Two reflections on SCI FOO 2014

Two excellent blog posts on SCI FOO by Jacob Vanderplas (Astronomer and Data Scientist at the University of Washington) and Dominic Cummings (former director of strategy for the conservative party in the UK). Hacking Academia: Data Science and the University (Vanderplas) Almost a year ago, I wrote a post I called the Big Data Brain Drain, lamenting the …

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Summer Cyborg Mailbag

Maybe it’s time for another Thornapple blog complaining about the robots in our midst. As my many legions of irregular readers may have surmised, I have become somewhat reconciled to many robotic presences during the years that I’ve been writing the blog. Anyone who runs a website with an opportunity for “Comments” goes through a …

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How To Make Clients Look Cool

Pat Law of Singapore shares an amazing story with the NY Times in the video below on how she started her own social media agency. She didn’t allow the obstacles that were affecting her family stop her from starting Goodstuph. Goodstuph is now a booming company that focuses on making their clients appear cool on …

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Fiction Writing on Twitter

Have you heard of the storyella? What about twiterature? Been following #TwitterFiction? Or how about WRAC’s very own #endthisstory? Claire Armitstead, writing for The Guardian, asks “Has Twitter given birth to a new literary genre?” She notes that the key to successful Twitter fiction is connectivity; writers reaching to the past, to other users, then …

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Look Up!

The next time you’re out hanging with your friends—pause—look up and look around. What do you notice? You might notice that the majority of people around you are interacting on some type of electronic device. Technology is a great invention and has changed the world in many positive ways, but has caused people to be less social …

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Storify: Simplified

Storify is a social media platform with the goal of telling stories or narratives through other social media posts. With a layout that’s a hybrid of Facebook and Pinterest, this platform is quickly gaining an audience with social media “storytellers”. Storify is probably most commonly used in articles to report on events that are heavily …

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10 Free Infographic Tools

Sometimes, it just isn’t feasible to create a graphic from scratch on Photoshop or InDesign. We simply don’t have enough hours in the day. That’s where easy-to-use infographic websites, such as Creative Bloq’s Ten Free Tools for Creating Infographics come in handy to speed up the process. For the simplest, easy-to-use option, Easel.ly or Venngage …

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Best of Twitter 2013

I could start this by stating that Twitter is an incredible micro-blogging site that has revolutionized social networks and connected the world in a global conversation like never before – but I’d be stating the obvious. The truth is, Twitter is one weird place. Sure, it’s just one of the more popular corners of the …

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Hack, a new programming language by Facebook

Hacklang.org Last Thursday, Facebook revealed its latest achievement, Hack, a new programming language. When Facebook was created ten years ago, it was coded entirely in PHP. However, as Facebook became bigger, the language became harder to manage and developers were more susceptible to making mistakes. The manager of Facebook’s Hack team, Bryan O’Sullivan, helped eliminate …

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The Inventor of the Hashtag

Chris Messina, a former Google designer, first proposed the hashtag idea on Twitter back in 2007. However, he wanted to use the ‘#’ symbol as a way to create “groups”. Here’s his first tweet proposing the idea: Much to his chagrin, Twitter rejected his idea then but took it up years later as a news …

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Trial by Fire

Being controversial on purpose won’t get you invited to a lot of parties, but it might make you a better writer. Defending your ideas can be terrifying; most people instinctively avoid confrontation. But debate sharpens both your ideas and your rhetoric. Early rhetoricians studied the subject for the express purpose of speaking in the public …

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The Internet: Chopped & Screwed

A few years ago the Internet was introduced as a dial-up service, and it was an irrelevant tool that very few people had access to. Today, the Internet has become a requirement for communication and is accessible on any device in many places around the world. Corporate self-indulgence and the government has allowed the Internet …

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Social Media Afterlife

As the age of technology grows older, more of us face the question: what do we do with a person’s social media accounts when they’ve passed away? Many families and friends choose to continue to post pictures and memories on the person’s wall in order to help keep their memory alive. However, Facebook has made …

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1.5 page-clicks of fame.

WordPress’s Jetpack plugin lets you do a few nifty things with your blog, including getting a pretty good look at how many people are reading what articles. One of the fancier things that it does is (sometimes) let you know what search terms people were using when they ultimately found your website. I know of …

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Our Third Anniversary

“Let’s not sugar coat this, grad school is tough” In June 2011, that was the first sentence to the first blog post introducing GradHacker to the world. Three years later, I still think it’s a good introduction. Graduate students live tough lives. They aren’t quite undergraduates and aren’t quite faculty. They are expected to ace …

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Expresso (not espresso)

Stop that eye twitch, it’s not misspelled. I’m talking Expresso – the writer’s style tool, not espresso (the writer’s coping tool). Forging an honest, unique voice is one of the biggest struggles for many writers. Unfortunately, outside of a trusted editor, available tools can be noticeably lacking. Expresso is great because it admits upfront that style …

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Tech Skills Ruled 2013

As the presence of companies grows online, they are constantly looking for web developers with the skills to get the job done. Although preference in development software varies, there was a significant spike in searches for a particular set of skills. According to Stack Overflow’s statistics, a culmination of frequently searched keywords by companies to …

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Blogging Archaeology: January

This post is the third question in the Blogging Archaeology Carnival hosted by Doug’s Archaeology. You can read a summary of questions from last month’s carnival on why we blog and learn more about this month’s question on his website. This month’s question is about our best and worst posts. Within blogging, best/worst can define a …

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