Monthly Archives: May 2006

Testing sidenotes

Thanks to Saurier Duval, I’m testing out sidenotes from arc 90 lab. This satisfies a deep-seated and long-lasting need to write marginalia in what I do.

The biggest issue to date is that ecto, my offline blog editor of choice, strips out the sidenotes when editing in WYSIWYG mode. To use this effectively on a regular basis, I’ll have to write posts in straight HTML, which is in some ways a step backwards. The sidenote style uses span tags to enclose the sidenote text, and you can even somehow include markup in the notes and pictures.

To do this right, you have to keep the sidenotes shorter than the main paragraph text, or else things wrap funny.

You won’t appreciate this post if you just read the RSS feed.


xBlog review for 29 May 2006

XPLANE’s xBlog has a full set of interesting stuff in it on the front page today. Some notables –

Derek Powazek on The Importance of Creative Procrastination. It brings to mind John Perry’s classic essay on Structured Procrastination (now on its own domain name!) These are from the “don’t do it right away if it demands some time for thinking” school.

Eight and a Half by Eleven, a note in the Design Observer about an MFA thesis show at Yale, three floors and 10,000 pieces of 8.5×11 paper (rough drafts, sketches, etc) taped on the walls.

Design software weakens classic drawing skills – original story via Reuters / Boston Globe. Bemoaning the loss of the freehand pencil sketch.

There is more there of course – it is worth repeated visits.

Michigan spiders, and the BugGuide

The Michigan DNR has details on two spiders found in  Michigan: the northern black widow spider, Latrodectus variolus, and the extremely rare Brown Recluse (Loxosceles reclusa).  The northern black widow is further described in an entomology fact sheet from Ohio State University Extension, and there’s a comprehensive collection of articles on Latrodectus at

Spiders of the Douglas Lake Region is a monograph written by Olive Thomas in 1952 at the University of Michigan Bio Station near Pellston, MI.  It’s listed on the U of Michigan’s Deep Blue service, with a note "Access restricted to on-site users at the UM Biological Station".

Michigan State University’s Department of Entomology has a newsy article about Michigan spiders, and some suggestions for integrated spider management.  And if you want to catch spiders, there’s a nice how-to on catching spiders with a headlight.

eMedicine’s article on Spider Envenomations, Widow is thorough and up to date and aimed at physicians.

A comprehensive guide to black widow spiders and other spiders of medical importance is maintained by Louis Caruana, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Texas State University-San Marcos.

If you want lots of pictures, start at BugGuide, which uses Drupal’s taxonomy system to its fullest advantage to let you browse through a nice taxonomy of bugs.


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Thurs 5/25/06, 3-5pm: Technologies for Libraries and Communities: Calendars and Events

For calendar details see this page on Technologies for Libraries and Communities: Calendars and Events. There is an iCal calendar for this event series:

Community Information Corps organizer Edward Vielmetti will lead a discussion on event and calendar technologies with applications in library and community information settings. We’ll look at some internet standards work in this area, examine key features of calendar applications, and talk about Web 2.0 calendar tools including Google Calendar, Podbop, and This is also an organizing meeting of an informal summer series on technologies for libraries and community being organized with MSI students Carl Collins and Jake Glenn.

The event is located in the connector conference room at the U of Michigan School of Information, 3d floor, in the hallway that connects West Hall to the Shapiro Library (UGLI).

CrazyBusy: Overstretched, overbooked, and about to snap! Edward Hallowell

“strategies for coping in a world gone ADD”

Some quick notes – I checked it out of the library when I saw it on the new books shelf, sat down, read it, ignored my blackberry, tried to focus on it but also read very fast to get the idea.

More from the book’s web site, “Crazy Busy Life”.

The book is in two parts. The first half is a series of anecdotes about how the world has gone mad with fragmented attention spans, so that people have environmentally-induced ADD. The second half is self-help on coping with that world, and a few really neat exercises to improve your concentration.

There’s a number-matching game done with pencil and paper that really deserves to be turned into a computer game. And there are lots and lots of lists of things you should do to be a better, more focused person, which I didn’t quite find that I had enough time to focus on.

Hallowell has a very interesting, almost throwaway comment in at the end of the book on blogs and the Internet, after going through a series of tirades about how “screensucking” time is awful:

Blogs could become one of the most powerful problem-solving devices ever invented. Through the creative use of blogs, all the talking heads and consultants we’ve grown so accustomed to could give way to the collective wisdom of millions of thinking heads, all brought forth in seconds.

Would that it were so.

He has invented a couple of fun words which I won’t define but that should serve to mark this posting – gemmelsmerch, blather, C-state and F-state, doomdarts, EMV (e-mail voice), frazzing, gigaguilt, gush, leeches and lilies, OHIO, pizzled, taildogging, and a few more. Does psychiatry of a certain school give you carte blanche to invent words?

Popularity index: at the moment, four people have this book cataloged at LibraryThing.

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