as i always suspected…

Mind Hacks post reporting study finding that:

groups select natural leaders on the basis of how much each person contributes to group discussions, even when their contributions have no relation to their actual competence.

In a group solving math problems…

Repeatedly, the ones who emerged as leaders and were rated the highest in competence were not the ones who offered the greatest number of correct answers. Nor were they the ones whose SAT scores suggested they’d even be able to. What they did do was offer the most answers — period.

Feh. The regularity with which I read or hear things that basically say I’m wasting my time trying to do anything of depth and quality starts to become rather depressing and discouraging: “HEY! That’s nice and all but you’d be a lot more successful if you’d just churn out crap.”


In less depressing news, this is the sexiest web thing to really turn my head in a while: TermCloud search

TermCloud Search is a search mashup that generates a “termcloud” to present and navigate a search query. It is built on Yahoo BOSS, the Yahoo Site Explorer API and Google’s RESTful Web Search API. It makes use of the beautiful jQuery JavaScript library and was written by Bernhard Rieder.

TermCloud Search is part of an ongoing research project on the social and political dimensions of Web search. As stated in this blog post, the main idea was to turn the search process into an act of learning in itself instead of just a means for getting quickly to another site. The term cloud (generated from 250 results via Yahoo BOSS’ keyterm feature) is a way to explore a subject area, getting an overview over the central terms surrounding a query. The project is currently beta.

notes on installing apache 2.2.6 for cygwin

That took forever and the solutions were scattered about. Oh yeah, I’m doing this in Windows XP Pro.

Started with Cygwin’s setup.exe.

Tried to start Apache and got this:

httpd: Could not reliably determine the server’s fully qualified
domain name, using tms-computer.local for ServerName
(48)Address already in use: make_sock: could not bind to address
no listening sockets available, shutting down
Unable to open logs

This was solved by changing the Listening setting (line 40 of etc/httpd.conf) to 85 since another service was using 80.

I read several accounts of people clean restoring their machines to get an open listening socket. Don’t do that!

Let’s see, what was the next problem? Oh yes, this at the very bottom of the same http.conf file:

PHPIniDir “C:/prog/PHP/”
LoadModule php5_module “C:/prog/PHP/php5apache2_2.dll”

I don’t currently have PHP installed, and if I did install it, it wouldn’t be to that location. Perhaps this will cause some problem later, but for now it fixed things enough for me to get to the next problem…

Now, feeling pretty good, I was following these instructions, starting with Test since Cygwin had taken care of everything up to Customize and I had taken care of that already.

Of course, running
$ usr/sbin/apachectl -k start
did not work.

I got the following error:
/usr/sbin/apachectl2: line 78: 2340 Bad system call $HTTPD -k $ARGV

After a fair amount of poking around and trying things that did not work, I found this page, which got me back on the right track.

You have to have cygserver installed.
I swear I had done that before, but I did it again. Details on cygserver are here.

Run usr/bin/cygserver-config
When it asks you if you want to install as a service, say yes.

Set a global Windows environment variable: CYGWIN=server
To do this, right click on any “My Computer” you see and select Properties >> Advanced >> Environment variables.

Make sure you are in the system variables and not the user variables.

Start the cygserver service:

net start cygserver

HA! This must be it…

Try this again:
usr/sbin/apachectl -k start

STILL it didn’t work! Argv indeed.

I forget where I even found the answer, but the answer was to type in this instead:

CYGWIN=server usr/sbin/apachectl -k start


the right idea, but…

Max Van Kleek; Michael Bernstein; David R. Karger & mc schraefel. (2007) “Gui — phooey!: the case for text input.” In UIST ’07: Proceedings of the 20th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology, pp. 193-202.

Abstract: Information cannot be found if it is not recorded. Existing rich graphical application approaches interfere with user input in many ways, forcing complex interactions to enter simple information, requiring complex cognition to decide where the data should be stored, and limiting the kind of information that can be entered to what can fit into specific applications’ data models. Freeform text entry suffers from none of these limitations but produces data that is hard to retrieve or visualize. We describe the design and implementation of Jourknow, a system that aims to bridge these two modalities, supporting lightweight text entry and weightless context capture that produces enough structure to support rich interactive presentation and retrieval of the arbitrary information entered.

I already have this. It is called Emacs org-mode with org-remember-insinuate.

Oh snap, I just saw that there is an org-mode <–> Freemind converter. must not play must not play must not play

Do you know how much I love Emacs?

No, you really have no idea…

perhaps those who say i work too much have a point.

I have worked diligently on writing, looking up page numbers in articles, and verifying citations for just over 36 hours since Friday morning. A tad over 12 hours a day. And here I was excoriating myself for not getting started earlier in the day(s).

This is ridiculous.

Every 5-10 minutes I am stopping myself from writing a paragraph that isn’t necessary, so imagine how bad it could be.


Exhaustion explained. Also snackiness.

“Although the brain represents only 2% of the body weight, it receives 15% of the cardiac output, 20% of total body oxygen consumption, and 25% of total body glucose utilization. The energy consumption for the brain to simply survive is 0.1 Calories per minute, while this value can be as high as 1.5 Calories per minute (100W) during crossword puzzle-solving”

(found in comment at: Academic Productivity)

Intuition strikes again…

Another bit from Academic Productivity:

Studies of the spacing effect have shown that when you space learning over separate learning intervals, long term retention is normally much higher compared with the equivalent amount of training from a single or “massed” session. This effect is robust across different time scales, different kinds of learning, and is even true across different species.

Without ever reading about the spacing effect, I changed my cataloging course design this semester to take advantage of it. Call it intuition or common sense… but it is always nice to have your practice supported by Science. More on spaced learning and cognitive psychology relevant to pedagogy here.

In defense of hermiting

Choose your own place for concentration, but remember that solitude has always been, in all the history of mental achievement, a requisite for great work.

Solitude calls forth the mood of receptivity. Only then do we get the best. Great things are worked out in silence. Then come the flashes of inspiration—the new visions. Emerson tells us that ” Solitude is to genius the stern friend—the cold, obscure shelter, where mould the wings which will bear it farther than suns or stars,” and we have this thought from Carlyle: ” Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together—that at length they may emerge full-formed and mamestic into the delight of life—which they are henceforth to rule.”

From: How To Concentrate (Originally Published 1930) Author… unknown? Definitely uncited.

Solitude is part of the Proper Environment. Apparently you also need Periodical Relaxation, Mental Freedom, and A Definite Schedule.

Lack of the latter is really, really bugging me since classes have started. Having those two days a week that have a completely different rhythm throws me off. I haven’t exercised in over a week and I’m starting to feel cruddy for lack of it. And my wrists are starting to hurt again. Apparently exercise keeps that at bay. Who knew!?

more music for writing, or, netlabels are a grad student’s best friend

I downloaded a bunch of stuff recently and have been slowly working through it while working on my dissproposal. I recommend:

ROZA – GLitch ov Batumi

What we really like about the album is that it’s almost impossible to characterize it in a matter of specific musical genre or style. This is the music which can be depicted in such terms as “good” or “attractive”, or “visionary” or “surreal” but not “rock”, “hip-hop”, “glitch”, “negerpunk” or whatever is usually on your iPod/Winamp.

The album starts with a deep, vibrant sound which reminds me the final dark electronic period of Coil magiciansmusicians. But soon the music turns into some sort of Tribal-Folk with a heartbreaking chorals, freakish oriental drum patterns, and blurred sitar/string melodies which flows in an endless ocean of acoustical noises. The more you listen to this epic ballade-intro, the more you realize that “GLitch ov Batumi” will settle down in your mp3-player for a long time. On the “Irenashvili djan” song you’ll have to deal with catchy overdriven acid flavored oriental broken beats a-la Muslimgauze. And on the “Mountings” you’ll be drowned in a deepest lake of abstract ambient. And the comprehensive title of “Drummers ov God” song needs no additional comments, I believe.

Also enjoyed today: Kittenhead, by Djinnestan, but I don’t know how much it would pull me in if it weren’t called KITTENHEAD:

In many ways, it defies easy categorization. It is very ambient, but contains rhythms. It is dark, yet at the same time whimsical. It includes acoustic instruments and vocals, but they have been processed virtually beyond recognition.

And finally, last night, I described the songs Inland and Track 2 by Cisfinitum to Will as “magnificently creepy.” More about Cisfinitum, via Wikipedia:

Cisfinitum’s leader and inspirer Eugene Voronovsky has graduated from the Moscow State Conservatory as a professional violinist. In his music he uses classical instruments such as violin, piano and percussion along with the sounds traditionally considered “non-musical”, like sound of mechanical coffee grinder or dying man’s breath, all of this subjected to thorough processing, in which both Soviet analog tools and modern digital processing technologies are used. That’s why Cisfinitum can be called the industrial-ambient reading of academic music.

“Cisfinitum is the sound of eternity. I’ve always wanted to create the music of Russian cosmos, music capable of expressing information about Russia that is impossible to reveal by means of words. They call this ‘drone’ overseas, but I prefer to define it ‘metaphysical ambient'”, claims Eugene.

And I called “magnificently creepy.” That’s a good thing.


Comps defense: PASSED.

Not really surprising, but it feels great.

Had a lovely lunch with my advisor and a committee member, stopped by Weaver Street Market on the way home for a bottle of cava for later this evening, took a nap snuggled up with my cats, and am now ready to get back to work.

I don’t know what in the world my brain was doing while I was asleep, but I woke up feeling a little depressed and frustrated by this quote which I’m quoting from p. 1949 of: Cronin, Blaise and Lokman I. Meho. 2007. Timelines of creativity a study of intellectual innovators in information science . Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 58 (13) 1948-59.

“scholars in information science tend not to have significant extrafield impact (Cronin & Pearson, 1990).”

Why is this, and how could it be changed? Guess I should read the Cronin and Pearson article and see what else they said…

The other thing in my head was “What exactly is ‘human geography’ and why do I find the papers from that field so intriguing?” Then I thought of the notion of information geography, what that might be, and whether anyone is doing anything they are calling by that name. The Gooracle brings up this from the Department of Geography at University of Washington, which isn’t exactly what I was thinking. But I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking. Not a trail to run down right now, though… I have a couple of other things to do. Just a few.