* “As China’s Workforce Dwindles, the World Scrambles for Alternatives:” an underreported story.
* “How Could You Like That Book?” by Tim Parks:
No sooner have I articulated my amazement, my sense of betrayal almost, than I begin to feel insecure. Is it really possible that so many people I respect have got it wrong? Close friends as well. Am I an inveterate elitist? A puritan? Or resentful of other people’s success? Shouldn’t I perhaps relax and enjoy my reading a little more rather than approaching books with constant suspicion?
The world is full of people who admire books I don’t and vice-versa. When I tell students I found the first Hunger Games or Harry Potter books dull they’re astonished.
* “Open Access and the Power of Editorial Boards: Why Elsevier Plays Hardball with Deviant Linguists.” To me the most intersting thing is that equivalents of arXiv.org haven’t arise in the humanities. That may say more about the intellectual importance of the humanities than any other piece of data, information, or opinion.
* Why car dealers are reluctant to sell electric cars, a bit of ill news.
* Dream of New Kind of Credit Union Is Extinguished by Bureaucracy.
* “How our housing choices make adult friendships more difficult.”
* “The Yale Problem Begins in High School,” by Jonathan Haidt of The Righteous Mind fame. Notice especially the links Haidt offers.
* “‘Self and Soul’: Mark Edmundson’s biting critique of modern complacency.”
* “Literature vs genre is a battle where both sides lose,” an over-discussed topic maybe, but also a true one. Some points, like this one, are ridiculous: “But literary authors aren’t self-publishing their books on Kindle. Quite the opposite. They have a swish sounding publisher.” See also last year’s “Tyler Cowen on Paul Krugman on Amazon on the buzz:”
I’m most amazed at the way the same class of writers who five years ago were aghast at the lack of support for literary fiction among publishers are now the ones decrying Amazon and supporting the same publishers who were until recently the cravenly commercial forces destroying “quality” literary fiction.
I can’t say what people in English departments use, but most people studying the ancient world use academia.edu as their searchable place for sticking articles and chapters and working papers. Some of the humanists interested in the web or IT rights point out problems with their user agreement, but most humanists would rather let someone else handle the back end. There are a few other projects like that including =Ancient World Online=.
But the other thing is that a lot of journals studying the ancient world are owned by their board and run out of the editors’ offices with the help of the odd grad student or freelancer when someone is awarded a grant. The problems of for-profit publishers buying journals and charging ridiculous amounts for them, and academics being evaluated for the “impact factor” (age and prestige) of the journals they publish in, don’t really exist in that corner of academe; grumbles tend to focus on publishers of books who charge too much and don’t bother providing editorial services. If back issues of a journal are not digitized and available to everyone, its often because nobody on the board of editors has money to hire an undergraduate to scan them and stick them on the web.
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