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CHI Fellowship Program

Jack Biggs

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March 17, 2017

Making headway…finally

March 17, 2017 | By | No Comments

The past few months have been incredibly frustrating as I made little headway in creating my clickable SVG of a juvenile skeleton using Raphaël.js.  By clicking on a certain bone, the user would be taken to another page corresponding to age estimation methods for that bone and use the features specified to come up with an estimated age.  Since clickable SVGs are created as paths that have beginnings and endings, each path corresponds to either a single bone or a closed path on a bone.  As a result, this means that each bone would have its own link, so to simplify the process, entire regions of bones will be selected at once no matter which bone you click on.  The skeletal regions have been split up according to standard anatomical regions: skull, thorax (ribs, vertebrae, sternum), upper limbs (hands, forearms, arms, clavicles, scapulae), pelvic girdle (pelvis and sacrum), and lower limbs.

Although I appeared to have the correct links and format for Raphaël.js, nothing would work and nothing showed up on my webpage.  Fortunately, I think I have found a way around that.  Instead of linking raphaël.js and my skeletal SVG data paths from separate files, I was able to successfully link embed the SVG data directly into the body of my html page without even using raphaël.js.  Downside is that this makes the code on my html page much longer and look less clean.  However, it correctly links and works and so I’m happy to have slightly less concise code if it means that one of the main functions will work!

As an example, I’ve copied and pasted my example here (https://jabiggs13.github.io/skull-test/).  For right now, the outlines of the skeleton are linked to another website so when you click on a feature, it takes you to eskeletons.org – a website created by the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin dedicated to teaching basic human skeletal anatomy as well as focusing on other primate skeletal morphology.  (This was honestly the first site that popped in my head when testing to see if the linking feature of my SVG worked).

As it stands right now, there is a major problem that I had not anticipated.  The only portion of the skeleton that is truly clickable is the outline of each bone, not the actual bone itself.  This was not a problem I had thought about until I finally got everything working.  My solution to this problem is basically messing with the original paths and outlines of the SVG so that the space between the outline is filled in and is the actual clickable content.  With this process, there are now exponentially more paths, meaning that there are way more individual closed loops that would require their own separate links as the program (Inkscape – free!) is no longer recognizing my grouped regions (i.e. it is not recognizing the ‘ribcage’ but each individual rib or piece of rib that is its own separate loop).  Though less than ideal, this may just be the nature of the beast so that each individual path would then have to have its own link, making my skeletal regions less useful as an overarching theme.

Despite this newest hiccup, I am incredibly relieved to be past this one major hurdle do I can now focus on each of the individual ageing methods that will link up to specific bones.

Links:

http://eskeletons.org/

https://inkscape.org/en/

Jessica Yann

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March 16, 2017

Project Update!

March 16, 2017 | By | No Comments

Greetings all! I don’t have many exciting new developments to report on my CHI project, so instead I thought I would share with you some screen shots of where I am at right now, and some of the pieces I could use help on.  The first is coming up with a flashier banner to go across the top. You can see my current placeholder banner below:

Along with that, I need a flashier title for my project.  You should be able to access it here, if you want to take a look at it in its current state. I’m still working on formatting, so you may still see some odd placement, off font size, or other issues.  However, please point them out!

All that aside, I have been learning a lot about how to make archaeological information accessible to the public. It is a lot more difficult than I anticipated to take the language from a National Register form, convert it into something that a school kid could understand, and maintain the information about why that site is importance.  I’ve done more editing on the text for each of my timeline events than on anything else!  We often underestimate the importance of communicating archaeology to the public. One of my main goals with this project is to successfully show how important archaeology is to understanding our past.  I hope by the time I am finished I will have succeeded, at least somewhat, in doing just that.

nesbit17

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March 1, 2017

Getting Back to the Basics: Reducing the Content of My Site

March 1, 2017 | By | No Comments

My original vision for this project was to make a website showcasing the work I have been doing in collaboration with my colleagues in the Sociolinguistics Lab at MSU.  We’ve been documenting speech in the Greater Lansing Area over the last few years and have come across some unexpected trends…speech in Lansing is moving away from the prototypical rust-belt dialect and towards a more western (maybe Californian) dialect!

The website was going to showcase these facts. My earlier vision also included showcasing the sociolinguistics literature and previous findings regarding the Michigan dialect, commenting on how variationists like myself usually differentiate between dialects.  This then turned into having to describe (socio)linguistic theory and Bill Labov and vowel formants and standardization and OMG.  Waaay too much information.

Needless to say, I had a talk with myself and decided that I should just stick to the facts.  The stuff people, linguists and non-linguists alike, care about.  So, for better or for worse, my website is much simpler than originally planned, but I think it’s for the best.  No one wants to read the equivalent of a novel when they visit a website, right? Right!

nesbit17

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March 1, 2017

Slowly

March 1, 2017 | By | No Comments

I wrote this in January and never published it, so here goes anotha try

I’ve done away with Bootstrap and am giving it a go with HTML and CSS.  Everything is coming along… slowly but surely.  I wish I could globally change my sub-pages, but am not savvy enough to know how. Lots of copy/paste going on.  Still pondering a name for the website.  It’ll likely come to me in a dream.

swayampr

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February 27, 2017

Working out NorrisTown!

February 27, 2017 | By | No Comments

In the last month, I have begun putting the innards of my website together. Unsurprisingly it was difficult. But I am happy to report some progress! At this point, I am working towards making a page that whose format I would like to replicate in the other pages. In other happy news, I was able to procure some archival material (thanks to the internet and sagacious archival staff at Cornell University and the National Archives in Atlanta), seminal to my project.

In working out a page format I liked, I first went to a front end platform like Bootstrap. Unfortunately, what I wanted needed too many changes to the template. So I just began working ground-up. As someone new to JavaSript and CSS, I prefer to have everything at one place. It might be a slightly archaic way of working and definitely pedantic, but it’s the one way I am able to work on ‘website stuff’ without having to work again on a separate CSS file etc.

Broadly speaking the website will have five sections: about; ‘Norris: A Utopia’; ‘Understanding Norris’; ‘Photographing Norris’; ‘Company Towns in America’. Each of these sections will further have a drop down menu listing out sub-sections.

The section exploring Norris as a utopia will explore the imaginations that understood Norris as a utopia. It will explore the utopian nature of Norris through newspaper clippings, material generated by the TVA to justify Norris and extoll its virtues, press releases, and essays/commentary by architects and planners of Norris (this is where the Earle Draper papers would feature heavily).

Housing in Norris was based on typologies. The next section, ‘Understanding Norris’ will trace the rationale of the housing typologies, the housing typologies themselves and relating the typologies to plans, elevations and housing types.

As an important infrastructural project the Norris Dam was important for the TVA in many ways. As a project undertaken during the Great Depression, the Norris Dam and the town of Norris were photographed extensively by the Farm and Security Administration (FSA)- Office of War Information[1]. The photographs are available at the Library of Congress website. The next section then will showcase the FSA photographs, in addition to photographs of Norris from newspapers etc.

Lastly, Norris was company town. The last section will examine briefly, a history of company towns in the United States through essays and book sections. This section will also showcase further sources that readers can access on company towns.

On a personal note, I have begun to work in and through GitHub, a platform that has been giving me nightmares for many months now!

The page format I am veering towards is here . I would really appreciate any feedback you might have!

Also, I am really looking for a fun title. I welcome all ideas!!

[1] For more see http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/fsa/

Erin Pevan

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February 24, 2017

An organized chaos of Ngrams, corpora, and theory

February 24, 2017 | By | No Comments

At this point in my project exploring Norwegian national identity in literature over time, there is not much to report other than my continued progress knee-deep into the different pieces of my project. Over the past several weeks, I have been delving into different visualization tools to illustrate trends in national identity in Norway over time, and Ngram viewers (such as Google Ngram Viewer and Culturomics Bookworm, as well as a new fun Ngram discovery from the Norwegian Nasjonalbibliotekets Språkbanken repository) are the tools I am currently testing as my visualization for these trends.
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Jessica Yann

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February 17, 2017

Timeglider JS: moving right along

February 17, 2017 | By | No Comments

Construction of my timeline project is moving right along.  I have almost completely entered in all of the basic events, and have formatted the website into what it will basically look like. It is really coming together! I am using Timeglider JS as the framework for the timeline portion of my project and coding the rest of the pages with html/css. So far, it has been pretty easy to manipulate the basic components of Timeglider to enter in my own data points and re-do the icons (I’m pretty proud of my legend).  It has definitely been a learning process, but I think it will do what I want. Assuming I keep all my commas where they are supposed to be.

While the content is not yet as complete as it will be by the end of the project, I welcome feedback (just understand that nothing is yet in its final version!). You can view my timeline here.     Perhaps more importantly, I need a catchy title! Timeline of Michigan Archaeology is just too long. What do you think, internet? Take a peak through the site, then give me your feedback.  If I choose your title, I’ll give you an acknowledgement on my page! 🙂

 

 

nesbit17

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February 3, 2017

Slowly Building My Website

February 3, 2017 | By | No Comments

I’ve done away with Bootstrap and am giving it a go with HTML and CSS.  Everything is coming along… slowly but surely.  I wish I could globally change my sub-pages, but am not savvy enough to know how. Lots of copy/paste going on.  Still pondering a name for the website.  It’ll likely come to me in a dream. Hopefully.

pebbles1

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February 3, 2017

Responsive Rhetoric

February 3, 2017 | By | No Comments

This week has been a hard one and the year has had a rocky start for me: I have been sick, and I am concerned about the recent news that overlaps with my community and research. President Trump is making way for Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL). Opposition to these two pipelines is the basis of the Native movements around Idle No More and Standing Rock (Mni Wiconi) which pushed for the stoppage of both Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipeline. This is particularly discouraging as this action would threaten tribal sovereignty and break treaty law.

The result of this decision to allow the pipelines to move forward has yet to be seen. However, I am interested to see that protests occurred immediately after the announcement was made; the announcement was made two days ago and, since then, there were protests in New York two days ago and in Washington D.C. yesterday, and one in Minnesota today against the decision to encourage the continued development on these pipelines with hundreds of protesters at each event, despite it being part of the work week and extremely short notice to organize and react. This means that support is still strong and there is a clear alliance of the over 150 Indigenous Nations who support this movement as well as the millions of Americans who stand united with us.

The chairman of the Standing Rock tribe, David Archambault II, responded to President Trump’s permission for the Army Corp of Engineers to bypass the environmental analysis by writing:

Your Memorandum of January 24th instructs the Secretary of the Army to direct the Assistant Secretary for Civil Works and the US Army Corps of Engineers to review and expedite “requests for approvals to construct and operate the DAPL,” including easements. It also directs them to consider rescinding or modifying the Memo of December 4th, which calls for an Environmental Impact Statement and consideration of a reroute. There is more, but perhaps most astonishingly it calls for consideration of withdrawal of the Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS.

President Trump, the EIS is already underway. The comment period does not close until February 20th and the Department of the Army has already received tens of thousands of comments. This change in course is arbitrary and without justification; the law requires that changes in agency positions be backed by new circumstances or new evidence, not simply by the President’s whim. It makes it even more difficult when one considers the close personal ties you and your associates have had with Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco.

Your memorandum issues these directives with the condition that these actions are carried out “to the extent permitted by law.” I would like to point out that the law now requires an Environmental Impact Statement. The USACE now lacks statutory authority to issue the easement because it has committed to the EIS process. Federal law, including the requirement of reasonable agency decision making, prevents that.

He continues to hold to Tribal and legal sovereignty with the following comments:
The problem with the Dakota Access pipeline is not that it involves development, but rather that it was deliberately and precariously placed without proper consultation with tribal governments. This memo takes further action to disregard tribal interests and the impacts of yesterday’s memorandums are not limited to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. This disregard for tribal diplomatic relations and the potential for national repercussions is utterly alarming.

This gives encouragement to the millions of people who are members of Tribal Nations and those who stand united with them. This unity is the strength of the movement, the nations, and the communities; may these voices continue to speak out and exercise their sovereignty and independence while encouraging considerate and thoughtful civility on the part of the U.S. Government and the Tribal Nations.

However, our survival is our resistance; our survivance is our voice, our sovereignty.  Life is basic part of nature and nature is the most basic of laws.  When life is threated by endangering life-giving, life-maintaining water, we resist to survive. We resist for our children and the next seven generations.  Our survivance is ongoing and we will not stay silent.

swayampr

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February 2, 2017

Making maps talk…

February 2, 2017 | By | No Comments

When I look at a map, I want to know how it relates to the reality of the terrain. One of the things I learned during my Master’s in Urban Design was to use AutoCAD. I enjoyed being able to created detailed figure-grounds, especially tracing over archival maps. The challenge however was, how would I ensure that they were projected properly? It was all great to have a really (what I thought at least) pretty map in 2D, a whole exercise to actually have to project the right way. I unsuccessfully tried to use Rhino etc to create maps that were projected right. It was only last semester that I found out that one could geo-rectify maps super easily (there is a list of tutorials you can use at the end of this blog post)! There are range of softwares and website that help with georeferencing.                                                                                       

The question I guess is why is geo-referencing important for my project? What will it add?

The simple answer is that geo-referencing a 2D map (especially a 2D map) spatializes it in a far more real way than looking at it and comparing it with a globe/3D map etc.  Especially when it comes a historical map georeferencing lets the viewer get a better sense of what used to be and compare it to how things have changed.

Geoferencing, simply put works like this: the user identifies anchor/control points on both the 2D map and the properly projected map (often times archival maps have contour data and/or labels that can be helpful in figuring out these points), the user then marks those on both maps and voila! The software/website actually stretches the 2D map to match the projected map. Depending on the accuracy of both maps, the accuracy of the corrections and distortions will vary.

Georeferencing a historical map requires a knowledge of both the geography and the history of the place you are studying to ensure accuracy. The built and natural landscapes change over time, and it is important to confirm that the location of your control points — whether they be houses, intersections, or even towns — have remained constant. Entering control points in a GIS is easy, but behind the scenes, georeferencing uses complex transformation and compression processes. These are used to correct the distortions and inaccuracies found in many historical maps and stretch the maps so that they fit geographic coordinates.[1]

In a sense this treats the control points as tack pins that pin the historical map to a three dimensional surface.  For a project such as mine, a georeferenced map makes it easier to see the ways in which the planners of Norris planned the town. It makes relationships with the nearby dam and urban areas more clear. And it also gives the user the ability to look at what has changed and/or the difference between planning and implementation. For a user, a well done georeferenced map also makes the experience a lot more interactive and meaningful.

Learning georeferencing:

I must admit that at first I didn’t think I would be able to do it. So I test-tired a low-resolution map of Norris and it worked really well! Heartened by that, I am currently finishing up the high-res map georeferencing. My next hurdle is putting it on to the website (I am still figuring that out!). I shall share the link as soon as its done.

Some of the links I found particularly useful and easy are listed below:

http://programminghistorian.org/lessons/georeferencing-qgis

http://www.kristenmapes.com/georectifiedmap1/

http://history2016.doingdh.org/map-warper-tutorial/

Happy georeferencing!

[1] Jim Clifford et al,  Georeferencing in QGIS 2.0 (2013). Accessed December 25, 2016. http://programminghistorian.org/lessons/georeferencing-qgis.