Kelly Quinn

It seems like forever ago that Kelly Quinn spoke at (to? with?) the Davies Forum. But I just made a vow to finally finish blogging all of our speakers (it is kinda required) in chronological order, and Kelly is where I left off.

Kelly was an awesome speaker. Her presentation style, content, and overall message were amazing. Some of the highlights:

-A grid is the most democratic way to lay out a city because it allows anybody to find his/her way without asking for directions. In a conversation the next morning, Kelly mentioned to me that some feminists argue that a circle is the most democratic, for what reason I do not remember. "I bet it's psychoanalytic feminists who say that," I responded, as if the term is a slur. "You bet." Damn you, psychoanalytic feminists!

-"Homogeneity is important to a lot of people... It's important to 92% of the people in my town." (on the homogeneity and the white population of her town)

-More than being democratic, the grid also allows for an element of surprise in the city. You turn a corner, and suddenly you bump into a neighbor, or a garage sale, or a flier for a lost kitten. Or, in Kelly's world, it would be nice to bump into a bit of history about your neighborhood, possibly printed on the back of a paper fan.

-"I like saying the word intercourse in public" (on social intercourse)

-Kelly met with some of the Davies students Friday morning, and she and I took a short walk around around the USF neighborhood. During the course of the stroll, Kelly stopped next to a box that holds plastic baggies for dog poo. The university erects the boxes in the hope that dog owners will clean up after their pets. Kelly pointed out how something such as the "doggie pot" can show what we value in our society - in this case, dogs, but not poo.

Thank you so much for speaking to (at? with?) us, Kelly!

Tag Cloud v.2

One of the tag cloud websites, TagCrowd, was down for some reason last night, but it is now up and running. Thus, here is a different tag cloud for the same project discussed previously. Also, the problem with tagging phrases (see comments for the previous post) has been fixed by combining all words in the phrase into one word, which results in some interesting looking tags that I promise are not typos.
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Tag Cloud

In class today, the Davies crew explored what it would be like to tag each other's blog posts (specifically, our "Best Blog Post Ever" assignment). We collectively tagged everybody's posts (except Steve, who is still working on his), and we came up with a list of 161 different tags.

I snapped a few pictures of the board, transfered all the data to a spreadsheet, and then created a paragraph of what our tags would look like. Since it takes almost an entire page, I won't post it here.

But I did found a sweet service that will create a tag could from any text you upload. Thus, you can find out collective tag cloud at Many Eyes. Enjoy!

StoneLake Farm

The Davies Forum event for this weekend was a trip to StoneLake Farm in Humboldt county. The farm was beautiful, the company was jovial, the food was tasty, and the weather was...

Well, it snowed. Some people might complain about the snow, and the cold, but I loved it. I grew up in the Sacramento Valley and it never snowed there. The few times I have been to Truckee there has been snow on the ground, but no snow falling from the sky. So let's just say I was a tad out of my element (heh), and I loved every minute of it.

More importantly, with my first snow came my first sighting of a snowflake. I'm not talking a little frozen droplet of water, nor a little ball of snow falling from the sky, but an actual flake. Like the ones you draw in kindergarten, with six points and lacy stuff in between. The biggest shock to me? Oh my god was it tiny! And perfect! And the tininess made it that much more perfect!

I immediately grabbed for my camera to snag a picture (macro photography is my fav genre), but realized that I had left it in the Octagon. I asked Blake if I could borrow his (the Davies crew always has at least one camera on hand), but before he could hand it to me the perfect snowflake melted into the dirt. It disappeared back into the earth, and though I did snag a shot of a less-perfect cousin, the only person who will ever see that perfect snowflake is me. I can talk about it at length, but I have no proof that it ever existed except my own memory of the incident.

And you know what? That's OK.

Government Control of Information = Really, Really Bad

This, among other reasons, is why I am leery of the government owning knowledge or the access to knowledge.