I can also understand why publishers push for digital subscriptions. Introductory physics textbooks have hardly changed in the past 30-40 years (I would even say they were less distracting and had better problems 30 years ago than now), and it should be obvious for the execs at Pearson and MacMillan that their business model is not going to survive unless they introduce subscription based textbooks. You really don't need anything more than an old (SI-units based) copy of Halliday & Resnick to learn introductory physics.
I saw this begin to get popular towards the end of my undergraduate studies. I fought against it tooth-and-nail, because all of a sudden students are required to pay a third-party in order to turn in their homework. Why in the fuck do I have to pay a publisher to submit homework to my professor?
The argument is that it makes it easier for the professors/teachers to grade homework when they're submitted electronically. Of course, that's a stupid argument since part of a professor's job is teaching students, and that inevitably involves grading things. Few professors would be convinced by such an argument though.
The entire world is always looking for easier and more efficient methods of doing work. I don't think that's an invalid argument at all. It's the professor's job, yes - and why can't they seek out "better" methods of doing their jobs? (I use quotes to suggest that 'better' is subjective.)
Is there an argument against these tools that says they're ineffective? That says they make professors less effective? Maybe, but that's not the same as "...makes it easier ... is a stupid argument..."
In my experience the online assessment solutions offered by most commercial publishers are horrible, while open source solutions like WeBWorK http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/Get_WeBWorK and MyOpenMath https://www.myopenmath.com/index.php are not bad and have been around for many years.
Yes they are not as "shiny" as the commercial offerings, but I'd trust them much more for actual learning/practice/quizzing than the mainstream publisher crap.
Indeed this is ridiculous. This should be part of your university tuition, whether they self-host or outsource, students shouldn't be paying beyond tuition to get their homework submitted.
> Ten percent of those fees went to the researchers who wrote the papers
Do researchers get anything from journal subscription fees? AFAIK they even have to pay to get an article published.
> Dan resolved the dilemma by doing something even more unthinkable—he lent her the computer, and told her his password. This way, if Lissa read his books, Central Licensing would think he was reading them.
This is definitely missing some biometry, like constantly doing face recognition with a builtin camera to ensure that the user is indeed the right one.
 https://www.amazon.com/dp/0992001005/noBSmathphys (high school math review, mechanics, and calculus)
 https://www.amazon.com/dp/0992001021/noBSLA (linear algebra)
 https://www.amazon.com/dp/099200103X/noBSmath (high school math review)
When I hold a paper book, feel the pages, see the ink, it's just a superior experience. They spent money on the ink. Craft went into the model of a book that's been around for a long time. It imparts a sense of importance.
It's easier on the eyes. Writing in the margins is a more educational experience than clicking, highlighting, or saving. It's powerfully personal. Once it's written in ink, Bezos can't change it in real-time before your eyes.
It's a much richer experience.
As a side note, am I the only one who doesn't watch Netflix?
Sometimes I find a show I want to watch that's on Netflix, but then I go stream it elsewhere. Netflix is slow lol.
The usual argument, is that, people are just more used to paper, but while that's definitively true, it doesn't do justice to how bad screens are in comparison - for a certain subset of use-cases.
Paper is there. It's _very_ easy to interact with, with a _wide_ variety of tools for manipulation.
In relation to Netflix:
I've subscribed to Netflix, a year or two ago. I've subscribed to HBO, a couple of months ago.
Due to the increasing amount of streaming services, I'm now thinking of reverting back to P2P sharing (torrents) with a proper VPS setup (It's legal on my country of residence).
There are several reasons for this - none of those is pricing - which to be fair, is very okay for now - I pay less that 10$/month for both services - I'll probably have to spend more in a personal setup):
- Data freedom - i.e. no way of 1984 disappearing from my library)
- UI/UX-wise stable
- Functionally stable
- An open ecosystem, which means I can hack some tools for it.
I don't find it slow, though.
Then who but academics--or maybe graduate students--can read War and Peace, The Man Without Qualities, In Search of Lost Time (or really, most of its constituent books), Moby Dick, etc.?
And I can imagine being "partial" to calling myself a reader, but "amicable" seems the wrong word.
Those criteria are just pseudo-culturally ego-filled statements.
Like if you do not enjoy Bach then you do not really know classical music...
People read at different paces in different moods.
Also watching tv is nothing compared to reading a book like W&P.
Let people decide what how and why they enjoy things, that is all I’m saying and my P, I believe.
You can also listen to all the nine symphonies of Beethoven in a day. Does that mean if you don’t then you are not enjoying them?
But I've since learned to appreciate how much my mind will wander inside the world of a fiction novel that I'm reading. I'll constantly stop to imagine how this place might look, how I might react to what just happened, what I might think of this character if I were witnessing this with my own eyes. It's part of the reading process for me.
Someone reading so intermittently as to not be immersed in the book or gain much from the book just sounds like someone who is trying to finish a book they don't like rather than some sort of "bad reader."
This is good advice for any self behavior change, not just reading. Can you excercise at home? Can you practice programming on your phone?
In that world, maybe I will finally admit that the nutters who say we are living in a simulation might actually be onto something.
This is not what I'm saying. I'm saying that, in many cases, whether something is true or not is really a matter of context and perspective.
Free will, for instance. The universe, including your body and mind, is a giant ball of energy interacting with itself. You are not separate from it, so how can you have a will of your own? Everything you are, everything your mind thinks, is a product of interactions happening in the medium of the greater universe.
In another context, we have complete free will. Someone may tell you what to do and impose penalties for non-compliance, but freedom to choose does not mean freedom from consequences. Various substances or other "external" factors may influence your decision making in one direction or another, but ultimate you are making a decision.
However, neither of these extremes is particularly useful in the context of the topic under discussion.
Context, as they say, is king.
That's a fair point.
I think your two contexts in which to consider free will are interesting. But it is ultimately a dualistic concept. In whatever context we happen to be talking about, either the will is free or it's not. One extreme of your scale takes place at the universal level. The other end takes place firmly within the sphere of the human world which we experience everyday. As you have shown, the question of free will depends on which end of the scale you want to start your argument with.
But that brings up an interesting question: where is the line along that spectrum? And there has to be a line - either the will is free in a given context or it's not. Where do we cross over between free will and unfree will?
I think these systems that supposedly influence our every behavior are situated somewhere in between the two extreme contexts you mentioned; they are not quite elemental forces of the universe, but they are also not quite part of the everyday immediate human experience.
Reading a book and dealing with abstract thinking clearly requires more effort than loosely scrolling Instagram. It costs less and the (lower or higher) gratification is immediate.
On the other side, Instagram and games have a bidirectional interaction. Receiving a like or upvotes, prices and lootboxes make the attention grabber even more grabbing.
I’m a really big fan, even though build quality is sadly lacking.
Knowledge =/=> Books
Teaching =/=> Understanding
Money =/=> Education
Monetization =/=> Engagement
Wish more people thought about it that way. Especially in the publishing industry.
It's certainly a personal choice, but this is NOT the contract I want with investigative journalism. I want the model to be "I support you however I can, you change the freaking world." IIRC I've seen The Information put quality investigative articles behind a paywall, and I was struck by how inefficient this would lead to change: I can't share this with others, the nuance of the article isn't visible if someone Googles the subject, the punchline may enter the zeitgeist but the nuance will not. I think that's dangerous, and if The Information were instead to suggest a contract "we show ads to everybody, track everybody, clickbait everybody, and therefore you can share this with everybody" I would prefer that instead.
Certainly they're entirely within their rights to NOT want to be in that business. Fully support anyone who does. But the ad-driven bait-driven model does have its uses, and we shouldn't throw it out with the bathwater.
True, but they tend to not survive toddlers.
I also haven't read a physical book in a decade due to time and availability. I have gone through hundreds of digital thomes over that same span.
Say I'm 200 pages into a math book where something is making use of a lemma that was discussed back around page 30, and I want to go back and refresh my memory of that discussion.
With a physical book, my memory of that lemma will include whether the discussion started on a left side page or a right side page, perhaps even if it was near the top or bottom or middle of the page, what diagrams were nearby, and about how far into the book it was by the difference in feel of the thickness of the stack of pages in my left hand and the stack of pages in my right hand when opened to where the lemma is.
In other words, with a physical book I get a sense of the content as being spread through a 3D space, that my attention moves through as I read, and my memory of the content includes where it is in that 3D space.
It's sort of like a physical book can serve as a kind of self-referential mind palace .
With an ebook, I lose the feeling of the information having a location in a 3D space.
I never again want to own bookshelves of books or have to track down a physical copy of an out-of-print book that I want to read.
Help one of your buddies move houses when they have thousands of books in bookshelves and tell me it's just publishers who have something to gain from e-books. :)
Btw, OP himself in the post even says that his Kindle has allowed him to "convert into a more fervent reader."
Also, for a variety of technical and business reasons, the common ebook platforms (Kindle, iBooks, etc.) are not so great for complex books. Most of the books sold on kindle are simple genre fiction. Just a few minutes ago I had a conversation with one of our sales guys about whether a particular new book would even be practical for ebook conversion.
And no, reading does not burn calories
This is totally nuts, the whole article
Hard for me to believe this number can increase to 10x that amount if we're to believe chess grandmasters are burning 6000cal/day (let's say 2300cal for the rest of the body, thus 3700cal for the brain). 6000 calories being the figure thrown around if you google it.
Sounds a bit like bullshit to me that a chess player can burn as many calories as a professional cyclist on an all-day race.