New York Times Digest

For years, we got The New York Times delivered  every day on our doorstep.  I’ve been reading the Times, more or less consistently, for something like thirty years.  I clearly remember their coverage of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, for example; real reporting which you can only get from a real newspaper, a tradition which CJ Chivers and Tyler Hicks and others ably carry on.  To me, it’s “The Times” like “the city” is New York and “the shore” is the Jersey shore.

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Be Bold!

Girolamo Savonarola

Maybe it’s been there forever but I just realized that Wikipedia has a .pdf generator that creates a nicely templated printable document out of Wikipedia articles.  So, for example, here’s the article on Savonarola., and here’s the link to the .pdf generator (and the output, at least today’s, of that generator, for the truly lazy.)

This goes a long way, I think, to addressing the doubts that rotary dial people still have about Wikipedia.  The presentation layer is very very important and the clean, professional-looking printable version, bristling with scholarly apparatus and legal boilerplate, is effective for a certain kind of reader.  Not everyone, but the beauty is that you can create as many presentation layers as needed; this printable version, like the version on my iPhone, for instance, strips out the discussion and history pages.  Others, looking for semantic links in Wikipedia, will parse and present it in other ways.

Who Writes Wikipedia? (On Phenonomenology and Agency)

I’m a big fan of Wikipedia.  I’ve never been particularly troubled by existential or agency questions about it because it seems to me so self-evidently useful.

Why do people love Manchester United?  I don’t know.  I don’t get it.

Why do people go on pilgrimage?  Dunno.  Adventure, maybe?  Not that interesting of a question to me, really.

Why do people write and edit Wikipedia?  Seems odd.  Wouldn’t have predicted it.  Shrug.  (I do think, however, a rite of passage for Internet literacy is your first Wikipedia edit.  If you haven’t ever done it, please do so now.  I’ll wait.)

In each case, though, you have to acknowledge the importance of sport, of the power of pilgrimage, and the value of Wikipedia.  In case you doubt the last, you can go to to look up pilgrimage or “Compostela” or the phenomenon of Old Trafford on Wikipedia.  That is something that you could not even imagine doing just a few years ago.

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