Category Archives: Uncategorized

Zotero and Scrivener from confectious

Note: the following will be long and kind of technical, and of no interest to anyone who isn’t interested in managing lots of references for long-form writing.

I love Scrivener. Love love love it. But I had been unable to figure out how to integrate it with my bibliography management in Zotero, even after multiple Internet searches. This was a problem, as I also love using Zotero, and want to keep supporting the project and its developers. But it was getting increasingly unwieldy to hardcode citation references into Scrivener text by dragging-and-dropping from Zotero — which was the usual solution suggested. When you start getting into 50 page documents that need to be outputted with different citation styles for different publication venues, manually copying and pasting the citations with each new submission is…frustrating.

Zotero has a plug-in that works with Word to obviate the need for manual copying and pasting, apparently. In that model, you basically add code snippets to your text that list all the citation variables. Then, you can export your doc and transform the snippets into whatever citation format you like. A nice separation of content and presentation layer.

So I figured that maybe there was some obvious technical fix I had missed about replicating that replaceability in Scrivener. Hallelujah, there was. What was confusing me is that there no official Zotero plug-in for Scrivener to manage the conversion between one citation formatting style and other, à la the Word plugin.

However, it turns out that Zotero has a function called RTF Scan essentially does the same thing.

Here’s how it works.

You merrily type along in Scrivener, inserting your citations as usual, but in brackets. So, I would reference a work by Bruno Latour published in 2005 as {Latour, 2005}. Then, you export the Scrivener file as an RTF (which is one of the basic options in Scrivener’s Export command). Then, you go to Zotero and select the “RTF Scan” option from under the little gear icon. Choose the RTF file you just made. Blammo! It scans the citations in curly brackets and automatically links them to items in your Zotero database. Then it prompts you manually link up citations that it couldn’t find.

At the end, you have an RTF file output with all the citations in curly brackets neatly output in whatever format you like (ACM, APA, whatever) which can then be opened in Word or wherever for formatting. This is more convoluted than just using End Note or Zotero with Word, but does allow me to zip along adding citations as I go in Scrivener. And it does what it’s supposed to do, which is separate the content layer (Scrivener) from the presentation layer (Word) through a citation transform function.

I cannot believe it took me this long to figure it out, though.

All the information on RTF Scan is, yes, in the manual. It’s just not actually put in context of what you’d use RTF Scan for. Which is why I’m writing this up now. I should not have had to read each and every comment to a post on ProfHacker (not to mention fruitlessly trawling both the Zotero and Scrivener forums) to figure out how to hack the two together.

Thank you, liz at! This is just what I’ve been searching for too! And searching and searching and searching. Now hopefully I can adjust my writing practises to fruitfully use both Zotero and Scrivener (which I love) without manual import and copies. Although I’ve now got a Papers database to tidy up as well.

Although I’m digital culture, I had also read the paper on MapChat {Churchill, E. and Goodman, E. Mapchat: conversing in place. CHI Extended Abstracts 2008: 3165-3170} and others for some of my earlier university projects.

Beyond Culture :: Edward T. Hall


Great suggested reads from Victor at, including The Silent Language, The Hidden Dimension (introducing the term proxemics), The Dance of Life and Hidden Differences.

As I’m Cultural Studies you’d think I’d have run across his work before but culture is broad and deep. Hall is a seminal anthropologist from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Welcome to the Robot State


You’ll be seeing me here and there assisting robot ambassadors with all the paperwork humans need to visit the robot state. Passports, visas, permits and vaccinations, that sort of stuff. This gives me an excuse to make cool conceptual robots – artifacts, as it were, like my recent rocket cars rather than serious toy robots for kids competitions. After all, I can’t compete with Ishiguro or Honda’s Asimo or Hanson’s RoboKind or iRobot or Willow Garage but I can be a person asking the questions about why we and robots behave the way we do together. Why do we name robots the way we do and what do our robot’s names say about us? Robots have some rights too, you know.

This may help my thesis on robot names and human-robot interaction. But then again, it could be a really great distraction cause I’ve been itching to build something. For serious updates on the Robot State.

James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council

2010 Tiptree Award Winner Announced!

The James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council is pleased to announce that the 2010 Tiptree Award is being given to Baba Yaga Laid an Egg, by Dubravka Ugresic (Canongate, 2010).


Baba Yaga Laid an Egg
impressed with its power and its grace. Tiptree juror Jessa Crispin explains that the beginning of the book “does not scream science fiction or fantasy. It starts quietly, with a meditation on the author’s aging mother, and the invisibility of the older woman…. But things shift wholly in the second act, with a surreal little tale of three old ladies, newly moneyed, who check into an Eastern European health spa. There’s another revolution in the third act, where what looks like a scholarly examination of the Russian fairy tale hag erupts into a rallying cry for mistreated and invisible women everywhere.”

Crispin notes that the fairy tale figure Baba Yaga is the witch, the hag, the inappropriate wild woman, the marginalized and the despised. She represents inappropriateness, wilderness, and confusion. “She’s appropriate material for Ugresic, who was forced into exile from Croatia for her political beliefs. The jurors feel Baba Yaga Laid an Egg is a splendid representation of this type of woman, so cut out of today’s culture.”


The Honor List is a strong part of the award’s identity and is used by many readers as a recommended reading list for the rest of the year. This year’s Honor List is:

The Bone Palace by Amanda Downum (Orbit 2010) — noted for a deliciously complicated plot that challenges 21st century Earth attitudes toward transfolk. One juror noted that this book came closest among the honor list to meeting her Tiptree ideal by including a character that not only embodies a challenge to prescribed roles, but also creates a crack in or addition to the structure that carries forward to future generations.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit 2010) — set in a matriarchal society where the privilege and expectations between the sexes are reversed, while the gender roles are different but recognizable (and believable).

“Diana Comet and the Disappearing Lover” by Sandra McDonald (published as “Diana Comet,” Strange Horizons, March 2 & March 9, 2009) — a (true) love story, in which the author does something simple but radical with the identity issues at play.

“Drag Queen Astronaut” by Sandra McDonald (Crossed Genres issue 24, November 2010) — a wonderful exploration (and ultimately an affirmation) of a gender presentation that tends to be ignored or ridiculed.

The Secret Feminist Cabal by Helen Merrick (Aqueduct Press 2009) — an academic look at the history of early feminism in science fiction, science fiction criticism, and fandom that provides a valuable documentation of our beginnings

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor (DAW 2010) —A strong female lead character breaks out of restrictive gender roles to change her life, perhaps changing history as a result. A well-written perspective on prejudice and discrimination and the lessons needed to overcome their bonds on our identities and imaginations.

Living with Ghosts by Kari Sperring (DAW 2009) — an unusual perspective in a main character —a feminized man who makes much of his living as an escort/high-class sex worker who sees ghosts when he is not expecting — or expected — to be able to do so. An excellent read.

The Colony by Jillian Weise (Soft Skull Press 2010) — Takes on the idea that pervades our culture that women have to be perfect in order to have sex with men. One juror notes: “I’ve never read a book that made a woman with one leg so sexually normal.” Smart and well written with subtle gender politics.

In addition to the honor list, this year’s jury also compiled the following long list of other works they found worthy of attention:

* Beth Bernobich, Passion Play (Tor 2010)
* Stevie Carroll, “The Monitors” (Echoes of Possibilities, edited by Aleksandr Volnov, Noble Romance Publishing 2010)
* Roxane Gay, “Things I Know About Fairy Tales” (Necessary Fiction, May 13, 2009)
* Frances Hardinge, Gullstruck Island (MacMillan 2009)
* Julia Holmes, Meeks (Small Beer Press 2010)
* Malinda Lo, Ash (Little, Brown 2009)
* Alissa Nutting, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls (Starcherone Books 2010)
* Helen Oyeyemi, White Is for Witching (Doubleday 2009)
* Rachel Swirsky, “Eros, Philia, Agape” (, March 3, 2009)

This year’s jurors were Penny Hill (chair), Euan Bear, Jessa Crispin, Alice Sola Kim, and Lawrence Schimel.

One of my favorite ever authors celebrated here with a great list of book goodies – especially looking forward to the Secret Feminist Cabal by Helen Merrick and “Gullstruck Island” by Frances Hardinge as I loved her earlier book “Fly By Night”.

Struts – sexed up kids’ toys

New Struts dolls.New Struts dolls.


And you thought Bratz dolls were bad. Meet Struts,  the pony dolls with high heels and handbags.

Made by Playmates toys, the dolls are billed as “an attitude and a lifestyle for girls who are on the cutting edge of what’s hot in fashion.”

“Struts combine a girl’s natural fondness of horses and her love for fashion dolls,” reads the brands’ website.

Geared towards girls aged 5-8, they may appeal to girls who have outgrown My little Pony. But are the long lashes and impossibly thin limbs of the Struts sending the wrong message to children?

Psychologist Dale Atkins, quoted on the Today Show website, is concerned about what these kind of dolls say about a girl’s own appearance.

“When we have these ridiculous models — sexualized children, and horses with long eyelashes that are flirtatious and all of that — it sets up this ideal of beauty and body image that kids have to pay attention to because they can’t not pay attention to it. And they feel less good as they’re trying to develop a good sense about their own bodies,” she says. “The sexualized aspect just makes them feel like they’re only good if they are objectified. … And it’s all so subtle, for a child anyway. We parents and adults look at this and say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so blatant, but in fact it’s subtle because kids are playing with these things and then they look in the mirror.”

This is taking the feminization of the horse (see earlier post) to the extreme. To the extremely bizarrely extreme! Perhaps not so bizarre. The downgrading of the status of the horse which accompanies the rise of other automotive technologies is just being taken to a logical progression. I hypothesize that horsified robots rather than pinkified ones may reopen the gender status of computing technologies.

Heading to HRI2011 : Human Robot Interaction Conference

HRI 2011 is the 6th Annual Conference for basic and applied human-robot interaction research. Scientists from across the world submit their best work and attend HRI to hear the latest theories, data, and videos from the world’s best HRI researchers. Each year, the HRI conference highlights a particular area. The theme of HRI 2011 is Real World HRI. This theme is intended to highlight HRI in which basic scientific research is further tested in real world settings or applied to questions that arise in real world settings. One central aspect of this type of research, in contrast to other realms of applied research, is that it is theoretically driven and feeds back to our theoretical understandings. As such, real world research fortifies our understanding of people, robots, and interaction between the two.

HRI is a single-track, highly selective annual international conference that seeks to showcase the very best interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research in human-robot interaction with roots in social psychology, cognitive science, HCI, human factors, artificial intelligence, robotics, organizational behavior, anthropology and many more, and we invite broad participation.

Conference Topics

  • Socially intelligent robots
  • Robot companions
  • Lifelike robots
  • Assistive (health & personal care) robotics
  • Remote robots
  • Mixed initiative interaction
  • Multi-modal interaction
  • Long term interaction with robots
  • Awareness and monitoring of humans
  • Task allocation and coordination
  • Autonomy and trust
  • Robot-team learning
  • User studies of HRI
  • Experiments on HRI collaboration
  • Ethnography and field studies
  • HRI software architectures
  • HRI foundations
  • Metrics for teamwork
  • HRI group dynamics
  • Individual vs. group HRI
  • Robot intermediaries
  • Risks such as privacy or safety
  • Ethical issues of HRI
  • Organizational/society impact

Humanoid Robot in Space


I love the mobility options. It really highlights the hidden decisions about when and where human is required. I’m told the head didn’t go into space. It was optional. (But I haven’t confirmed that). I also appreciate the astromaleness, which you can see in the other pictures from NASA and which pervades the whole crew!