OK – here’s my snap analysis of what will come of Brexit:

1. The pound will crater. Do not be surprised if it goes to parity with the USD.
2. This will likely trigger a major recession in the UK.
3. There will be a lot of language about “non-binding referendum”.
4. Non-zero probability that UK won’t actually leave.
5. If 4 is true, then the neoliberal shitshow will proceed unabated.
6. If 4 is not true, then expect Scotland to demand another stay/leave UK referendum, and for Scotland to vote to leave the UK 60/40 and to join the EU.
7. I think Cameron will have to resign fairly soon.
8. Northern Ireland voted Remain. They are well and truly fucked. They can choose to stay with the UK or leave and join the EU with Scotland. My guess is if Scotland leaves UK, so will NIR. That will normalise trade and movement between NIR and IRL.
9. Most of the UK share of the North Sea Oil is in Scottish waters. England has no real resources. They’re totally screwed.
10. Expect a lot of sads from the UK over the next year or two. All it has is its financial system in London, which will be abandoned as the vectoralists and financiers decamp to New York and Berlin.
11. Expect the American dollar to soar, as the Pound drops and the Euro, already jittery, continues to slide. The only currency left standing will be the USD.
12. This may jolt Canada hard enough that they’ll finally wake up and ditch England and its stupid aristocracy and declare itself a Parliamentary Confederacy. Finally.
13. As England collapses, it will surge further to the right. That will get ugly. Fast.

This is a test.

I recently purchased a keyboard for my iPad, and a small easel. The keyboard is an Apple “Magic” keyboard, and communicates via bluetooth to the iPad. This will allow me to use the iPad as another computer, one I would like to opimise for writing. The keyboard is small but robust, as is the ipad. The easel folds and is light – made of wood. All of this easily fits in a small computer bag I have. Super lightweight and easy to trasnport. I’m such a crappy typist that as slow as all this is it is plenty fast for me.

Overall, I think this will work well. Once I can figure out how to get my docs universally available on Dropbox or iCloud or whatever the heck I can wrangle to work here.

Overall, not a shabby day.

Thoughts about Academic Publishing

Last week, Geert Lovink emailed me about ideas regarding Academic Publishing.

Without divulging the entire contents of our conversation, what follows is an edited version of my reply.

A few initial thoughts:

It seems there is a serious logjam in this regard, especially in the humanities. As usual, the “hard” sciences argue less about such things – it’s not in their purview to question / change their social appearances and methodologies – and as a consequence they always seem to be a few years ahead of the humanities, as the humanities, soft sciences, philosophers, and theoreticians are by necessity of their trade constantly questioning their social appearances and methodologies. Combined with the global emphasis on STEM education and its inherent coherence with the agendas of capital, hard science and engineering also get the lion’s share of funding as well, allowing them the resources to develop socialised forms of knowledge distribution, and allowing these systems to exist (viz ArVix among others).

However, even the hard sciences have their own set of problems, because 1000 articles on ArVix (and other open science forae) aren’t worth one article in say, journals like Nature or Science. However, these journals are the property of  huge publishing combines like Elsevier etc. As is well understood it is these corporations that hang like a pall on academia, and it is they who, in their own self interest, seek to do to Alexandra Elbakyan,, libgen, and aaaaarg, what they did to Aaron Swartz.

The ecosystem of academic publishing is a thicket of exploitation – in fact, academic publishing *requires* this ennobled slavery, and the humanities haven’t really helped the situation or themselves with the constant arrangement and re-arrangement of intellectual circular firing squads.  Even that self-destruction often fails as it is hampered by a lack of proper funding.

Academic Publishing is a rotted and broken system. It must be transformed.
“One part is about the existing critique of peer review.”
Peer review is so broken that’s like dynamiting fish in a barrel.

“And the new attempts to get rid of”
I haven’t followed that thread – I know that The Big Five want it dead, but I don’t know what attempts to kill it have been made.

“(We need) An argument to write less, work on concepts and overcome big data.”
There is a lot in there. I don’t think there will be any way to overcome big data – however, big data can be transformed. That’s a whole ‘nother discussion.

Something I am concerned with is the post-Napsterisation of academia, speaking form my own experiences.
Prior to Napster, there were many record companies, and even small ones were able to eek out a living selling records. CDs reduced music to data, and increased profit ratios as they were MUCH cheaper to reproduce than vinyl LPs. For much of the 90s, hard drives were small and extremely expensive. Prices collapsed in the late 90s (In 1995 I bought my first 1 gigabyte drive for $550, in 2000, one could buy a 30 GB drive for $125). This, in conjunction with the advent of DSL, set the stage for Napster…

Within several years after Napster, the music industry was left with 5 major companies (now 3). Musicians no longer make significant money from their publications – they make their money on endless and exhausting performance. All methods of free distribution of music (pirate bay, datalockers, music blogs)  are actively harrassed, persecuted, and opposed. The Major Companies maintain their power as gate-keepers to acceptance, as the 21st century musician’s career depends on mass acceptance and distribution.
Within several years after Swartz, the Academic Publishing industry was left with a handful of major companies (now about 5). Academics no longer make significant money from the publication – they make their money on endless and exhausting performance in the classroom and if they are fulltime tenured professors, from travel grants from their universities. All methods of free distribution of knowledge (Sci-Hub,libgen ,  are actively harrassed, persecuted, and opposed. The Major Academic Publishing Companies maintain their power as gate-keepers to acceptance, as the 21st century academic’s career depends on acceptance into elite publishing sites, and the dissemination/distribution of their ideas once so accepted…

As Attali said : music is heraldic. If you want to know what the future is like, look at music.
And right now, music is in a harrowing state, where the Industry is parasitic and dying and taking the whole thing down with itself. Musicians, like academics, are atomised and incapable of organisation except in spot formations over specific topics (FarmAid, Feeding the Poor, 9/11, for musicians, endless and largely ineffectual conferences etc. for academics) few of which challenge the system itself, or even have any notion of reform. And those who do seek such change engage in circular firing squads due to the aforementioned atomisation. Competition is most vicious when the rewards are small and / or shrinking, and in humanities research, questioning everything, including presentation and language, are part of the practice itself. So, the delays makes sense, but all academics are in a very weak and continuously weakening position.

Capital has academia exactly where it wants it – on its knees and begging for scraps.