Punkmath, annotatr and gender discussions31 Jan 2011
So last week was pretty abysmal as I spent most of the time in bed with a cold like I haven’t had in a while. Since this led to a major shutdown of my brain I failed to do anything useful. Whenever it didn’t burn a hole in my brain I did read a few interesting things.
I seem to be both late and early to the party. I cannot quite reconstruct how I ended up reading about Tom Henderson’s projects, so this is rather random. He co-hosts the frakkin’ cool podcast Math for Primates together with Nick Horton, there’s mathpunk.net and punk mathematics and finally he can be found on twitter.
The sad thing is that all of Tom’s projects (apart from his twitter account) seem currently dormant while he writes a book — a book that he financed via kickstarter with an incredible USD28.000+ raised after aiming for a goal of USD2.400! That’s just absolutely mind-boggling to me. You can read an interesting interview with him on technoccult if you don’t have the time to listen to the podcasts (if you find the podcast’s topics all too familiar when it comes to topics for popularizing mathematics I would still argue you should check out their awesome style).
So a while ago there was an interesting mathoverflow question on discussing mathematical papers online that was (of course) closed immediately but Ben Webster managed to revive it and it actually got some fascinating answers.
Besides the trouble that mathoverflow still has when it comes to long term development of questions, there were not only the favoured power user answers describing a potential system — there were actual pointers to such projects! What caught my eye immediately was, as you’ll understand, annotatr [Wayback Machine].
Annotatr is a sleeping beauty of a project. Hosted on the Google App Engine with open sourced code on github it makes you heart delight. Also, the simplicity of the idea is wonderful — combine citeulike with disqus, done.
Alas, it’s not working well so far. On the one hand the code hasn’t seen an update in half a year, on the other, there’s lack of a community. If mathblogging allows for it, I’d love to get acquainted with the code. I think if someone solves issues 2 and 3 it would be easy to get more people engaged.
Gender bias at mathematical conferences
A discussion took place at quomodocumque the other day. I wish I could say I was surprised by the early comments but I was glad to read all the good counter arguments to the displayed ignorance. I haven’t got around posting my 2 cents. I’ll write more here once I get around posting there (which I plan after getting Ivelisse Rubio’s MLK-day talk online on the department’s website). But you should really read it and join the discussion.