Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar header image 2

Entries Tagged as 'twitter'

Not just because he wants to use my photo…

March 3rd, 2009 · Comments Off on Not just because he wants to use my photo…

Leonardo’s helicopter

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

…of Leonardo’s helicopter — John Graham-Cummings’s The Geek Atlas sounds like a fascinating travel guide. To quote its description at O’Reilly Books:

With this unique traveler’s guide, you’ll learn about 128 destinations around the world where discoveries in science, mathematics, or technology occurred or is happening now. Travel to Munich to see the world’s largest science museum, watch Foucault’s pendulum swinging in Paris, ponder a descendant of Newton’s apple tree at Trinity College, Cambridge, and more. Each site in The Geek Atlas focuses on discoveries or inventions, and includes information about the people and the science behind them.

Woo hoo, sign me up for the entire tour!

Tags: geeky · Science · twitter · Wide wonderful world

Headed for Devine country in Mitchelstown

October 13th, 2007 · Comments Off on Headed for Devine country in Mitchelstown

From Kilworth To The Galtees

Originally uploaded by Kman999

On April 21, 1851, young Patrick Devine (he was 9) set sail with his auntie Elizabeth (she was 27) from Liverpool to New York City. (How they got from their birthplace–Mitchelstown, in County Cork–I do not know.)

I also don’t know much about how, some forty years later, Patrick was established in Manchester, NH, as “the” Roman Catholic undertaker. (Patrick and his dad started off as carpenters, making little pine coffins.) Patrick’s second son, Maurice, annoyed both parents by leaving the family business to go to law school. My father J. Murray Devine was the son of Maurice.

So that’s why Frank Wilczek and I are in Cork tonight, headed north to Mitchelstown once we sleep off the minor stress of flying here from Stockholm. I’m told Mitchelstown is most famous for “boring cheese” and that earlier family visits failed to turn up the name Devine, even in graveyards.

Piffle. So what. I want to see for myself.

I’m also carrying with me a small talisman from the other side of my family of origin. My mother kept a journal (on onionskin paper) of her 1963 visit to Ireland, including Mitchelstown, which I am hoping to follow if that is possible. My father organized the trip but my mother recorded it for them.

My mother–who had not one drop of Irishness in her and didn’t like Guiness–considered that the worst scolding insult to one of her children was “You’re a disgrace to the name Devine.” My mother, who was adopted, wrote her own obituary and carefully omitted from said obituary her maiden name.

I’m planning to share more of her stuff with you as we go on.

Tags: My Back Pages · twitter · Wide wonderful world

What would Omar Khayyam say to RSS?

June 11th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Bloglines and Twitter underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
With good wifi, ’tis Paradise enow!

No, Omar, I don’t think so!

Picnic wine glass

Originally uploaded by Orange Cremecicle

Susan Mernit astutely diagnoses her own reading shift to (more and more) on the internet. The New York Times and (more recently) Newsweek now look like problems in paper disposal rather than information–but Susan finds one very interesting exception:

“I am still a huge fan of monthly magazines–the womens/shelter/travel magazines that I get–Country Living, Oprah, Domino, Lucky, Sunset, Food & Wine, Blueprint–are tremendous fun and I enjoy browsing through them and savoring the photos, travel ideas, and things I like but will never buy.

So where’s the paradigm shift? Information versus entertainment.

Very astute, but let me shift her shift some more. I see the difference as more like fast food drive-through versus gourmet picnic basket.

Paper can’t compete with pixels on serving up small bites of information to people hungry for information that’s new–now!

Text on a computer screen can’t compete with printed take-anywhere pages that you savor slowly anywhere you want them–from deep in your favorite chair or on a beach blanket.

Mmmmm! Which not to say I don’t love RSS!

Tags: Metablogging · twitter · Wide wonderful world

Catlike tread, my haiku won, and other reasons to love Twitter

April 12th, 2007 · Comments Off on Catlike tread, my haiku won, and other reasons to love Twitter

Picture an activity that sounded so, so foolish until you tried it….but then…!!!…no, I’m not starting to write an X-rated post. And I’m not referring to Gilbert and Sullivan, either. I’m talking about the silly webservice called Twitter.

Twitter is like a tiny newsreader I keep at the side of my desktop in a browser window because a lot of online-friends drop little notes into it from time to time. Some notes are chatty, some are short insights, and some are just plain great stuff that I wouldn’t have heard about otherwise, for example:

  • I heard about a haiku contest to win a Joost beta invite — and my haiku won! (, which ran the contest, is also a site that I’m glad I discovered.)
  • When my brother had trouble getting Windows to make a screencapture, I asked friends in Twitter for help. Both Laura Moncur and Mr. Noded gave me the solution in minutes.
  • Twitter let me re-connect with faraway friends, not to mention local friends I see too rarely–for example, Jack Hodgson, whose fine blog steered me to that Pirates of Penzance YouTube video.

Ronni Bennett says that Twitter sounds stupid–ok, and she’s right, it does sound really stupid. But it’s also fun and rewarding in ways that would be hard to justify to somebody who hasn’t yet moved past the silly part into the wow, amazing! part.

Just like, for example, Gilbert and Sullivan?

Tags: funny · Metablogging · twitter

Twitter: Social string theory, not just nextbigthingitude

March 16th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Nextbigthingitude? What a great word Halley has dreamed up for Twitter. But it’s more than that.

Twitter is an experiment in turning OFF a few social taboos, to see what happens next.

Twitter, like blogging, shuts down the taboo that says “Don’t talk about yourself, people don’t care.” Twitter, like Orkut, gives delicious permission to ask for and offer friendship to people you like, while withholding your friendship from people you don’t like so much.

Don’t string theorists believe that the world has tons of extra rolled-up dimensions? Twitter-ers are playing games with the social dimensions, collapsing a few just to see what might happen next.

And what happens next is, most likely, that we all get bored. Or maybe we don’t.

Maybe we decide we want this crazy new-fangled interaction toy that nobody wanted before it was invented–just the way we decided we want email and cellphones.

Besides–it’s fun being part of this experiment–join me!

Tags: Go go go · Metablogging · twitter