Back From the Dead

The ScienceBlogs upgrade is now complete, so I'm typing this in an entry box that looks different that it used to, and my text is appearing in an ugly font. There are no clearer indications of progress, at least as defined by the software industry.

I had had big plans to get out in front of things by researching and writing some quality blog posts this weekend. Unfortunately, Chateau Steelypips was swept by some sort of stomach flu bug, about which the less said the better. To give you an idea of my condition, though, at one point I started to pick up the Donald Westlake book I'm re-reading, then said, "No, that would require too much concentration." All I could do was lie on the couch and watch godawful football games.

And today, I have to do a ton of class prep for the week ahead, which means no quality new blogging just yet. So, instead, consider this an Open Thread for posting suggestions of features you would like to see added to ScienceBlogs now that we have ugly fonts on the back end. How can we serve you better?

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You may have heard from Slashdot that the University of Wisconsin is switching from Arial, a sans-serif font, to Century Gothic, a serif** font that uses 30% less ink, for default printing. The university hopes to save ink, which is both thrifty and eco-friendly. But you may not have seen this art…

Easy math symbol and super/subscript entry with nice latexy display would be one. From comments.

Easy math symbol and super/subscript entry with nice latexy display would be one. From comments.

Is there a good standard way of adding this to Movable Type that you know of? I'll pass it along, but my impression was that most of the systems for doing this sort of thing are hand-rolled (e.g., Jacques Distler's MathML stuff, which crashes Opera hard)

Welcome back.

I, for one, would appreciate a slightly bigger font size for all SB posts. I know this is possible, since Greg Laden has been using an easy-on-the-eyes font size (and the comfortable serifs of Times New Roman) all along. For us older folks with failing eyes, it helps a lot.

I'm not sure if the gizmos are available, but anything that made simple formatting (bold, italic, underline) and link inclusion within comments easier would be helpful.

Chad, there's a MT plugin which reads LaTeX formulas, produces images of the equations and auto-embeds them in the post. (Find it here: I don't know if it applies to the comments, tho. This is the sort of system which wikipedia uses for math, iirc.

If I may connect "godawful football games" and the spotting errors of footballs, with the non-existence of Simultaneity under Special Relativity:

Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:47 pm EST

Play clock was at zero for crucial Ravens first down
By Chris Chase
yahoo sports

"Another game, another officiating error in the NFL. On a key 3rd and 2 with 2:52 remaining in today's divisional playoff game between the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans, the play clock clearly expired well before Joe Flacco received the snap, but no delay of game call came from the officials."

"The Ravens converted the first down on a long pass to Todd Heap, and ended up kicking the game winning field goal later in the drive."

"It's not uncommon for officials to miss the play clock hitting zero, but when they do the ball is snapped nearly immediately afterwards. On this play, the ball was snapped 1.35 seconds after the play clock expired (yes, I timed it). That might sound trivial, but it's really, really not. It's a long time. Watch the replay, it's preposterous how long the back judge had to make the call."

"This doesn't excuse the Titans for giving up the first down on the 3rd and 2. Nor is it intended to suggest that the Ravens couldn't have converted on 3rd and 7 after the penalty. The point is, they should have had to."

We're closing in of halftime in the Eagles-Giants game.

And I'm one of the minority who feels that USC was #1 this year in college football, despite the BCS absurdity, and Utah and Texas being not far behind.

I wandered off-topic for this thread. Okay: for people on really minimal memory systems (such as this Windows 98 box I'm using at the moment) your main page, when there are lots of photos, sometimes puts antique browsers into silly modes, which might not happen if the photos were fewer, thumbnailed, or otherwise compressed.

When I was in management of the Web Services department at EarthLink, we used to argue again and again about how to balance user shininess for top-end subscribers versus backwards compatibility for bottom-end subscribers.

Higher management finally implemented my empirical suggestion, and sniffed more vociferously to real-time back-end determine OS/Browser platform of each user. Interesting statistics were compiled, and made available for commercial web hosting users, who found such useful for them to fine-tune their presentations on their most-hit pages.

I assume SteelyKid did not watch the game today?

Re: super/subscript

It's always (at least since I've been commenting here) been possible by hand-coding the necessary HTML: the relevant tags are <sup> for superscript and <sub> for subscript. Just remember to use the corresponding close tag or you'll end up posting an entire paragraph in super/subscript.

However, it would be nice to have some kind of LaTeX-to-HTML translation that won't crash somebody's browser. It may have to consist of converting the equation to a server-side GIF/PNG, at least for now, but it would be an improvement.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 12 Jan 2009 #permalink

The Powers That Be are aware of the need for LaTeX. I will be sure to add my voice to the call, though.

I'll pass on the other requests as well.

Which Donald Westlake are you rereading? He's always been three of my favorite authors and his obituaries pointed me to Samuel Holt, whom I'd never read. I've now read 3 of the 4. Not bad, but not up to Tucker Coe standards. He's still only three of my favorite authors.

By Neil Ostrove (not verified) on 12 Jan 2009 #permalink

Which Donald Westlake are you rereading?

Drowned Hopes, the one with the crazy guy who wants to blow up a dam to get at a box full of cash from a thirty-year-old armored car heist.

It's a little odd for a Dortmunder book in a lot of ways-- Tom Jimson is a much darker character than typical for the series. There are also a couple of plot threads that don't really come together until the very end.

It's got some great bits, though.