Monday, February 1, 2016

CIty Council Viewing Party Tonight

Gentle reader, no need to watch the #a2council meeting home alone tonight. We're going to be posting up at Workantile starting at 6:45 to watch the meeting. There will be snacks and City Council Bingo. Tonight's agenda is pretty light, but considering the ongoing deer cull, public commentary could be heated. Should be a fun meeting to watch.

Monday, January 25, 2016

#A2Council Viewing Party Feb. 1

During the February 1 City Council meeting, we’ll be hosting a viewing party at Workantile, the Main St. coworking space. Join us!

City council meetings start at 7pm, so we'll gather at Workantile a few minutes before then. We'll have a video feed of the meeting running on a big TV, and many of the #A2Council Twitter folk plus our friends will be there for real-time commentary and socializing.

Whether you're heavily invested in local politics or just curious, this should be a fun and useful event. All are welcome.

Updated Jan. 26: Some snacks for the party will be provided by CivCity, a great local nonprofit dedicated to expanding residents’ knowledge of how local government works and increasing participation in civic life. Thanks, CivCity!

Please bring your own drinks, if you're so inclined.

Workantile's address is 118 S. Main St.
Facebook event: A2 City Council Viewing Party.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mega Nerd Nite tonight

Gentle readers, the first Nerd Nite of January is here. Presentations will cover everything from anxiety to agriculture and back again. Cover is free, thanks to the AADL so you really have no excuse not to attend.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Midnight Madness and KindleFest tonight

Gentle readers, two of my favorite holiday events are tonight: Midnight Madness and KindleFest. I'm sure by now you know the drill. Downtown stores will stay open late. Kerrytown will be overtaken by a Christkindlmarkt. There will be carolers, both Victorian and robotic. Hopefully we will see you there.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Nerd Nite tonight at 7

Gentle readers, Nerd Nite is tonight. Friend of Damn Arbor, Sam Firke, will be delivering a super interesting talk about harassing people on twitter to get them to vote in local elections. It should be super interesting. The event is at Live. Doors are at 6:30 and the talks start at 7. Cover is free thanks to the AADL.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Spooky Ann Arbor Map

Astute readers of this blog will recognize that this post is largely recycled from one in April of this year. Still, 'tis the season to be spooky.

I stumbled across this Weird Ann Arbor map a while back. There's tons of great, spooky stuff on the map. Did you know that both James A. Garfield and his assassin Charles Guiteau stayed at the same rooming house in Ann Arbor? Did you know that Ann Arbor was home to the first municipal parking structure? This is probably my favorite entrance though:

Mesmerism!

Claiming the powers of Mesmerism, in which "animal magnetism" can be used to "to control epileptics, cure migranes, and treat femine hysteria," a Mr. L. De Bonderville of Paris is the subject of a series of heated debates between the Michigan Argus and the Michigan State Journal over the months of April and May, 1843.

De Bonderville is beset by the Argus, who claims that any consideration of such claims is both foolish and sacreligious; State Journal argues that animal magnetism and mesmerism has been proven by the Academe of Paris, and that as "scientific" men, the people of Ann Arbor must be open to the use of magnetism.

De Bonderville first refuses to give a public demonstration, having until this point contented himself with entertaining at society homes, then recants and schedules one semi-public performance in front of eight leading Ann Arbor citizens, listed in the State Journal by initial only, but understood to include the Mayor, two judges, and a prominent local educator, in which he uses his mesmerism on the daughter of one of the judges. All men are impressed as the girl enters a trance, and De Bonderville instructs her to raise and lower her body temperature, which she does. Then unspecified other tests are conducted, which the State Journal contends were the very measure of modern science. De Bonderville then gives a larger public performance, drawing a crowd around 100. The performance is, the State Journal reports, well-received, though the Argus contends that there was widespread dissatisfaction with the small results produced by De Bonderville. The Argus supplementally holds that the only people who would be impressed are "Reubens and Yokels," and that such a demonstration happened at all is testament to the gullible and unsophisticated nature of Washtenaw County residents.

The Ann Arbor Argus--the newspaper from the 19th century, not the radical paper of the 20th century--makes a lot of appearance in the stories mentioned in the map.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Special Back to the Future Nerd Nite tonight

Today is Back to the Future Day (the day to which Marty McFly travels in Back to the Future II). In celebration, Nerd Nite Ann Arbor in conjunction with the AADL are hosting a special futuristic Back to the Future lecture:

This month’s event takes us Back to the Future, because when BTTF 2 came out in 1989, October 21, 2015 seemed pretty darn future. Since we’re living in the future, we’ll talk about what the future looks like, or more accurately, what designers thought it would look like. We’ll find out the science behind instructing our (eventual) personalized robot servants to make our martinis just right. And finally, we’ll get hardcore about the Back to the Future trilogy, checking out how accurate their vision of the future really was. So power up your flux capacitors and get here for a flashback to the future!

When: Wednesday, October 21, 2015, doors at 6:30pm, talks at 7pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
$$$: NO COVER! Hey, thanks, Ann Arbor District Library!!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Clustering Analysis of City Council Voting Patterns

Gentle reader, have you ever wondered what it would look like if you used each Ann Arbor City Council Member's voting record to generate a multidimensional vector? Have you ever wondered how similar or dissimilar these vectors would be? Do you want to know how close the voting vector of each councilperson is in statistical space? If so, look no farther than ArborWiki! Dave Askins has applied three different statistical visualization methods to these very questions. I am particularly found of the 2d Kmeans cluster analyses.

Image by LocalWiki User KronicDave

Friday, August 28, 2015

Tunde Olaniran's KYBM: Number 1 Back to School Jam

Flint's Tunde Olaniran released his video for KYBM (Keep Your Body Moving) yesterday. It is awesome and you should watch it right now. I am already willing to call KYBM this fall's #1 Back to School Jam. A competition that was over before it even began. Michigan Radio's Stateside did a great interview with Tunde earlier this month. You can check it out here.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Ruminations on Deer

Tonight, the Ann Arbor City Council will likely vote to hire sharpshooters to cull the city's deer herd this winter. There are strong feelings on both sides of the issue. Deer are beautiful animals and it is wonderful that we have a city that can support large fauna. At the same time, they be come much less adorable once they have decided to browse through your landscaping on a recurring basis. Among potential pest animals in the area, their size and status as a game animal makes them unique: it is both impractical and illegal to trap and relocate deer.

In Michigan, it is illegal to chemically sterilize or trap and relocate deer. I am not sure about the legality of surgical sterilization. Sterilization has been effective at reducing closed deer populations, but has not been tried on a population as large or geographically unconstrained as Ann Arbor's. The efficacy of such a program could be worth investigating as part of a long term deer management strategy, but do to legal, financial and logistical hurdles, it would be at least a couple of years before once could be undertaken.

In our region, the most popular way of dealing with overabundant deer in parks and cities is through the use of sharpshooters. This tends to cost much less than sterilization. Sharpshooters are able to reduce deer populations and densities quickly. They do attract backlashes. Also, long term management of deer populations requires continued culling. Just something to keep in mind as we watch the city council meeting tonight.

You can read more on Ann Arbor's Deer Management Project Page Previously:

Oh Deer