Saturday, May 21st, 2022

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Well I've had an eventful morning already. Made a trip to our local transfer station / dump with a load of stuff from our garage. I got there before they opened and I sat in the Element in line waiting for when they opened the gate. I turned the engine off, then when cars would shift and enough space would open, I turned it on and rolled forward then off again.

Then, at 8:30 when the gates opened and I went to turn the car on again, the engine wouldn't start. I could hear it trying to turn over but it just didn't get there.

Welp, on came the emergency blinkers and I waited. Everyone in line behind me just rolled past and didn't stop. A few minutes later a guy pulling in did stop to see what the issue was. After I told him I needed a jump he said he'd go dump and stop on his way back out so that he'd be facing the right direction.

Thankfully, before that guy came back out, I was able to flag another guy down and he stopped and gave me a jump. Engine started right up. I thanked him and hopped in, heading inside to make my drop off. I kept the engine going all the way home, leaving it idling as I unloaded everything. It's now in the drive way with our home battery charger hooked up to it.

Fun fun.

No one told me adulting would be so fun.

5/21/2022 10:09 am | | Tags: car issues

Notes on Ukraine

Some interesting insights from someone who went to Ukraine and visited it while this conflict is going on.

5/21/2022 2:30 pm | | Tags: ukraine, russia, war, world politics

Long COVID is crashing the retirement hopes of many Americans

5/21/2022 3:00 pm | | Tags: covid 19, pandemic, economy, us politics

On vs. In - When it Comes to Modes of Transport

I saw a post on Reddit that was a screenshot from Tumblr. A quick googling did not turn up the original content so I can't link it. But I refuse to further share the screenshots, but I will credit Tumblr user 'cynth3tic' for their explanation:

How not to mix them up (for those who might be learning English): If you walk upright when boarding, you're getting on.If you sit into a seat from the door, you're getting in.

So, for example, you also get on a plane or boat, and in a carriage.

5/21/2022 5:22 pm | | Tags: today i learned, grammar, english

What Is ‘Cheugy’? You Know It When You See It. (Published 2021)

I'm leaving the auto generated summary as a bit of blog history, being the first link post to be automatically published from my Wallabag utilizing new code for identifying keywords and writing a summary. It is a good proof that this system is imperfect but, I think, still useful. We will see how this functionality grows.

[Auto Generated Summary]:

“It’s really easy to identify cheugy things on TikTok because TikTok is so fast paced and there’s so many trends that come and go,” said Ms. Siegel. “I see stuff and I’m like, this is so overdone so I think it’s cheugy. Whereas if I didn’t see it on my ‘For You’ page, I wouldn’t think it was cheugy,” she said, referring to what is essentially the TikTok home page. And for any millennials worried about being behind the trends, Ms.

5/21/2022 6:36 pm | | Tags: word, cheugy, tiktok, linguistics

Automated summaries and keyword identification from articles

Well, this bit of coding has been a journey.

This week I've been working on code which automates a pipeline from my Wallabag (a self-hosted web app that enables later-reading of articles online, like Mozilla's Pocket app) and my blog. While working on this, I discovered this GitHub project for 'TextRank' which takes a body of text and it will attempt to summarize the text, as well as identify keywords in the text. It is definitely not perfect, but it is useful for a first iteration of the concept.

I've been trying to integrate it into my code over the past few days to infuriatingly little success. This afternoon, I finally was able to get it - but only after getting on StackOverflow to ask about what I was missing. As I was doing so, I realized I had asked a question about the exact same issue six years ago.

I am thrilled to have found my solution, and mortified that I had forgotten about this.

So, the code now does two things:

First, it generates a summary for the text. These summaries will not always be great, but the hope is that they are a net value-add for this automation of the system. My intent is that these summaries will only be present until I come back and revise the content for the posts, either determining the summary is not needed or I replace it with something I write. We'll see.

Second, it does keyword analysis. I then take the top keywords it identifies and also keywords which already exist as tags, and add them to the new post. Again, not a perfect system, but better than nothing, and something I can iterate on.

Interestingly, I spent a summer in college working with Dr. Lonnie Harvel, during which I contributed to a paper he published titled, "Using student-generated notes as an interface to a digital repository." At the time, Georgia Tech, had just rolled out lecture recording and automated transcripts of the video with time stamps, etc. We were working on stuff that would further improve that system.

My main contribution there was work on code that looked at the transcript and identified keywords. It's been so long, I don't remember the full details of what I came up with, but I do recall it being something relating to a number of different things, like frequency of word usage in the text, word length as well as number of syllables (my thinking was that the bigger words would tend to be more important.) Granted, the context there was in identifying words that would do well in being sign posts for lecture transcriptions which is slightly different than identifying the most relevant and salient keywords for taxonomy.

In any case, it is interesting to come back to something I had done some research on back in college. I'm looking forward to seeing how the new implementation works on the blog and we'll see about improving and refining it from here.

Edit (12:29am): It took less than four hours before I decided to rework the system. I recalled there was a bot on Reddit which would pop up and attempt to share summaries in reply to links to articles. I tracked it down and found that it made use of another site that does summaries, After investigating, I found I could have the API use it up to 100 times a day, which should be plenty for my purposes. Their tool for providing keywords is slightly too opaque for my uses, currently, though I might reconsider and use it in conjunction with the current tool - though I'm not convinced that will be overly helpful yet. We'll see.

5/21/2022 6:59 pm | | Tags: stackoverflow, college, programming, glowbug

He Spurred a Revolution in Psychiatry. Then He ‘Disappeared.’

A reminder that it wasn't too long ago that homosexuality was considered a mental issue and that it took one person to come forward and say that that needed to change.

5/21/2022 9:31 pm | | Tags: psychiatry
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