Author Archives: Randy McDonald

Originally posted on Supernova Condensate:
An item on my wish list: See a sunrise from orbit. Earth’s atmosphere scatters out the blue from sunlight. The scattered light makes the atmosphere look blue, but the sunlight has all of its blue photons scattered…

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A brief note on photography and apps and the photographic commons

Facebook’s Tom linked to a thought-provoking essay, “Instagram, Hipstamatic and Other Reasons Photography Is Starting To Suck”. The article’s thesis is obvious from its title. If you’ve ever tried to take a photo everyday, similar to a 365 project, you’ll … Continue reading

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Preliminary notes on N’Ko and language communities

A Language Hat post last December linked to a New York Times Magazine article about the challenges faced by West Africa’s N’Ko alphabet. The N’Ko script isn’t an alphabet of long vintage, like the Latin or the Arabic, but rather … Continue reading

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How every detail counts in large amounts

I owe my co-blogger Jussi Jalonen thanks for the superb job placing last month’s massacres in Norway in the context of an increasingly unhinged and conspiracy-minded ideology, Internet-based but spreading, whose protagonists claim that Muslim are taking over Europe (at … Continue reading

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What hockey has shown us about Canada

Right now I’m watching the live feed of Game 7 of the National Hockey League’s finals, the Boston Bruins ahead of the Vancouver Canucks (playing in Vancouver) by one goal. The whole thing has been fascinating, not only from a … Continue reading

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Two links on trouble with databases

An encyclopedia and the institution of the academic library, actually. Martin Wisse writes (“Wikipedia finally notices it’s in trouble”) that Wikipedia’s famously open system of volunteer editors is collapsing, only a hard-core rump of the initial editor population remaining. As … Continue reading

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On “How We Know”

I owe blogger Dan Hirschman thanks for linking to Freeman Dyson’s “How We Know”, a review essay of James Gleick’s new book The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood in the 10 March 2011 issue of the New York … Continue reading

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