Learn RegEx Interactively

Lauren Coates of LSU’s Digital Scholar’s Lab sent along a link to Regexr, which allows you to teach yourself regex interactively. I’ve seen other sites that do this, but Regexr has a great UI. Time to go test some regex problems I’ve had lately to see if I can’t figure them out…

PDF Index Generator

PDF Index Generator is a powerful indexing utility for generating the back of your book index and writing it to your book in (4) easy steps. PDF Index Generator parses your PDF, collects the index words and their location in the PDF, then writes the generated index to a PDF or a text file you specify. The main target for PDF Index Generator is to automate the process of generating the book index instead of doing the hard work manually.

I didn’t get to try this out, but I had it bookmarked. (UPM was very kind to do the indexing for me since the moment it needed to be done was also the moment that my father died.)

DH@Guelph Summer Workshops

The University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada, is hosting a collection of workshops May 9-12. A lot happens in those 3 to 4 days:

  1. Getting Going with Omeka with
    Lisa Cox, Adam Doan, Melissa McAfee, Catharine Wilson.
  2. You’ve Got Data!: Introduction to Data Wrangling for Digital Humanities Projects with Paige Morgan.
  3. Text Encoding Fundamentals and Their Application with Jason Boyd.
  4. Minimal Computing for Digital Humanists with Kim Martin and John Fink.
  5. 3D Modelling for the Digital Humanities and Social Sciences_ with
    John Bonnett.
  6. Spatial Humanities: Exploring Opportunities in the Humanities Jennifer Marvin and Quin Shirk-Luckett.
  7. Online Collaborative Scholarship: Principles and Practicies (A CWRCshop) with Susan Brown, Mihaela Ilovan, and Leslie Allin.

Full details are here.

Simpler URLs

Occasionally I think about simplifying the URLs for jl.o because I find that the date as an 8-number preface is cumbersome, but I worry about losing readers and links that have come to depend on a number of posts. It turns out there is WordPress plug-in that can manage this process, as [Tom Ewer notes on WPExplorer][]: “To easily create the redirects on your WordPress website I recommend the [Simple 301 Redirects][] plugin.”

Ewer also offers the following bit of advice for after you have made the change: “You may still have the odd broken link 404 error, so it may be worth thinking about creating a custom 404 page with information about the permalink change. That topic is for a whole other post though.”

[Tom Ewer notes on WPExplorer]: http://www.wpexplorer.com/change-permalinks-wordpress/
[Simple 301 Redirects]: http://wordpress.org/plugins/simple-301-redirects/

How to Learn

A paper published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest has evaluated ten techniques for improving learning, ranging from mnemonics to highlighting and offers some conclusions. [BigThink’s coverage](http://bigthink.com/neurobonkers/assessing-the-evidence-for-the-one-thing-you-never-get-taught-in-school-how-to-learn).

New Journal: History of the Humanities

The [University of Chicago Press][] is starting a new journal:

> The University of Chicago Press is pleased to announce the launch of _History of Humanities_, a new journal devoted to the historical and comparative study of the humanities. The first issue will be published in the spring of 2016. _History of Humanities_, along with the newly formed Society for the History of the Humanities, takes as its subject the evolution of a wide variety of disciplines including archaeology, art history, historiography, linguistics, literary studies, musicology, philology, and media studies, tracing these fields from their earliest developments, through their formalization into university disciplines, and to the modern day. By exploring these subjects across time and civilizations and along with their socio-political and epistemic implications, the journal takes a critical look at the concept of humanities itself.

It might be something for Jonathan Goodwin and me to think about, or at least Goodwin himself as he continues his graphing of various intellectual histories. I wonder how dominated the journal is going to be by historians.

[University of Chicago]: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/pressReleases/2014/October/1410HOH.html

Plain Text Commenting

One of the reasons to continue to use Word is that it makes it easy to add comments and/or mark up a document, in the editorial sense and not in the HTML/XML/TEI sense. [Critic Markup][] is not likely to solve the issue such that those of use who prefer plain text over Word are going to have a breakthrough moment with our colleagues and collaborators, but if you are lucky enough to work with like-minded folks, then [Critic Markup][] may just do what you need.

[Critic Markup]: http://criticmarkup.com

USDA Economic Research Service

One of the readers for _The Makers of Things_ asked for a chapter on rice: I had written a draft of one, but pitched it before submitting the manuscript. As it turns out, the 5500 words I wrote over 5 days and wrapped up this past Friday is a much better chapter. I could write that quickly because I had ridden in enough tractors, boats, and combines and spent enough time walking fields, but I also needed the occasional bit of statistical information, and the [USDA’s Economic Research Service][] was a real boon. While I wish, for my purposes, they had a greater historical coverage, the fact that so many of their reports were downloadable as Excel spreadsheets made the work of grabbing facts, compiling numbers, or, occasionally, creating graphs a really joy. (None of the graphs are likely to make their way into the book at this point, but it was nice to be able to use them for analysis.)

[USDA’s Economic Research Service]: http://ers.usda.gov

A Laudable Failed Replication

Two scientists who previously had published about the possible cuing of memory by the presence of a partner have failed to replicate their own original results, which they had previously shared (data and all), and published their own failure to do so. *This is science at its best.*:

> In an earlier study, coauthor Horton reported that the presence an individual who was associated with a previously learned object increased the speed at which the object was named. In other words, the partner’s presence served as an associative memory cue to enhance lexical processing. In a follow-up paper published this month in PLOS ONE, the researchers aimed to replicate these findings as a foundation upon which to further explore the mechanisms by which associative cuing facilitates naming. But to their surprise, a series of experiments modeled after the originals failed to replicate their prior results – the presence of the partner from the learning phase did not influence the speed of object naming.

[Thank you, PLoS.](http://neuro.plos.org/2014/10/13/this-weeks-most-discussed-plos-neuroscience-article-the-influence-of-partner-specific-memory-associations-on-picture-naming-a-failure-to-replicate/)

Black Holes Don’t Exist

So, it turns out, that [black holes may not exist][], and in getting rid of them the math comes out better. And, perhaps just as importantly, you can read all of the work for yourself on Arxiv.org: [first paper][], [second paper][]. (Hello, Humanities? No one’s the nineteenth century called, and it wants its communication infrastructure back. Or, rather, it’d rather you didn’t use it exclusively, but, you know, try using something from the twentieth century.)

[black holes may not exist]: http://unc.edu/spotlight/rethinking-the-origins-of-the-universe/
[first paper]: http://arxiv.org/abs/arXiv:1406.1525
[second paper]: http://arxiv.org/abs/arXiv:1409.1837

Micro Python

This looks like an interesting convergence of two things I’ve been playing with:


> Micro Python is a lean and fast implementation of the Python 3 programming language that is optimised to run on a microcontroller. The Micro Python board is a small electronic circuit board that runs the Micro Python language.