May 20, 2008
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The tech.view columnist for The Economist — I can't find a name — speculates on the notional transition From Literacy to Digiracy. By this, he means a transition, over a span of perhaps 300 years, from print culture to something else, something based on computers. He cites me (I think — he cites "a blogger on") as rejecting the facile equation of hypertext with short attention span and debased taste, and goes on to observe that the primacy of print has been decaying since the invention of the telegraph. And this might be just in time:

What little we know is that our sources of trusted wisdom are eroding fast. When academics pay to have their findings published, invent results or ignore conflicting data to keep a sponsor’s money flowing, it’s hard to view our learned institutions as sources of reliable information.

It's often been expected that academic would pay to have their work published, either by private printings or through page charges in journals or through membership fees in professional societies. But the writer's other examples of academic fraud are pertinent and he has a point; though Wikipedia may be beset by cranks and influence peddling, and though weblogs may be dishonest at times and ill-informed at others, other authorities may be equally tainted.