That Sound You Hear is the the Death-Gasp of Scholarly Journals

For you academics, from Google.

We intend for the peer-review web to do for scientific publishing what the world wide web has done for media publishing. As it becomes increasingly practical to evaluate researchers based on the reviews of their peers, the need for centralized big-name journals begins to diminish. The power is returned to those most qualified to give meaningful reviews: the peers. As long as big journals provide a useful service, this tool will only enhance their effectiveness. But the more they take months to review our publications, and the more they give unqualified reviews, and the more they force us to clear irrelevant hurdles prior to publication, and the more they lock up our works behind fees and copyright transfers, the more this tool will provide an alternative to their services. [emphasis mine]

What do you even say in the face of that?

My feelings are mixed.  I wonder if it’s wrong that my first inclination was to cheer?

Shaking My Head

So, the independent progressive Tennessee blogospheric fundraising efforts continue.  As you remember, the goal was to raise $1,000 by Friday.  Those funds were raised by the end of lunch on Wednesday.  Now, the goal is to raise $3,000 from 100 people by Friday.  The little thermometer sits at 70 contributors who gave $2,724.

The nay-sayers have been, of course, nay-saying.  “It’s not very much money, actually.”  “That’ll just go to paying salaries.”  “Why didn’t you do this sooner?”  “It isn’t going to matter.”  “It’s not going to make a difference.”  Blah blah blah.  You can check it out over at Sean’s if you want to.

And yet, the TNGOP just rolled out their new website today.  All full of “Coming soon”s and “Under construction”s.  Hmm.  Makes you wonder why they’d feel any pressure to roll the website out before it’s ready, if a bunch of folks sitting around on their computers raising not-very-much-money isn’t that big a deal.

But here’s the point, and I just want to make it clear.  No one is giving money to the Democrats because we’re so impressed and delighted with the way things have been done.  I have no opinion on Chip Forrester one way or another.  I’m not asking you to sit through another post about this because of any great admiration I have for him.  No one is giving money to the Democrats as a reward.

We are, in fact, upset with the Democrats.  Some of us are frustrated that the Dems seem to have forgotten that there’s a rural Tennessee.  Some of us are frustrated that folks are more concerned about making sure that they look close enough to Republican to not have to make things too uncomfortable.  Some of us are frustrated that every time we try to bring up people making some efforts to behave themselves we’re met with squawks of “But Obama cost us the election!”  Heck. some of us are dying of embarrassment that there are Democrats who don’t yet see the usefulness of email.

We all waited to see if things would straighten themselves out.  But they have not.

And, since many of the Democrats in power don’t see a problem with the way things are now, progressives who do have to find a way to get those Democrats to take us seriously.  This is part of our efforts to get them to take us seriously.

I hope that message isn’t lost.

Fire Walk With Me

This morning, everything is covered in a heavy frost–all the grass under our feet and everything up to fence-height.  The frost is hard enough that we don’t crunch through it when we walk and I slip a few times.  We head out right as the first pink is pushing into the light blue sky.

And here’s what we see when we look down–thousands of yellow sparkles in the grass, like signal fires from tiny fairy to tiny fairy announcing that the humans are stirring.  I have never, in my whole life, seen anything like it.  I’ve seen the hard white sparkles of an ice storm or of a thick snow you can hardly look at.  But I’ve never seen frozen water throw off such warm looking yellow twinkles.  I almost didn’t believe what I was seeing.

You had to be almost right on top of it for it to work.  I looked out over the pasture, wondering if I would see that looking like a thousand matches just struck, and though it was beautiful, there were no little yellow flashes.  As the sun rolled over the horizon and started up into the sky, the twinkles faded.

By the time we got back to the corner, they were gone.

There’s a moment, very early on in the Voluspa, when the speaker remembers back to the beginning of the world, before the gods have given order to everything, and she mentions the sun at dawn–

The sun, the sister of the moon, from the south
Her right hand cast over heaven’s rim;

–and I cannot help but think of that in these February dawns, that the pink at the edge of the sky is an arm bracing itself against the edge of the world, pushing as the sun lifts herself out of her morning bath and upwards across the day.