April 27, 2005
April 24, 2005
Alice brought this up, and it's been on my mind lately too:
Funny, I attempted to have a conversation with a professor about this subject recently. He came and sat at our table during lunch and I volunteered that we were more comfortable searching for references for a paper we had to do for his class using Google than using the library's paid, proprietary academic databases. And there were a certain number of scholarly journals that actually did post their publications online for public access.
Charlie on cyberdash wrote a very interesting entry on how we should emphasize the distribution of knowledge rather than merely the distribution of technology, which is a great point. He also links to a Santa Clara University symposium that convened to address the issue and discuss creating a "digital commons" to alleviate "social and economic problems in poor countries":
- Some said it was time to rethink intellectual property laws that often prevent poor countries from tapping into useful innovations and technology. ``We should recognize that intellectual property rights are competing with basic human rights,'' said Raoul Weiler, head of a European think tank.
So I suggested that it would be of more value to both the authors and the publications to make their content more widely available. If more people knew about it -- then, I would think, they'd be more cited, their profile would rise, and their perceived worth would increase.
Sadly, all the prof could think of was the existing model: The publications surely must charge for access in order to exist and continue publishing.
I really tried to encourage him to think outside of the box. Since scholarly publications are generally run by not-for-profits, it's their continued existence that counts, not the percentage of profit above breakeven. What if there were a model that made it possible for publications to exist financially, but still publish their information for free? Wouldn't that benefit both sides, authors and publications?
That's when he followed up with an argument so strange I think I just looked at him and blinked unbelievingly -- that if a paper were so successful in its online freedom that everyone had read it, then it would be valueless because no one would want it any more. (As if the ubiquity of Mickey Mouse has done anything to hurt Disney's brand.)
And this guy teaches technology-related classes. I just hope his students are smart enough to know when to question him.
April 19, 2005
Here in Orlando, land of Disney and Universal, all the family fun is supposedly pre-planned and canned. The fireworks run every night from multiple locations, perfect and precise, like wind-up toys. It's all quite routine, no mystery at all.
How I miss the magic of waiting on a sandy beach in the dark, listening for the sound of a shell launching. Then looking up to the night sky with anticipation, wondering and watching: What would it be? A chrysanthemum? Whistler? The little twirling sparklers that squirmed like polliwogs in mud?
April 17, 2005
Now I can tuck my head backward, nestle my beak between my shoulders, and nap the rest of my day in peace.
April 13, 2005
April 10, 2005
I am not alone in my derangement. BlogAlice, Wil Wheaton, UtopianHell ... even TerraNova recently changed their header to a bunch of spring flowers. Can I resist? I have a paper to write. I think not.
April 07, 2005
The first chapter is titled "The Cemetery of Forgotten Books." I read it standing in the noisy, cement-floored aisle, leaning against stacks of paperbacks.
April 05, 2005
Woah, hold onto your brains! Zombie Crisis in the Vatican!
Anyway, after I took it out of the wrapper, the full picture emerged. Don't things like this make you wonder if the people doing front-page layout are awake, asleep, or trying to make us spit our coffee all over the paper?
April 03, 2005
I googled Baudrillard and found a page with some of his work online. An excerpt from a book called Simulcra and Simulation? Again, I thought, I know that title. That's the book that Neo has in The Matrix, where he stores his illegal warez. It's the scene where Neo follows the "White Rabbit."
So I follow the rabbit myself, and look up the book. On the first page Baudrillard mentions one of my favorite authors, Borges.
So the upshot of all this is that I guess I need to mark Baudrillard "for further investigation."