Excerpts from The Whole Earth Catalog

As I’m in the middle of reading Fred Turner’s fantastic book From Counterculture to Cyberculture, I’ve been looking at old copies of The Whole Earth Catalog in McGill’s collections. Obviously, these are pretty well mined resources at this point, but they are still really curious artifacts. The combination of clippings, editorial asides, and the range of materials creates an unpredictable set of associations. I took some pictures with my phone, since I didn’t like the look of the black-and-white scans. The catalog contains clippings for everything that could be classified as a “tool,” including agricultural and building supplies, educational materials, toys, and music recommendations. Here are some excerpts from the Fall, 1969 issue.

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Happy January 20th!

After a very relaxing break in which I caught up on television by finally watching The Good Wife (Scandalous!), Breaking Bad (Soul crushing!), Portlandia (Too close to home!), and a little Rangers-Flyers 24/7 (Ice!), I am back in coursework. I am also working on two projects related to colour television in the early 1950s–or “color” as my collaborator inexplicably spells it.

I posted somewhat less infrequently on my side project, ILEARNEDITFROMJUDITHBUTLER.TUMBLR.COM, during the break. And for anyone who stuck around here during those longer winter nights, here is a gift I made for you.


In which I put words on faces

My favourite football player is Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers is on pace to have the greatest season by a quarterback in NFL history. He also spent three years at the University of California, Berkeley, from 2002-2004. This leads me, in certain company, to exclaim “HE LEARNED THAT FROM JUDITH BUTLER” when he is able to, say, escape a seemingly inescapable sack. Now those exclamations have become material. At ILEARNEDITFROMJUDITHBUTLER.TUMBLR.COM I speculate on what athletes probably learned from the faculty who taught at their colleges when they were there. Below, the first three entries.

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Data visualization or the outside corner as fool’s errand

Disclaimer: sports content ahead! But I do a thing where I couch it in Internet trends and academic practices and there are lovely pictures, so maybe stick around, nerds?

The visualization of aggregated information is sort of a Most E-mailed Story for the whole Internet right now, or, at least, for everyone in the LOLCats as Carnivalesque, academ-ish parts of the Internet that I’m exposed to. There appears to be a lot of ambivalence about what data visualization can accomplish. For every response from the Digital Humanities crew on n-grams there is a management seminar on data visualization for “business intelligence” or a software pitch for an “engaging visual experience that is both powerful and intuitive.”

On the academic side of things I am partial to Andrew Piper’s approach of using new DH applications to aid in the kinds of analysis that are already underway, instead of searching for a killer app; though, I have yet to read a description of “neuro lit” that doesn’t leave my mouth tasting like pennies.

Data visualization is clearly so wide ranging and its applications varied enough that it’s not possible to have a reasonable HOT OR NOT attitude toward the use of charts, maps, and graphs. These things are really pretty and satisfying and hugely problematic all at once. So, I’m inclined to look at where the visualization practices come from and what ends are imagined through their uses.

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