This phenomenon is related to my recent post about why digital printing won’t save academic publishing. In that post I discussed the low costs of printing, and I suggested that instead of trying to reduce costs by marginal amounts, academic presses would be better off planning better catalogs and investing in editing and promotion to realize the sales potential of key titles.
Academic mumblespeak is a silent enemy that is destroying scholarly publishing from within. (Note that I didn’t say, "I want to suggest that academic mumblespeak is a silent enemy that is destroying scholarly publishing in many ways.")
Mumblespeak makes potentially interesting works unreadable, contributing to their esotericism. Good editing does not involve cutting material, but cutting chaff. I’d wager that the average scholarly book’s length could be reduced by 1/3 to 1/2 without removing any actual content. Such effort would do two things: first, it would reduce the size of books, making them more approachable, affordable, and legible to a broader readership. Second, it would incrementally reduce the costs of printing, since fewer pages costs less on a digital or an offset press.
For a century, archeologists have been looking for a gate through a wall built by the Vikings in northern Europe. This summer, it was found. Researchers now believe the extensive barrier was built to protect an important trading route.
Their attacks out of nowhere in rapid longboats have led many to call Vikings the inventors of the Blitzkrieg. "Like wild hornets," reads an ancient description, the Vikings would plunder monasteries and entire cities from Ireland to Spain. The fact that the Vikings, who have since found their place as droll comic book characters, were also avid masons is slightly less well known.
The proof can be seen in northern Germany, not far from the North Sea-Baltic Canal. There, one can marvel at a giant, 30-kilometer (19-mile) wall which runs through the entire state of Schleswig-Holstein. The massive construction, called the Danevirke — "work of the Danes" — is considered the largest earthwork in northern Europe.
Archeologists have now taken a closer look at part of the construction — a three-meter-thick (10 feet) wall from the 8th century near Hedeby (known as Haithabu in German). It is constructed entirely out of stones collected from the surrounding region. Some of them are only as big as a fist, while others weigh as much as 100 kilograms (220 pounds). "The Vikings collected millions of rocks," says archeologist Astrid Tummuscheit, who works for the state archeology office of Schleswig-Holstein.
It is routine to hear tutors and studio heads bemoaning the amount of time students and designers spend gorging on the numberless websites and blogs devoted to the visual archaeology of graphic design. If you dig deep enough online, you can pretty much guarantee you’ll find every significant piece of graphic design ever made. If it’s not onFlickr,Affffound,AGrain Edit, or one of a thousand other sites, it will beAsoon.
This super-abundance of visual material floating untethered in the frictionless wastes of the internet has had two profound side effects. The first is on the sales of graphic design books. I recently interviewed Marc Valli, the astute co-founder ofAMagma Books, the mini-chain of UK bookstores known intimately to all British designers. He told me that there is a sardonic mantra regularly exchanged by book buyers: "5 is the new 50." Where once a buyer would take fifty copies of a title, they now take a paltry five. "Do not believe anyone who tells you that people are buying the same amount of books," says Valli. "They’re kidding themselves a or they’re lying."
Brownbook aims to explore, reveal and introduce the Middle East as an emerging hub for expression, ideas and good looking products. Taking directives fromA designers, urban planners, architects, songsmiths and scientists, the magazine offers a vitalised vision of MENA (Middle East/North Africa) and a platform to connect our readers with these people.
Not all writers share the same sense of whom they are writing for. Many may not even think they are directing their work at any audience in particular. All the same, there are clearly periods of history when, across the board, authors' perceptions of who their readers are change, something that inevitably leads to a change in the kind of text they produce. The most obvious example is the period that stretches from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century when writers all over Europe abandoned Latin for the vernacular. Instead of introducing their work, as before, into an international arena presided over by a largely clerical elite, they "descended" to local and national languages to address themselves to an emerging middle class.
Ultimately, in the argument about work and how it should be done, one has only one's pleasures to offer. It is possible … to be in one's place, in such company, wild or domestic, and with such pleasure, that one cannot think of another place that one would prefer to bea€" or of another place at all. One does not miss or regret the past, or fear or long for the future. Being there is simply all, and is enough. Such times give one the chief standard and the chief reason for one's work. -AWendell Berry, "Economy and Pleasure" (Continue reading the article by clicking the link below)
Abbie Fentress Swanson of the Virginia Quarterly Review on her recent trip to Durban for the World Cup:
I played soccer up until I moved to New York at age twenty. But during the time I played, I never attended a professional soccer tournament and am still trying to wrap my head around the culture of football. America's basketball, baseball, and football stadiums are souped up with massive scoreboards and jumbotrons, bombarding fans with player statistics and replays so that fans can judge the referees' calls. The Durban Moses Mabhida stadium has two medium-sized screens that show the game, but there is no official game clock, or extra information about the team or its squads. The players get the game time from coaches on the sidelines, and fans just have to keep track of the clock, or use binoculars to read it on the television screen.
[The] Thames Estuary Aquatic Urbanism [...] gives new life to decommissioned ships and oil platforms by converting them into hybrid homes adapted for aquatic living [...] By utilising the flooded landscape, a floating city of offshore communities, mobile infrastructure and aquatic transport will allow the city to reconfigure through fluid urban planning. Wave, tidal and wind energy will be ideal for this offshore city and the inhabitants will live alongside the natural cycles of nature and the rhythms of the river and tides.
[This] strategy for creating a self sufficient floating city by reusing ships and marine structures can also be applied to island nations such as the Maldives. Over 80% of its 1,200 islands are around 1 m above sea level. With sea levels rising around 0.9 cm a year, the Maldives could become uninhabitable within 100 years. Its 360,000 citizens would be forced to adapt and they could become the first floating nation.
TheAShift Calendar Competition started in 2003 with an aim to discover fresh creators. Enter the 8th competition for Shift, a Japanese-based online mag.
It pushes the boundaries between online and off line using a "calendar" as its medium. Entries are invited from all over the world and selected works will be distributed throughout the world in the format of a physical calendar.
The deadline for this competition is on August 20th, 2010.