Watson’s laws of academic life

29 10 2009

Professor Sir David Watson, who recently won the Times Higher Education Lifetime Achievement Award, has nine laws of academic politics he would like to share.

* Academics grow in confidence the farther away they are from their true fields of expertise (what you really know about is provisional and ambiguous, what other people do is clear-cut and usually wrong)

* You should never go to a school or department for anything that is in its title (which university consults its architecture department on the estate, or – heaven forbid – its business school on the budget?)

* The first thing a committee member says is the exact opposite of what she means (“I’d like to agree with everything the vice-chancellor has just said, but…”; or “with respect”…; or even “briefly”)

* Courtesy is a one-way street (social-academic language is full of hyperbole, and one result is the confusion of rudeness – or even cruelty – with forthrightness; however, if a manager responds in kind, it’s a federal case)

* On email, nobody ever has the last word

* Somebody always does it better elsewhere (because they are better supported)

* Feedback counts only if I agree with it

* The temptation to say “I told you so” is irresistible

* Finally, there is never enough money, but there used to be.

[H/T: timeshighereducation.co.uk]

Towards self-informing news publics

26 10 2009

File under “statements that make me dance”.

Exhibit A.

A single person can now speak to millions of people without touching a reporter. In many cases, it’s thrilling, but for the most part the tools are primitive; we are at the utter beginning of what this means for news production.

Exhibit B.

Online, what a public needs, far more than reporters or endowed professional newsrooms, is a way for everyone to do this more effectively.

Cody “the LeBron James of news production” Brown, news visionary and future millionaire. Anyone with an interest in media and journalism, I suggest you read Cody’s latest blog post.

The future of news? Bricks-and-clicks

25 10 2009

The latest trend for ailing news organizations is to adopt a bricks-and-clicks business model. What with evaporating advertising revenues, news organizations such as Corelio in Belgium are dipping their toes in online retailing. For instance, just last week Het Nieuwsblad launched their Nieuwsbladshop.be, hoping to lure their readers into buying wine, DVDs and books.


Give yourself the freedom, let’s bounce

25 10 2009

For some sports you need a ball. For triathlon you need two. Writing a PhD however, requires a third. While said to be benign, the growth is known to induce severe moodswings, bouts of paranoia and insomnia. Other side effects are self-indulgence, weight loss and Sehnsucht.

One way I try to escape from it all is by running. Long distance running. Ran a 20k trail race yesterday with long time buddy Danny and was able to run consistently and comfortably at my (ideal) marathon pace of 12km/h. All along, I ran to Vaughn Mason & Crew‘s timeless bassline.

Vaughn Mason & Crew – Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll (Brunswick, 1980)

On prescriptive retaliation: Muphry’s Law

23 10 2009

Muphry’s Law is an adage that states that “if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written”. The name is a deliberate misspelling of “Murphy’s Law”.

[H/T: Best of Wikipedia]

Here is the law in full, as originally laid out by John Bangsund:

(a) if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written;
(b) if an author thanks you in a book for your editing or proofreading, there will be mistakes in the book;
(c) the stronger the sentiment expressed in (a) and (b), the greater the fault;
(d) any book devoted to editing or style will be internally inconsistent

Quietly taking over the world: LeFto

20 10 2009

His taste in music is cut from the same eclectic cloth as Gilles Peterson, he’s a Nike sneakerhead, a resident DJ at  GP’s Worldwide festivals and a Brownswood regular, a radio show host at StuBru and quietly making a name for himself internationally: LeFto.

Curating the web: “Today” by Eric Baker

18 10 2009

“Each morning, before starting work, I spend 30 minutes looking for images that are beautiful, funny, absurd and inspiring. Here’s TODAY”

— Eric Baker

Read the rest of this entry »


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