Showing posts from November, 2010

To Paper or Not to Paper

I don't remember taking many notes per se in high school, but all the same, most everything done in class was done on paper. I may have taken a computer to Kayhi only once or twice, using it very very briefly, and I had my laptop for about the last year and half I was there.

To great extent, I didn't think about ever bringing my computer to high school because pretty much no one else did - and I would never want to stick out like that, as if I was showing my possession off. But also, I thought it would be a hassle, probably more trouble than it was worth.

Thus, when I came to college and asked myself whether I should take lecture notes on paper or on my computer, I decided, for a variety of reasons, to be completely technology-free whenever I went to class (aside of course from the occasional use of my phone).

As it is, I've got a pretty good system going: For every class I have a three-ring binder, with all my papers hole-punched and placed in the binder chronologically. I…

A Briefly Scary Google Coincidence

After searching "Benedict Fitzpatrick" on Google, I saw the phrase "Peter studied the influence of the ancient Irish monks, especially through Benedict Fitzpatrick's Ireland and the Foundations of Europe."

Given that this is exactly what I am doing, right at this moment, I was astounded. Was some website stalking me, posting up-to-the-second data on my activities? (I sure hoped not.)

Fortunately, this is but a great coincidence, and this Peter is not me.

Perhaps when I finish my study of these Irish monks, I will post my final product - hopefully a ten page research paper, turned in tomorrow - here on the blog. Back to work for me!

Ancestry in Alaska

I recently found a great map that has the 2000 census results for the plurality ancestry of each county/borough/parish of the country. It has a whole ton of gems: layers of African Americans, Italians and Irish fanning out from New York, the non-conformity of Hawai'i, the distribution of those responding "American" and many many more.

I, however, would like to look at Alaska again. Let's look first at my map that I made for this post two weeks ago. I am obviously not a great graphic artist, and this map has some big disadvantages, particularly in that it doesn't differentiate between electoral districts when they were won by the same candidate. Nevertheless, it does show regional electoral patterns, and it seems to me to be quite interesting to look at how this matches the 2000 Census data.
Here it is: The three colors represent, according to the Census, the ancestries of "Aleut/Eskimo," "American Indian," and "German." (If you don…

My Gut Feeling on Wikipedia

I predict Wikipedia will change soon.

I don't mean it will change in the next two milliseconds because of some edit, either. I have a feeling that it will change significantly, sometime in the next... two years, maximum.

Now, if a completely random sample of all the people who use the internet visited this blog, a very good portion of you will have used Wikipedia. Since the sample isn't random, though, and the selection of those visiting the Publisher must surely be biased towards English speakers as well as - probably - people given to looking up random things, I would say that an even greater percentage of you have used Wikipedia. With this in mind, I will guess that you probably saw within the last few weeks the message banners that went across every Wikipedia page, asking for money, bearing assorted pictures of Jimmy Wales, with whose face we are now all uncomfortably familiar.

Now, it may very well be that Wikipedia does this fundraising every year, and I have seen these …

Realization - Screenshots!

Do you know what I just realized? I have had many different formatting a display styles for this blog over its lifetime, right? and many times I have referred to the changing of those styles in posts - but now that that was ages ago, I have no way of going back and seeing what my blog looked like before.

What I've realized, over two and half years after this blog was created, is that I should have taken screenshots. Then we'd all be able to see the evolution of the Publisher's aesthetics. But, my thought process on this problem having been so slow, all that is lost to us. But to at least save what I can of history, I have taken a screenshot of the current style:

If you see this post right now, this picture may seem redundant. But believe me, in a few years, when the Publisher will likely look completely different, it will be greatly appreciated - at least by me.

The Election Map: Divisions, Geopolitical and Otherwise

Yes, I realize that it is only a short time after my last post. I don't believe, however, that simply editing the last with an addendum would do my further research justice.

Looking just at the Senate race vote results, (really the only interesting thing to come out of this election), I created an elementary little map, coloring in each electoral district based on whether there were more votes written in, for McAdams, or for Miller. Just that little bit of extra detail can drastically change one's view on the election.

Now, I was already well aware that there are geopolitical divisions in Alaska. Sarah Palin basically heralded the rise of the Mat-Su, or the greater south-central area outside of Anchorage. Population in that area has been growing rapidly, and with no better descriptors, I think it best to just leave my characterization of that population's general political leanings as being represented by Sarah. Thus, it was no surprise when I saw Joe Miller "winning&…

Alaska, the Midterm Elections and Democracy

I am honestly am only writing about this now because I kind of promised to - and I suppose because I am procrastinating when I have much to write for my classes. Here was my ballot, and computer in the back, sitting on my desk:

I ran pretty hard to get my vote in, too, as I had to go to the post office at the last minute on election day, and I had a short space to run several blocks there and back before my class. What's more, I have to say that 37-cent postage is a modern day poll tax! (The gas people use to drive to the polls to vote physically must cost much more, but hey, I still think postage for absentee ballots should be prepaid.)

Long story short, none of the people I voted for were elected. I did vote a party line, but only after putting a lot of thought into the people I preferred in each race. Murkowski's likely victory in the Senate race, with there being significantly more write-in ballots than votes for either Miller or McAdams, is in some ways quite a surprise, …

Google Lies

I am an unshakeable customer of Google. This blog is a part of Blogger, a Google-owned service; I am currently using the browser Google Chrome to write this post; of course, nearly every time I search something on the internet (assuredly hundreds of times a day). Nonetheless, Google lies. Everyone may have their own idea of some way Google deceives us, but for me, Google's most obvious spit in the face of truth can be seen in their service Google Maps. All you have to do is zoom out.

This is heinous - simply heinous. If you haven't read my writings on the Mercator projection before, just take my word - the world seen in the image above is nothing like our own. It is a sick and twisted fun-house-mirrored world, which, if it existed, would lengthen Siberians' yardsticks while shortening those of Kenyans, and the steps of Brazilians would be made to go farther than those of Finns. Now, wouldn't I, rabid Alaska-nationalist that I am, appreciate that the size of my homeland…

Two Eves, One Day

This last week has been pretty productive for me: I finished my midterms and am currently moving forward forcefully on class readings so that I can use what time is left to begin some real work on my big research papers that I have for several classes. I am, in other words, relaxed and confident, but I am intent on doing as much as I can while I have this feeling so that nearer the end of this month I am not hit by my deadlines with what one would hope is not a nearly overwhelming pressure of stress and despair. 
Though they may at times be scorned, emoticons have power. The smiley communicates that the negative ending of the last paragraph is to some extent laughable, and I am, all the same, quite happy - or at least, if the smiley didn't communicate that, I have now.
And why am I happy? November 1 is usually thought of as a day after an "eve" - All Hallows' Eve. This November 1, however, is an eve for two pretty important things: nationally, it's the eve of ele…