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Spanking new Historical Data Ninjas website

Dear Fellow Network Enthusiasts and Historians, as you may have noticed, we are finally starting to use some of our newly acquired digital skills to improve this little blog baby of ours. We are sad to say goodbye to our spaghetti-os domain. We will never forget what it did and we would like for us all to hold a moment of silence, please, for the one who never really got the chance. They show up to the party, but they’re never asked to dance. The losers, the liars, the bastards…  Ahum… But not to worry! Apart from adding some bling and the new domain name (historicaldataninjas for those who hadn’t noticed yet! – yes you! ..cheeky inattentive little buggers), our content will stay absolutely the same: Harry Potter networks, stupid memes, random – and often rude – comments, academic gossip, even occasional historical info(!) and SNA help, research and suggestions will still be the supreme masters of this blog. We are still very much working on the new design, so we want to apologise in advance for any technical failures. If you come across any problem, please do contact us via the comment section below or via Twitter (@DataNinjasKUL) and we’ll try to get it fixed asap. Cheers! Silke

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You just can’t not love us

Dear fettucine followers, It’s been far too long, I know, I know… But if you want to keep getting updates on your favorite noodle chefs, they have to get money from somewhere first. Mine is running out, and here in Belgium, the first quarter of the year is generally ‘grant application season’, so I’ve been writing what could add up to a book on project outlines, research summaries and cost simulations. We’ve been really busy over the last couple of months though, trying out new features in Gephi and all, so you’ll here from us soon, promised! In the meantime, one of our very first arty-farty spaghetti monsters has been chosen to adorn the brand-new KU Leuven research homepage! Someone at the KU Leuven Marketing Office has finally seen the light, hallelujah! Yanne

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Where do data ninjas go for help?

Where do DataNinjas go for help against that unbeatable foe called Gephi? That’s right, they ask online and wait for other ninjas to come to the rescue! They then ask them to write a guest post on their award winning blog. I am Sir Simon of Gephi and I nobly answered just such a call-to-arms. Aside from being Silke’s occasional tech support, I also own the complete Adventures of Tintin and an Iron Age spear, so I have all of the relevant Belgian/classicist credentials to be here (also I’m working on a PhD that involves crime and SNA or some such nonsense). For a slightly different approach to spaghetti monsters to the usual DataNinja stuff, I’m going to highlight how to construct networks from twitter and tell the tale of a trip to a pub with some digital classicists… Twitter digital classicist network After helping Silke cure about a 1000 errors that were occurring when data was imported into Gephi, she was kind enough to invite me along to a Digital Classicist lecture at King’s to see what sort of thing is going on in the DC field. There was a jolly interesting talk given by Leif Isaksen and Elton Barker about the Pelagios project and Recogito, and perhaps even more interesting to someone interested in spaghetti monsters, people were being encouraged to use #DigiClass to interact with the presentation. Twitter digital classicist network: Nodexl There are various tools which can be used to gather this data, my personal preference…

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Sex sells

Sex sells. It has been proven by very brainy people like ourselves, that if something is straddled by a busty blond in a skimpy bikini with legs up to her ass, chances are high the guy will buy. Women need a little extra stimulus, apparently, but hand them a pair of boxer shorts to fondle, and they max out those credit cards faster than you can blink. And you probably won’t be getting those boxers back either. (I’ve been dying to test if this is true. I want a new iPhone, mine’s hanging on a thread since I dropped it one to many times. But they’re so damn expensive, I keep putting it off. So I’ve been hanging around the local superstore’s phone department the past couple of weeks, waiting for a husky sales guy to flash me the rim of his tighty wighties while reaching for something on the top shelf so I can casually brush my fingers against it, hoping this will tip me over the edge. But no luck so far. The main reasons being a) husky guys don’t work in geeky chain stores, and b) if there were a husky sales guy, I’d be too shy to ask him to reach for something on the top shelf). So, like I said in the previous post: my first idea for the YouReCa challenge was sex. With only six minutes to entertain and educate the audience, we needed something everyone was familiar with. Luckily, Romans loved sex. And…

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Challenge accepted!

Science Slam YouReCa Challenge 2014 You may have heard a rumor here or there, and yes, it’s true, your beloved Data Ninjas rocked a Science Slam. What is this perversion, slamming science, you ask? Well, if you know us at all, you know that’s what we do: we make fun of our research. Not only laugh at it, but also just simply, plainly, down-to-earthly, ever-so-innocently make it fun. Because what’s the fun in doing research every day, if it isn’t fun? And with that last sentence you have your proof: God does everything for a reason, and there’s a reason he didn’t make us philosophists. Er, philosophers. Guess there’s a reason he didn’t make us literary geniuses as well… So, this Science Slam YouReCa Challenge 2014: it’s organized by the KU Leuven’s career center every year, and the idea behind it is to promote science communication. Several emails had been sent out, urging young researchers to apply, which I all steadily ignored because of my not so latent suffering of flop sweat (and this is not meant in the second sense provided by Urban Dictionary). I should have known that I could not trust my attention-addicted academic twin though. One nice and sunny day, somewhere in October, innocently minding my own networky business while I’m enjoying a Pop Tart or a spoon of frosting no doubt (spaghetti monsters require a lot of energy!), my iMessage starts bleeping with the usual London drivel, during which she casually drops the line ‘I…

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Why do we even bother…?

All right folks! You found us! This means one of two things: either you’re friend/family/foe and you’re curious about what we’re up to (thanks for playing, better luck next time), or you’re seriously into SNA and you’re hoping to actually find some useful stuff here. We should pause here and warn you though: we are NOT SNA guru’s, despite us being worshipped by our department colleagues. We are, first and foremost, historians, lovers of all things antique (preferably Graeco-Roman in Egypt). And proud of it! About a year ago then, we started to explore the subtle science of social network analysis. We’ve come a long way since then, but we’re basically still rookies compared to the many die-hard sociologists, mathematicians, computer wizzes and all out there. RESPECT. So basically what we’re aiming at with this blog is to let the world know what your tax money is spent on. Actually it’s just a very narcissistic self-promotional format. Science communication and valorization are the new buzz words when it comes to fellowship and grant applications, so we doing just that here. But buried deep down we still have an altruistic streak, so we’d also like to help out other self-taught, or wannabe self-teaching SNA’ers and to provide a forum where we can exchange thoughts and “experiments” (sounds pretty sciency huh? ¯(°_⊙)/¯). We’re planning on posting some entries on the books and courses we’ve been using to get started, as well as on the software we’ve been playing with. And we’ll obviously keep…

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