January 29, 2012, 11:06 am
(Part one here, part two here)
Having ended up with thousands of photographs from an archival research trip to Britain, I returned to the United States and realized that I had to figure out what to do with them. In essence, by using the digital camera, I had transferred the work of sifting, reading, and note-taking the sources from the archive itself to my home. What had been a concentrated effort in the archive, with multiple layers of seeking, finding, and judging all going on at the same time, had become more spread out.
The solution lay in both new tools and new methods. Unlike my earlier approach, I actually planned out ahead of time the process I was going to use to take notes. I would load the pictures into Scrivener, my writing tool of choice at the moment, and take notes on them directly into the program. That way I wouldn’t have to switch back and forth between photo…
January 13, 2012, 1:18 pm
[First post here]
But if laptops replaced paper as the main way of getting notes down, the difference in the actual physical process of research was not that much altered. Go to the archive, order the sources you needed, and spend days or weeks or months taking notes on them. Copying costs at most archives were much too high to consider wholesale reproduction, and so note-taking depended on how fast you could type. Portable scanners did not really work; either one had to put the document face down on the scanner or drag the scanner along the document. Neither of those things pleased most archivists. In addition, the scanners were slow and did not offer much storage. Thus, note taking remained resolutely textual, and resulted in the production of lots and lots of MS Word documents with notes on specific sources.
That changed dramatically with the advent of digital cameras with…
October 29, 2011, 8:12 am
We’re having a nor’easter this weekend, here in the extremely eastern part of the American West. I had the grumpy-old-man thought that we didn’t have nearly as many nor’easters when I was growing up, grumble, grumble, aaarr, get off my lawn, you kids. So I went and checked, and oddly there’s some truth to the thought. From Google’s quite wonderful Ngram viewer, mentions of the word “nor’easter” from 1800 to 2008:
Meanwhile, the New York Times mentions “nor’easter” 254 times from 1851-1980, but 272 times since 1980. The word is being used more, though whether that means those kind of storms are more frequent? Unclear.
[UPDATE: A kind reader points out that a number of the more modern hits may come from the 1991 publication of Sebastian Junger's book A Perfect Storm, which uses "nor'easter" in its book description.]
But…grumble, grumble, aaarrr, get off my lawn, you kids.
October 1, 2010, 5:22 pm
Coalition fatalities continue to drop, month over month, in Afghanistan. In addition, September 2010 was the first month in which fewer coalition soldiers were killed than in the same month of 2009:
June 15, 2010, 2:23 pm
The predicted fatalities are based on an extremely rough and ready calculation. Fatalities from Spring 2009 to Spring 2010 nearly doubled (1.78, actually), so I applied that same increase to the Summer 2009 figures to get to Summer 2010 estimates. I make no claims to any particular analytical value for this.
June 14, 2010, 9:28 am
Total coalition fatalities for each season since 2001.
June 13, 2010, 8:55 am
Fatalities are the total fatalities in each month from 2001-2010, so “January” is the sum of January, 2002 plus January, 2003, etc.
June 12, 2010, 1:41 pm
(Coalition, not just American, and both combat and non-combat)
January 17, 2010, 1:00 am
October 29, 2009, 7:48 am
I’m hoping that Amazon doesn’t actually put this into action:
Method and apparatus for programmatically substituting synonyms into distributed text content. A synonym substitution mechanism may programmatically replace selected words in textual data with synonyms for the selected words. The modification to an excerpt performed by the synonym substitution mechanism may not significantly alter the meaning of the excerpt to a human reader. By replacing one or more selected words in an excerpt with synonyms for the words, illicit copies of the excerpt may be recognized by comparing a copy of the excerpt to the original. Particular permutations of synonym substitutions may be provided in excerpts to particular requestors. The particular permutations may be recorded and used to determine a requestor as the source of a copy of the excerpt. Synonym substitution may make programmatic excerpt…
July 24, 2009, 2:06 pm
The effects of the crisis in China in 1900 were not confined to China, obviously. They could reach as far down as the streets of New York, and as deep as the children of that city:
Nicholas Ageno, an Italian boy of twelve years, living with his parents at 77 Oliver Street, and who the police say is leader of a band of boys, last night summoned his followers and set out to look for Boxers. As darkness fell over the city they reached Chatham Square. On Sunday evening Chinamen from all parts of the city and round about congregate at Chinatown. Young Gee, an inoffensive Chinaman who conducts a laundry at 221 East Broadway, came walking across the square toward Pell Street. The boys espied him and advanced to the attack with a well-directed volley of stones, dirt, and other missiles. Gee started for Chinatown on a run, but the boys cut off his retreat, crowded about him, tore his blouse, an…
May 13, 2009, 8:48 am
Brett Holman, whose series post-blogging the Sudeten Crisis inspired my Boxer Uprising Day to Day, is now starting to work his way through the “phantom airship wave” in 1909 Britain:
It’s 90 years since the phantom airship wave of 1909, when mysterious aerial visitors appeared in the night skies over Britain. Or at least, stories about mysterious aerial visitors filled the newspapers of Britain. It’s hard to tell from this distance: the only evidence we have about the scareships are the press reports, which could be a problem if you are interested in a possible underlying reality. But then again, since the number of (alleged) phantom airship witnesses is relatively small, the press was the only way most people would have learned that their sky was being invaded by Zeppelins every night. So for them as for us, the stories are the event itself.
If it lives up to his previous work, it…
September 1, 2008, 7:05 pm
In the San Francisco Chronicle today, John King writes about New Deal public projects in the Bay Area. Gray Brechin has channeled his longtime interest in this history into the California’s Living New Deal Project, an index of public works by the WPA and other agencies across the state. Naturally there’s an interactive map, so you can drill down to your neighborhood. Out here on the foggy margins of San Francisco, for instance, there’s a golf course, two shooting ranges, and many features of our storied zoo. But other projects are more picturesque. I’ve mentioned one of our branch libraries here before, a beautiful example of the synthetic “Spanish” style. My favorite, though, for sentimental reasons and more, is the Rose Garden in Berkeley. On the bay side of Euclid Avenue in the hills, an amphitheater drops through ring on ring of rose-beds, focused at once on the…
June 23, 2008, 8:32 am
As a youth I was fortunate that my parents put me in nerd camp—computer programming classes at the Science Center. They had a Honeywell mainframe, in a room full of tape drives and disk drives, the disks that looked like stacks of LPs in a covered cake dish made of clear plastic.1 All that was housed in a room with plate-glass windows, and on the other side was a room full of terminals. Many if not most of them were basically teletypes with keyboards—every time you hit a key, it would dot-matrix the character right onto a roll of perforated paper that just kept on scrolling as you typed. At first I preferred these to the LED screens, because they reminded me of typewriters and if you had to debug code you reached behind the machine and lifted up a yard of paper to scan down it, holding a pencil, making you look like someone reading the stock-ticker or telegraph tape in an old…