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December 2019 News

December 2019 newsletter with links on gene editing, the Replication Crisis, computer latency, and suffering; 4 book reviews, 2 opera/movie reviews, and 2 anime reviews.

December 2019’s newsletter is now out; previous, November 2019 (archives). This is a collation of links and summary of major changes, overlapping with my Changelog; brought to you by my donors on Patreon.





  • ‘Small multiples’ show change across variables.

    Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative, Tufte 1997 (less of a hodge-podge than Envisioning Information, Tufte walks through, as usual, graphs: how to show multiple versions of things, such as 4D data, on 2D paper? Key case studies are John Snow’s cholera maps of infections vs location vs time, the Challenger disaster’s obscuration of problems vs temperature over the course of Space Shuttle launches, stage magician diagrams of tricks, which illustrate change over time; Tufte then considers showing parallel versions which differ in some abstract dimension; then graphs which must show change in both space & time, such as sunspots or Saturn’s rings, representing Tufte’s usual concept of “small multiples”; in a final section, Tufte highlights favorite art pieces of his which are diagrammatic or symbolic in some sense akin to the foregoing chapters. As usual, a pleasure to read, and it furnished some examples for my page on rubrication too.)

  • Surprisingly entertaining if not immediately useful. The Elements of Typographic Style (third edition), Bringhurst 2004 (I decided to read this based on Rutter’s web version of it; Bringhurst is unexpectedly amusing—I wish I cared about anything as much as Bringhurst cares about typography. No comparison is too strong to condemn a typographical sin: editing fonts, for example makes it “easy for a designer or compositor with no regard for letters to squish them into cattle trains and ship them to the slaughter”—with another author, one would assume the Holocaust connotations were unintentional, but with Bringhurst… Like Rutter, there is a great of material on ratios and page layout which smacks of numerology, but that can be skipped easily, and the rest of the material is useful. The book itself is, of course, nice typographically, exemplifying the use of sidenotes, and although he surprisingly doesn’t cover it at length (like he does what seems like everything else), he even provides two nice examples of rubrication for my page.)

  • A deeply dishonest harbinger of the Replication Crisis. Experimenter Effects In Behavioral Research, Rosenthal1976 (long review; consider also Rosenthal’s own description in “Citation Classic”)