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:


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

Saturday, August 8, 2015

DIYpsi this weekend at Corner Brewery

Gentle reader, do you want to get your craft on? Today and tomorrow summer DIYpsi is at Corner Brewery. There will be tons of vendors selling awesome crafts. You should totally check it out. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Ann Arborites, remember to vote tomorrow

Tomorrow's Democratic Primary election is super important gentle readers. There are contested races in Wards 1, 3, 4, and 5. The winners of these races will likely win in the general election in November. Voter turnout can be pretty low for these primaries, so you vote is extra important. If you are a registered voter in Ann Arbor, please vote tomorrow.


Eat this election

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Breaking News: North Campus Turkey has been captured!

File photo of an ocellated turkey
According to a post on /r/annarbor by /u/wocamai the infamous tom that has been terrorizing North Campus has been captured by agents of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. From /u/wocamai's post:
My fiancee and I went to go look for the turkey today and when we found him he was munching on some corn and sunflower seeds that someone from UM had given him to keep him in place. She told us that the DNR were on their way to help capture the turkey in order to relocate it to a shelter/rehabilitation center for birds where it could be with birds like itself. Turkeys are social animals and the woman from UM told us that the turkey would hang out next to cars in order to see another turkey in the hub cap reflection. So let's all wish the turkey well in its new home.

My only source is myself and I'm not a war journalist so I wasn't able to take any photographs in those tense moments.

Well, it looks like this turkey's days of pecking at hubcaps are over. I wish him the best of luck with his new flock.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Eat this Election

Gentle reader, the August Primary is nigh. Ann Arbor's Democratic primary generally determines who will win the November election and thus who will sit on City Council. If you are a registered voter in Ann Arbor, I sincerely hope you plan on voting. If you are still making up your mind, fear not, the CivCity Initiative has produced a series of helpful videos where local dogs will explain who they are voting for and why. Click through to see videos for the races in Wards 1, 3, 4 and the Fighting Fifth.