Nerd Alert Issue 12: On the Road Again

We’re packing our bags and heading to Atlanta. See you at NICAR next week?


What we're reading this week

  Adam: For new users of CSS preprocessors the allure of nesting is strong, but if you have to maintain the CSS you write for some time to come, it can really come back to bite you. I have felt this bite this week as we’ve been refactoring some of the navigation elements in Largo and it’s gotten pretty ugly, at times. Don’t let this happen to you.

  Ben: Programming languages grow and evolve over time. How do the changes come to be? Boucoup has proposed an addition to JavaScript that would simplify raising numbers to powers. Their blog post on how they chose the syntax and what has to change to support it is, to my eye, fascinating.

 Denise:  I am in love with this new tool — and it’s acronym. LMGTDFY (Let Me Get That Data For You) is a free, open-source tool from U.S. Open Data that returns a machine-readable inventory of all the data files found on a website. Fun, huh?

  Kaeti:  Too often it feels like we have to choose between excellence or getting things done. Clair Byrd recently shared some thoughtful ideas about how we can make striving for excellence a daily practice.

  Meredith: I share an interest in gaining a better understanding of code and how it impacts journalism (keeping up to my thoughtful teammates), I found a journalist based in the Czech Republic, David Bauer, who shares the story of his year spent learning code.

  Ryan: A little computer science history for you this week: read about Grace Hopper — WWII veteran, early computer scientist and developer of the programming language that eventually became COBOL. Also, watch her 1986 interview with David Letterman.

  Will: If you like computer science, and you like considering “what if,” check out this Reddit thread that asks r/compsci, “How different would Computer Science be if we were to reinvent it?” Maybe we’d live in a world where Java didn’t exist and PHP wasn’t so terrible.

  Bert: Helpful robot is helpful.

This week's guest contributor: Heather Billings, NU Knight Lab - @hbillings

In the beginning were computers, and women programmed them. A lot of women. So what happened? Turns out, computer programming isn't the first activity to shift from being relatively gender-neutral to being full of bros, broads and beer. Maybe it's time tech learned some lessons from skater culture (and I don't just mean how to look wicked cool in a hoodie).

Each week we ask someone from outside our team to contribute a link, tool or idea. Are you our next guest star? We think you might be. Send us a note at

We Made A Thing

Our projects, manifest

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 10.19.44 AM

This week, we shipped the first release of the PMP for WordPress plugin. Check out the code on Github and read more about the Public Media Platform.

Also, don't forget — the INN Nerds Book Club will meet during NICAR in Atlanta. We're reading and discussing The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman. Join us!

Shout outs

Transformicons: A beautiful and useful library of animated icons, symbols, and buttons using SVG and CSS.

Some Other Stuff

Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: February 26 is Johnny Cash's birthday. Celebrate with Big River live at the Opry, 1962.

COOK: ICYMI: The scientific approach to seasoning your cast iron.

WATCHCustom Buffalo-mobile.

GIF: I think we've all spent quite enough time on the internet this week.

Did you read the whole thing? Feel free to forward it to all your friends. Human or canine.