Friday Fun: Nation Down To Last Hundred Grown-Ups

I like the subtitle of this Onion article too: "'Mature Adults Could Be Gone Within 50 Years,' Experts Say"

In the wake of this week's rioting in Vancouver over the loss of a game, it seems particularly appropriate: Nation Down To Last Hundred Grown-Ups.

Of all the many Onion articles I've linked to over the years, this one has to be one of the best:

The endangered demographic, which is projected to die out completely by 2060, is reportedly distinguished from other groups by numerous unique traits, including foresight, rationality, understanding of how to obtain and pay for a mortgage, personal responsibility, and the ability to enter a store without immediately purchasing whatever items they see and desire.

"Our grown-ups are disappearing at a much faster rate than we previously believed," said Census Bureau chief Robert M. Groves, who believes the decline in responsible adults may now be irreversible. "Unfortunately, we've only recently noticed this terrible trend, perhaps because of this group's unusual capacity to endure hardships with quiet dignity instead of whining loudly to draw attention to themselves."

*snip*

"Grown-ups are as fascinating as they are rare," said anthropologist Arthur Ambler, who has lived among level-headed adult populations and documented their lifestyle. "It may seem odd to the rest of us, but for mature adults, occasionally putting the greater good ahead of their own interests or remaining calm when something doesn't go their way is commonplace."

"Imagine confronting a problem directly instead of pointing a finger, cowering in fear, or pretending it just isn't happening," Ambler added. "This is how these people actually live, if you can believe that."

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Going to JCDL2011: ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries

I'll be at the 2011 ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries at the University of Ottawa for the next few days. I plan on doing a bit of tweeting while I'm there but probably no live blogging.

I hope to have a summary post up here sometime after the conference with my impressions. Taking advantage of the relative proximity of Ottawa, this will be my first time at JCDL and I'm really looking forward to it. It's probably a bit more technical than I've been getting into recently but stretching the mind is always a good thing.

I hope to see some of you there. Definitely if you're there and you see me, come say Hi!

Music Mondays: 10 Scientist Rock Stars

Here's a list worth giving a listen to: 10 Scientist Rock Stars. Let's take a look, starting with by far the most famous:

  1. Brian May. Brian May is the guitarist for a little band called Queen. He is consistently ranked as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. And he has a Ph.D. in astrophysics. May studied physics and mathematics at Imperial College London and was in the process of getting his Ph.D. when Queen hit it big. Thirty years later, in 2007, he completed his dissertation. Yes, the man who wrote "We Will Rock You" also wrote A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud. You probably know the words to only one of these.
  2. Greg Graffin
  3. Milo Aukerman
  4. Brian Cox
  5. Dan Snaith
  6. Tom Scholz
  7. Mira Aroyo
  8. Diane de Kerckhove
  9. Art Garfunkel
  10. Dexter Holland

For more, check out Eva Amsen's Musicians and Scientists blog!

Friday Fun: The Five Worst (Hard) Science Fiction Movies Ever

I've watched a lot of bad science fiction movies over the years, but somehow have management to avoid 4 out of the 5 mentioned in Technology Review's list The Five Worst (Hard) Science Fiction Movies Ever!

  1. 2012 (2009)
  2. Lawnmower Man (1992): Trying to capitalize on the then-current zeitgeist of virtual reality, this movie is basically Flowers For Algernon, except that the mentally disabled human guinea pig ends up getting angry rather than reverting to their original condition. Like many similar cyberspace movies, Lawnmower Man uses the eye-rolling idea that the virtual reality interface also doubles as a brain fryer under the right circumstances--which might have been forgivable (for example, The Matrix managed to come up with a good reason as to why the interface would be buried in the user's brain), but the cheesy script and overly-ambitious computer graphics used to depict the virtual world just sunk this one, to the point that Stephen King sued to have to the studio stop using his name to promote the movie. Most cringeworthy line: "This technology is meant to expand human communication BUT YOU'RE NOT HUMAN ANYMORE!"
  3. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
  4. The Core (2003)
  5. ...Well to see what the worst one is, you'll have to check out the original post!

Zuckerberg and Schmidt warn on over-regulation of web

From the BBC:

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Google boss Eric Schmidt have warned governments worldwide not to over-regulate the internet.

Mr Zuckerberg said governments cannot cherry pick which aspects of the web to control and which not to.

*snip*

"People tell me on the one hand 'It's great you played such a big role in the Arab spring [uprisings], but it's also kind of scary because you enable all this sharing and collect information on people'," said Facebook's founder.

"But it's hard to have one without the other. You can't isolate some things you like about the internet and control other things that you don't."

Although I mostly agree with Zuckerberg and Schmidt that attempting to over-regulate the Internet is probably a bad idea, hearing them talk about it brings to mind Hitler and Stalin warning about the over-regulation of Poland.

I can see the August 1939 BBC headlines even now, "Hitler and Stalin warn on over-regulation of Poland."

Sorry for the Godwin moment, BTW.

TEDxLibrariansTO: Librarians as Thought Leaders

Yes, the TEDx whirlwind is coming to libraryland!

Later this month on Saturday, June 25th, TEDxLibrariansTO is coming to Toronto.

About TEDxLibrariansTO

Who inspires you?

We live in a time that is in need of inspiration. The aspirations of both individuals and society have always had a home within libraries and have traditionally found a voice through librarians.

The theme for TEDx LibrariansTO is Librarians as Thought Leaders. Come to the event and experience this incredible opportunity to hear librarians speak to the differences we make in the world and how we have, can and do lead and transform society.

I have to admit, I really like the idea of the theme, Librarians as Thought Leaders. It's quite relevant these days, especially in light of the situation at McMaster and other places where it seems that librarians are having trouble getting their communities to recognize their value as librarians. This kind of event focuses directly on what librarians bring to their communities, how and where we can lead, where we can use our values to make the world a better place. It's certainly something I've tried to do in a small way at my institution.

So who are the speakers? So far, it looks to be a fantastic lineup.

As of this writing, registration isn't open yet. It should be available very soo, so I'll update when it is.

You can also follow them at their website, on Twitter, Facebook and even follow the audience-submitted videos on their YouTube channel. Location and other details are here. It's also worth noting that TEDx events are run locally run events, independent of the regular TED events.

I'll be volunteering at the event so I hope to see you there!

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My presentation for Scholarship in the Public Eye: The Case for Social Media

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I did a short presentation on Scholarship in the Public Eye: The Case for Social Media as part of a panel for a York Faculty of Graduate Studies Scholarly Communications Series.

And yes, I was the Twitter guy, although some of the other presenters did talk about their use of Twitter. Basically, my point was that Twitter and blogs can be part and parcel of the research and research outreach life of academics. I mostly concentrated on Twitter, but I did try and make the same sorts of points about blogging as well as I spoke.

Anyways, I thought I would share my "slides" here.

You may have noticed, if you went through them at all, that they're a bit odd.

Yes, every single slide is a tweet. They're mostly by other people but I did feel I had to tweet a few things on my own to tie the threads together a bit better. The tool I used to do the presentation itself was the absolutely wonderful web service Storify. Basically Storify allows you to aggregate web objects into linear stories. And you can turn those stories into slideshows, which is what I did.

You can see my Storify story here and as a slide show here. It's a bit odd, but to make the slide show work, you have to click the slide and then use the left and right arrows.

I have a ton of praise for Storify. It was great to use and for a few of the more intricate details I had to work out, their Twitter tech support was fantastic. Overall, I would recommend it for similar projects. The only downside was that in my very particular application, it was a bit difficult to stitch together a presentation narrative from other people's tweets so I'm not sure what I did would work so well for a full length presentation.

Around the Web: Scholarship in the Public Eye: The Case for Social Media

I'm doing a short presentation later today on using social media as a researcher. It's part of the York University Faculty of Graduate Studies' Scholarly Communications Series. This one is titled Scholarship in the Public Eye:

The Faculties of Graduate Studies and Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, along with the York University Libraries, are collaboratively facilitating a series of information sessions focused on scholarly communications intended for all graduate students and faculty members. The series will address issues related to research skills and research dissemination, including panel presentations and discussions on: literature searching and research mapping; proposal writing; participating in and organizing conferences and poster presentations; publishing monographs and articles in scholarly journals; intellectual property and open access considerations; and, communicating scholarship within nonacademic settings.

And yes, I'm the designated blog/Twitter/social media speaker. I have a short presentation that I did using Storify which I'll post tomorrow. If were following my Twitter stream yesterday, you may already have checked it out.

In any case, this list of resources is the one I'll be referring to in the presentation itself.

Feel free to add any suggestions in the comments.