Wednesday News: Apple settlement, forgotten books, “hard fun” in gaming, and the first NYC “supermodel”
Apple expected to pay $450M in e-book case – On the heels of the Supreme Court’s rejection of Apple’s request for review, it appears that the only option now is making good on their $450 million settlement deal. It’s a hefty amount, especially compared to the $166 million settlement distributed by publishers. USA Today reports that Amazon is ready to distribute the funds any time, and according to Bloomberg,
The rebuff means Apple must comply with a settlement it reachedwith the states in 2014. The accord calls for Apple to pay $400 million to e-book consumers, $20 million to the states, and $30 million in legal fees.
Consumers who overpaid will get credits they can apply to future e-book purchases, the Justice Department said in a statement. – Bloomberg and USA Today
The Custodian of Forgotten Books – Brad Bigelow is an IT adviser for the US Air Force, and he is also devoted to bringing worthy books back into circulation. He started as a college student majoring in math at the University of Washington, and during his many hours in the University library, he would take breaks by walking around the library and looking at different books on the shelves. That was nearly 40 years ago, and he’s still at it. Publishers have now caught on to the value of this endeavor, and Edwin Frank of the New York Review of Books characterizes the trend as a “reaction to the decline of book culture.”
Paradoxically, Frank added, the new interest in neglected books can be seen as a reaction to the decline of book culture. Books used to be a centerpiece of both education and entertainment, but television and the Internet have challenged that role. Frank believes that among book lovers, “there’s a kind of sitting and looking—a kind of assessing the culture” going on. We’ve become more aware of what could be lost forever.
There’s an idealism in the attempt to bring back forgotten books. The University of Chicago Press named its series of reissued books Phoenix. Melville House, an independent publisher in New York, called its series Neversink—as if publishers are a life raft for authors who have fallen into the river of forgetting. It’s an apt metaphor. One of Bigelow’s favorite rediscoveries is “Gentleman Overboard,” a 1937 novella by Herbert Clyde Lewis, a son of Russian immigrants. Lewis grew up in New York, became a journalist, and eventually wrote Hollywood screenplays. The book’s protagonist is a steamship passenger named Henry Preston Standish, who slips on a spot of oil and tumbles overboard. “Gentleman Overboard” is a record of his final day and his fading hopes of rescue. – The New Yorker
Why We Love the Games That Enrage Us Most – An interesting examination of the concept of “hard fun,” and in particular of the way in which games that have the most potential for frustration and rage can also be the most popular. Hard fun is “intrinsic motivation” because there is no guarantee of a tangible reward, so the player must move through the experience on her own steam. Gaming has become popular among psychologists attempting to understand intrinsic motivation and how that self-directed learning can be applied to other environments (like education).
According to self-determination theory, these principles boil down to three domains in which humans experience universal psychological needs: autonomy (the urge to be the cause of one’s own behavior or choices); relatedness (the urge to connect with others and identify with a group); and competence (the desire to control or influence the outcomes of one’s behavior). The basic interactivity of most video games confers significant autonomy on a player, and the modern integration of many video games with social media easily satisfies the need for relatedness.
Instilling competence, however, can be tricky. Hold the player’s hand too much and she disengages out of boredom. Ask too much of her too soon and she quits in frustration. Most hit games, from Candy Crush Saga to Call of Duty, find a balance by easing players up the learning curve with early levels that act as self-guided tutorials for mastering basic moves and controls. . . .
Meanwhile the steady progression of technology offers new opportunities for learning about motivation. Virtual-reality game systems like Oculus Rift, for example, are already challenging game makers’ assumptions about how to engineer “hard fun.” “We’re finding that in virtual reality, people don’t like that slow ramp” of tutorial-like challenges to build competence, says Schell. “They seem to much prefer a very difficult ‘cliff’ that they have to confront and deal with. They love that it’s so hard. And I have to say, right now I don’t understand why that is.” – Scientific American
NYC’s first supermodel died alone in an insane asylum – If there’s ever a woman who deserved a better ending to her life story, it’s Audrey Munson, who inspired some of the most iconic sculptures in New York City in first two decades of the 20th century. However, in 1919 she became incidentally connected to her previous landlord’s conviction for killing his wife, because he was apparently obsessed with Munson, and the publicity around his trial and death sentence ruined her career. She and her mother had to move to Mexico and struggled for money. Munson became suicidal and was eventually committed to an “asylum” until her death in 1996 (she lived to 104!), a virtual unknown by the end of her life.
Her face and body were the basis for “Civic Fame,” the statue that stands atop the Municipal Building at 1 Centre St., as well as the figure of Columbia adorning the USS Maine National Monument in Columbus Circle and the “Spirit of Commerce” angel at the northern base of the Manhattan Bridge.
That’s her likeness lounging above the front door of the Frick and coyly tucked in a niche outside the New York Public Library’s main branch. She is the face of Pomona, the Roman goddess of abundance, on the Pulitzer Fountain at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue,across from the Plaza Hotel.
“She was the first supermodel — and the first model to have a standing in society,” says Diane Rozas, co-author of “American Venus: The Extraordinary Life of Audrey Munson, Model and Muse.” – New York Post