Monthly Archives: September 2006 – date arithmetic in the shell

The little shell script gives you a convenient way to get a date in the present, past, or future into a shell script. Use it as follows:

% -o +100


If you’re using the Hiveminder shell script, this lets you do things like say

% hide 4J $( -o +100)

which I have aliased to

% someday-do 4J


U Michigan School of Information seminar calendar

Ben Congleton got tired of manually putting SI events into his calendar so he wrote a quick script that will parse the SI events page and export it to Google Calendar.

[Right now it just puts the contents of the events page online, so something like 1 month in the future]

You should be able to add it into your own google calendars: (Probably by searching for SI-Events in public Calendars)

HTML Version:

ICAL Version:

XML Feed:

Thanks Ben! Lots of interesting stuff going on, and seminars are notoriously hard on the UM campus to publicize. This goes a long way to making things visible.

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Michigan apples

It’s apple season, and Saul has Apple Day at his school tomorrow.

Ashley Wright is the 2006 Michigan Apple Queen, sponsored by the Michigan Apple Committee.

Michigan is third in the United States in growing apples, and number one in Jonathans and Northern Spys. About 50% of the nation’s processed apple slices are from Michigan. (Michigan Department of Agriculture)

MSU Extension has an Apple Team. Their 2006 predicted Michigan Apple Harvest Dates show fruit ripening 1-10 days earlier than “normal”, and from 5 days behind to 7 days ahead of last year’s harvest. From that page:

Table 3. Normal peak harvest dates for varieties for the Grand Rapids area.

Variety Normal date 2006 predicted date

Paulared 8-24 8-18

Gingergold 9-2 8-26

Gala 9-10 9-3

McIntosh 9-15 9-6

Honeycrisp 9-18 9-12

Empire 9-20 9-14

Jonathan 9-28 9-23

Jonagold 9-28 9-23

Golden Delicious 10-2 9-25

Red Delicious 10-5 9-30

Idared 10-10 10-2

Rome 10-15 10-9

Fuji 10-25 10-20

Braeburn 10-25 10-20

Goldrush 11-1 10-26

so there’s your global warming metric in the form of the apple crop.

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Cognition in the Wild, Edwin Hutchins

Cognition in the Wild by Edwin Hutchins (full text Cognet pdf, free on some campuses, from MIT):

Edwin Hutchins combines his background as an anthropologist and an open-ocean racing sailor and navigator in this account of how anthropological methods can be combined with cognitive theory to produce a new reading of cognitive science. His theoretical insights are grounded in an extended analysis of ship navigation – its computational basis, its historical roots, its social organization, and the details of its implementation in actual practice aboard large ships. The result is an unusual interdisciplinary approach to cognition in culturally constituted activities outside the laboratory – "in the wild".

Hutchins examines a set of phenomena that have fallen between the established disciplines of psychology and anthropology, bringing to light a new set of relationships between culture and cognition. The standard view is that culture affects the cognition of individuals. Hutchins argues instead that cultural activity systems have cognitive properties of their own that differ from the cognitive properties of the individuals who participate in them.

The Librarything tag cloud for this book right now says

anthropology(1) cog psych(1) Cognition(2) cognitive science(3) distributed cognition(1) ethnographic(1) interaction(1) learning(1) natural history(1) navagation(1) organisational learning(1) psychology(1)

Hutchins article on Distributed Cognition in an Airline Cockpit has a good detailed example of this approach in use:

The excerpt of cockpit activity presented above is only approximately one
and a half minutes in duration, yet it is very rich. It contains within it
illustrations of many of the central concepts of a theory of distributed cognition.
We will present and discuss these concepts by going through the elements of the
example in chronological order and noting what the events in this example tell
us about the nature of this particular system and about systems of distributed
cognition in general.

Book cover image, from MIT Press:

image from

U of Michigan Regents approve M-CARE sale

As seen on the front page from the press release U-M Regents approve M-Care Sale:

The 400 U-M employees who work for M-CARE will receive a retention incentive to remain until the sale is finalized. Once the sale is final, many M-CARE employees will be retained by U-M, providing services to Blue Care Network under a lease agreement for a period of time through the transition. After that time, employees will be assisted in transitioning to positions at BCBSM, Blue Care Network, other areas of U-M, or the community.

U-M will apply its Reduction in Force policy and the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act will be followed, which provides for a notice of 60 or 90 days, depending on length of service.

“As this process continues, both U-M and the Blues will be able to offer M-CARE’s employees more specific information about what the transition period and immediate post-sale period will mean for them,” says Kelch. “We appreciate their patience and their continued hard work through this transition.”

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Robbins Sport Surfaces, Ishpeming MI

Flooring the NBA: Ishpeming company supplies Cavs – from the Marquette Mining Journal

The new Cleveland Cavaliers portable basketball floor to be installed at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland finishes drying inside a warehouse at Robbins Inc. in Ishpeming Wednesday. The floor will be disassembled, packed and shipped to the arena Friday. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)

ISHPEMING – With 19 of 30 National Basketball Association teams playing on floors constructed by Robbins Sport Surfaces, it’s fair to say the Ishpeming company has built a reputation for being a team player.

The 20 men and women working at the company’s facility – the only production site that manufactures the portable floors for RSS – believe they have a great deal to do with that reputation, plant manager Roger Kipling said.

“Everybody here takes great pride in knowing that they’re building a floor for the NBA,” Kipling said. “Every employee here has had something to do with building it.”

Kipling said one of the aspects of the floors that make them so desirable is its portability. At approximately 175 pounds apiece, the 4-foot by 8-foot panels can be set up or dismantled in a matter of hours.

“In a lot of places, they’ll play a basketball game one night, then pick up the floor and be playing hockey the next,” he said.

According to Kipling, an average floor, which typically measures 114 feet by 57 feet, takes about six weeks to construct and uses approximately 7,500 square feet of northern hard maple.

The ease of access to highly desirable northern hard maple, found in abundance in Michigan and Wisconsin, makes the Ishpeming facility an ideal location for making the floors.

“It’s the perfect spot,” Kipling said.

Kipling said that the first three weeks are spent cutting and assembling the panels. The remaining three weeks are spent sanding the assembling floor, painting team logos and graphics, and applying a protective sealant.

The company’s latest floor for the Cleveland Cavaliers, which has been finished and is drying in one of the facility’s large workshops, will be disassembled, packed and shipped to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Friday.

“It’s unlike any other floor in the NBA today,” Kipling said.

The Cavaliers’ floor was the most technically difficult Robbins has made, Kipling said, due to extensive graphics that had to be hand painted.

The company has also built portable floors for other NBA teams – including the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets and L.A. Lakers – as well as the Nanjing Sports Center in China for the China National Games, the Asian Games in Qatar, and a number of colleges, universities and civic centers across the nation.

The Ishpeming facility also manufactures permanent floors, which have been installed locally at Ishpeming High School and the Aspen Ridge School.

“To create these floors takes quite a collaborative effort,” finishing line supervisor Frank Misale said. “We get the added bonus of being able to see what we’ve done on TV – it brings us a tremendous sense of pride.”

More on Robbins:

EPA registration for Robbins Flooring

Jim Stoehr at the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Hall of Fame

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