Monthly Archives: May 2006

Moka Pots and Culture

Got carried away by my passion for coffee, yet again.

Ah, well… 

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“Memetic Marketplace”

In a court ruling on information about Apple's Asteroid device leaked by bloggers, a judge talks about the "memetic marketplace."

Richard Dawkins' meme concept combined with a notion of market economy in a jural context? Fascinating, though maybe a bit awkward. After all, though Dawkins does relate to economy, his basic metaphor is biological/organic, not financial. (In other words, the markets might function, in Dawkins' model, through memes but memes aren't primarily an economical notion.)

Come to think of it, there should be a debate between Dawkins and John Nash… 


Office 2007: Microsoft VP Antoine Leblond

A rather candid interview (in French) with Microsoft VP for Office development, Antoine Leblond (a fellow Québécois). Continue reading


Native American Languages and Aliens

A short podcast episode on Longfellow and Hiawatha. That podcast is usually on artificial languages. What's interesting here, apart from the reference to anthropologists, is the notion of cross-cultural communication. Actually, the episode is rather culturally-sensitive. Even the title ("Being the Alien") and some comments at the end of the episode does connect science-fiction with (Earth) anthropology.


Cross-Cultural Break in Communication

By now, most people might know the anecdote of Congolese Guy Goma being mistaken for Guy Kewney during a BBC News television interview. Yeah, "it's soooo last week!"
Some interesting things about this case. His facial expressions are the subject of discussion. Pretty much like in a "funniest videos" clip but with just a pinch of culture specificity. Then, the issue which doesn't seem to be discussed much but which also relates to cultural communication, it might be the case that Goma's "good manners" (i.e., cultural background) give value to strategies meant to save the interlocutor's "face." If Goma had directly responded by saying that was not in fact the expected guest, the interviewer's reputation would have been put in jeopardy. Of course, the effect was even stronger as the anecdote has gone through the whole Web and media loop. But even then, the responsibility for the mishap has been diffused and the "bomb" of face-threatening acts has been "defused."


Scholarly Search

Was looking for a resource to import citations/references for book chapters into a citation manager. Turns out Google Scholar does export to several citation managers:

Google Scholar Help
How can I add the full citation of a result on Google Scholar to my bibliography manager?

Just visit the Scholar Preferences page and select your preferred citation format in the “Bibliography Manager” section. We currently support RefWorks, RefMan, EndNote, and BibTeX. Once you’ve saved your preferences, you can import a citation by clicking on the appropriate link in your Google Scholar search results.

Had been using Google Scholar since it came out but had never noticed this feature. D’oh! (Simpson 1989).

It’s not perfect, of course. The data for most citations is quite minimal (initials instead of first names, no abstracts…) but the principle is sound. Plus, Google Scholar links to a lot of external resources, including full-text articles, which usually do have much more data. It helps to either be on-campus at an institution which subscribes to most of the important resources or to have a VPN to such a campus. In that case, Google Scholar’s links do bring you to a lot of full-text articles.

No idea what the API for Google Scholar allows but chances are that some neat features could be added from within a citation manager. The open-source ones would be good bets. At this point, my favourite open-source citation manager is BibDesk. It uses the BibTeX format and takes advantage of several features of Mac OS X such as the Services menu and Spotlight searching.
While it’s not open-source, RefWorks is a very interesting citation management system which often available to all members of an academic institution. Because it uses a Web interface, RefWorks can be difficult to connect to some other tools. But it has a surprisingly large range of features and can be used as a central repository for references. Among its most useful features for courses, RefWorks allows for reference sharing.
Thomson’s EndNote has become something of a de facto standard in the world of academic publishing. It has several disadvantages, including a habit of expensive incremental updates and lack of support for a wide range of text editors and word processors. EndNote also has several interesting features, including connection to library catalogs through the Z39.50 standard and data visualization. Because of its prominence, it tends to be well-supported by most reference databases, including Google Scholar. Indiana University has site-licenses for EndNote and other citation managers.

And there are many other tools available, each with their own sets of features. The citation management scene has evolved nicely, in my humble opinion, but the perfect solution is still far on the horizon, it seems. Ah, well…


Time Away From Time

I love nights. Outdoors. Smells like a hiking trip.

Hey! It's only called insomnia if you complain about it. And, sometimes, three hours of sleep is just enough to get you going. Like a long nap. Naps are seriously underrated.