Friday, January 25, 2013

Giphantie: the prophecy of photography

Source: Introduction to the History of Photography

According to M. W. Marien (Photography, A Cultural History), prior to 1800, in utopian and speculative fiction there is only one example of imaginative anticipation of photography and film: the novel Giphantie by CHARLES-FRANCOIS TIPHAIGNE DE LA ROCHE (1722 - 1774), published in 1760.

“You know, that rays of light reflected from different bodies form pictures, paint the image reflected on all polished surfaces, for example, on the retina of the eye, on water, and on glass. The spirits have sought to fix these fleeting images; they have made a subtle matter by means of which a picture is formed in the twinkling of an eye. They coat a piece of canvas with this matter, and place it in front of the object to be taken. The first effect of this cloth is similar to that of a mirror, but by means of its viscous nature the prepared canvas, as is not the case with the mirror, retains a fac-simile of the image. The mirror represents images faithfully, but retains none; our canvas reflects them no less faithfully, but retains them all. This impression of the image is instantaneous. The canvas is then removed and deposited in a dark place. An hour later the impression is dry, and you have a picture the more precious in that no art can imitate its truthfulness.”

(excerpt of Giphantie from: )

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Note Taking - Cornell Style

Last week I decided to change the way I took notes in the hope that I could make it easier to find what I was looking for when I come to right them up. I decided that a wide left margin would be a good starting point to record keywords, notes on notes etc.  Then I came across a post on my favourite PhD Blog Thesis Whisperer with the title -Turn your notes into writing using the Cornell method. The article describes a rather similar idea for taking notes with the added provision for including a critical summary. Which at some later stage you can probably lift right off the page into your thesis. There is also a link part way down the page for a PDF template for the proposed page layout. You could of course just rule up a notebook yourself with the same layout. I had had the idea of looking for paper ruled in Landscape format to make for wider columns. Whilst it is available, it is not conveniently so. I think I am just about getting the hang of my new note taking method. As Katherine Firth, the author, explains the method much better than I could, I make no apologies for reposting the article here:-

Turn your notes into writing using the Cornell method

This post is by Dr Katherine Firth who works in Academic Skills at the University of Melbourne, with a particular interest in research student literacies. Basically, Katherine is a Thesis Whisperer, like me. Unlike me, Katherine is still an active researcher in her field of 20th-century poetry. Over coffee Katherine told me about the ‘Cornell Method’ and kindly agreed to write a post. I found it enlightening, I hope you do too.
I take a lot of notes.  Even when I was doing my PhD and I was taking thousands of pages of notes, I took them by hand.  I tried using a computer, but there are so many things that are really hard to do on screen (drawing an arrow to make a connection between points, for example) that are really quick on paper.  Also, you only need one hand to write notes, but two hands to type.  And that free hand comes in useful for holding open books, grasping coffee cups, or stuffing your face with Gummi bears.

Now that I’m working with lots of PhD students, I find that they also take a lot of notes.  Years and years of notes.  Notes about field work.  Notes about interviews.  Notes about lab results.  Notes about books they’ve read. And then they get stuck.  Because they have to turn the notes into a thesis.  And that’s really hard.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How You Can Change the Past - The Quantum World

A repost from New Scientist

Does objective reality exist? Is there an underlying truth that doesn't depend on the observer?
According to quantum physics, there may be no consistent reality. Not only do we change the outcome of experiments by what we choose to measure, but we can alter those results after they've already happened.
In this animation, find out how our choices of what to observe can change what actually happens, and what that means for our understanding of reality. A classic experiment illustrates the conundrum by attempting to measure whether a photon behaves as a particle or a wave. It turns out that it can be either, or a mixture of both, depending on how the experiment is set up.

"the photographic diary project" by Jimmy Owenns

Reposted from Rhizome 2001

This work by Jimmy Owenns reflects some of my own ideas about the concept of the photograph album, the snapshot photograph and the manner in which we take and react to such photographs. I am interested in both Jimmy s concept and his choice and use of medium and his mode of presentation.

Livescribe Sky Smartpen

Livescribe sells pens that record audio as you write notes, and syncs the two together so you can go back and tap on a note or drawing and hear what was being said at the moment you were writing. The company's newest pen is called the Sky. Unlike previous versions of the pen the Sky uploads your data via Wi-Fi rather than a USB connection. The data is currently uploaded into Evernotes. Each pen comes with 12 month subscription to Evenote Premium.

Writing Skeletons

As an inexperienced academic writer one of the most difficult aspects academic writing is designing an appropriate skeleton or scaffold. Professor Pat Thomson offers sound advice in her blog Patter. She and her partner Barbara Kamler borrow paragraphs from Swales and Feak's book, Academic writing for graduate students a series of skeleton (i), which she uses in her academic writing workshops. I reproduce them here:-
Re-bloged from Patter

The Academic Phrasebank

This is a very usable resource for the developing academic writer. It was created by John Morley, director of University-Wide Language Programmes at the University of Manchester. I can do no better that repost the introductory page from the site.

Reposted from Academic Phrasebank

iPhone Recording and Transcribing

I have been using iTalk app on my iPhone to record and transcribe interviews and meetings. The recording is great but I have struggled with the transcribing. I found this blog post at PhD Life Blog   which covers the subject quite well. I found the authors feedback about the use of Dragon Naturally Speaking particularly helpful. I have had mixed experience of this software but I shall have another go following this advice.

Source:  PhD Life Blog

Bloomer List of Verbs

Bloomers List of Verbs

Count, Define, Describe, Draw, Find, Identify, Label, List, Match, Name, Quote, Recall, Recite, Sequence, Tell, Write
Conclude, Demonstrate, Discuss, Explain, Generalize, Identify, Illustrate, Interpret, Paraphrase, Predict, Report, Restate, Review, Summarize, Tell
Apply, Change, Choose, Compute, Dramatize, Interview, Prepare, Produce, Role-play, Select, Show, Transfer, Use
Analyze, Characterize, Classify, Compare, Contrast, Debate, Deduce, Diagram, Differentiate, Discriminate, Distinguish, Examine, Outline, Relate, Research, Separate,
Compose, Construct, Create, Design, Develop, Integrate, Invent, Make, Organize, Perform, Plan, Produce, Propose, Rewrite
Appraise, Argue, Assess, Choose, Conclude, Critic, Decide, Evaluate, Judge, Justify, Predict, Prioritize, Prove, Rank, Rate, Select,

An Infomatics version of Bloomers List of Verbs  can be found here.