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Preview: CogSci Librarian

CogSci Librarian

Writing about and tweeting the intersection of Cognitive Science, Communication Science, Journalism, Psychology, & Library Science. And food.

Updated: 2018-02-01T10:22:48.719-05:00


Dropbox as Phone Scanner


I discovered that Dropbox has a scanning feature. This would be a great option for a student who needs to copy or scan something in the library but doesn't want to bother (or pay) for our equipment.

Here are some scans I've done with my phone:
my dad & me c1979.
(photo deliberately small to protect my 14-year old self)

A photo of a pdf I created of an assessment document I'm editing:
This is a handy option if you've got students with scanning needs. Or if YOU have scanning needs!

Photos and more photos


I created this infographic to help teach students some of the fun tips -n- tricks to searching Google. I developed it for a presentation by my colleague, Livis Freeman. He's going to ask his students to search UNC basketball players and he asked me for some tips that he could share with them.

News in a Post-Truth Era


Credible or click-bait? News literacy? Checking facts? "Fake News"? which is, at best, just false or at worst a lie.

How can you tell what's credible and what isn't? This needs to be taught, effectively and without bias. But how? The audience is ... middle- and high-schoolers. College students. Even adults!

I'm gathering the best articles and lesson plans and adding them to a guide I created:

It includes resources for evaluating news sources (I love you,!), lesson plans, and fact-checking websites. I'm tweaking a great checklist on evaluating news sites based on Evaluating news sites: Credible or Clickbait? by Candice Benjes-Small. Sooner or later, I'm going to add my favorite articles on the topic.

For now, I'll list some of them here:

I've been pondering this quite a bit lately and am speaking on the topic of teaching news literacy to a few different audiences. First to the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association advisors, then to a group of SILS and MEJO students at UNC on March 31, and to the Society or Professional Journalists Region 2 conference April 8 at Elon University.

Do you have a favorite resource for teaching how to evaluate news credibility? Do share!

Flipping the Information Literacy Classroom


I'm switched up my teaching and am using a flipped classroom model to teach four sections of Advertising and Public Relations Research at UNC's School of Media & Journalism.Their class task is to find secondary research on their client or brand in order to create a SWOT analysis. Working in small teams, students must identify their client's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats using any resources available to articulate these elements.After I found the amazing graphics information literacy textbook Information Now: A Graphic Guide to Student Research by Matt Upson, C. Michael Hall, and Kevin Cannon (which I wrote about last year), I decided to try flipping this session. I ask the faculty to have their students read several pages from the chapter "Journals & Databases" before class.I paired that reading with I readings of  four pre-selected articles on a "Brand in the News." They read a scholarly article, a trade article, a popular magazine article, and a SWOT analysis - which I pre-selected from my trio of databases. Check out the list of articles on my library portal for the class (aka LibGuide).When they get to class, we talk about each of these journal types based on their reading of the Information Now chapter and of the four articles. This takes about 15 minutes. Since they've already looked at EBSCO for the four articles, my demo on how to search EBSCO is relatively quick, so I quickly break them into their teams to research their client in the three databases. They get about 30 minutes to do their own searching, and then we talk about what they found and any search problems that cropped up along the way.This is in contrast to the old way, where I went into class and talked about the difference between scholarly, trade, and popular magazine articles. I'd bring in examples of each periodical and ask the students to articulate items such as the audience, writing style, use of graphics, and authors for each source type. These sessions were productive and I felt that students really understood the difference in article types. I'd then spend about 10 minutes showing them how to search Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier, and Communication & Mass Media Complete to find these articles.While students learned the difference in article types, they didn't really get a good sense of how to search -- at least, not in my anecdotal assessment.The new method teaches these sophomores & juniors the difference in article types just as effectively as before, with samples from their own discipline -- and for the most part, they learn this before I get into the classroom. That frees me to have them focus on their searching for scholarly, trade, and popular publications in their teams.The faculty like this approach and have been very willing to give the students the assignment prior to class. I'm heading into my second semester teaching this way and look forward to the results.[...]

Great CogSci podcast called @hiddenbrain


(image) I'm so glad to report that there is a good cognitive science podcast in the U.S.: Hidden Brain, hosted by NPR reporter Shankar Vedantam and available on NPR and wherever podcasts can be found.

The Dec. 13, 2016 episode, We're More Alike Than Different, Thanks To Peer Pressure's Relentless Influence features an interview with Penn marketing professor Jonah Berger and combines two of my interests: cognitive science and advertising / marketing.
Berger says we tend to be pretty good at recognizing how social influence and peer pressure affect other people's choices. But we're not so good at recognizing those forces in our own decision-making.
It's a great episode, and if you like cognitive science, I highly recommend Hidden Brain.

This makes a great compliment to Australia's outstanding cognitive science podcast, All in the Mind, which I've written about before.

Teaching Topics


I'm revising my instructional methods yet again this semester: I'm asking students to answer questions in advance of our time together. These questions typically relate to the assignment or mimic what the students would do in Real Life.

For instance, I asked the graduate students to find what we librarians call "known items" -- articles on a topic similar to one they will be researching on their own. The prompt indicates that the articles were assigned by a professor or were articles that they themselves found while reading a book assigned for class. I carefully chose the three article / types they needed to find:
  1. The first was easy to find on Mr. Google, whether on- or off-campus.
  2. The second was easy to find if the students used the library site I made for their class (i.e., if they used a library database)
  3. The third was only available as an Interlibrary Loan, through the library site I made for their class.
Their second scenario requires them to develop good search terms for that topic in a library database.

When I'm in the class with them, we leapfrog from these questions -- and the challenges they raise -- directly into doing searches in library resources. I am moderately confident that this method is increasing student engagement with the library instruction session... will need to do a bit of assessment to determine if that is the case.

You can see the prompts and the library site I prepared for one of these classes at
Stephanie teaching a PR class, Fall 2015

Information Now! "Graphic Textbook" for Info. Literacy


Information Now: A Graphic Guide to Student Research by Matt Upson, C. Michael Hall, and Kevin Cannon is a terrific addition to the tools I use to teach students how to do online research.I love it for two reasons:It's graphic, cute, and trendy ...It's accurate, thorough, and humorous.Here are some specifics of what I love about the book:The librarian uses chairs to illustrate why subject headings can be helpful -- adding that chairs are also seats, and are within the category of "furniture."Chairs, p. 34She illustrates Boolean operators with Venn diagrams, by talking about a search for Pirates (no, not the Pittsburgh Pirates), ships (no, not a UPS truck), and history: History of Pirate Ships, p. 46There's a whole chapter devoted to journals & databases, and I've used the 7-page discussion of popular, trade, and scholarly journals in classes with good results. Journals, p. 55The chapter on searching the web (including Wikipedia) is followed by a chapter on evaluating sources. The librarian offers the usual (to librarians) questions about authority, purpose, accuracy, relevance, and objectivity. Here's an illustration of a persuasive site:Persuasion, p. 86The book concludes with a chapter on Using Information Ethically, which covers plagiarism and citations, as well as how to quote or paraphrase what you've read.Paraphrasing, p. 92I've used it with undergraduates in one-shot sessions -- asking them to read a chapter or two before class, and then discussing the content in class. I've also taught the book in an introductory reference class at UNC's School of Information and Library Science. Finally, I've had my student workers read chapters of the book as part of their training on what a library does -- so they can better help their fellow students from behind the reference desk. I will definitely continue all of these.If you teach anyone to search for information, I recommend using this book as a supplement to instruction. It's terrific!Bonus: the book succeeds at being relatively inclusive in its graphics (although the librarian does reflect the majority of U.S. librarians in her look and gender).People Reading, p. 56Confession:I must raise an ethical question of my own: is it ok for me to use so many photos of graphics used in the book? Chicago University Press can answer the question ... but in my defense, I...took photos with my phone (i.e., lower quality) blurred out some of the text.only used a tiny handful of graphicsAND since the illustrations are what make the book so great, no review would be complete without at least a few selected images.[...]

More Photos


I've been busy taking photographs lately, so am spending less time immersed in cognitive science.
Check out some of my photos on Flickr or Instagram (same photos, different platform)

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Make it Matter @ #NCLA15


I've been very involved in the North Carolina Library Association 61st Biennial Conference, and I've been able to collaborate with my colleagues and students at UNC's School of Media & Journalism as part of that involvement.I served as chair of the publicity committee, which involved all aspects of promotion for the conference. To start with, I asked two MEJO design students to create the conference logo, which was used on all of our material and on our conference bags:Thanks, Katie King & Camille Romac-Gullo!Katie King also designed our program and pre-conference brochure, and both look terrific.I've also worked to promote the conference on social media and other methods -- and filled in content for the pre-conference brochure. Fortunately, my awesome colleague April Everett from the Rowan County Public Library filled in all the content for the final program. Follow the conference tweets at #ncla15.At the conference, I collaborated with two colleagues from the Durham County Library to present a three-hour pre-conference session discussing the use of social media in libraries.  We primarily talked about using Twitter and Facebook (DurhamCountyLib is awesome on Twitter), and we covered issues such as content, social media clients, and control & coordination of the accounts. We also talked about social media policies, visibility, and analytics -- and we ended with a brief discussion of the other social media tools we use.We created a guide with notes and links from the session: Social Media Hacks: Tips & Conversation for Enhancing Social Media Use in Libraries - and we had a great time talking to academic and public library colleagues across the state about using social media.Finally, I had a poster session presenting results of my research with MEJO professor Jim Hefner: Does Forcing Students to Ask for Help Work? Assessing the Effect of REQUIRING Term Paper Consults The short answer is: YES, forcing students to ask for library help does work. See my earlier post Requiring Students to Meet with a Librarian for more details of that research.Stephanie discusses the results with Brigitte Blanton, director of Greensboro Public Library.It's been a great conference, and I'm thrilled to incorporate so much of my daily work into the association and the conference.[...]

AP Videos - free! online!


The Associated Press has just uploaded "one million minutes of historical footage" to YouTube! It's an impressive collection.  Check it out on YouTube, or read their July 2015 press release AP makes one million minutes of historical footage available on YouTube; they say there will be over 550,000 videos from 1895 to present.

If you're a librarian or a search geek, however, you might want to head on over to the AP Archive page at which offers more search and browsing options. The search box is decent, permitting quotes and Boolean operators. The Advanced search pulldown, right next to the search box lets you search by date or decade, and also lets you specific color, aspect ratio, and original source.

The "Compilations" section offers pre-selected content on several subjects, such as
I discovered a challenge with dates on YouTube, which is troubling, because those are so important in searching for past events.

On YouTube, the dates range from unclear to actually wrong. I've seen some videos that say "published on July XX, 2015" which could be true. But I've seen videos about the death of Princess Diana (for example), that also say "published on July XX, 2015."  This could be true, if they are saying that the video was published to YouTube on that date. But it's impossible to find the video's original date - aired or shot - on YouTube.

The archive site is much better on date display. A story about the Ferguson police chief has a "Date: 08/10/2014 05:18 PM" field. Presumably, that's the date that the video was aired, which was also presumably close to the date that it was shot.

It's much easier to share / reuse AP videos on YouTube, since they use the usual share and embed options. Here's a video of Panda Awareness Week in 20102 (tho' I don't know when in 2012):
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I found a neat video of the Macy's Day Parade on Nov. 24, 1966, but I cannot easily share it. I emailed it to myself and have the link: but it would be nice to be able to embed that too.

Still, for free, this is pretty awesome.

Fresh Cooked Edamame


As I was perusing the gorgeous displays at the Durham Farmer's Market today, I lingered at Piedmont Biofarm ... and discovered some fresh edamame. I've made it before, but this time I decided to research recipes to see if I could recreate the yummy experience of the edamame at Dashi.

This wasn't Dashi's, but it was QUITE DELICIOUS!

I couldn't find one, so I made up one, which I'll gladly reproduce and source here.

Stephanie’s Fresh Edamame
  • Sprinkle edamame generously with salt, rub vigorously, and let stand 15 minutes.
  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil, add the beans and boil over high heat for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Don't cover the pot or the beans will lose their bright green color.
Drain cooked edamame in a colander and pat dry.

In same pot … heat:
  • Teaspoon of sesame seeds for 30 seconds, then add: 
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) or sesame oil
  • 2 cubes frozen garlic (or 2 teaspoons if you use fresh; I used Trader Joe's frozen for this quick meal)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper paste (or equal measure of your favorite red pepper flakes
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • Smidge of fresh ginger
Cook for ~3 minutes

Add edamame to the sauce and toss; heat until edamame is warm

First part (i.e., tossing the edamame with salt & letting it sit for 15 minutes)
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved, at
Read more at:

Second Part adapted from:
Chili Garlic Edamame Recipe | Cooking with Coley

Podcast from @ProPublica, or, how news sausage is made


My new favorite podcast is from online news outlet ProPublica.

The official blurb about it is:

The ProPublica Podcast is a weekly program featuring interviews with reporters about the latest investigations published by ProPublica.

I love the interviews with reporters, most of whom write for ProPublica. But they also interview reporters covering stories for other news organizations. These interviews are on all topics, though health reporter Charlie Ornstein has interviewed a lot of reporters recently. His podcasts include:

Meet the Reporter Behind That Bogus Chocolate Study (Ornstein talks with John Bohannon about his reporting of a fake scientific study about the health value of chocolate; June 8, 2015)
Inside an HIV Epidemic (Ornstein talks with WTHR's Bob Segall about southeast Indiana's recent HIV outbreak; June 1, 2015)
MuckReads Podcast: When Diet Drugs Harm Instead of Help (April 27, 2015)

The New York Times two-part story on conditions for nail salon workers was a both health story and a long-term investigative piece; ProPublica reporters Lois Beckett and Marian Wang spoke with Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir in Behind the Scenes of Your Mani-Pedi (May 26, 2015).

If you like investigative journalism, or if you're interested in any of these topics, the ProPublica podcast is excellent listening.

PR Collaborations with Students: #ParkLibSavesTime


I worked with 2015 PR major, Michelle Park, to promote the Park Library to students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Our goal was to persuade students that talking to me could save them time and help them turn into more efficient searchers.

(image) Michelle's idea was to serve food and inspire students; she named the event "S'mores with Stephanie" and baked a s'mores cake (chocolate cake with marshmallows - mmm!). She designed a terrific graphic, and we developed the #ParkLibSavesTime hashtag.

We targeted two classes whose students had to use the library in their spring classes. We also invited students from the entry-level news writing course to come and cover the story as an assignment for class.

The session featured a student-led panel of students who had worked with me for classes and talked, in their own words, about how using library resources improved their classwork. We also had a three-question treasure hunt, with prizes for those who answered the questions quickly (there were also "Easter egg" prizes for students who chatted with us, tweeted the session, or clicked on a tab on the S'mores website.

The evaluations were positive from students in all groups: we received post-event feedback from 12 attendees (almost 50%), most of whom had never met with a librarian before but said they were more likely to do so in the future.

Our collaboration caught the attention of JOMC professor Nori Comello, who encouraged Michelle to submit the campaign to the N.C. Public Relations Society of America. And in fact, Michelle won their InSpire Award, with great feedback from the judges.

These notes included (emphasis mine):

  • "love that your hashtag included an actionable message ... not just "ParkLib" but "Saves Time." Brilliant. Again, most professionals don't think to use this ..."
  • "Really thoughtful ideas here - doing the reverse interview was brilliant. I remember having to go through Library orientation, and even though I do a lot of research for my current job and love libraries, the term "library orientation"just scares everyone. "
  • "Really good results, especially for a first time event! I'm only surprised that the Library plans to limit it to an annual event. I would think that doing this at least every semester (if not 3 or 4 nights at the start of each term) would benefit not only freshman but all students as they navigate new class demands. "

Michelle has graduated, and I'm left pondering the advice to do this several times each semester.

For more info:

Because cats are essential to any presentation ...


@teodor_thecat icons are essential. There are some great free ones on iconarchive, and there are some additional free ones on the iconka website (here are the Cat Power icons). You can also purchase a full set of the "cat commerce" icons for $18.99.

The best part of all this is Teodor the Personal Catness Instructor at

This all makes presentations so much more fun!
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Collecting News Style Guides; need Visual Style Guides


I'm building a collection of stylebooks for newspaper and other news outlets. The collection primarily includes titles from various newspapers in the United States, such as the the "AJC (Atlanta Journal & Constitution) Style : Style and Reference Guide Covering News, Sports, Business and Features Issues"(1998);  "The Kansas City Star Stylebook" (1987); "The Los Angeles Times Stylebook" (1979 & 1995) … and so many more. Browse the titles in our collection.We have local stylebooks: The News & Observer, 2001-2005; the Daily Tar Heel (1932 and 2001); plus the "Stylebook of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication" (1983-present), and which is now online only (pdf).We have books for usage when covering different groups, such as the "CNS (Catholic News Service) Stylebook on Religion;" the "GLAAD Media Reference Guide;" and the "Manual de Estilo" from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.We have stylebook from various wire services — of course we have the Associated Press stylebook for many years (our first edition is from 1953), as well as "A handbook of Reuters Journalism : A Guide To Standards, Style, Operations" (2008); various editions of "The Bloomberg Way : A Guide for Reporters and Editors;" and the "United Press Radio News Style Book" (1943).There are some for non-journalism entities, such as the "Style book and editorial manual" from the American Medical Association (c1965)Most of our stylebooks are from the United States, but we have one from Canada ("The Gazette Style" c1995) and two from the UK ("Stylebook of the Manchester Guardian Style," 1928 and "BBC News Style Guide," c2014).HOWEVER, we don't have any guides to the use of graphics, fonts, or illustrations in a newspaper, magazine, or website. Our books focus almost exclusively on the use of text, grammar, and punctuation. Earlier this semester, the design & graphic editors at the Daily Tar Heel asked for some graphic style guides, thus illuminating a glaring hole in our collection.At my colleague Andy Bechtel's request, I solicited the assistance of visual journalist and social media savant Charles Apple, who blogged my request for visual style guides: The University of North Carolina seeks your style guides.Happily, I received one from Stacie Greene Hidek, the Online Editor at the (Wilmington) StarNews. We're sending it to the bindery so that it will withstand use by patrons for many years to come.[...]

Requiring Students to Meet with a Librarian, @launcch


My SILS grad assistant and I presented some interesting research at the Librarians' Association at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conference on March 13, 2015.

Check out our slides:

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More details:

I've worked with students in Jim Hefner's JOMC 424 (Electronic Media Management) class, spending more and more time with his students. In spring 2014, he began *requiring* students to meet with a librarian, rather than encouraging them to do so, as they prepared to write their 12-15 page research paper. He had tried all manner of encouragement with little success; requiring students to meet with a librarian was much more successful.

In fall 2014, we received IRB approval to survey Hefner's students to assess if their meeting with us had an effect on their confidence in writing the paper (somewhat) and they perceived it would have an effect on meeting with a librarian in the future (they said it did).

This presentation highlights our research findings and discusses our plans for future interactions with Hefner's students.

Takeaway message: Tell faculty to require students to meet with a librarian!

Birds in the Snow, in North Carolina


The recent snow was a great opportunity to take bird photos - from the comfort of my own living room (and occasionally on the deck).

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This is my favorite from the 1400+ photos I took during the snow. I was standing underneath the sourwood tree on our deck, hoping for a bird to come within my camera's range.

And along came the brown-headed nuthatch!

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I went outside early the next morning and captured some amazing images of sun shining through leaves, ice, and snow. This is oak leaf is my favorite. Click on the image to see more from the snow, or browse my "Outside in the South" album on Flickr.

Webster "Superman" Brown: We Hardly Knew Ye


We adopted kittens Webster and Lucinda (not biological siblings, but fostered together) in August: he was about 4 months old and she was a month older. They were darling kittens and really got along well together.Sadly, Webster developed Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), which is what his brother Darnarian died of back in May. It's a horrible disease which affects many internal organs and is always fatal, usually quite quickly. We were fortunate that Webster lived with his diagnosis for almost two months; his initial prediction was 20-30 days.Lucinda (tuxedo) & Webster (tabby)His primary nickname was Superman because when he jumped off a table or the bed he would spread all four legs wide and sail off into the wild - and if he'd had a cape, it would have flown out behind him.Webster was a regular newspaper eater: he liked to sit on the kitchen table with me and chew on the paper as I read it. And he was a crafty kitteh: Webster liked to sit in the middle of my photography work and provide assistance.A little newspaper nommingHelping with craftsHis favorite song might have been John Fogerty's Centerfield. When he was well, and very kitteny, he would sing to me: "Put me in coach! I'm ready to play! I'm ready to play today!" He'd add ... "I don't know what I'm going to play, but I'm ready! I'm ready to play!"Webster preferred to chase his food than eat it out of a bowl. More than once, he left a full bowl of crunchies in order to chase kibbles I'd thrown to keep his sister Lucinda running & in shape. Webster ran down the hall to chase crunchies, returning to his bowl only when the game was over.He was a very affectionate, social cat. His purr motor was almost constantly on; in fact, two veterinarians had trouble hearing his heart due to his purring. He liked to be with his people and his sister Lucinda, right up until the end. He is survived by his adopted sisters Lucinda (now 9 months) and Emma (a very healthy 15 years).Webby, webby, webby, webby, Webster. Rest in peace, little guy. Thanks to ... Independent Animal Rescue & Foster Mom Pam (article from UNC's Daily Tar Heel) Piedmont Veterinary Clinic, especially Drs. Sugg and Kipp.NC State Veterinary Hospital, especially Jamie and Dr. Wiley.For More Information about FIPFIP - Feline Infectious Peritonitis patient handout from Cornell Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) - Feline Infectious Peritonitis and Coronavirus Information from Dr. Diane Addie Understanding Feline Infectious Peritonitis (pdf) by UC Davis' Niels C. Pedersen For Helpful, Knowledgeable Support the FIP Fighters Group on Facebook is full of knowledgeable, caring humans who have dealt with FIP in one (or more) cats.[...]

Text Visualization / Content Analysis with @VoyantTools


Many of my research colleagues do content analysis on newspapers, and there's a new tool which may provide useful to them. Let's explore Voyant Tools, a "web-based reading and analysis environment" which provides lots of high-level insight into text. I did a quick LexisNexis search on articles written in college newspapers about sexual assault and pasted a few of them into You can see the word cloud above as well as the text on the right.If you click on any of the words in the cloud or in the text itself you'll also see where in the document the term appears, and you can see a list of Keywords in Context.Click on the plus-sign next to the phrase, and you see more of the context.I was able to export a URL for this Keywords in Context chart, so you can see it in all its glory.There are myriad other export features in the tool, including a list of words by count, comma- and tab-separated options, and more.It seems like a good option for exploring text on a very broad level. And it's a quick way to provide graphics for publications or presentations on your text analysis.There is a stop-word list so you can exclude common words; you can edit this list as well (I excluded lots of common LexisNexis terminology like "u-wire" and "document;" should I have excluded "said" as well?). It is possible to upload multiple documents, so that you can compare coverage of a topic in one newspaper against coverage in another paper.Some of the limitations for newspaper research include:It's not possible to analyze pdfs, for relatively obvious reasons; but this eliminates the ability to search many historic newspapers which are available online only as pdfs.If you export multiple stories from LexisNexis or America's News, they are exported as one document, which makes it impossible to compare documents against each other in Voyant-Tools. To do this kind of analysis, you'd need to export the documents one at a time, which would quickly get tiresome.Here's a screen shot of an analysis I did of eight individually downloaded articles from LexisNexis -- that process was a bit cumbersome, but the data is interesting:The chart at right shows the number of times the word "women" appears in each of the eight artcles. You can see a quick analysis of all the words in the eight articles under the Word cloud (or here).This has great potential in the newspaper content analysis toolbox.[...]

Photo Apps @FolkSchool ... Phun with iPhone Photos


I truly enjoyed Catherine Anderson's Seeing with Quiet Eyes class at the John C. Campbell Folk School last week. I learned a lot and took some great photos. I bought an Easy-Macro iPhone (and other phone cameras) macro lens ... which I used to take this photo of a lily sticking through leaves at UNC's Arboretum.We spent an afternoon playing with photo apps for the iPhone and iPad. Catherine mentioned 8-10 ... most of which are ad-supported / free with ad-free versions available. The ones I tried are:SnapseedA general photo editing program (from Google). There are multiple editing options in Snapseed, and most of them can be made by finger-swiping. Editing is easy for newbies - you don't have to know about healing or contrast or white balance ... just click on an option and swipe.Before & After in Snapseed - as easy as clicking the landscape button on the top right of the screen: My final Snapseed image:PhotopathThis lets you put multiple photos on one image. In addition, you can tweak image borders - change from square to rounded, and change the colors.border and color options in PhotopathFinal Photopath image ... of the Folk SchoolPhonto lets you put text on images -- and offers a great many fonts, layout options, and even symbols.Repix lets you draw on your photos. It's not something I'd do all that often, but the sparkly effects sure are fun on this lily. I also used Repix' filter options - which you can apply and tweak to increase or decrease the effect.Catherine also mentioned Waterlogue, which turns images into watercolor paintings. I didn't download it, but the demo in class was very pretty.For online image editing, Catherine suggests; I'd already started using PicMonkey (at @samkatben's recommendation) -- so check them both out.Catherine suggested Costco (Costco Photo Center) as a great option for ordering photos. I just ordered some and am very impressed with the ordering options. These include:Turning off their auto-correct - useful if you've spent time correcting color or removing blemishes.Customizing text printed on the back of photos (I have set the default to include the date).Set the crop for individual photos. Tell them where you want a 8x10 cropped, which is different from where a 4x6 image would be cropped. Inexpensive -- for me, 8x10 photos are $1.49 and 11x14 photos are $2.99. I even printed one at 8x8 (for $1.49).Catherine likes ordering larger images from Costco because larger photos don't get rolled.For more great ideas from Catherine, check out her 2011 book the Creative Photographer.[...]

Photo Camp! ... at the @FolkSchool


I will be learning to see with quiet eyes next week at the John Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC.

I can't wait to spend a whole week immersed in photography -- all day, every day. I hope to learn new skills, and yes, to improve how I see the world in a photographic sense.

Here's info. about the class: Seeing with Quiet Eyes Class at the Folk School, and here's a post the instructor, Catherine Anderson, wrote about a similar workshop she gave called Seeing with Quiet Eyes: Photography as Meditation Retreat.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate, and be alternately sunny, rainy, foggy ... and not too hot. It'll be just past the summer solstice out in the N.C. mountains, so the light will last a long time.

Late Spring Cooking


I made two delicious dishes this weekend:Mark Bittman's Beet Roesti with Rosemary (from How to Cook Everything)Bittman blogged this recipe in the New York Times back in 2008: Beet Rosti With Rosemary. The beets were fabulous, as they always are from Pine Knot Farms. The rosemary was from my kitchen garden.The photo doesn't do the beets justice - they were terrific.  Tonight I made Singapore (Street) Noodles (from the July / August 2014 issue of Cook's Illustrated). The magazine calls them Singapore Noodles (tho' they're from Hong Kong, not from Singapore), but I know them as Singapore Street Noodles, so that's what I call them.I made the recipe for 4-6, but the recipe for 2 is online through August: Singapore Noodles for Two Recipe.Just about everything was from NC., except for the noodles and the spices. The shrimp were from Core Sound Seafood, a local community supported fishery (CSF) that also sells to our local food coop. Scrumptious!The red peppers were from Vollmer Farms (whose berries are out of this world) and the eggs were from Roberson Creek Farm. I want to finish the whole batch! [...]

Darnarian "Potamus" Brown, RIP


We adopted Darnarian from the MSPCA back in December, 2006 (see his welcome post). He had a wonderful life with us, but he recently developed Feline Infectious Peritonitis, or FIP, or as I call it, "Fatal Kitty Disease."Darnarian was a wonderful kitty, and he died today, largely because of FIP, but more directly due to "anemia of chronic illness."He was fond of squirrel watching, and he never met a ball he didn't like. Other hobbies included sleeping (he was an excellent sleeper!), eating dust out of corners, and lying in the middle of the kitchen while we were preparing dinner. The garage was one of his special spots -- he loved to roll around in his pop's wood shavings. He loved any bathroom, especially toilets, sinks, and bathtubs; he was particularly fond of curling up in any sink just about his size. Of course, he was a box-dweller too: he hopped into any box around.When we had a house with stairs, he loved to run up three or four flights at a time; once he slid off the banister when he got to the top floor, resulting in a bloody nose.He was a magnet for funny names - Darnarian itself is fun to say and never boring, but we also called him Potamus, and sometimes, the Mayor of Potamus-town. Early on, we called him the "weenie wiggler" and more recently, we called him "head butter 5" in honor of his fondness for head-butting and as a riff on UNC basketball player Kendall Marshall's "Kbutter5" Twitter name.Darnarian lived in two states (that we know of): Massachusetts and North Carolina, and he's always been a trouper. Even on that 14-hour trip from MA to NC, he didn't make a peep.Darnarian's current favorite toy is "fleece-on-a-stick," also known as the Cat Charmer. Here he is with his sister Emma on a recent Sunday morning. Darnarian is survived by his non-biological sister Emma (who is now 15) and his two humans. All of us are grateful to his smart, kind, and caring veterinarians (Drs. Kipp and Heinz at Piedmont Veterinary Clinic, and Dr. Flood at Triangle Veterinary Referral Hospital).FIP is a pretty horrible disease. For information from a few reputable sources, check out Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) from (a highly reputable source for all veterinary information; recommended & supported by veterinarians) Feline Infectious Peritonitis from the wonderful vets at Cornell.Understanding Feline Infectious Peritonitis, by UC Davis' Niels C. Pedersen, DVM, PhD & FIP researcher (pdf).[...]

#scioTradLit at #scio14


I'm excited to be leading a discussion at this week's ScienceOnline conference in Raleigh called “How Traditional Research Literature Should Change to Improve Access to Scientific Knowledge.”

Many of us at ScienceOnline read primary research literature, but even here, the audience of readers is quite diverse. We range from high school students to professors of PhD students; we include journalists and public relations experts; some of us are science fans with no scientific training.

Here are some of the questions we'll ponder together:
  • Is there a way for teachers and/or journalists to teach readers not only how to read the scholarly literature, but also how to be skeptical of science? 
  • How can scientists help non-experts understand their work?
  • How do we access the primary literature? 
  • How can we encourage publishers and authors to participate in more open access publishing, and is that realistic? 
  • What are other ways that students, faculty, journalists, and the general public can access the primary literature?
 If you'll be at the conference, join me Thursday Feb. 27 from 4:00pm - 5:00pm in Room 6 (McKimmon Center).

If you're following from afar, join in the discussion & follow the thread at the ScienceOnline Forum site.