Radio Four

Radio 4 this morning featured an over-excited guest telling us, uninterrupted, that MRI technology now enables us `to see thoughts pinging around our heads.’ This is a bit like saying that a scan of Alfred Brendel’s upper-body musculature would enable us `to see his music pinging around’.

An hour later, Mug-it-up Melvyn Bragg brusquely silenced a guest on his programme for suggesting that in order to read Smith’s `Wealth of Nations’ with any real understanding, we had to take account of the historical contexts in which it was written.

BBC Radio Four: the thinking man’s casket.


Jonathan Gray on Recomposing Scholarship

A topic that is much on the mind of any freelance writer whose work occasionally intersects with the formal academic (or like mine, runs for long stretches in parallel with regular interwinings) – is the availability of research materials to those operating outside of the institutional framework.

This is a thoughtful recent presentation on the issue by my friend (and incidentally ex-student) Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy at the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Some academic researchers go to great lengths to make their work more openly available at no cost; some publishers got to great lengths to make their `property’ expensive. Humanities publishers seem to be much more mean than those in the sciences – It is a complex topic which we will very definitely be revisiting …