Monthly Archives: May 2010

Burning books is a good thing?!?

Dave Parry over at academHacK (and more frequently at @academicdave) is generally pretty far out on the intellectual edge, but that means he often has some pretty interesting things to say. His most recent installment, Burn the Boats/Books, includes a bunch of interesting ideas about moving beyond the traditional limits of book and journal publishing in order to embrace the benefits (and realities) of the modern web.

Let me be clear, I am not saying that the book is dead, in one regard it is already dead, in another it continues to haunt us and will never die. And we should be glad for this haunting there are many features of the book from which we benefit. What I am saying though is the centrality of the book is gone, and academia would do well to recognize this, to move into new directions, new grounds, where many already are. We should not continue to constrain our thinking by this librocentricism which no longer structures or limits the way that knowledge is produced, archived, or disseminated.

The post is pretty long, but it’s well worth the read.

I think we make things that we like and… [Quote]

I think we make things that we like and that we think our friends would like, and we cross our fingers and hope that enough other people like it that we can earn a living. Rather than trying to guess, ‘What is it that the American public wants right now and let’s see if we can give it to them.’

Aaron Sorkin

Explaining life as a graduate student

As a graduate student, explaining what your day to day life is like to your non-academic friends can sometimes be a little difficult. In this enjoyable piece from The Science Creative Quarterly Daven Tai takes a unique approach to this challenge:

Working to get your PhD is like training to become a Jedi Knight,” I started. “You follow a Master; you live a life of sacrifice; you must develop rational thought and patience…

If you’re looking for five minutes of academically oriented fun go check out the whole article.

If we embrace the fact that no one can or should ever care about the health of our passions… [Quote]

If we embrace the fact that no one can or should ever care about the health of our passions as much as we do, the practical decisions that help ensure Our Good Thing stays alive can become as “simple” as a handful of proven patterns—work hard, stay awake, fail well, hang with smart people, shed bullshit, say “maybe,” focus on action, and always always commit yourself to a bracing daily mixture of all the courage, honesty, and information you need to do something awesome—discover whatever it’ll take to keep your nose on the side of the ocean where the fresh air lives. This is huge.

- Merlin Mann

A great quote from an interesting article about Future-Proofing Your Passion that includes lots of great advice for young and old scientists alike.

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