Crisis in Publishing and Peer Review

Adam Rogers has a good article at Wired.com on the use of wikis and web communications to mod peer review. The author is a bit glib comparing the journal Nature to the physics and mathematics "prepublication paper" publication outlet (!?) arXiv (archive), Biology Direct, and PLoS ONE, but he does a pretty good job showing the future of peer review. If academics want to preserve peer-review (a mechanism that ensures professional status AND serves as a check to the corrupting influence of corporatist and government interest), then we should take a serious look at shifting to this version (we actually are doing this at journals like Computers and Composition Online and Kairos, although much of this has to do with using the visual and aural possibilities of the medium, rather than the structural and speed advantages of online communication). Much of the academic "crisis in publishing" has to do with a technological shell game that has now caught up with Libraries (causing inordinate price inflation for journals and books and forcing University Presses to close). While it is imperative for tenured faculty and administrators to recognize online venues as legitimate, it is even more important for us to separate issues of professional accreditation from technological issues. One of the biggest and most easily leveled arguments against peer-review (read: tenure), is the sheer expense of the process. In order for academics to scrupulously defend professional accreditation as a social good, we have to nullify this argument. Putting research online will also allow us to share more of our own work with those who may benefit from our work. So it may help solve the "crisis in publication" and the "crisis in de-professionalization" at the same time. Genius.


Funny thing about snakes on a plane

I'm not afraid of snakes. I'm afraid of flying. As far as I'm concerned, this year's Blair Witch Project could have been called You. On a Plane.


Sunday BakeBlogging

My hyper-mediating colleague Marshall wanted me to blog about the 5k "Run Through State U" on Saturday (in case you want to know, it was pretty uneventful, outside of the fact that the nice young woman who toured me around campus during my on-campus interview came up and re-introduced herself).

No dice, Marshall. Today I clear the deck to bring you these beautiful LOAVES O' LOVE. The recipe for these multi-multi grain loaves came from one of Sport's former colleagues (appropriately enough, a medievalist). They have cracked wheat, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, all purpose flour, whole wheat flour (North Dakota stone ground, incidentally), wheat germ, yeast, a little shortening, water, honey, and molasses. Oh, and we used an egg and milk wash with sesame seeds on the outside. We've already had some of the bread with some local honey. Low carb is for the insane, my friends.


Radar Obsession

I share an obsession with my colleague Marion Mahony. We both like to look at the weather online while we are sitting inside. There is something so satisfying about watching the colored spray of doppler rader exploding across a map of your town. Marion likens it to the sublime.

Yes, we also both love the Weather Channel.


Kewl Mapping Tool

If you are a runner like I am (or, a much better runner), you know that finding distances on running courses can be tough.

Web2.0 to the rescue, my friends. The U.S. Track and Field website has a mapping function where you can map and store your particular running route with a wicked kewl mapping tool (vraiment easy to use). You can store your own routes and even look up stored routes and plan new running routes in cities you plan to visit.

The only drawback? You can't lie to yourself about your distance or pace. My regular run is about 1/2 mile shorter than I had thought.


Great Tech Comm Website

Instructables is a great resource for showing students technical communication as a calling.

My favorite? Instructions on how to make five foot tall Jacob's Ladder.


Minneapolis To Do List

Buy gift at Mall of America for cousin's 10 year birthday: check
Swank tapas at Solera: check
Run around Lake of the Isles: check
Brunch at French Meadow Bakery: check
Testing the strength of the cantilever forming the Guthrie's new "endless bridge": check

I just knew I should have put finishing my syllabus on that list.


Happy Camper

Me. At Babbs. Using my new Macbook Pro.



I thought I had Collin Vs. Blog on my blogroll (I read his posts at least once or twice a week).

Problem rectified (!).


Nets and Jets

Bruce Sterling has a deep-thinking post at Wired today. Chris reports on Chris Parry's speech at the Royal United Service Institute--the oldest military think tank in the world. In the speech, rear admiral Perry reports on some of the counterintuitive results of neoliberal policies--cheap airfare and ubiquitious/easy communication.

The technological drivers of globalization have enabled stateless barbarians to seize the initiative. You can’t keep them out by blocking the border, and the harder you smash the failed states that nurture them, the more they thrive. At the first sign of weakness, these new-wave Vandals will log on to urge their diasporic compatriots to attack you on your own soil. Failing that, they’ll hop on the next flight, pick up their baggage, and sidle into Starbucks to download the latest instructions from Abu Ayyub al Masri...Nets and jets are never a one-way street, and even Parry’s reverse colonization can reverse itself. Consider Somalia, which, for 15 years, has been a running sore of new world disorder. Jets have evacuated everyone who could buy a ticket and have flown in battalions of jihadists. As for nets, this lawless maelstrom is one of the most heavily wired regions of Africa; free of licensing, taxes, and state-owned monopolies, entrepreneurs have been building out cell capacity and Net nodes like Silicon Valley whiz kids. To complicate matters, counter-terrorist warlords said to be financed by the US recently lost the country to a loose association of Islamic militias. This makes Somalia a prime case study for the darkest nets-and-jets forecast.

I'm not sure I totally buy Mr. Sterling's silver lining of hope that neoliberal economic and political policies and neoconservative military enforcement of neoliberal policies can get ahead of technologically-enabled smart mobs. Still, I really hope he is right.