Wikiconference USA 2014, in New York, just finished, and more than usual this conference instilled in me a lot of motivating social energy. Yes, I did present there, twice, on “Answering Big Questions With Wikidata“, and “Signalling Open Access References,” but more so than usual I enjoyed attending other presentations. On reflecting why that was, I came to realize it was the earnest authentic effort of other Wikimedians, that shone so brightly. These are some of the more inspiring characters from the conference, but by no means a complete list.
With my father, and his father, we went to find my Grandfather’s Grandfather (all on the paternal sides if your keeping up). The most we knew about this 5-generations ago man was a snippet from naturalisation papers –
“Solomon Klajnbaum, born 1880, from Zwolen, a Russian subject.”
On 30 of April 2014, having flown to Poland, we took the last leg to Zwoleń for Krakow, by way of hired private tour guide.
At age 10 a dog as big as I violently bit me for the apparent transgression of kicking a football in a park. A decade later I perceived losing a friend to their dog obsession. With these strikes against dog-ownership, I became convinced that pet-ownership was immoral. However last month I took on 10 days of dogsitting to overcome my anti-dog prejudices. While the coordinates of my reality were not shattered, I did uncover an illuminating shared philosophical dilemma with canine-kind.
Of all the core dog-care activities – feeding, petting, etc.… Read the rest
You’re a busy and galactically activated group, but maybe not everyone knows each other, your meeting starts in 5 minutes and you need an icebreaker. Except the concept of such a cheesy introduction is spoiled by painful juvenile memories. The fact is you respect the intelligence of your collaborators inasmuch as you they can be asked open-ended questions – and you earnestly want to pry into their minds.
I sometimes facilitate weekly general meetings at the hackerspace sudoroom, where we have encountered the problem of making more than just cursory introductions, in a non-patronizing way.… Read the rest
Please describe what VIAF is and why it is relevant
We’ve all joked about what it would be like if people had numbers instead of names. The funny thing is though it would be much more convenient to organize our information about people if we did have numbers as well as names. National Libraries have already done this behind the scenes to make the reader’s life easier.
Searching through my draft blogs I find that the earliest is un-annotated, but prophetic collection of quotes I compiled in 2011. They are from Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, that too-strong dose of propaganda that turned me off of the mystique of supposedly messianic technology. (Perhaps I don’t give enough weight to the fact that it was the first and last book that I read entirely on a laptop). I admit I was – and still am – wooed by the allure of technolust, but at that moment, I stopped seeing computational progress as a deliverance and started seeing it blunt tool, often overdressed.… Read the rest
Perusing the Jerusalem last night, unwittingly in my Wikipedia sweatshit, I was asked about my donation this year. On the tail of my positive response I richoceted the question. “Yes,” he responded “you had the picture of the cute girl [on the banner].”
Internal measurements of banner ad effectiveness are well examined in the Wikimedia foundation. If it’s found that pictures of attractive young female editors sell donations faster, should that be exploited. Or is sexism for a good cause, still sexism?… Read the rest
“No – your refrigerator is too low-fidelity to be counted as a phonograph: it cannot reproduce sounds at all.” (Hofstadter 406). This retort in Goedel Escher Bach from Achilles to the Tortoise represents the crux of the argument between Zen and the Pragmatist. While Achilles reacts sensibly to the inaudability of the cold plastic disk, isn’t the Tortoise in competition for Zen practitioner of the year?
In my most recent involvement with self-appointed subculture, the Zorba Festival, the nerve centre of all Negev Desert chill-outs, I lost a similar battle but wouldn’t know it until too late. The tent was in fact patchwork canvas over a geodesic dome, the time late, and the attendees personified bric-a-brac.… Read the rest