Weekend Reading XCIII

by uber

The Many Colours of Blood

Mr. Spock’s Blood was green, but it seems that it should be blue to be Copper-based?


Talking with Runners

I have to say I would probably not be likely to respond well to being interrupted on my run. I usually have earphones in, in any case. Strange thoughts do occur to me while I run, I suppose it’s the combination of hormones, oxygenation and solitude. I would have loved to see more of their feet: some of them have really nice, tight form, I’m especially curious about the chap who has made his joints last into his 60s. I would love to be able to do that.


The Economist Guide to Skiving

How much work is productive? What is productive work in any case? If I am not a farmer or a blacksmith, what is my real contribution, even if I am not skiving?


Ethiopian Coffee Growers

There’s a surprisingly narrow band of the world for growing some of our most valued seeds: coffee and chocolate make the world turn, it feels. There was a recent announcement of direct flights from DUB to ADD, I would love to go there to sample the freshest coffee, in the terroir. Since I no longer partake of alcohol, this would be my Napa Valley tour.

The Origin of ‘Gotham’

Visually, it’s more of an art deco Chicago than New York if you go by the films, but I think there’s little doubt as to where Batman prowls.


Using Dublin Bikes to Measure Air Quality

Crowd-sourcing environmental data is an intriguing idea. There are lots of things you can do, Traffic and Earthquakes come to mind. The challenge is getting enough data of high enough quality, or at least data for which you are sufficiently-aware of the flaws. There’s a ton of data generated already by things like traffic monitoring, and the vision of the ‘Smart City‘ has huge research attention, as well as considerable industrial involvement. I’d love to see ride quality data from Dublin Bikes: how shaky are the roads?


Destroying Mediæval Books & why it’s Useful

In cultural heritage, the physical artefact can often go far beyond the surface appearance captured by scanning. Inks are chemical compounds that can tell us about technological development, and pages made of skin can tell us about the animals.


The Top 100 most-cited papers

This is one of the challenges which is most acute in modern academia. There’s a significant pressure to publish in high-quality venues, and increasingly academic performance is being measured numerically. However, a difficulty arises: different academic disciplines cite things differently, and use different venues for the dissemination of their work. If we compare google scholar’s 2014 metrics in Bioinformatics and Data mining, you can see that there are far more conferences at the top of the Computer Science venue. This creates a challenge: if conference papers (or even workshop papers) can have high impact in one domain, how do you account for that in the metrics? There’s another issue, which relates to the Open Science movement: the Thompson-Reuters metrics are a commercial service, and there is a significant issue of gate-keeping and curation going on about what gets recognised. It’s where the scholar metrics are more interesting, albeit not perfect either.



On-shoring has been going on for a while, even executed by companies who are experts at off-shoring. Ireland and the Philippines provide useful examples of culturally-closer sites for support etc for ‘nearer’ off-shorting, but more rural parts of the US are equally viable, and probably have better labour costs these days, as well as time-zone advantages.


Smart Bookmarks

Books come in different forms, the minimum-weight/cost/care paperback up to the presentation quality harback. The quality of the paper, or whatever material, has a huge effect on what you might be able to add as features. Another big factor is the use of the book: bookmarks for reference are quite different (generically novels vs. Bibles) to place-markers for linear reading.