Friday, April 13, 2018

Horse driving

When I was a kid and read Born to Trot by Henry, Winter Pony by Doty, The Black Stallion's Blood Bay Colt by Farley, and The Horse Comes First by Calhoun, I wanted to learn to drive a horse. Now that I have arthritis in my neck, even the thought of riding is uncomfortable. I looked at Driving Horse-Drawn Carriages for Pleasure by Underhill (1897) and liked the pictures of the carriages. The village cart was my favorite 2-wheeled vehicle. Until I knew that driving a 4-wheeled wagon was more difficult, I liked the runabout and the hooded road wagon. Driving Horses: How to harness, align, and hitch your horse for work or play by Bowers and Steward (2014) is fantastic as it shows all of the parts of the harness, different types of harnesses, step-by-step harnessing and unharnessing! I'm also reading Driving the Horse in Harness by Kellogg, 2nd ed. (1986), which says that the 2-wheeled vehicles are the safest, which I hadn't realized when viewing Underhill's book. Sharp turns and backing are easier, as the cart pivots with the horse when turning and backing takes much less space than 4-wheeled carts. I'd like a one-horse (or pony) cart to hold 2 people side-by-side on a single seat, with a compartment/trunk for things like groceries. I'm not sure about a hood or shade (and buggy, the word for a covered vehicle may be from the Punjabi ਬੱਗੀ "bagī"?).

I'd like to attend some events at the Metamora Carriage and Driving Association like the Combined Driving Event 2018 in MI June 22-24: Friday: Combined Test (a cross-country obstacle course) or Saturday: Dressage/Cones. Or, on 7/7, "Terry Picket and Carol Becker will present a safety talk regarding equipment, animals, and self in the a.m. Non-members may ride with members in the p.m. but must also be present for the a.m. talk" at Squeky Windmill Farm (Dryden).

We're trying to find someone who gives driving lessons within 50 miles of us or so, for next year. Taylor Creek is a 2-hour drive.

There are interesting organizations like the American Driving Society (ADS), the Carriage Association of America, Driving Essentials, the Michigan Horse-Drawn Vehicle Association (MHDVA), the Carriage Museum of America's vehicle collection, Driving News USA, and my work library has issues of the magazine Whip in its databases.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Wildflowers 2018

6/10/18 Blandford Nature Center:
White: Blackberries, Daisies, Yarrow
Yellow: Cinquefoil - but is it native Potentilla gracilis (Slender) or the invasive recta (Sulfur)? Good description and images at
non-natives: Multiflora rose (invasive!), Goatsbeard

5/23/18 Aman Park:
White Baneberry
Red Baneberry
Trillium (dying)
Canada Violets
False Rue Anemone

Wild Ginger

Wild Geranium

Wild Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata)
Virginia Bluebells

Winter Cress (non-native, Burbarea vulgaris, aka Yellow rocket, mustard family Brassicaceae)

5/15/18  Blandford Nature Center:
wild strawberries
Jacks in the Pulpit

5/7/18  Blandford Nature Center:
Downy yellow violets

5/5/18  Blandford Nature Center:
Wild Geranium

5/2/18  Blandford Nature Center:
Blue Cohosh
False Rue Anemones
Wild Leeks
Marsh Marigolds
Mayapples budded
Canada Violet (white)

garter snake

5/1/18 Aman Park:
Cut-leaved Toothwort
Dutchman's Breeches
Wood Anemone
Hepatica (so blue this year!)
Spring Beauties
Pink Spring Cress (Cardamine douglassii)
Trout Lilies
Common Violets

Leafy Spurge

Blandford Nature Center: violets, 1st dandelion

While not wildflowers, the Snowdrops are blooming!

Birding 2018

6/21/18,  Blandford Nature Center: 

5/20/18, home, Dimondale, traveling between:
2 Chipping Sparrows, 2 Sandhill Cranes, 2 Great Blue Herons flying

5/17/18, home:
Amy saw the female Rose-breasted Grosbeak again a couple of times

5/15/18, Blandford Nature Center: 

5/8/18, home:
female Rose-breasted Grosbeak

5/7/18,  Blandford Nature Center:
Catbird (heard call)
White-throated Sparrows (heard call)
Hermit Thrush

5/5/18,  Blandford Nature Center:
White-throated Sparrows

5/2/18, Blandford Nature Center:
Wren (House, Winter, or Sedge?)

Hermit Thrush
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Phoebes are back.

mid-March 2018
Turkey vultures are back.

Heard a Sandhill Crane although I couldn't see it!

3/1/18 spring birds returning:
Red-winged Blackbirds
European Starlings

Friday, February 2, 2018

Library Instruction and liaising reflections

Revised way to approach first-year Writing 150:

·     I started by talking about the specific assignment itself, then concept maps as a way to diagram ideas and relate them to each other, showed one with circles intersecting, added synonyms and more ideas.
·     A different way of doing them is via rows because library databases process their ideas in this way. (Defined a database as a grouping of information sources, like the categories of contacts in their phones.)
·     Talked about truncation as a wildcard to substitute for other letters (or cards in a game) to shorten words to their trunk or root and swap in the *.
·     I showed the process of searching for 1 word, then adding synonyms with OR, getting more results via our “Find articles, books, & more” or a single box in Academic Search Premier. Then how ASP has 3 boxes with AND automatically between the rows. When we start adding ideas, we get fewer results and the more ideas we add, the fewer results there are.
·     Then using the left menu to further narrow the results with dates, subjects, disciplines, types of information, language. Pointed out the kinds of ideas that showed up in the articles, and how the left menu subjects matched those in the citations.
·     Putting sources in folders, opening the folder, and emailing the sources in the “MLA citation format.” (Defined: list of sources at the end of the essay, bibliography, works cited, citations, style)
·     Use Get it @ if there is no PDF, HTML, or Linked Full Text available 
·     Go to the Library, Subject Guides, WRT 150 for your research. Explore the Articles/Databases and apply the ideas you learned.
·    As I helped individual students, I noticed that one was very probably a veteran, so I 
    listened carefully to her question, gently encouraged her choice of topic, and praised the
    way she had completed the form.

·     Finally, how to use parentheses to group synonyms with a single search box, e.g., (biking OR bicycl*) AND (commut*) AND (health* OR wellness) AND safety

Many of the students didn’t have an idea for their essay yet, and I encouraged them to work on this and complete the worksheet before the next class period.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Quantum reasoning, linguistics, and AI

Bruza, Peter D. & Cole, Richard (2005) Quantum Logic of Semantic Space: An Exploratory Investigation of Context Effects in Practical Reasoning. In Artemov, S., Barringer, H., d'Avila Garcez, A.S., & Woods, J.H. (Eds.) We Will Show Them: Essays in Honour of Dov Gabbay. College Publications, London, UK, pp. 339-361.

"Associations are often based on similarity (e.g., semantic or analogical similarity)....

The strength of associations between concepts change dynamically under the influence of context" (2).

"A product of the collapse is a change of state, or “meaning” of the word. As a consequence, word associations also change. QM is one of the few frameworks in which context is neatly integrated. Essentially, context is something akin to a quantum measurement which brings about collapse." ... However, "In QM, collapse results in an eigenstate, whereas the collapse of word meaning in semantic space may be partial" (20). 

OK, so what this means, I think, is that formulas from quantum mechanics may be applied to representing how we categorize new conceptual information (aka knowledge). The categories we put concepts in are based on their associations with each other; the context they are in leads to specific meaning. When one puts a term in context, as in a phrase or sentence, the possible meanings of the term collapse, perhaps to a fewer number, or even to one (the "eigenstate"). How strongly we associate a concept with other concepts depends on their similarity.

Context is everything. So, if one chooses to categorize the concept of "light" as being made of "particles" (associating light with "matter"), that is what one detects and measures; and the same for "light" and "waves" (associating it with "sound").

Busemeyer, Jerome & Bruza, Peter D. (2012) Quantum models of cognition and decision. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

This book follow up with applying quantum probability to semantics and applying the quantum entanglement state to neuroscience to understand how we process information - how we think and know, how we make decisions, word associations and memory. 

Peter is now applying information processing to artificial intelligence, autonomous robots, health-related clinical decision-making, and trust. He is the Discipline Leader for Information Science, which is where my sabbatical QUT fellowship is situated. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Adventures in Australian fiction

I have been reading mostly Australian writers.

Picture books:

Gibbs, May. Found Tales from the Gum Tree sickeningly cutesy.

Lester, Alison, Elizabeth Honey, and the children of Gununa. Our Island is great! The children did the artwork, using crayons and food dye.

Oliver, Narelle. Fox and Fine Feathers was fantastic, gorgeous artwork.

Owen, Lindsey, ill. by Matteo Grilli. Poss in Boots was funny, about a young possum who tap dances on the roof of a house of jazz musicians.

Found the book about the Aboriginal cricket team in the 1800's illuminating.

Brinsmead, Hesba: lovedThe Honey Forest

Hall, Leanne: Iris and the Tiger - set in Spain but with an Australian protagonist - really terrific!   

Lindsay, Norman: I read about half of The Magic Pudding - it is funny.

Pascoe, Bruce: Mrs Whitlam (Aboriginal, girl and horse) was ok but the writing wasn't that good.


  • Brinsmead, Hesba: I felt that Isle of the Sea Horse was boring, sort of an Aussie retelling of Swiss Family Robinson so didn't finish it.
  • Fitzpatrick, Deb. Have you Seen Ally Queen?  I guess I'm tired of sad YA novels: didn't finish it.
  • Gough, Erin: I found The Flywheel by (lesbian) difficult and sad until the very end, when it came round right.
  • Winch, Tara June: Swallow the Air (Aboriginal) was beautifully written but so very sad.
  • Wrightson,
    Patricia: liked A Little Fear and A Wisp of Smoke. Did not finish Shadows of Time.

Slatter, Angela. I just finished the compelling Vigil (urban myth, Brisbane setting) and have been thinking about it ever since. Corpselight was also compelling! Next is Restoration, due out in 2018.

Greenwood, Kerry. Enjoyed Earthly Delights - loved it right up until the ending! Next is Heavenly Pleasures, only in print format at KDL (as are the others in this Corinna Chapman series). I placed a request for the large print of Devil's Food (#3) from Brisbane Library.

Hodgson, Anthea. The Drifter -  not your typical Western Australia romance - an excellent story!

Nunn, Judy. Enjoyed Spirits of the Ghan - historical and contemporary fiction, set in cities and the Outback.  

Fergus, Lara. Tried to read My Sister Chaos (about a lesbian cartographer with OCD, obsessed with mapping her house, and her twin) but couldn't stand it.

Hawthorne, Susan. Falling Woman is about a lesbian with epilepsy, told in 3 ways - as a child, Stella, as an adult with her partner, Estella, and there's a mystical part with Estelle. I'm enjoying it and am simultaneously bored with it.

Mears, Gillian. Foal's Bread. 2012. - fiction about a young woman, set in New South Wales between WWI and WWII. Great writing but sad, and I didn't finish it.

Van Neerven, Ellen. Read Heat and Light (Aboriginal, lesbian short stories); it too was beautifully written but sad.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sabbatical update

Since July 21, I've talked with more authors whose works I've read (Ian Stoodley, Elham Sayyad Abdi), been asked to showcase GVSU Libraries (that is, guest lecture in 2 different Information, a.k.a. library school, master's level courses), corresponded with chapter authors for the book, worked on my own chapter - especially creating a model for it, and went to another lecture by Ron Arkin (Georgia Tech) about "Lethal autonomous robots and the plight of the noncombatant."

Ron's work in robot ethics
is fascinating. He addressed: In war, what is the appropriate role of robotics technology? He wants the use of AI and robotics to reduce ethical infractions in military, especially noncombatant casualties, by giving robots A) the right of refusal, B) the ability to monitor and report others’ behavior, C) protocols which incorporate existing and relevant laws of war and the Geneva Convention. Robots should be used ALONGSIDE people, not replacing them. Robots can act conservatively, can make use of more sensors and process/integrate more data/info in a shorter amount of time, do not have emotions that might cloud judgment (e.g., soldiers executing wounded combatants), can independently and objectively monitor ethical behavior. Ron described "ethical architecture" and coding then declared that there is already proof of concept (i.e., robots have been proven capable and effective). If you want to read more, MeL has his book: Governing lethal behavior in autonomous robots

Work in AI (artificial intelligence) is going to affect us all very deeply in the near future. I watched a fascinating program about this last night, and the upshot was that our jobs in higher education will be to teach human students social skills and how to interact with technology (machine intelligence). This is why I am so passionate about the "relational" approach to information literacy - appreciating the different ways of understanding and experiencing learning includes how we relate to each other and relate to information - this is the future! Yes, we have to include behavioral skills too, along with the socio-cultural elements - it's a "both/and."