I was recently reading a little about Judith Cohen, an engineer who worked on the Apollo Program, the Hubble Space Telescope and more. She was involved in the development of the Abort-Guidance System in the Apollo Lunar Module which was key to the rescue of the Apollo 13 astronauts.
She was pregnant with her fourth child at the height of the Apollo Program, apparently even taking work to the hospital when she gave birth shortly after Apollo 11. That child: Thomas Jacob “Jack” Black.
(hat tip: Hank Green)
“It is easy to lie with statistics; it is easier to lie without them.” – Frederick Mosteller
(hat tip: @DataSciFact)
I’ve been wondering for a while the extent to which something like GitHub Sponsors or Patreon could support my open source and open scholarship. I’d held off on Patreon, instead choosing to dip my toe in the GitHub sponsorship waters. Going with GitHub versus Patreon may reduce my audience but given I’m mostly producing open source software and data (all on GitHub), I still think it makes more sense. If I start doing more open educational resources, that might change but one thing about GitHub vs Patreon is the former takes no cut.
I’m now up to three regular sponsors and also got a very kind one-off contribution recently. I only have a small $5 tier at the moment. I’m thinking of adding a $20 and $100 tier but the biggest question I have is whether to “offer” anything in exchange for the higher tiers. Or whether that even matters.
If you’d like to sponsor my open source / data work, you can do so from https://github.com/jtauber/.
I’ve lived in Slack since the early beta and I’m in a lot of workspaces. But recently more communities I’m interested in hanging out with seem to use Discord which, not being a gamer, I was a latecomer too.
I don’t know if it’s simply because the communities are much larger or just because I’m not used to it but I feel overwhelmed by Discord and find it harder to keep up-to-date so don’t spend prolonged periods of time there.
A few weeks ago, two people (seemingly independently) tweeted about amateurs (in the sense of “doing it for the love of it”) paying underemployed academics to basically guide them through serious (but informal) study of a subject. I started thinking about building something around this idea.
The first person was someone personally wanting to learn more about a subject and having a specific advanced undergraduate text (with exercises) in mind and who was looking for someone to grade their answers, answer any questions, etc.
The second person was specifically presenting it as a business idea they thought someone (like me!) could implement and listed topics they could tutor on and a topic they themselves would be interested in being tutored on.
While I myself would probably also fall in the category of both tutor and tutored, I think “in kind” tutoring exchange would be less of a focus and the more common case would be the amateur with disposable income willing to pay to get tutoring.
So I thought I’d see if I can get some interest in this idea. My inclination is to generally focus the topics at an advanced undergraduate / early graduate level with the tutor (say a recent doctoral graduate) structuring things through a reading list and/or textbooks.
I set up an initial survey form to gather interest / feedback / ideas. My discussion of this idea on twitter got more response that my survey, but if you’re interested in the idea, please go to the following link (and share it with others):
Work continues on marking up Wright’s 1910 Grammar of the Gothic Language and on noun data for my Morphological Lexicon of Ancient Greek. I also plan to release some old Beowulf data soon, including a line-for-line translation I’ve been correcting the OCR on. More on all this soon.
Next weekend is The Prancing Pony Podcast Digital Moot.
I’ll be giving a talk with Elise Trudel Cedeño about our collaborations on Tolkien-based educational material. The collaboration first started with a series of three guest blog posts I contributed to Elise’s blog. You can read part 1, part 2, and part 3. Stay tuned for more work in this area, including in partnership with the Tolkien Society.
And speaking of the Tolkien Society. They recently made the wonderful decision to make their journal, Mallorn, open access. I’ve been working with their editor, Luke Shelton, on extracting individual article PDFs from the archival PDFs of each issue. That’s mostly done and then I’ll be looking at extracting play text, generating keywords, etc.
Lots of work continues with the Digital Tolkien Project. One thing I’ve been exploring is what might be possible if we digitized Scull and Hammond’s invaluable Chronology of Tolkien’s life. I have no idea yet if they’d be interested (much less HarperCollins) but it’s a resource for scholars that I think would greatly benefit from being an online database (even if paywalled) as well as a physical book.
I’ve also started various annotations of the core texts that go beyond the typical linguistic into more the area of narrative analysis. So I’m learning a lot about narratology and such things. Which leads me to…
I’m still duplicating a lot of books I have back in Boston, but one new purchase worth calling out was Gérard Genette’s Narrative Discourse which was a landmark work in the analysis of fiction and is proving quite fascinating to me.