Grazing on the periphery

It has been a great week for grazing … much of it enabled by Mara Averick’s open sharing.

It started with news of Alison Hill’s speakerdeck presentation.

Alison discusses courage, enchantment, permission, persistence and trust as elements of creative learning. She concludes with this slide:

What fascinated me about Alison’s presentation was her synthesis of profound ideas about sharing and learning with each other in an aesthetic that grabbed and held my attention for 94 slides.

She is part of a remarkable R community that shares openly.

Three other members of this community enabled even more grazing this week. Each offered me possibilities to extend my knowledge of visualisation using R.

Matt Dancho has shared the Anomalize package that enables a “tidy” workflow for detecting anomalies in time series data. There is a vignette for the package to share the process of identifying these events. I think this will be very helpful in my performance research as I investigate seasonal and trend behaviours.

Ulrike Groemping shared the prepplot package in which “a figure region is prepared, creating a plot region with suitable background color, grid lines or shadings, and providing axes and labeling if not suppressed. Subsequently, information carrying graphics elements can be added”.  There is a detailed vignette to support the package.

Guangchuang Yu shared the ggplotify package that converts “plot function call (using expression or formula) to ‘grob’ or ‘ggplot’ object that compatible to the ‘grid’ and ‘ggplot2’ ecosystem”.  Guangchang shares a detailed vignette that illustrates the potential of the package.

Mara, Alison, Matt, Ulrike and Guangchuand epitomise for me the delights in open sharing. A post in The Scholarly Kitchen, written by Alice Meadows, added to my grazing on the margins of openly sharing.

In the post Alice shares a wide range of resources. She makes a particular mention of the Metadata 2020 project that is “a collaboration that advocates richer, connected, and reusable, open metadata for all research outputs, which will advance scholarly pursuits for the benefit of society.”

The opportunities for such collaboration are increasing as we find new ways to share synchronously and asynchronously. These become easier as we make a bold decision to think out loud and share our thoughts with others.

Alison’s presentation includes this slide as a stimulus for that sharing:

This sharing permits grazing for me in the sense of the word used in Leonard Cohen’s Preface to the Chinese translation of his collection of Beautiful Losers poems includes this passage:

When I was young, my friends and I read and admired the old Chinese poets. Our ideas of love and friendship, of wine and distance, of poetry itself, were much affected by those ancient songs. … So you can understand, Dear Reader, how privileged I feel to be able to graze, even for a moment, and with such meager credentials, on the outskirts of your tradition.

Photo Credits

Slide grabs from Alison Hill’s speakerdeck.

Pictures from Twitter and Beuth Hochschule.

Collaboration image from Alice Meadow’s post.

Remembering Robert and his friends

It was a beautiful day here today in Braidwood, New South Wales.

The day before ANZAC Day.

Outside the 134 Coffee Shop, there were some brochures produced by the Braidwood RSL. I sat down with my two grandchildren, Ivy and Jolyon to read about Robert Geelan.

Robert was one of the 88 young men that left Braidwood for the First World War and did not return. (Braidwood RSL has a record of each of these young men in a project completed in 2015.)

Robert was 32 when he died in Belgium at the Menin Road on 20 September 1917. He enlisted on 31 July 1915 and was one of three members of his family (his father and brother were the other two) that went to the battlegrounds of the First World War.

Robert was from the Araluen valley near Braidwood a very long way from the Menin Road. Robert was wounded on the Western Front in 1916 but returned to the front lines.

The brochure gave the three of us the opportunity to talk about Robert and what it must have been like to be so far from home. Ivy and Jolyon think Araluen is a very long way from Braidwood so Robert’s journey was unimaginable. I explained that he also travelled by ship to get there.

Ivy and Jolyon will be walking in the ANZAC parade tomorrow with their school friends. This year they will be thinking about a boy from Araluen that left for Europe 103 years ago with his friends.

Photo Credit

Araluen Valley (Grahemec, CC BY-SA 4.0)

One year on

It is a year to the day that the Carwoola fired started.

The ABC has a story of one resident’s experience of the fire that day.

The anniversary has brought back vivid memories of the day for me when I was a member of the crew in the Braidwood Cat 7. Gail Nichols was the driver and Scott Hart the crew leader.

The Cat 7 is a three-person cab. We drove across country to get there and arrived in front of the fire on Captain’s Flat Road. In doing so we came upon a house under immediate threat from the fire.

We spent the next two hours trying to guide the fire around the property.

The fire arrived much sooner that I had thought and it was the first time I had been exposed to significant radiant heat. Under Scott’s instruction and Gail’s driving, we were able to respond in a way for which all our training had prepared us.

We did guide the fire around the property and then moved on down the road to protect a second property that was about to come under threat.

We were on a very small part of the fireground. Earlier this week, the Canberra Times shared other people’s experience of the day. The article notes “Remarkable stories of compassion, courage, resilience and recovery were born that day, and many more have risen from the ashes”.

One year on, I am mindful of how fortunate I was on that day. I was with a highly trained, experienced crew. Throughout the day, Scott was alert to our vulnerability and the risks we could manage. Gail drove under some very difficult circumstances.

At the end of our shift, we made our way to the Stoney Creek Fire Station where the scale of the community effort was very evident.

I had one of my best ever lettuce sandwiches and a lot of cold, fresh water.The room looked like a chimney sweeps’ convention. Everyone was tired, dirty and relieved.

This was the day that the essence of the RFS as a volunteer service made an enormous impact on me.

Photo Credits

Captains Flat Road (Gail Nichols)

The property and Cat 7 (Keith Lyons, CC BY 4.0)