What Have I Been Up To? Dissertation Writing…Sort of…

I hope to post regularly this semester, but I hope to finish my dissertation completely this semester as well. Between the two choices, I may have to set aside this blog a bit while I analyze, write, research, and revise (repeat).

Here are some comics to make you smile on a Monday. I think these apply to any writing task, not just the dissertation or thesis.

PhD Comics: Thesis Writing
[Source: PhD Comics.]

PhD Comics: Our Thesis
[Source: PhD Comics.]

PhD Comics: Finished Thesis
[Source: PhD Comics.]

I very much relate to this one below, especially the coffee part.

PhD Comics: Blood Sweat Tears Coffee
[Source: PhD Comics.]

PhD Comics: Writing Your Thesis Outline
[Source: PhD Comics.]

PhD Comics: Your Thesis Title
[Source: PhD Comics.]

PhD Comics: The Thesis Repulsor Field
[Source: PhD Comics.]

This is me, below. I hate to admit that, but it is.

PhD Comics: Why? Why???
[Source: PhD Comics.]

And, this gem below is me, too. (Insert a friend or roommate, though, not a boyfriend or spouse.)

PhD Comics: You Have Started Writing, Haven't You?
[Source: PhD Comics.]

Last but not least, The Thesis Committee, below. I’ve posted this one before, but it is so wonderful I want to post it again.

PhD Comics: The Thesis Committee
[Source: PhD Comics.]

How do you procrastinate when you write? I mean any writing…a blog, a paper, a news article, a letter to someone, or, a thesis or dissertation.

I think I am past the “dread” stage, and I hope I am past the worst of the procrastination stage. I want to finish and start the next phase of life. This has been a wonderful journey, but it is time to move on.

And now, I’ll stop writing this blog post as a form of productive procrastination, and get back to the dissertation writing.

Have a great day!

If Game of Thrones Had Mass Transit…

What would a mass transit map for Westeros and EssosThe Known World from The Game of Thrones—look like? Michael Tyznik decided to find out and created these wonderful maps that both explain and poke fun of the complicated story lines of the book and HBO series.

Inspired by the work of Cameron Booth and his awesome Transit Maps Tumblr, I created these rail maps of Westeros and The Known World. Hopefully fans will notice some small touches — the closed stations along the Wall Line, for example.

Prints of the maps are available starting at $40 at inPRNT: Westeros and The Known World. You can also view the maps at high resolution on my Flickr: Westeros and The Known World.

Here’s the starting point. Clicking on the images will take you to a larger, zoomable image.

  1. We’re at the main station for the city of King’s Landing, viewing a map of “Rail Transport in Westeros”.
  2.  
    King's Landing Header-Rail Transport in Westeros-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik
     

  3. Next, we can view more closely the full transit Routes map and Key of “Rail Transport in Westeros”.
  4.  
    Rail Transport in Westeros-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik
     

  5. As you can see, in Westeros, all roads lead to King’s Landing.
  6.  
    Close up King's Landing-Rail Transport in Westeros-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik
     

  7. Rail transport even extends to Pyke, on the Iron Islands.
  8.  
    Close Up-Pyke Iron Islands-Rail Transport in Westeros-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik
     

  9. The Known World has mass transit in Essos, as well. Here is the Key, plus “Routes in Essos”. Based on the map alone, Essos is more sparsely settled than Westeros.
  10.  
    Rail Transport in The Known World-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik
     

  11. Please note that the service to Valyria has been discontinued, while service to Slavers Bay and the Gulf of Grief continues.
  12.  
    Close Up-Slavers Bay-Rail Transport in Westeros-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik
     

  13. Please note the closed stations along the Wall. Castle Black, as always, remains open and on guard. The distance between Winterfell and Castle Black is approximate.
  14.  
    Close Up-Winterfell-Castle Black-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik
     

  15. Last, but not least, is a close up of the Key and “Routes in Essos” from “The Known World” transit map.
  16.  
    Key-Routes in Essos-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik

    These maps are a labor of love. They show a great attention to detail, artistic ability, and creativity. I think these maps are a lovely way to mix reality and fantasy.

    What do you think of the transit maps. Do you have any comments you’d like to make?

    Valar morghulis, dear readers.

    [Source: Michael Tyznik via Buzzfeed.]

What is Sexual Harassment? And, Kudos to Gentlemen Everywhere

Are you a guy, wondering what women consider harassment? Are you a female and you struggle to put into words something that is almost invisible?

This poster does a great job of explaining every day examples of harassment. The author includes examples for men as to how they can react to shut down other men, and how men can be an ally — e.g., a “gentleman” — to their girlfriends, wives, mothers, and friends.

From RobotHugs:

TRIGGER WARNING: This comic discusses harassment, sexism, rape culture, and toxic attitudes towards women and femmefolk. It includes examples of slurs, harassment, and quotes from sexual offenders.

This is the longest comic I’ve ever done and it’s a monster and it took me forever and I never want to draw again.

Harassment by RobotHugs.com

Women: do you agree or disagree with any scenarios presented in this poster? What do you think about the authors’ advice to men on how to be an ally of women?

Men: did this provide examples to you of harassment and what it looks like? Do you agree or disagree with the advice on how to be an ally to women?

[Source: Robot Hugs.]

How Do Cultural and Intellectual Centers Re-locate Over Time?

Have you ever wondered why cities rise and fall, as do empires?

Charting Culture” is an animation that examines when and how “notable” people are born, stay or migrate, and where they die. Over 12,000 notable historical figures were tracked and the migrations display how people moved from city to city, empire to empire, between 600 B.C. to 2012 A.D.

Charting Culture

Published on Jul 31, 2014

This animation distils hundreds of years of culture into just five minutes. A team of historians and scientists wanted to map cultural mobility, so they tracked the births and deaths of notable individuals like David, King of Israel, and Leonardo da Vinci, from 600 BC to the present day. Using them as a proxy for skills and ideas, their map reveals intellectual hotspots and tracks how empires rise and crumble

The information comes from Freebase, a Google-owned database of well-known people and places, and other catalogues of notable individuals. The visualization was created by Maximilian Schich (University of Texas at Dallas) and Mauro Martino (IBM).

Read Nature’s news story: http://www.nature.com/news/1.15650

Find the research paper in Science: http://www.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/…

Did you find anything unusual or surprising about this video?

I was fascinated by the data and by the visualization of it. However, I found it very Euro-centric. The authors did show Japan, briefly, but ignore the US South, the Middle East (the birth place of numbers 0-9), China, and the entire African continent.

What do you think?

[Source: Smithsonian Smartnews via Thomas Strömberg.]

Nomophobia? Can You Function Daily without Your Cell Phone?

Nomophobia is “the fear of being out of mobile phone contact”.

The term, an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia”, was coined during a 2010 study by the UK Post Office who commissioned YouGov, a UK-based research organization to look at anxieties suffered by mobile phone users. [Source: Wikipedia.]

Nomophobia - fear of being without a cell phone

Do you ever disconnect from your mobile device? If so, do you have feelings of anxiety when you do? Are you guilty of engaging in any of the above situations?

I don’t tend to use my phone when I am driving, but I am guilty of reading it just before I go to bed…and staying up later than I had planned. Lost sleep is not conducive to high performance the next day.

[Source: HuffPo.]

A Guide to Cooking and Baking Substitutions

Yesterday I was baking muffins, and I realized I had no baking soda. Neither did I have baking powder and cream of tartar. So, the substitutions listed here would not have helped me very much — I still had to make a quick grocery store trip.

May the cooking gods land on your side with this handy guide for substituting one thing for another when baking or cooking.

This for That: A Guide to Cooking and Baking Substitutions

Are there any substitutions that surprised you?

[Source.]

What is the Cumulative Impact of Human Activity on the World’s Oceans?

Cumulative Impacts of Human Activity on the Oceans

Have you ever wondered what the impact is of human activity on the world’s oceans?

In short, a lot.

This animation shows the cumulative impacts of human activity on the oceans. Green represents areas with less impact, and red represents areas that experience much greater impact.

A study by Dr. Kenneth Casey in Feb 2008 , with NOAA’s National Oceanographic Data Center, shows that 40% of the world’s oceans are heavily affected by human activities like overfishing and pollution. The marine ecosystems most threatened by human activities are coral reefs.

The ocean impacts the lives of everyone on Earth, even those who do not live on or near the coast, and humans affect the ocean in a variety of ways. Individual and collective action is necessary to wisely manage ocean resources for all.

Which areas have been impacted the most?
What about the least?

Did you view the actual animation? If so, what surprised you about human’s impact on the world’s oceans? What did not surprise you?

Need a Heterogeneous Digital Preservation Solution?

Are you looking for a digital preservation solution that is open source but not one-size-fits-all? Then check out the tools of the Scalable Preservation Environments (SCAPE) Project, an EU funded digital initiative.

The SCAPE project develops scalable services for planning and execution of institutional preservation strategies on an open source platform that orchestrates semi-automated workflows for large-scale, heterogeneous collections of complex digital objects. SCAPE will enhance the state of the art of digital preservation in three ways: by developing infrastructure and tools for scalable preservation actions; by providing a framework for automated, quality-assured preservation workflows, and by integrating these components with a policy-based preservation planning and watch system. These concrete project results are being validated within four large-scale Testbeds from diverse application areas.

I like the policy-based preservation aspect of this system. That is my area of research for my dissertation.

Are there any particular aspects of this project that caught your attention?

[Source: SCAPE-Project.]

Animation of the TransAtlantic Flight Paths of Over 2000 Airplanes

Here’s a relaxing video and soundtrack to start off your Monday.



An animation by the National Air Traffic Services (Nats), the UK air traffic control service, demonstrates the flight paths of the 2,000 to 3,000 aircraft that fly across the North Atlantic on a daily basis. This animation shows 2,524 flights that travelled between Canada, the US and Europe on a single day in August 2013

Of course, knowing that many airplanes are in the air at any given time of the day may not be your idea of relaxation. However…Happy Monday!

[Source: The Guardian.]