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Weekend Reading: A Positive Rage Edition

Craig Finn performing at Brooklyn Bowl with The Hold Steady

Gadget nerds looking to distract themselves from Washington will know that Apple released a tepid batch of hardware updates this week: a red phone, some watch bands, and a low-end iPad. Nothing for the iMac, which hasn’t been updated since October 2015, let alone the Mac Mini, which hasn’t gotten any attention since October 2014.

The hottest take in the wake of Tuesday’s release is that the new low-cost iPad signals that Apple might be ready to take the education market seriously again. Pffft.

If Apple wants to take the education market seriously, it could try to refresh its hardware in a way that makes it possible for schools to buy for computer labs and classroom workstations in a reasonable way each fiscal year. Hypothetically, for example, if you used dual-boot Mac Minis or iMacs in such institutional contexts, where a computer might reasonably be expected to stay for more than four years, you’re starting with a massive disadvantage. It’s frustrating! Gah.

  • Ajay Singh Chaudhary brings the not-altogether-comforting news that “DOOMguy Knows How You Feel”: And yet DOOM wants to roll the dice on you. DOOM thinks you will learn to love rage again, to experience its visceral pleasure. DOOM wants you to unlearn all those lessons in civility, in comportment, in tone, in the “benefit of the doubt.” DOOM wants you to consider that when “they go low,” you will scrape the pits of Inferno to go ever lower. DOOM wants you to feel more. But — and perhaps this is sheer, irrational hope on my part, a shard of redemption in a game of bleak glee — DOOM wants you to remember that it is all so stupid. That all of this is instrumental, that the only way out is through, but that this is brutalizing to the world and to yourself. In my most hopeful moment, I think DOOM has old Spinoza on the mind: learn to feel joy in the world again and yes, learn to feel joy in the pain of enemies but remember that it is just — in a measure of mere magnitude — a lesser joy than in the flourishing of friends.
  • We’ve written a fair amount about Markdown here at ProfHacker; this is a detailed consideration of Markdown editors that support tables (!), footnotes (!!), and strikethrough (!!!).
  • William Pooley on historians and “the art of apparent artlessness”: This style of argument by subterfuge still has its champions. How many graduate students have asked for guidance on writing and been told that the essential thing is to get the facts straight, and keep the writing even straighter?
  • Leigh A. Hall reflects on how taking a couple of online classes has helped her prepare to teach one: So while I don’t think releasing all the content at once is the way to go for a 15 week academic course, I do think there’s something to consider here in terms of when and how people get access to content and helping them think about how they use it. I think people tend to use a syllabus in a linear manner, and I’d like to think about how to break that.
  • David Bawden argues that library/information science can’t quite solve the post-factual society, but that that’s ok for the moment: Full and unimpeded information access is a necessary precondition for improving things, but let’s not imagine that more of it will be any kind of solution.

In this week’s video Robert Kosara, a research scientist at Tableau, talks about what we think we know, and what we actually know, in data visualization from UW Design

Bonus: Ok, the post title obviously refers to the DOOMguy article, but it’s also a wink at The Hold Steady’s excellent live DVD & album, A Positive Rage. There’s not a new record by The Hold Steady out today, but there *is* a terrific new album by Craig Finn, THS’s frontman, We All Want the Same Things, out today. It’s definitely worth a listen or 20. It’s swell.

Have a good weekend!

Photo by me.

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