The Holbo

by Henry on March 22, 2010

is “profiled”:http://alumni.berkeley.edu/news/california-magazine/spring-2010-searchlight-gray-areas/tenure-tracts along with other academic bloggers (DeLong, Drezner, Shalizi) in Berkeley’s alumni magazine. Some discussion of CT, and changes in academic blogging included as part of the cover price. Two quotes:

Like DeLong, Holbo thrives on that public sparring. He finds the virtual salon a perfect antidote to the insulation of the ivory tower and the glacial pace of conventional scholarship. “I have a split intellectual life: these ant-like projects that evolve over months and years, and then this by-the-moment blogging life,” he says. “Blog posts take an hour, while an academic paper can take four years.” Yet even though the blogs reach a huge and influential audience compared to that of scholarly journals, the blogs are not recognized as scholarly publication and don’t count toward tenure.

Holbo admits he and his fellow pioneers have lost the “revolutionary fervor” of blogging’s early days. “I’m fortunate to be at the top of the food chain, to have these bully pulpits where I can stand up and know thousands of people will hear me,” he says. “But we all thought blogging was going to transform academic life, and that didn’t really happen.”

If there’s one thing Shalizi can’t stand, it’s misinformation bandied about in the name of science. “A lot of the time, when I’m motivated enough to post something, it’s because I think someone is ‘being wrong on the Internet,’ as the saying goes—and this cannot stand,” Shalizi says. “It’s usually something I’ve read more than once and it seems such a pack of lies, or utter misunderstandings, that I feel like writing something. I wish I wasn’t so destructively motivated, but I am.”

When asked how much time and effort that takes, he says, “Quite a bit, to be honest. Part of that is the fact that I’m way over trained as an academic, and part is also wanting to leave people no excuse or way out,” Shalizi says. “If I can show that they’re just totally wrong, thoroughly wrong, then I will try to do that.”

If anyone reading knows Randall Munroe (I’m pretty sure one regular CT reader at least does), he or she is hereby requested to get a new version of the famous cartoon commissioned; this time with the guy at the computer depicted with a “Leon Trotsky beard”:http://www.stat.cmu.edu/~cshalizi/ …

This “one”:http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/03/the-future-after-health-care/37799/ from Megan McArdle, is a _very_ special example. It’s the blogospheric version of one of those avant-garde mechanical sculptures that starts to tear itself apart as soon as the clockwork key is turned. It’s worth quoting _in extenso_ so that you too can marvel at the beauty and ingenuity of the escapements.
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Not with a bang, but a hiccup

by John Holbo on March 22, 2010

Good job, House Dems!

K. Lo’s reaction. “Congratulations, Democrats. Beginning now, you own the health-care system in America. Every hiccup. Every complaint. Every long line. All yours.”

I think this does serve as a nice expression of the Republican case against health care reform. Hic! Damn you, Nancy Pelosi! Hic! Damn you, Nancy Pelosi!

In other health care reform news, I have been enjoying Awesome Hospital rather muchly. “Back off, Dr. Space Baby!” On the other hand, our girls have been getting sick at a rate of 1.2 medical emergencies a day, for a week. And Belle is traveling, so I’m a bit worn to a frazzle of a nubbin of myself. I think we should have a Frequent Faller card from our local hospital. Get 2 tests and the 3rd is free! Get 20 stitches and the next 5 are free! Baffle the diagnostician 3 times and the 4th bafflement comes at no extra charge! (Thankfully, we haven’t had to get stitches this week.)