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Web Dev

Mapping the Sciences

March 20th, 2007  · stk

An intriguing "Map of Science" shows the relationships between research topics & reveals how scientific disciplines are interrelated. Scientists will be interested to see where their specialty lies & non-scientists will be interested to compare the scientific focus of different countries. An excellent intellectual exercise in data-mining and visualization (or a grand waste of time?) You decide


Visualizing the Topical Inter-connectivity of Scientific Research -or- (Where's Dr. Waldo?)


This intriguing illuminated diagram is either an accurate portrayal of the bond that ties various scientific topics (and fields) together, or it's a result of someone having too much time on their hands.

The premise: Examine roughly a million published scientific papers for keywords, sort them by topic (or "paradigm") and note the authors that are cited, with papers from different fields. Then plot the topics as "nodes", the size of which is directly related to the number of papers published. Distribute the nodes by applying a universal repelling force between them. Then bind the nodes with an attracting force, the strength of which, is determined by the number of overlapping authors.

The result is the two-dimensional graphic shown here. There are 776 topical paradigms (nodes) with a distribution separates the purest of scientific fields and shows how sub-disciplines interrelate.

If you click on the image, above, you'll be taken to an interactive map, where you can compare the data by discipline, country (U.S. -vs- Japan), city (Paris -vs- Boston), selected industries, govt. institution [US-DOE -vs- US-NIH), or University (Harvard -vs- MIT).

Some of the comparisons are very interesting. For example, the U.S. has a real focus on medical research, while China is more prolific in physics and Japan - chemistry.

For more information on the technique, the data, resources and a detailed keyword map (find out where you sit in the scheme of things) ... read on.

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Updated: 1-Dec-2007
Web View Count: 33838 viewsLast Web Update: 1-Dec-2007
Filed in:The Web

About Quirks-Mode

March 12th, 2007  · stk

I recently had to fight with CSS for a web page served in Quirks-Mode. What is quirks? Why is it bad? How do you tell if a page is in quirks-mode? All this (plus a couple of extra cents, tools & links)


Using PZ3 in Quirks-Mode

A reader wanted to use PZ3 for a page that was authored in "quirks-mode". In an effort to help, I found a way to make it work in IE6.

browser quirks mode

Now that IE7 is out, I wish I hadn't. Let me just say that it's awful thing to do (author pages in "quirks-mode") and I recommend against it. You will thank me, your children with thank me and your descendants will visit my grave and thank me!

However, even though it goes against my own advice, I have found a way to render a very-close approximation to PZ3 for BOTH IE6 and IE7, in quirks mode. If you absolutely must deploy PZ3 on a quirks-mode page, you will want to see the work-a-round (and maybe even the quirky problem).

PZ3 aside, I thought this a good time to weigh in on quirks-mode.

  • What is "quirks-mode"?
  • Why is quirks-mode bad?
  • Why do people need quirks-mode at all?
  • How do you tell if a page is in quirks-mode?
  • How does an author pick the mode (standards -vs- quirks)?

For all this (and a tad more) ... carry on.


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Updated: 24-Oct-2008
Web View Count: 40951 viewsLast Web Update: 24-Oct-2008

Winter's Last Gasp?

March 10th, 2007  · stk

After cycling in the sunshine last week, the weather Gods decided to spit out the last bit of winter and we got SNOW! We're wondering (hoping?) that it'll be the last of our winter fun this year. (We built a snowman) ... check it out

The Old Man Spits Some White Stuff

The day after we went cycling last week, in the sunshine, it snowed.

It started as little balls of white stuff which bounced off of the car, stuck to the leaves and it didn't look like it would stay around. But the temperature dropped and the small balls turned to big fluffy flakes and soon it was practically a white-out. I began to wonder if Rachel was going to have a difficult time driving home from the hospital, in the snow.

It snowed all afternoon and through into the night. By morning, everything was covered in a layer of white.

The temperatures hovered around freezing, all day, but the sun came out around noon and snow was rapidly melting off of the trees.

"Let's go sledding!" said the Oop, eager for an adrenaline fix.

"We can't go sledding Oop," I said.

"Why?" she asked (a very common question, I might add).

"Because the snow's not deep enough," I said, "You've got to have more snow than this to go sledding. See the patches of ground through the snow?"

"Yes," she said.

"Well, that means the snow's too thin for sledding."

"But I want to go sledding," she whimpered and the tears began to well up.

(Disappointment for a three-year-old can be very traumatic indeed).

Continue for more about "The Building of the No-Man" ....

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Updated: 19-Mar-2007
Web View Count: 23976 viewsLast Web Update: 19-Mar-2007

Cycling the Cedar Loop

March 2nd, 2007  · stk

Cedar/Yellow-Point Bicycle Loop: We took this excellent, 15-mile ride, for the first time, since moving to Vancouver Island. We're lucky to have it right out our front door. See what makes it such a great ride, get a printable route map, and learn more about what the area has to offer ...

A Scenic Ride Past Forest & Farms

On Tuesday, the Oop was insistent on going for a bicycle ride. She's been wanting to go on one, for over a week, but the weather hasn't been very cooperative, with rain threatening nearly every day and busy work schedules interfering when it wasn't raining. Finally, everything came together on Tuesday.

This was the first bike ride we've taken since moving in to our new, Vancouver Island home and of course, it took a long time to find all of the cycling clothes, helmets, gloves and other gear. All the bicycle tires, including those on Alex's buggy, were flat. Scott had the added exercise of pumping up six tires!

We decided to do the loop trip, down Yellow Point Road, to Cedar Road and then back up to Yellow Point, where the two roads meet again. This is an excellent bicycle loop trip, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) in length and we're very lucky to have it right off our doorstep. The roads pass through scenic forests and sun-dappled pastures. Along the route are parks, beaches, Inns, restaurants, hiking trails, campgrounds, artist studios and family-run farms.

The Oop was excited to be "cycling" again, though just how much help can she be, sitting in a buggy that I have to tow? We've both put on weight, since we last cycled, but the Oop is the only one of us that's grown any taller. ;) While I was pumping up the tires, Alex strapped herself into her buggy, itching to get moving.

Finally, we headed down our street, a downhill run toward Yellow Point Road, at a fast, nippy, early-morning clip.

"Whee!" squealed the Oop, from inside her buggy.

Read about our trip and get information about the excellent Cedar/Yellow-Point Cycle Loop (including a map) ...

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Updated: 4-Aug-2008
Web View Count: 20611 viewsLast Web Update: 4-Aug-2008

Canadian MERs - An Outrage

February 28th, 2007  · stk

Canadian investors pay the highest mutual fund management fees of any country in the developed world. Not a little bit more - a LOT more. Find out why, the real cost to Canadian investors and what they can do about it

2008 Update

  • The IFIC responds.
  • Updated Report (Jun 2007)
  • Canadian Discount Brokers

read the update

Mutual Fund Management Fees Take Canadian Investors on an Expensive Ride

I have been investing in U.S. mutual funds since the early 1980's and have extensive experience with U.S. no-load mutual fund companies such as Vanguard, T.Rowe Price, Scudder, American Century & Janus, among others.

I recently had the opportunity to investigate Canadian mutual funds and what I saw, absolutely shocked me. Canadians pay more for their mutual funds than any other developed country. Not a little bit more - a LOT more! More than any of the other 18 industrialized nations that were the focus of a joint Harvard and London Business School study, published last year (Source: Mutual Fund Fees Around the World - Feb. 2006 Draft).

The study found that Canadians pay a TER of 2.68%. Compare this to U.S. investors, who pay 1.42%. The next closest country was Luxembourg, at 1.75%, which is still over 90 basis points less than the Canadian mean.

A 0.93% to 1.26% difference in management fees may not sound like a lot, but it's nearly 1.9 times more than what U.S. investors pay and the dollar value, over the lifetime of a typical RRSP, will add up - both in terms of direct fees and loss of investment return. It's an albatross around the neck of Canadian mutual fund investors.

To learn why Canadian investors pay the highest MERs of any country, see how much money this can cost them on a typical investment and what they should do to stop it ... read on.

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Updated: 26-Jan-2009
Web View Count: 67593 viewsLast Web Update: 26-Jan-2009