Quotīdiē ❧ Ndugu's proper chocolate jam,

Shed a tear of delight; don't you worry about a fall tonight
Birds flying free; What about you and me

Take some time to let your feelings flow free
You can't hide away from what you'll be
Search the sky for new horizons to unfold
Set yourself on the oceans of dreams to behold

—from "Take Some Time" by Ndugu & The Chocolate Jam Company

I remember hearing this slow jam a couple of times at dances in Nigeria in the early 80s.  When Erykah Badu flipped it for "Ummm Hmmm" off her latest masterpiece New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh), she put a weeks-long itch in my skull, and I bet a lot of others who had grown up on a soul diet.  I finally twigged it last week, and went to hunt down the Ndugu & The Chocolate Jam Company original, but it seems to have faded into the mists of the past a bit, which is a true shame.  I did find the following audio version on YouTube, though.

Here is Badu's "Ummm Hmmm," accompanied by some lovely stills of Fat Belly Bella herself.

Of course Badu wasn't the first to discover the great sample possibilities of the Leon Chancler (AKA "Ndugu") jam.  DJ Premier used it back in '07 for the NYG'z project song "Welcome To G-Dom."

Of course, I love me some Primo, but Erykah pwned this bitch.  It's over.  I hope no other DJs think they should dare follow her.

Then again I'm thinking of using the Primo loop to back a poem recital one day.  And maybe I have just the poem.  Having learned about the terzanelle form from Heather Fowler a few weeks ago, I fell in love with the form, and I've been writing a sequence of terzanelles, one for each song on New Amerykah Part Two.  I'm on "Ummm Hmmm" and the first few stanzas of my poem are as follows:

Take some time to let your feelings run free
Heart's desire—thump! thump! I've been here before—
You can't hide away from what you'll be.

You can't hide; don't cheat I've been keeping score.
Place your bet, love; scared money don't make none.
Heart's desire—thump! thump! I've been here before.

Truth and Icarus dare, the money sun,
Angel bird, let's jump off into your world.
Place your bet, love; scared money don't make none.

Naturally it includes elements from Ndugu's song, as well as Badu's.  I can't find the lyrics to "Take Some Time" anywhere on the Net so I, ah, took some time to transcribe them myself.  As you can see from the square brackets and the ellipses, there are some parts I can't figure out right now, but I think I got most of it.

"Take Some Time" by Ndugu & The Chocolate Jam Company

Do you always conceal what you feel inside
Man does not ever drift with the flow of the tide
Makes it hard to see when [it attracts you and me]
And there comes a time when your feelings should run free

And understand that you're over me when you're ...
It'll lend you a helping hand when your [crimes] cross the tide
Takes you high in the sky of your heart's desire
Float through the valley of love; you'll start to fly
Like a bird in the sky who's just learned to fly
Makes you feel so proud you might want to cry

Shed a tear of delight; don't you worry about a fall tonight
Birds flying free; What about you and meNdugu Chancler

Take some time to let your feelings flow free
You can't hide away from what you'll be
Search the sky for new horizons to unfold
Set yourself on the oceans of dreams to behold

Well you're pride by your side when we're looking on
Keep your head to the sky through the weather of the storm

Take the compliment as if it came heaven-sent
From someone up above [with music] with love

What's the nature of your mind when the trouble starts to [grind]
Do you leave yourself behind, not to be caught up on the line
Signs of life is a lot to see that you hold in your [belief]

Free your time; what about your mind

Take some time to let your feelings flow free
You can't hide away from what you'll be
Search the sky for new horizons to unfold
Set yourself on the oceans of dreams to behold

You will find further on down the line
Is what you've got to do, to see you through

Take some time to let your feelings flow free
You can't hide away from what you'll be
Search the sky for new horizons to unfold
Set yourself on the oceans of dreams to behold

Take some time to let your feelings flow free
You can't hide away from what you'll be
Search the sky for new horizons to unfold
Set yourself on the oceans of dreams to behold

Numerical type with units - via Python Cookbook

I implemented dimensions.py perhaps eight years ago as an exercise and have used it occasionally ever since.

It allows doing math with dimensioned values in order to automate unit conversions (you can add m/s to mile/hour) and dimensional checking (you can't add m/s to mile/lightyear). It specifically does not convert 212F to 100C but rather will convert 9F to 5C (valid when converting temperature differences).

It is similar to unums (http://home.scarlet.be/be052320/Unum.html) but with a significant difference:

I used a different syntax Q(25,'m/s') as opposed to 100*m/s (I recall not wanting to have all the base SI units directly in the namespace). I'm not entirely sure which approach is really better.

I also had a specific need to have fractional exponents on units, allowing the following:

>>> km=Q(10,'N*m/W^(1/2)')
>>> km
Q(10.0, 'kg**0.5*m/s**0.5')

Looking back I see a few design decisions I might do differently today, but I'll share it anyway.

Some examples are in the source below the line with if __name__ == "__main__":

Note that I've put two files into the code block below, dimensions.py and dimensions.data, so please cut them apart if you want to try it.

Very impressive library. I recently incorporated the use of the Measurement Unit Ontology into the Computer-based Patient Record (CPR) ontology and (on the surface) it seems like a library like this can provide the unit conversion machinery for RDF instances that use such a framework.

Talib Kweli on the Politics of Oil: Ballad of the Black Gold

Spotted this new Talib Kweli song, called the Ballad of the Black Gold in a hypem link (you can watch the video there). Very timely given the recent BP mess. Much respect to Talib for going into some of the history of Oil politics in Nigeria; an excerpt from Verse 2 is below:

Nigeria is celebrating 50 years of independence
They still feel the colonial effects of Great Britain's presence
Dictators quick to imitate the West
Got in bed with oil companies and now the place is a mess
Take a guess, which ones came and violated
They oiled up the soil, the Ogoni people was almost annihilated
But still they never stayed silent
They was activists and poets using non-violent tactics
That was catalyst for soldiers to break into they crib
Take it from the kids and try to break'em like a twig
And make examples of the leaders; executed Saro-Wiwa,
Threw Fela's mom out the window right after they beat her
In an effort to defeat hope. Now the people's feet soaked in oil [?]
So the youth is doing drive-bys through speed boats [?]
They kidnap the workers, they blowing up the pipelines
You see the fires glowing in the nighttime

We *were* all witness

Well, I pretty much knew it was going to happen as soon as they were bounced out of the playoffs. This poster downtown is going to look real stupid tomorrow. At least he didn't do it for the money.  Cleveland folks should show some respect to how much he elevated our game. We hadn't been contenders since the days of Larry Nance; remember those Cavs?

IEEE Internet Computing Special Issue: Web Technology and Architecture for Personal Health Records

IEEE Internet Computing is soliciting original articles describing the development of, relevant trends, and challenges incorporating contemporary Web-based technology for the primary functions of Personal Health Record (PHR).  Of particular interest are PHR systes that capture healthcare data entered by patients themselves: Personally Controlled Health Records (PCHR).  If you are interested please email either of the guest editors: Me (chimezie@gmail.com / cut@case.edu), Karthik Gomadam (karthik@knoesis.org), or Charles Petrie (petrie@stanford.edu).

Please email the guest editors a brief description of the article you plan to submit by 15 October 2010.  Final submissions are due on the first of November 2010.

The main functional categories of interest are information collection, sharing, exchange, and management.

Appropriate topics of interest include

  • Web-based, structured data collection in PHR systems
  • implementations of access-control policies and healthcare data sharing
  • distributed, identity-based authentication methods
  • digital signature and encryption techniques
  • Web portal architecture’s general components and capabilities as the basis for a PHR system
  • architectural paradigms regarding connectivity to other healthcare information producers and consumers
  • data models for PHR systems
  • distributed data subscription and publishing protocols
  • successful Web-based applications for chronic disease and medication management
  • health applications for PHR systems on mobile devices
  • privacy and security issues
  • HIPAA and its implications for adopting cloud computing for PHR applications
  • semantics for PHR interoperability and applications

All submissions must be original manuscripts of fewer than 5,000 words, focused on Internet technologies and implementations. All manuscripts are subject to peer review on both technical merit and relevance to IC’s international readership — primarily system and software design engineers. We do not accept white papers, and we discourage strictly theoretical or mathematical papers.

To submit a manuscript, please log on to Manuscript Central to create or access an account, which you can use to log on to IC‘s Author Center and upload your submission.

Counter-intuitive Nature of Overlapping Fullbacks

I've been watching a whole lot of World Cup soccer. Usually when I watch a sport at its highest levels for long enough I start to begin to see it through the eyes of a coach. One of the strategies of contemporary soccer that still puzzles me, however, is that of the overlapping fullback. The general idea is to have a fullback (such as  Danny Alvez, Maicon, Ashley Cole, Sergio Ramos, or Roberto Carlos - the classic overlapping fullback) that comes up the side often enough to be essentially be considered a wing player while on offense.

They make runs down the sidelines as attacking midfield players bring the ball up slowly, drawing the opposing backs to pickup their runs. Usually, this leaves them open to recieve the ball from the midfield, take the ball to the corner, and cross or opens up the space in front of the attacking midfield for a pass down the middle or provides an opportunity to wind up for a shot.

Usually, overlapping fullbacks have to be in incredible shape. One thing, fans of other sports simply do not realize is the incredible amount of distance soccer players cover and the overlapping fullback is probably the most extreme case since they have to essentially run the full length of the field to the opposing corner and then sprint back to the last quarter of their half that they are responsible for. I used to be left back when I wasn't a goalie, so I can appreciate how vulnerable a defense with a winded fullback can be and this is one of the things about this strategy that puzzles me.

Also, such fullbacks need to have good ball control and passing ability in order to effectively play the roll of a wide player. Sergio Ramos, an excellent fullback in his own right, is also an excellent crosser of the ball. So, such fullbacks are usually fairly valuable to their teams.

Regardless of whether or not a back is in excellent shape, eventually if he has to make such runs (as often as the best of them do) he will inevitably become winded and it will effect his ability to close down crosses from wingers who have less work to do over the length of the game. This vulnerability is significant for opposing offenses that either rely on play from the wing or are just lucky enough to have wide player with pace and the ability to provide excellent service from the wide areas.

So that said, it would seem good strategy for offenses to counteract repeatedly overlapping, attacking fullbacks by emphasizing the wide play of an equally aggressive, speedy winger such as Jesus Navas of Sevia (in the Spanish Primera League) on the other end to keep them honest. Yet, I rarely notice this explicit strategy.

It would be the equivalent of what is often done in basketball.  Consider the NBA finals. Paul Pierce is a significant contribution to the firepower of the Boston Celtics. A typical basketball strategy to neutralize an offensive threat is to force them to play defense through as much of the game as possible by - for instance - having the player they cover be more aggressive than usual. So, in the case of the NBA finals this year, Ron Artest (better known for his defensive
prowess than his offensive capabilities) took a significantly large number of shots and drove to the basketball quite often.  As a result, in the latter part of the series, Paul Pierce was much less effective as he usually is.

Maybe the open-ended nature of soccer makes it difficult to be able to sustain such a strategy, but it just seems to be to be something I would do if I was a soccer coach who was up against a perpetually aggressive, overlapping fullback and had a speedy wide player at my disposal to use to neutralize him.

Semantic Web Hubris

I've been reading The Icarus Syndrome, so the word Hubris has been on my mind lately.
I woke up with what I hope is a more concise way to express something I've
been going on and on about:

RDF is a web-based approach to knowledge representation (KR). Linked
Data is an idea that an important component of serendipity in this KR
is the addressability of its names over HTTP. The idea that this is
the most important component of its serendipity is hubris.

England fans today should remember the Ramsey/Shawcross incident

I'll start this out by admitting I'm an Arsenal fan.  Clearly I'm biased, but it's extraordinary the extent to which my predictions mirrored the eventual reality, and that is the foundation for the point I'm about to make.

Remember, remember the 27th of February.  Ryan Shawcross breaks Aaron Ramsey's leg with a horrendous tackle.  What happens next?  Wenger responds angrily, of course.  And then, on cue, the "proper English" get emphatically behind Shawcross.  More importantly, many people in the England national team camp get behind Shawcross.  Within hours he's not talking about his contrition, but rather how wonderful it is to have received so much support from England players.  He actually gets a call-up for England soon thereafter, even though he doesn't ever actually get on the field.

Ryan Shawcross manhandling Wayne Rooney in England training

In the aftermath of all that I posted the following on a forum:

I have no malice towards Shawcross. You can't compare this situation to the Matt Taylor challenge. Shawcross really thought he could get the ball. Taylor knew that he was going to get every inch of Eduardo's ankle. I'm not saying Taylor meant to cripple Eduardo, but he definitely meant to give him a good thump.

I do blame Pulis, and the stupid English mentality of agricultural football. "That Arsenal. They play football, eh? Well keep on kicking them until they stop playing football." Well guess what? England is about to get their arses handed to them at the WC. Teams such as Spain, Argentina and Brazil play football, not Ploughman kickboxing. England can't kick their way into winning because that's not allowed outside England.

English fans keep on moaning about their country's serial failures on the international stage, but they need look no further than their own FA for blame, and the sort of so-called football that's endorsed in the country's highest league.

Shawcross was probably told every day of the past week that if he catches sight of the ball, he should hurl every limb at it. He did exactly that, the poor, untalented lump, and this time he got very unlucky with the result. But even more unlucky is Ramsey. I do hope they both recover, but I hope, somehow, improbably, Ramsey recovers first.

By the Way Arseblogger put the same point brilliantly in "He's not that kind of player."

So you know what?  I dedicate the England loss today to Stan Collymore, to Lou Macari, to Sam Wallace (even though Wallace is not a contemptible than the others) who insisted, to the craven extent of upbraiding Wenger, that players such as Shawcross, and the style (using that term very loosely) they embody represent the admirable qualities of English football.  I hope you idiots admired your slow, lumbering, unimaginative, and frankly cowardly boys today.  You deserve every moment of your present misery.  And if you do not reform your own mentality, and also work to reform British football, you will have many more days of such misery to come.


And I do mean "British" there.  Scotland has the same problem, and thus never looks likely to enjoy a Slovenia-like run.  Ireland is of course not British, but there is much cultural commerce between the two islands, especially in football.  The Irish have focused their attention on the Henry handball, and not the fact that if they had taken France's place in that group they would have suffered even more woeful result.  Ireland has nothing to challenge the dynamic movement and football skills that dominate successful teams in this age, whether footballing power nations, or small interlopers.

The British/Irish mentality is a relic, and the Italian team has demonstrated the value of relics in football.  Look at Germany today.  I've heard a lot of nonsense from England players and fans today (on 606/Five Live, of course, not Talk Sport Radio who are symbolized by their loudmouth Collymore) that the 4-1 scoreline doesn't represent the game.  They're right.  It felt more like a 6-2 game.  The pace, the movement, the creativity, the quickness of thought, the crisp passing from the Germans made the English look like a pub team.

If this game were in the premiereship the English would have wasted no time giving the Germans a good, early kicking, to settle down all that fancy stuff.  But this is not the premiereship.  This is a FIFA event.  Guess what?  In a FIFA event you're not going to get a British referee.  You're going to get a referee who has no idea what the term "get stuck in" means, but who does have colorful cards in his pocket, and is very willing to use them.  And rightly so.  FIFA has emphasized their desire to protect creative and dynamic players.  The English mentality comes from days when The Battle of Highbury and The Battle of Santiago were just standard fare for International football.  And the FA and its officials are English mentality from wingtips to bowler hats.  Yes, Shawcross did get sent off, but he also got no more retrospective punishment than players get from a handbags push above the chest.


Look at Germany again.  Klinsmann had to come in and break an antiquated system.  He rebuilt the Mannschaft around dynamic movement of the men and the ball.  People now forget how much abuse he took for all his efforts.  Until their remarkable, over-achieving 2006 WC finals run everyone thought he was a silly meddler who didn't understand the German mentality, having moved to the US.  He soldiered on, and remade the team, and basically changed the German mentality.  They are reaping the rewards.  Capello is never the sort of transformative genius who can effect such a change, and even though Capello will almost certainly be shown the door now, with a fat severance in his back pocket, all the discussion of replacements are about getting in a "proper Englishman who understands the English player".  Yes.  They still just don't get it.

So true-blue English pundits, enjoy watching the Germans show you what sort of football it takes to do well in modern international tournaments.  Don't worry about changing that stubborn English mentality.  Go ahead and keep encouraging thug plowmen like Shawcross, telling them that they are good enough for the Three Lions, and better yet, keep teaching your schoolboys that's the sort of football Englishmen play.  Luckily I'm not an England fan.  Nigeria and the US have their own problems, for sure, but I can at least enjoy the sentiment described by that marvellous German term schadenfreude .  And I hope Ramsey, who showed flashes for brilliance for Wales, and is at least an example that Britain might be capable of producing something approximating an actual world class player, is enjoying the misery of all those people whose sympathies just a few months ago lay not with him, but with the drooling zombie who injured him.  In your face, English mentality.