise Pascal d’une manière qui leur permet d’approfondir à volonté leur connaissance de cet ouvrage, de la découverte du texte jusqu’à l’étude des secrets de l’invention littéraire de son auteur. Cette édition d’un genre nouveau propose à la fois le texte tel qu’il apparaît dans les éditions classiques, texte modernisé et accompagné de commentaires nécessaires, et toutes les étapes qui y conduisent, du Recueil des originaux des Pensées de Pascal, et des Copies manuscrites qui en ont été établies peu de temps après la mort de Pascal, entre 1662 et 1666, puis des éditions établies par Port-Royal jusqu’aux principales éditions savantes majeures. Elle propose aussi au chercheur les manuscrits originaux accompagnés d’une analyse qui tient compte de l’état des connaissances actuelles sur le texte, les papiers et les écritures qui apparaissent sur le manuscrit et les copies.
Quoting from Pascal’s Pensées is not always easy: there are many different editions which differ in a number of ways, fragments are not always identified by the same numbers, while other are apocryphal. This website makes thing a lot easier.
Pew Research Center: “Tracking for Health” by Susannah Fox and Maeve Duggan, January 28, 2013.
Seven in ten (69%) U.S. adults track a health indicator for themselves or a loved one and many say this activity has changed their overall approach to health, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.
Interesting study about what some call the “Quantified Self” (see Wikipedia).
Ma.tt: “The Blogging Software Dilemma” by Matt Mullenweg, January 24, 2003.
This site is beginning to grow and grow, and forward compatibility has lately been in my mind more. Several days ago this site passed twenty thousand unique visitors, and more than seventy thousand hits, since late August. I recently converted everything (except the photolog) to XHTML 1.1, which was nice, but it’s not the markup I’m worried about. My logging software hasn’t been updated for months, and the main developer has disappeared, and I can only hope that he’s okay.
What to do? Well, Textpattern looks like everything I could ever want, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be licensed under something politically I could agree with. Fortunately, b2/cafelog is GPL, which means that I could use the existing codebase to create a fork, integrating all the cool stuff that Michel would be working on right now if only he was around. The work would never be lost, as if I fell of the face of the planet a year from now, whatever code I made would be free to the world, and if someone else wanted to pick it up they could. I’ve decided that this the course of action I’d like to go in, now all I need is a name. What should it do? Well, it would be nice to have the flexibility of MovableType, the parsing of TextPattern, the hackability of b2, and the ease of setup of Blogger. Someday, right?
This is the blog post that basically laid down the idea for what would become WordPress. It was published on WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg’s blog about ten years ago (at the time of writing).