happy thanksGIVing


because that’s how we say it in the ‘burgh / and because i am thankful for the unconditional love of my family | the support & steadiness of friends | the camaraderie of teammates & colleagues | the generosity of coaches, teachers & bosses \ so many changes this past year that would have been completely overwhelming if not for your time, encouragement, jokes, texts, chocolates & lunches, shared rides and infinite little kindnesses  

 interactive dialect survey map   http://spark.rstudio.com/jkatz/SurveyMaps/


reason #11 | brutal but beautiful winters

ithaca commons

ithaca, new york was recently named the best college town in america by the american institute of economic research / it ranked very high in academic environment and quality of life but middle-of-the road in professional opportunity <no surprise that students who make up half its population would build their careers elsewhere after attending cornell or ithaca college and enjoying ithaca’s many cultural and natural offerings> \  i visited last summer for a dragon boat race with my team <pittsburgh paddlefish> yes! ithaca hosts the annual finger lakes dragon boat festival / the pedestrian walk on ithaca commons was under construction but was attractively enclosed by eye-catching, sometimes provocative mural fences

12 reasons why


the full report


yinzers call it hoagie


studies about regional dialect variation in the u.s. have been presented before but this one has a neat visualization < an interactive heat map > using rstudio’s shiny / click on images to enlarge

pop to down the hoagie


most similar & dissimilar to the ‘burgh

pgh dialect

using the 2003 harvard dialiect survey data consisting of 122 questions < on phonological and lexical topics > across many cities, joshua katz of ncsu created the interactive maps | find out how similar or dissimilar your favorite city is from the rest of the continental u.s.   < try the lightning bug map q.65, it’s sweet to see how people refer them on a summer’s evening >

here’s the link   http://spark.rstudio.com/jkatz/SurveyMaps/

my space going the way of myspace

open workspace

my architect rowmate has unknowingly agitated me by reminding me that my happy days of having an office in the workplace are numbered / his firm’s latest project was to design a prominent accounting firm’s new corporate headquarters \  the trend in recent years has been open workspace and low walled cubicles < if there are cubes at all > rendering workers with little or no private space in the name of “collaborative work” / ugh | doesn’t management understand that open space is not for everybody?

being an analyst and researcher, most of the time i spend working requires focused concentration <reading papers, writing code and analyzing data>   \  i have a little over two years to enjoy my space <and my view of pnc park and the allegheny river>  / though pictures of open workspaces look nice, search results show much negative sentiment among workers  \ there probably is not much that workers can do to reverse this cost-savings trend / but if privacy becomes a perk, maybe it will soon become a part of job negotiations…



jan 2014 new yorker article on the detrimental effect of open workspace:


twitter bach & beer

beer and bach

dogfish head tweeted that my favorite dogfish namaste which makes its appearance only in the summer will now be available year-round  / meh | i prefer that it remained a summer beer \ disappointingly, now i don’t have to look forward to it at the same time and place that i’ve always had it | at the dogfish head restaurant in rehoboth beach in mid-summer  / it tastes quite good to me and will always do but its unique summer-beachness will be gone


also found out on twitter that the brandenburg concertos will be performed by my favorite early music group, pittsburgh’s chatham baroque & friends \ yey! | i have never seen a live performance of the brandenburg, considered to be one of the finest baroque period compositions / so this one i am looking forward to



2014 dogfish head beer releases



zombie cookies, anyone?


my favorite curmudgeon has warned me that though i have deleted my facebook account, they can still track me / via zombie cookies, he says \ what?  they don’t just come out on halloween | these are deleted cookies that can be resurrected to keep tracking us and  they never die  / before they become the undead they are known as flash cookies or local shared objects <the “flash” is from adobe flash> all is not lost, browsers such as firefox has a betterprivacy add-on option that gets rid of flash and zombie \ whew! we’re safe

but that is old news \ the future of the cookie is not sugary and bright having overburdened its primary use as a simple and temporary data storage <it is now used for profiling, segmentation, optimization, web analytics, etc> and has caused problems for online publishers, advertisers, product managers, etc so google for one is developing alternative ways of tracking us without cookies



it is a struggle, commerce vs. privacy | the digital world has culturally and radically changed us and how we interact with each other, how we consume & produce content, how we do things \ most would agree that the economic viability of the internet is important / and some of us are probably willing to give up some privacy in exchange for the world that we have stepped into and increasingly come to happily inhabit more and more \ as with anything else, i would like to be able to make my own choice on how i digitally engage

where did you sleep last night

kurt cobain1

nirvana unplugged is my all time favorite album, one of those that i tend to listen to almost everyday  / and every time i listen to it, i feel the loss of kurt cobain and what could have been / the album does not contain nirvana’s anthem songs \ rather cover versions of songs by cobain’s favorite musicians such as the meat puppets, the vaselines, and lead belly  / where did you sleep last night is raw, emotional, and tormented \ this ends the set and it was reported that cobain argued with the unplugged producers and refused to do an encore because he felt he could not top his performance of this song / i wholeheartedly agree

  • nirvana


from wikipedia

“In the Pines”, also known as “Black Girl” and “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”, is a traditional American folk song which dates back to at least the 1870s, and is believed to be Southern Appalachian in origin. The identity of the song’s author is unknown, but it has been recorded by many artists in numerous genres. Traditionally, it is most often associated with the American blues musician Lead Belly, who recorded several versions in the 1940s, as well as the American bluegrass musician Bill Monroe, who helped popularize the song (in a different variant, featuring lyrics about a train) among bluegrass and country audiences with his versions recorded in the 1940s and 1950s.


didn’t realize that a few weeks ago marked the 20th anniversary of nirvana unplugged

 i like lori goldston’s self-description as “classically trained and rigorously de-trained” / she toured with and played cello for nirvana and its sound adds the right emotional layer to most of the pieces in unplugged | here she is 20 years later