On U MAD??? Evgeny Morozov, The Internet, And The Failure Of Invective

@ubu You are missing the point of the O'Reilly piece.

He is not criticizing open source as a right-wing plot.

He is criticizing O'Reilly for using "open source" to promote all kinds of ideas, products, and companies that are not necessarily open, democratic, egalitarian, or any of the other things "open source" implies.

Morozov is not a critic of technology. He is a critic of how people talk about technology.

Posted on May 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm 0

On U MAD??? Evgeny Morozov, The Internet, And The Failure Of Invective

You missed the point of Morozov's book, Maria.

He's not criticizing the Internet.

He's criticizing a particular rhetoric of "the Internet" in our conversations about technology. He's criticizing the Silicon Valley types who think "the Internet" or "Web 2.0" or "social media" are revolutionary solutions to age-old questions about society, education, and progress.

It's not "BOO Internet." C'mon.

Posted on May 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm 0

On Six Reasons To Ignore The 'New York Times' Yoga Article

The problem is not inexperienced yoga teachers--it is yoga itself. Even the most experienced teachers are not doctors. Read the work of Dr. Steven Stark. He is a doctor with decades of experience running studies on human flexibility. He has documented the nerve damage caused by many of these movements, damage that often does not show up until much later in life.

It is predictable, though, that Broad's article inspired such rage. Yoga practitioners view their hobby as a morally superior form of exercise. This is really a clash between science and new age philosophy. Do you want a trainer who is a doctor or DPT, or do you want a "teacher" who has some kind of certificate from a new age institute?

Posted on January 11, 2012 at 11:33 pm 0

On David Foster Wallace's Self-Help Books Removed From Archive

Not hard to see why Bustillo's piece caused the family pain. Bustillos highlighted Wallace marginalia that blamed his mother for his mental illness.

@alkali19@twitter, @deepomega, @Tulletilsynet, @hockeymom Those of you who are faulting the Ransom Center need to get in touch with your humanity. His mother was not a character in one of his novels. She is a real person. If you believe our right to know these kinds of details supersedes the family's right to live in peace, fine. But don't act shocked and bewildered when they move to conceal themselves from your eyes.

Posted on September 1, 2011 at 11:12 am 0

On Case History Of A Wikipedia Page: Nabokov’s 'Lolita'

@r0semarysays The people who write "run of the mill" encyclopedia articles go through years, sometimes decades, of training in the subject matter before they put pen to paper.

Wikipedia is nice, but it wouldn't exist without the prior existence of these traditional scholarly sources. I mean, where do you think wikipedia authors get their info from?

Posted on August 24, 2011 at 11:58 am 1

On Was Aaron Swartz Stealing?

@sbma44 I would be happy to explain to you why arXiv exists and is flourishing. The reason is because the people who contribute to it and support it all have traditional, tenured jobs and have previously published in traditional, tenure-worthy outlets. The economic support they receive from the traditional university system frees them to do arXiv on the side for free. If that traditional system were completely replaced by a model like arXiv, then arXiv would disappear as well, because the people who maintain it would be working at Starbuck's.

Key fact you are overlooking: most of the papers on arXiv are drafts of papers that are currently under submission to traditionally recognized outlets that will go behind a JSTOR paywall. The reason professors are able to create papers and post them on arXiv is because the papers ALSO have value behind a paywall. If that paywall venue disappeared, they'd no longer be posting on arXiv, either.


Posted on August 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm 0

On Was Aaron Swartz Stealing?

@CWebb The reason they would disappear is that departments assess the quality of publications by looking at the prestige of the venue. Top journals and top presses matter in the tenure process. No one has ever gotten tenure for something posted on a website. If JSTOR stops charging and moves to an open model, these venues will shrink in number, and professors will have fewer ways to get promoted.

And if you think that universities are going to start recognizing "open" publications, let me warn you.
The siren song to go to an open system is getting louder just at the moment that many universities are replacing professors with poorly paid adjuncts. The disappearance of tenure-worthy publications outlets would suit the universities just fine. It would turn academia into a world of adjuncts.

There has been virtually no discussion of how the call for "open" or "wiki" publication systems reinforces the broader casualization of academic labor.

Posted on August 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm 0

On Was Aaron Swartz Stealing?

Maria, you defend Swartz because you say there is "not a single shred of evidence" that he intended to distribute the stuff to the public, yet you also want to laud him as a hero for his "desire to serve the public good." Well, which is it?

To those commenters who are raging at paywalls, do you realize that licensing fees from online databases are keeping academic publishing afloat? And that if they disappeared, academic publishers would disappear as well, and with them the tenured professors and the knowledge they produce? And then there would be no knowledge to "liberate"? Knowledge does not just float around out there in the cloud, contrary to what some seem to believe. It has to be made, and that is costly.

If Swartz were really a genius, he would have come up with some kind of viable financing for making this stuff more widely available. Now he is likely going to prison for an immature and pointless prank. If this is a hero, we need better ones.

Posted on August 3, 2011 at 10:03 pm 1

On At The Celebration For Reynolds Price At Duke

Thanks for this. Learned some things that I didn't know.

Posted on May 21, 2011 at 2:01 am 0

On Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert

Moff is making some excellent points in this discussion. The anti-expert sentiments that fuel wiki-hype are similar to those that characterize movements like the Tea Party. Both are driven by resentment at elite institutions that claim to wield power based on knowledge.

However, I would take it a step further than Moff. Movements like the Tea Party are commonly chalked up to resentment born of economic insecurity, but I think the same thing is true of Wikipedia hypers. There are an increasing number of people in the US who have some education but not enough to get a stable job in a credentialed profession. I would submit that forums like Wikipedia supply people with a way to feel intellectual without demanding that they actually have credentials or produce knowledge. Not a doctor? Edit the entry for arthritis and you can feel like an expert. Not an art historian? Read an article about Van Gogh and make a small edit to his page. Of course, this performance of expertise is illusory; wiki-editors are really just rephrasing the labor-intensive work of real experts. But it allows people to imagine that they are intellectuals.

Posted on May 18, 2011 at 1:55 am 0