I’ve already procrastinated too much this week (I have lots of self-indulgence points stored up for when I wrap up this $%#$%$ lectionary series), but I hadn’t known about sIFR. You can imagine that a typography nut such as I will want to incorporate this development when he finally gets around to upgrading his Moveable Type installation and redesigning his blog.
Ever since David pointed to Cat and Girl, I’ve added that webcomic to my daily reading material (Doonesbury, Calvin reruns, PvP, and Dilbert — no more Boondocks, sadly). Today’s strip shows one good reason.
According to Geoff Pullum,
Producing language that other people will be able to understand involves not just having a picture in your mind of the scenario and designing a nice-looking (and policy-compliant) dialog box that you feel represents your view of it. You have to deploy a shared linguistic system, according to established rules, using lexemes of known meaning, to present that picture to others in a way that will work for them. You have to consider whether there are other ways of viewing the situation at hand. You have to examine the wording you have chosen to see if it has ambiguities or unclarities.
Except that instead of calling it “the dance of the elephants,” Mark Liberman should have called this explanation of the on-the-ground reasoning in favor of Open Access publishing “the dance of the dodos.” The present model for academic publishing will be extinct in a relatively short while; the relevant question is not whether this will be so, but how closely the next generation resembles the present model. If publishers were to act rapidly, with foresight, they might be able to spin developments toward a simple evolutionary change; but if they insist that publishing dodos have an intrinsic right to their ecological niche regardless of the introduction of technological pigs and macaques to their ecosystem, then the pigs and macaques will prevail.