Bertrand Russell on Learning and Living Together

“I should like to say two things, one intellectual and one moral: The intellectual thing, I should want to say to them, is this: When you are studying any matter, or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only ‘what are the facts, and what is the truth that the facts bear out?’ Never let yourself be diverted, either by what you wish to believe, or by what you think could have beneficent social effects, if it were believed. But look only and solely at: ‘what are the facts?’ That is the intellectual thing that I should wish to say.”

“The moral thing I should wish to say to them is very simple. I should say: Love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other. We have to learn to put up with the fact, that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way. And if we are to live together and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.”

Second Impressions

After nearly a week using the Apple Vision Pro I think it’s an awesome experience, with a few glitches.

My at-home scan suggested a 23w light seal. I was rescanned in-store when I picked up the unit with the same result. But for me, the 23w was letting in light near my temple (the AVP’s speakers) that looked like little flashlights in the corners of my eyes and like a yellow dot in the middle of my field of vision. After several days, I was able to identify and influence the issue: the light seal flares out at the edges and my head… doesn’t.

I took the unit and seals into my local Apple store to try a few replacement options (you can swap light seals within 14 days free of charge). I ended up leaving with a 21n light shield and it’s the difference between… well… day and night. No more temple light entry.

Independently, there’s a fair bit of light bleed around the nose, which is expected and documented on Apple’s support fora. Much like the frames of a new pair of eye glasses, I’ve found I notice it less each day.

Unresolved is lens reflection of bright FOV content that would make JJ Abrams proud. I’m still working on limiting that. One factor appears to be how your AVP is seated on your face: with some placements, what otherwise appears as a flare focuses on your pupil. But I still find myself distracted by bright content near the edges of my FOV, such as the daytime terrain in the Moon environment. The effect is an unsettling, foggy blurring that makes me think my eyes are misty.

First impressions of the Apple Vision Pro

The AVP was released for sale yesterday, Friday, 2 February 2024. I picked up my pre-ordered unit the next day with my prescription Zeiss inserts in hand.

My friend was able to get a walk-in demo of the AVP while I was working my way through the pick-up and setup processes. His hands flailing in the air, the enjoyment was virtually palpable.

Great Experience Working with the Staff

There were a number of points where I was frustrated during my in-store experience, however. Some of it is first weekend lack of experience with the Apple internal process on the part of the staff, despite being good mannered the entire time. There were questions about whether the unit could be returned without the packaging (no), whether I was expecting a fit check for the face mask as advertised on the Apple Store site (yes), and whether I wanted hand-holding during the setup (yes).

During check out, despite the device having been pre-paid online, the salesperson’s check out app crashed repeatedly, requiring them to re-scan my Apple-provided QR code a dozen times.

There was a fair bit of uncertainty on everyone’s part whether or how much light I should expect to see with the recommended size gear on my face. I’m not sure we ever resolved that.

Once pick-up was complete, I was taken to the setup assistance area… where there were no staff on hand. Not that they were busy setting up other customers… rather, the designated setup table was simply empty, devoid of customers or staff. The rest of the store, including the demo area, was buzzing with people.

A perfectly pleasant staff member joined me a few minutes later, after I had started the unpacking. They explained that they were excited to work with me since this was their first unboxing, too. I understand: it’s the first weekend of sales. It’s the first time for all of us. Still, it asn’t the first message I was expecting to hear.

Challenges with Setup

During the device setup, a number of experience issues arose for me. First, the Apple Store was far too loud for the built-in sound system on the headset to be intelligible. That meant I couldn’t hear what I was being prompted to do by the headset, what information was being demanded of me, or which way I was expected to look. I proceeded on faith and a good guess about what images I was seeing.

The unit asked me to bring an iPhone or iPad that was logged into my account near the AVP. I did. It authenticated and picked up my iCloud credentials. Having already associated with the in-store WiFi, the AVP then started a series of setup steps related to my Apple Pay account, email, calendar, and so on.

It then required that I agree to the terms and conditions and offered to email me a copy. I said yes. It then demanded my email address be entered… again, after having just seconds before associated with my iCloud account.

For each app tied to an account, I was required to re-enter my email address and service password. None of those account details were conveyed through the iCloud restore.

Hint: install your preferred password manager, if it’s available on the AVP, as early as you can in the process.

Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but to enter my very long, randomly generated passwords, I needed to consult my iPhone. Which wanted to unlock via Face ID. But I had the AVP on. So I needed to repeatedly enter my device password on my iPhone. Then, I needed to launch my password manager, with similar issues: Face ID couldn’t work with the AVP on, so I had to enter my long master password manually.

Finally in my password manager on my iPhone, I then had to look up each service’s credential, display it as boldly as I could so that I could make it out through the AVP’s camera system, and then type them into the AVP’s virtual keyboard. I usually don’t regret having 40+ character, random passwords…. but…. patiences were tried.

I’ve spent the rest of the evening entering credentials into the AVP manually, including OTP’s where available. I’ve retyped my name and email addresses so many times in the past few hours that I practically know them by heart. (gallows humor)

I’m frustrated there’s no Contacts app on the AVP, so Messages and Facetime don’t know who I’m calling/being called by.

I’m frustrated that when I connect the AVP to my Macbook as a virtual monitor, I can’t scroll or click on anything in the virtual window… keyboard and mouse or trackpad required.

I’m frustrated that when I first connected the AVP to the laptop, my Airpod Pros didn’t auto switch, leaving me thinking that the volume was very low, when it was actually exceptionally loud coming out of my laptop speakers and what with me and my noise cancelling earpods in.

Clear Winning Aspects of the Experience

I’m impressed by the Persona the AVP generated and the nuance it picked up. Sure, it’s a bit cartoonish, but the face scan picked up muscles and facial features I wasn’t expecting and reproduced my facial movements (tongue wagging, face squinting, etc.) with remarkable precision.

I’m very impressed with the built-in open ear speakers. The sound quality is outstanding. I felt like I was flying right along with the characters of Apple TV+’s Masters of the Air.

I’m very, very impressed by the responsiveness of the user interface elements. As noted by other reviewers, the experience is similar to the feeling of direct manipulation of objects that iOS gets so very right and Android gets so very wrong. When you grasp something, it seems to move at exactly the speed and with the fluidity you would hope for. I found myself repeatedly pointing at virtual objects while I was talking with others, forgetting they couldn’t see them. Everything just feels—real!

Finally, the video quality is beyond impressive… it’s downright stunning. Either I paid 3,500$usd for a headset or perhaps I just paid that for the very-smallest very-big TV screen I’ve ever seen. Watching Disney+’s Percy Jackson, Masters of the Air, or For All Mankind was a theatrical experience of the highest quality. I can understand why James Cameron is so taken with the AVP.

Viewing panoramic photos taken by past-me was also a breath-taking experience. I was once again in those places with those people. And that’s still without the new spacial photos and videos features… I’ll have to leave that for another day.


It’s new. The UI/UX experience is new. It’s going to take some getting used to for us all. But the things I already imagine doing with this device has me excited.

Save ggplot Graphics at Intended End-use Dimensions and Resolutions for Best Results

Users of ggplot2 often run into issues with their saved graphics not having the expected resolution or font sizes.

By default, when using RStudio, ggsave() saves graphics at the last dimensions of the plot preview pane and at screen resolution. As a demo, try


ggplot(mtcars, aes(hp, mpg)) + geom_point()


Then resize the plot preview pane and ggsave() again. And again. You’ll get three very different graphics as a result. Your font sizes are likely to be different from what you expect, if you drag those saved graphics into an MS Word or PowerPoint document, since the graphic will have to resize to fit the container (page, slide, or content area).

The solution is to be explicit about what your intended end-use is. I wrote a utility function to save a given graphic with proper dimensions and resolution for a number of use cases: for use in MS Word (U.S. Letter) documents at half- and full-page sizes, both portrait and landscape; and in both standard and widescreen slide formats. The code uses a default sent of dimensions and resolutions, but you can provide your own data.frame, if needed. U.S. users will recognize 8.5-2 as letter-width less 2 inches for standard 1 inch margins and 11-2 as letter-height less the same 2 inches for margins. Half page height is then (11-2)/2.

Now, your “10pt” axis labels will actually be 10pt when you place your graphics. Always use your graphics at 100% scale, otherwise all bets are off.

Quick Notes About Citations and References in APA Style

I often see a similar set of issues related to proper citation… some of them are quite understandable, while others perplex me in their consistency. When I cite myself, below, it’s not ego; it’s to demonstrate how I would typically expect to see a citation or reference appear. And the references are fictional.

In-text Citations

  • Every in-text idea that isn’t yours must be cited. Failure to do so is theft of intellectual property, typically known as plagiarism.
  • Every in-text idea that’s taken directly from source material must be “wrapped in quotation marks and cited” (Doane, 2023).
  • If a quotation comes from a paged document (PDF, book, etc.), then “the quoted in-text citation should include a page number” (Doane, 2023 p.45).
  • In APA style, the punctuation for the sentence being cited goes AFTER the citation (Doane, 2023).
    • not punctuated like this. (Doane, 2023).
  • The label used in the in-text citation (Doane, 2023) must match the beginning of the alphabetized entry in the References section.
    • Doane, W. E. J. (2023). How to Cite to Ensure a Chain of Evidence to Support Your Claims. Penguin Press. (nb: this is fictional) 
  • Every in-text citation must lead directly to an entry in your References section.

Your References Section

  • Every entry in your References section must match an in-text citation.
  • The References section must be arranged in alphabetical order by first author’s last name (or source, if no author).
  • Multiple references from the same author in the same year may need an added letter designation: (Doane, 2023a) for example, with the letter also added to the reference entries to help your reader disambiguate.
    • Doane, W. E. J. (2023a). How to Cite to Ensure a Chain of Evidence to Support Your Claims. Penguin Press. (nb: this is fictional) 
    • Doane, W. E. J. (2023b). More Tips on How to Cite. Saratoga Press. (nb: this is fictional) 
  • Institutional authors should be spelled out (unless it’s a very common abbreviation: IBM, NASA, etc.).
  • Never list institutional authors as if they were first and last names:
    • BAD: “Machines, I.B.”
    • GOOD: “IBM” or “International Business Machines”
  • Check how to cite an organization as the author in your citation manager of choice.

Your Sources

Purpose and Reasoning

  • The purpose of citing is to draw a map for your reader from the material in the body of your document, to a reference, to the original source.
    • If you claim that the U.S. National Debt is only $31 dollars, then I need to know where you got that information, so that I can fact check you and point out that you left off “trillion”. (See
  • Your job as a writer is to make it as easy as possible for your reader to believe and be persuaded by your writing.
  • As such, accurate attribution and guiding your reader to the source material you rely upon for your claims is vital to the writing process.

As an analogy to Web technology, the concept of citations are the pre-electronic version of web links: the text in the body of your document links to a reference which in turn links to a source document. Each step in that chain of evidence needs to be immediately apparent and easy to follow.

2022 Government & Public Sector R Conference

I’m excited to be speaking & hosting a workshop (November 30) at this year’s R Gov Conference (@rstatsai) along with many others on December 1-2! Join us in-person or virtually online for a fun filled event! Get your ticket now at #rstatsgov | #rstats

Conference speaker information for William Doane at R Conference: Government & Public Sector November 30 and December 1-2

Writing Beyond the Academy 1.23.15 ~ Larry McEnerney (University of Chicago Writing Program)

We’re called to think about writing better, not about following the rules of writing. Your writing must be valuable. It is when it helps readers to change what they think about the world.

Academic writing too often is not valuable. Instead, academic writing is only ever considered by those who have motivations other than seeking to change their own minds.

Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski

Paul Ricoeur famously said, “the duty of memory is the duty to do justice.” We are our memories, both as individuals and as a society.

I and a dear friend experienced David Strathairn’s performance of this one man show about another man at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC, October 9, 2021. It was touching, deep, and disturbing. It speaks as much to our time as to our history.

I commend it to you: remember this.

Considering Matthew Shepard ~ Craig Hella Johnson

Matthew Shepard is one of uncountably many LGBTQ+ individuals murdered each year for having the temerity to be themselves. While the circumstances of Matthew’s last day are complicated, the perpetrators claimed at trial that their actions were in large part motivated by their hatred of Matthew simply because he was gay. On a remote stretch of pasture in Laramie, Wyoming, they stripped, beat, and tortured Matthew, tied him to a fence , and left him there to die, alone, freezing, slowly.

This is a selection from Considering Matthew Shepard by Craig Hella Johnson in which a part of Matthew’s story is told from the perspective of the fence to which he was tied.

Nod to the Resonance Women’s Chorus of Boulder, Colorado, for introducing me to this work through their performance of All of Us.

Apple’s iOS/iPadOS/WatchOS Medical ID

PSA: You should absolutely setup or update your iOS Medical ID information and select your emergency contacts right this very minute.

This feature, found in the Health app on your iPhone or iPad, makes your medical information—medications, allergies, organ donor status— available to first responders and allows calls to your emergency contacts even when your device is locked.

This could save your life. For instructions on how to setup this feature, see

What will you improve today?