Category Archives: Marginalia

A slow moving version of Twitter: always hand write your tweets before sending them.

A slow moving version of Twitter: always hand write your tweets before sending them.

Bright idea? Write it down, photograph it, transcribe it, then (and only then) post to the network.

It’s OK to wait quite a long time between initial idea and eventual posting. This also works for blog postings, or at least it should. Twitter happens to make it easy to do in one step for short posts.


How will lunch work on Thursday at a new place? (A2B3 lost its regular restaurant, Eastern Accents, and we’re meeting at Conor O’Neill’s instead.) Caroline is manager.

What do you want to have stored up so that you can respond quickly to something new after having already thought through it at leisure?

How important is the drawing? (Very.)

Can you focus on something long enough to make it worthwhile to construct a lengthy effort to assemble media to support it?


Adam Grant’s book Give and Take. Jerry Davis is interviewed. Look in the March 31 NY Times Magazine.

Suggest it at the Ann Arbor District Library once I get online. It’s too hard to fill out the suggestion form from my teeny tiny phone screen.

Jerry Michalski suggesting a similar piece on “bursting vs plodding” and the benefits of each, written by Steve Pavlina.

I’m listening to electronica by Valdis Krebs.



“I think Buddha is one line of work.”



Two unicode characters to start the new year right.

Thoughts on leadership, direction, conflict and change

"I am a leader by default, because nature abhors a vacuum."  Desmond Tutu, quoted in the Christian Science Monitor, Dec 20 1984.

"The real leader has no need to lead – he is content to point the way."  Henry Miller, from his essay The Wisdom of the Heart, 1947.

"Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict."  Saul Alinsky, 1971

I've been quoting Desmond Tutu for a while now on this blog; the Miller and Alinsky quotes are both new to me.  (I'm always, of course, on the lookout for any quote from anyone who uses the word "vacuum" in context.).

links for 9 april 2008 (by hand this time)

the usual deliciousing of links has paused for a while, but things still need to be linked; here’s a brief narrative.

Festifools 2008 photos are up (thanks to Myra Klarman) – quite a few awesome puppet pictures.

I missed Festifools this year for a memorial service for Wilfred Kaplan, University of Michigan math professor emeritus and long time friend. 

If you have a Mac with no passwords, you can still get in by booting to single user.  These Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcuts detail many "special" commands you can do.

A query on Twitter (thanks @awd) led me to the MELCAT collection of books and materials with the catalog subject Telegraph – History.  The AADL only has 4 titles with that topic, but state-wide there’s lots more.

Generally, Twitter is awesome for reference questions, esp. when you manage to collect reference librarians as friends who are working desk shifts.  With the Twitter mobile interface and the right people on the other end of the line it’s way better than Google (since at worst people Google for you and sort through the results).

The Early History of Data Networks tells a story of the (optical) telegraphs that went through Sweden and France starting as early as 1794.  The Swedish system of Edelcrantz was a 10-shutter system connected by telescopes, capable of sending coded messages a distance of 10 km between stations whose operator would then set up the same configuration for the next station in line.

The 2008 Burns Park Run is Sunday, May 4.  If all goes according to plan I’ll be walking the 5k.  There’s nothing better than walking briskly past a runner who has slowed down to catch their breath.

The last lecture in the "Wikipedia and Academia" series is scheduled for
this Thursday night. Marshall Poe will be doing the honors with a talk called
"Please Listen to Me: Wikipedia, Web 2.0 and Human Nature."  Thursday, April 10th, 7:00 p.m., 201 Pray-Harrold Hall, EMU

Metascope is a new tool for visualizing and analyzing networks of up to 10000 nodes.  There are versions for Windows and for Mac, and the download includes a dataset based on network data extracted from the Enron corpus of 200000 emails.  (via ona-prac)

Everything’s Cool is a documentary on the impact of the media on the public perception of climate change.  (Sent to me by my cousin who has a PhD in clouds.)

thus ends the emptying of the inbox into the blog

Ten secrets to success (or, ten things that I aspire to doing regularly)

1. Send a postcard.

2. Go for a walk.

3. Use the library.

4. Keep your inbox at zero.

5. Find a group to go to lunch with regularly.

6. Say thank you.

7. Keep track of what you do.

8. Keep track of what you promise to do.

9. Always carry something to write with.

10. Get enough sleep.

I wish I could say that I do all this, but at least it’s something to aim for. And I wish I had the infinite patience to hyperlink all of these, but I don’t, so take it on faith that I’ve thought about and written about them before.

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note to self: are windmills prohibited by my city zoning?

Would it be OK to put a windmill on my chimney to replace the television antenna, and if so are there any restrictions on size, weight, or anything else in the Ann Arbor city code?

The Half Bakery has a lovely collection of great weird ideas about a windmill powered friction oven, which concludes roughly that chimneys don’t have the sort of structural integrity to be whipped around in the wind.

If it was an antique weathervane it might fetch a pretty price on the auction market; this helped the Lexington Historical Society score nearly a cool million dollars for an old gas station weathervane. No cogeneration there though.

Looking at the patents we have this:

3691829 Weather Vane Anomometer

there’s a cool water-flow powered LED lighting shower waterhead too – get some wattage from the water company. in-home microhydro!

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buy local, sell global

note to self: buy local, sell global is a good strategy.

buy local, sell local is also a good strategy.
buy global, sell local is also a good strategy.
buy global, sell global can also be a good strategy.

so at some point it’s about how well you do any of these.