Monthly Archives: October 2008

top 10 delicous tags, unusual delicious tags

inspired by britta, here is a list of my top 10 tags on delicious, annotated.

michigan – lots of links from around the state
annarbor – lots of links from around town
library – links from and about libraries from around the world
blog – these are primarily the "about" pages of blogs
superpatron – it would be convienent if these were auto-summarized for my superpatron blog
google – an exhaustive tour of the google archipelago
books – many of which I am not reading because of time spent on the net
food – recipes, restaurants, and f00dzorz
design – not a tag I usually generate myself, so these are copies of others
howto – tutorials, references, instruction guides, answers to common questions

my other typically atypical delicious tagging use is to use long tags that no one else uses, and that I use only once or a small number of times.  to illustrate:

– the unicode "snowman" character and its travels
chicken-chicken-chicken – encompassing Ig Nobel prize winning research, municipal ordinances and recipes
warning:indirect-selflink – pointers to articles that point to things that I've written
party-like-its-1908 – plus similar links to each other year, noting history or relevant narratives of time

generally I like to give every article some unique tag, along some axis of a person's name, a date, a location, or a nice turn of phrase from the thing quoted.

"my new filing technique is unstoppable"

Swiss pumpkin (and various baked whole stuffed pumpkin variants)

I haven't made this yet, but it's the recipe for tonight – this is notes to make sure that I'm ready for it.

1 pumpkin
something savory

Preheat the oven, boil water for tea.

Slice the top off the pumpkin.  Scoop out the pulp and seeds.

Fill the pumpkin with a mix of bread (cubes), cheese (swiss is what I have), something savory (toasted nuts?), spices, and enough milk to moisten.  Don't overfill.

Put the pumpkin on a cookie sheet.  Bake for a long time until done.

Make tea with the water you boiled.

To eat, scoop out the insides.

The original is from Ruth Reichl, "Comfort me with apples".

Some variants:

that should be enough to go on.  Baking times estimate range from 1-2 hours so be prepared to
have this in the oven fairly early!  But it shouldn't need any help once it get started.

Interview with Dave Sommerness, GovDelivery COO

The City of Ann Arbor has started an email-based delivery service for changes and updates to the city's web site run by GovDelivery.  I contacted Dave Sommerness, a University of Michigan graduate and their COO, to find out more.

How did your organization get started, and who was your first customer?

GovDelivery, Inc. was started in 1999 by our two co-founders, CEO Scott Burns and EVP of Sales Zach Stabenow.  We developed the GovDelivery Digital Subscription Management system in 2000 in collaboration with the City of St. Paul, who had a need for reliable communication with its residents.  We found this need to be pervasive across public sector organizations, and it's taken off quite well from there.

Government web sites are built with all kinds of technologies.  How do you manage the process so that it all looks the same to the user?

We integrate with client sites by simple links on their web pages.  The effect is seamless because we customize our web and email templates to match the look-and-feel of each client.  Behind the scenes GovDelivery is deployed as a multi-tenant, SaaS system, so Ann Arbor is using the same basic application as our other clients.

The service I signed up for was an email based one.  What are your plans for looking at web 2.0 technologies for notification, e.g. using something like Twitter to do messaging?

We're always looking forward to new technologies and applications to our system/market.  A couple years ago we added RSS capability, so our clients can publish their messages as RSS feeds in addition to sending them out through email.  We've seen a lot of excitement in our market over Web 2.0 technologies, so we're developing functionality to take advantage of that and promote more options for communication and collaboration between government and citizens.  A few examples of Web
2.0 notification that we already support include automatically posting messages to blogs, updating a Facebook page, and using public RSS feeds to publish bulletins to widgets.

Do you work with libraries as part of your business, and if so, can you share some good stories from those implementations?

The majority of our experience has been with government bodies – from small cities and counties up to the largest federal departments – and transit authorities, though we have some experience with education,
non-profits, and other organizations.  We work with a number of libraries, mainly through city accounts, but the most notable stand-alone library account is the Library of Congress.

What makes St. Paul a good place to run this business from, and not Silicon Valley or Washington, DC?

Good business is about good people, and there's a great pool of talent in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. We're one of the fastest growing software companies in the area, which attracts talented people and helps us to retain and keep them challenged.  We don't have the issues that Silicon Valley has where folks are more apt to jump to the next flavor of the day.  Because of the density of clients in D.C., we do maintain a sales office and staff there, which we plan to grow as the business does.

Who do you root for when Michigan plays Minnesota?

I grew up a Bulldog hockey fan in Duluth – the Gophers were big rivals, so it's been tough for me to become a fan of any of their teams.  The real dilemma for me would be if Michigan ever played UMD in hockey.

Thanks Dave!

November 7-9, 2008: Language as a Complex Adaptive System, Ann Arbor, MI

The theme builds upon foundations laid by colleagues from different
branches of linguistics, psychology, and complex systems. The speakers
are active in their recognition of complexity in their respective
areas, ranging from language usage, structure, and change,
sociolinguistics, cognitive linguistics, anthropology, language
evolution, first language acquisition, second language acquisition,
psycholinguistics and language processing, language education,
individual differences, and language testing.

Conference Schedule is available at

(Free) Registration required

Dates: November 7-9, 2008
Venue: The Michigan League, University of Michigan

Here's a big additional amount of description of the event, from their web site:

Conference Overview

conference of invited presentations is to be held in Ann Arbor on
November 7-9 2008 to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Language
Learning and to explore a paradigm shift currently taking place across
the language sciences, the growing realization of Language as a Complex
Adaptive System.

Language Learning was first
published from the University of Michigan in 1948. Its subtitle then
was "A Quarterly Journal of Applied Linguistics"; indeed the beginnings
of "Applied Linguistics" have been attributed to this usage. In the 60
years since, the subtitle has evolved to become "A Journal of Research
in Language Studies" reflecting our mission:

Language Learning is a scientific journal
dedicated to the understanding of language learning broadly defined. It
publishes research articles that systematically apply methods of
inquiry from disciplines including psychology, linguistics, cognitive
science, educational inquiry, neuroscience, ethnography,
sociolinguistics, sociology, and semiotics. It is concerned with
fundamental theoretical issues in language learning such as child,
second, and foreign language acquisition, language education,
bilingualism, literacy, language representation in mind and brain,
culture, cognition, pragmatics, and intergroup relations.

conference in 2008 will mark our 60th anniversary and our remarkable
success towards these ends. Members of the board, past editors, our
colleagues at Wiley-Blackwell, and friends and confederates in this
enterprise are gathering to celebrate.

The topic of
the conference is Language as a Complex Adaptive System. Recent
research across a variety of disciplines in the cognitive sciences has
demonstrated that patterns of use determine how language is acquired,
is structured, and changes over time. However, there is mounting
evidence that processes of language acquisition, use, and change are
not independent from one another but are facets of the same complex
adaptive system. This theme builds upon foundations laid by colleagues
from different branches of linguistics, psychology, and complex systems
(including Clay Beckner, Richard Blythe, Joan Bybee, Morten H.
Christiansen, William Croft, Nick C. Ellis, John Holland, Jinyun Ke,
Diane Larsen-Freeman, and Tom Schoenemann) at a meeting at the Santa Fe
Institute in 2007. "The Five Graces Group" (named after their rather
special accommodations there) are offering a position paper on Language
as a Complex Adaptive System as the introductory piece for the
conference followed by ten individual papers that discuss substantive
areas of language from this perspective. The authors of these ten
papers are active in their recognition of complexity in their
respective areas, ranging from language usage, structure and change,
sociolinguistics, cognitive linguistics, anthropology, language
evolution, first language acquisition, second language acquisition,
psycholinguistics and language processing, language education,
individual differences, and language testing. Discussion of these
papers will be led by members of the board of Language Learning in
order to contextualize these influences within Applied Linguistics and
the Language Sciences more generally.

Written papers
based on these presentations will form a special issue of the journal
Language Learning (2009, Volume 59, Supplement 1). The proceedings will
also be recorded and later made available through Wiley-Blackwell and
the University of Michigan as a webcast.

The previous day there's a seminar on campus:

Emergence in Physical, Biological, and Social Systems III

November 7, 2008

340 West Hall, University of Michigan

9 am-4:30 pm

Talks and Poster Session open to the public

Our goal is to help
encourage the formation of a coherent community of researchers on
campus grouped around
the general theme of complexity, emergence, and collective effects.
This third ICAM meeting at the University of Michigan is timed to
connect to the University of Michigan conference on "Language as a Complex Adaptive System" (Nov.8-9, 2008)

The meeting is intended for an audience with a wide range of backgrounds.


Nicholas Ellis

Psychology, University of Michigan

The dynamics of second language emergence: Cycles of language use, language change, and laguage acquisition

John Holland

Psychology, University of Michigan

Complex Adaptive Systems

Diarmaid O'Foighill

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan

Emergence: An Evolutionary Perspective

Leonard Sander

Physics, University of Michigan

Emergence, scaling, and fractals

Michal Zochowski

Physics, University of Michigan

Understanding neural dynamics of brain function

Poster Session

A poster session will be held.
If you are interested in presenting at the poster session,
please send your title and abstract by November 3rd
to Howard Oishi ( ).
Posters will be displayed outside of 340 West Hall.
There is foam board available that is 36"x48", so please try to keep
your poster within these dimensions.


J. W. Allen, Physics, University of Michigan
C. P. Simon, Mathematics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan
S. E. Page, Political Science, Economics, and Complex Systems, University of Michigan

October 31, 2008: ICOS: Wendy Espeland, Northwestern University, “How to Study Numbers, or: A Different Kind of Quantitative Sociology”

(from the ICOS mailing list)

Join ICOS this Friday to hear from Wendy Espeland of Northwestern’s Sociology Department.  Espeland has developed the concept of commensuration in markets—efforts to value diverse things in a common
metric, from finance and human organs to environmental degradation.  Her talk this week examines the effect of widely-publicized US News & World Report rankings on law schools and their conception of legal education.

The Discipline of Rankings:
Public Measures, Decoupling, and Organizational Change (PDF)

Michael Sauder
University of Iowa

Wendy Espeland
Northwestern University

This article demonstrates the value of Foucault‟s conception of discipline for understanding organizational responses to rankings. Using a case study of law schools, we explain why rankings have permeated law schools so extensively and why these organizations have been unable to buffer these institutional pressures. Foucault‟s
depiction of two important processes, surveillance and normalization, show how rankings
change perceptions of legal education through both coercive and seductive means. This
approach advances organizational theory by highlighting conditions that affect the
prevalence and effectiveness of buffering. Decoupling is not determined solely by the
external enforcement of institutional pressures or the capacity of organizational actors to
buffer or hide some activities. Members‟ tendency to internalize these pressures, to
become self-disciplining, is also salient. Internalization is fostered by the anxiety that
rankings produce, by their allure for the administrators who try to manipulate them, and
by the resistance they provoke. Rankings are just one example of the public measures of
performance that are becoming increasingly influential in many institutional
environments, and understanding how organizations respond to these measures is a
crucial task for scholars.

Middle eastern lentil soup

Recipe credit: freddyknits, who writes about knitting (and importantly takes pictures of projects).

This recipe comes close to what you'll find as the soup in any of the middle eastern restaurants around town – easy to make (10 minutes chopping at the beginning), forgiving, easy to make in quantity, and sustaining on days when you get the first snow of the season.

You'll want to keep red lentils in stock in your pantry so that you can always make this soup in a pinch.

2.5 c red lentils
10c water
2.5t salt
2 cloves garlic
2 chopped onions
1.5t cumin
1T coriander
2T olive oil
lemon wedges
hot sauce

Fry onion garlic in olive oil
add cumin coriander
add lentils water
simmer 45-60
add salt
simmer 10-15

seven random (food) facts

Inspired by Kate from Four Obsessions, here are seven food-related things to share.

1.   From an early age I was taught what was good to eat in the north woods and how to find it.  If you're walking with me and suddenly I dive into the bushes and come up with a handful of berries, you'll understand.  Locally this means that the first day of blueberry, raspberry, juneberry, and strawberry season are holidays, and I employ a small army of berry-picking advance scouts to keep me informed of when opening day is and how conditions are.

2.  When I was a kid we made cookies out of acorns once.  It took a long time to gather them, and a lot of work to process them, and when they finally got into the oven somehow (mysteriously) they got scorched.  I've never had the need to repeat that experience.

3.  The first complicated recipe I tried was sauce Bearnaise, using a recipe from Scientific American's The Amateur Scientist (1979 Dec, pg 178; 1981 Jan, pg 164).   It turned out pretty well.

4.  After having had sweet dumpling squash, I can't go back to ever eating acorn squash again.

5.  We are vegetarians at home, but I'm a confirmed omnivore, and so you'll see restaurant reviews of meat dishes but only vegetarian recipes.

6.  I'm bad at doing recipes because I hardly ever measure anything anymore – mostly I spice things by eye and smell, and as often as not the recipes I end up with are a description of what I did this one time with the food on hand and not instructions for what to go buy.   I'm sure that there's some recipe vocabulary in some language that I'm missing which could make them better, other than "cook until it smells good".

7.  I've taken to blogging recipes in part because it's a convenient way to look them up the next time I need to cook them, since I don't always know which cookbook on our shelf has the recipe on the menu plan for the week.

Tag: Jim Benson (e.g. "stir-fried wikipedia with pimentoes"), KitchenChick (my reliable source for Paczki Day information), and The Cottage Smallholder (who got tagged already)