Disruptions In Many Directions

If I were a sociologist of the blogosphere, I might find a fine case study in the comment thread to Michael Clarke's excellent post, Why Hasn't Scientific Publishing Been Disrupted Already?, which showed up on The Scholarly Kitchen just after the start of the new year.

Clarke starts with the observation that, despite nearly two decades of chatter about how the web was going to revolutionize scholarly publishing, and despite the tremendous disruptions that have occurred in so many other areas of modern society and communications, scholarly publishing "does not look dramatically different..., at least in terms of the major publishers. The industry has been relatively stable."

He then goes on to hypothesize why that might be, and suggests that it has to do with the fact that the major roles that publishers play are cultural ones, and that "these are not technology-driven functions."

He goes on, "Given these 3 deeply entrenched cultural functions, I do not think that scientific publishing will be disrupted anytime in the foreseeable future. That being said, I do think that new technologies are opening the door for entirely new products and services built on top of—and adjacent to—the existing scientific publishing system."  And he gives some examples.

I think that Clarke is right on target here.  I've long argued that while the technological changes that the internet represents are indeed profound, it will take at least a generation or two before we begin to see the beginnings of a mature digital culture that parallels the mature print culture that we all grew up in, because it takes a considerable amount of time for society to fully absorb and adjust to the sociological, cultural, political and legal changes that are required.

The post has garnered 75 comments -- relatively few of which actually address the core of his argument.   As is usually the case with blog discussions many of the commenters use the occasion to expand on their own pet issues, which may or may not be tangentially related to the core of the argument being put forth.  Then there are the little side arguments that take place among different commenters which often go very far afield. 

Overall though, it's pretty interesting discourse, even if it doesn't take Clarke's argument very far.  It's like being in a bar with a group of semi-sober, smart, opinionated, occasionally cantankerous, and sometimes slightly lunatic folks who really do care very much about the issues, even if the evening is wearing on rather past the point where anyone is thinking clearly.   At any moment somebody is going to climb up on a table and start declaiming, "It is so being disrupted!" just before he falls over and passes out.

But Clarke's essay deserves more serious attention than just as fodder for barroom conversation, no matter how occasionally brilliant and illuminating some of that conversation can be.  I hope that it gets it.

Online Life

During that splendid dinner at Aria, the woman sitting next to me asked, "But how does it feel to expose so much of yourself on your blog, and know that you're sharing all of that with hundreds of people that you don't know?"  It's the kind of question that pops up periodically when bloggers get self-reflective.  They ask, "Am I 'oversharing?'"

Since I consider myself to be a fairly private person, there's an apparent paradox here.  But as I pointed out to my dinner companion, "There is so much more about my life that I don't reveal, that it really doesn't seem to me that I'm revealing very much."  It's an illusion.  I try to write with an intimate tone.  There are rhetorical tricks.  I almost never address the audience directly.   There is no hint that I even think that I have "readers," much less that I'm writing for them.  The effect is that each reader feels as if they're being let into a very private rumination on whatever I'm musing about on that particular morning.  It's an illusion.

Someone who read the blog regularly and studied it would be able to put together a handful of facts.  They'd know where I work and what my job is, but next to nothing about what I actually do in my job on a day to day basis.  They'd deduce that my mother is still living and that we're close, and that my father died some time ago, but nothing about my siblings or my relationships to them.  They'd know some stories about Lynn and I, but none that I haven't told a dozen times in social settings.  They'd know I'm bonkers about my granddaughter and that I take my role as an amateur musician pretty seriously.  They'd get a pretty good idea about what I think about the present & future of my profession and maybe a little bit about my political views.

There is so much that they wouldn't know.  The image that they might construct of me would be a caricature at best.  And I like it that way.   I never write anything here that I don't believe to be true, but in the very act of carefully choosing what to reveal, I protect the things I wish to keep most private.

It is striking how often bloggers, coming home from a conference, write about how great it was to finally meet, in person, people that they've come to know online, sometimes for many years.  And I love the pictures that get posted, the grins on the faces of people in bars & restaurants, laughing and joking with people they've known, but haven't really known.

In Mark's inaugural address last year (Mark -- would you put that up on youtube?  Would you mind if I did?), he spoke eloquently and very perceptively about why we continue to meet in person when we have this growing armamentarium of tools that enable us to communicate and work effectively from the comfort and privacy of our own rooms.  The simple answer is that we gain things from that in person contact that none of the other modes provide.  Second life is no substitute for first life.

However, as he pointed out in his presidential address this year and in his farewell post yesterday, the tools give us the opportunity -- indeed, the responsibility -- to transform how we spend our time when we get together.  We should not be wasting time in committee meetings delivering reports that should have been electronically distributed in advance -- we should be taking that time to argue and discuss the implications of some of those reports.    Rather than spending fifteen minutes listening to someone present their ideas and then not have enough time for discussion because we've got to get on to the next paper, we need to figure out how to restructure our meetings so that we're distributing the information ahead of time and taking advantage of the time together to interact.

LiB writes about her frustration at not being allowed to participate in some ALA activities because they require in person attendance at both ALA meetings every year.   I'm sympathetic to her frustration, but only to a point.  The MLA Board of Directors does an increasing amount of its work at a distance, and it certainly makes us more efficient and effective.  But I can't imagine the Board being as productive as it is if we didn't come together three times a year and spend a day and a half in the same room getting to know each other and each other's views.  There are discussions that you can only have when you've got the full range of in person communication elements at play.  Similarly, the group of librarians and publishers that met at the O'Hare Hilton on Thursday could not possibly have come to the end of that day feeling as bonded and exhilarated as we all did if we hadn't spent all of that time physically in the same space.   The wine at dinner the night before was important, too.   Associations shouldn't reflexively require in person attendance just because it's always been that way, but there are circumstances where it is still essential.  Figuring out which is which is the challenge.

Lynn and I fell in love via email.  If it hadn't been for that primitive tool (we're talking 1993), we never would have gotten together.  The transformative power of all of these communication media is fabulous and allows us to develop friendships and working relationships that would never have come about before.  In our working lives (and, specifically for me, within the Medical Library Association) we have to experiment and play and see what we can do to take the utmost advantage of the opportunities provided to be more inclusive and to make more and better connections (to echo Mark's theme).  But the energy and excitement that pervaded the Hyatt as people who knew each other only online were able to spend time in each other's company is persuasive proof of the critical importance of spending time face-to-face and hand-in-hand.  We're humans.  Even a nonsocial guy like me knows how badly we need it.

Blogging MLA in Chicago

The Local Arrangements Committee is advertising for "Official MLA Conference Bloggers."  Selected bloggers "will receive wireless Internet access for the duration of the Annual Conference AND MLA will acknowledge your contribution to the membership on the MLA Conference pages. All Official Conference Blogs will be listed on the Blog Roll at the MLA Conference Wiki."   There's an application form, and a panel of judges will make the selections.  (I don't know who is on the panel, although I suppose I could find out.)  And I certainly hope that someone will blog the Bearded Pigs gig on Sunday night!

It's an experiment.  One of the things that makes me grateful that I ended up in medical libraries is that the notion of experimentation seems to come more easily to us than to our colleagues in academic or public libraries, particularly in regard to IT.  When I first entered librarianship in 1983, I realized fairly quickly that medical libraries were ten to fifteen years ahead of general academic libraries in their adoption of new technologies (quite unevenly distributed, of course, as the future always is).  And there was a very clear reason for that -- the Medical Library Assistance Act, inspired by Dr. Michael DeBakey, and muscled through Congress by Senator Lister Hill, namesake of my library, (with the overt and covert assistance of many others) was passed in 1965, leading to the establishment of the Regional Medical Library program and a tremendous infusion of money and technical expertise and experimentation to libraries throughout the country.  By the time I came into the profession, it was fifteen years since NLM had launched the world's first publicly available online bibliographic database, had provided funding for one of the first integrated library systems, and had sown the seeds for the developing field of medical informatics.  One of my projects as an NLM Associate in 1984 was to write (under the guidance of the inestimable Gale Dutcher) the initial users' manual for DOCLINE, an issue-based online ILL routing system that was many years in advance of anything available to libraries outside of the health sciences community.  It was simply assumed that a savvy medical librarian was technically astute and making use of the latest information technology available.

Which explains, of course, my impatience with those of my 2.0 colleagues who sometimes sound as if they think the innovative use of information technology was only discovered by librarians in 2004.   But I should be more generous.  I'd thought that by the end of the nineties, the general academic library world had caught up -- certainly there have been many pockets of innovation and excellence among ARL and ACRL libraries.  But when I read the blogs of my impatient young colleagues I have to think that maybe there still is a gap.  I sometimes feel that I'm already living in the library world they're struggling so hard to create.

No matter.  Along with signing up bloggers for the MLA Conference, I wish we'd arrange for Cindiann to come and take photos.   Last night I was browsing her stunning portraits of some of the cool kids at this week's Computers in Libraries Conference in DC.  Fabulous photos.  They give a great sense of the personalities and energy and delight that these folks have in what they're doing.  Sure, I may get impatient sometimes with their impatience, but I defy anyone to look at those faces and read what they write and follow what they're doing in their libraries and not believe that the future of librarianship is very bright indeed.

"Supporting the new branding..."

Several months ago, when discussing the value of librarians, I mentioned, in passing, Elsevier's experiment with using advertising to support an oncology portal.  Yesterday, I received an email from someone identifying herself as a "content specialist" for OncologySTAT, asking me to update the link.

OncologyStat has recently restructured its website and would like you to update our link. OncologySTAT offers an unprecedented array of professional cancer information and an abundance of educational resources for your students in one online destination.

The following page needs to be updated:


Please use the following link and text:

Oncology by OncologyStat

The phrase “Oncology” should be the clickable link to http://www.oncologystat.com and the text “by OncologyStat” should just be text, and not part of the clickable link.

Thank you for taking the time out to update your site and our link. We appreciate your cooperation supporting our new branding and messaging. Please let me know if and when these updates can me made. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

I thought, at first, that they had changed the url, but actually, the link still works.  So the issue isn't the link itself, but the way that it is referred to and what part of the phrase is the clickable link.

It's a polite and pleasant message and if I had mentioned the name in, say, a list of resources that I was promoting, I'd probably go ahead and make the change.  Within the context of my post, however, given that I was just mentioning it in passing and that the link itself still works, I don't see any reason to change the text (although I suppose I could put in a parenthetical update).

It's curious, because, after a cursory look, I don't see the phrase "Oncology by OncologyStat" anywhere on the site itself.  If that's the way that they want it to be referred to, you'd think that they'd use it themselves.  Maybe they just haven't gotten to it yet?  More likely, they're trying to increase the odds of their site showing up near the top when somebody searches for "oncology".

This is the first time that I've been contacted with a request to make this kind of a change.  I suppose that in this age where branding is all the rage, it'll become more common.

Still in the incunabula stage

In the past few months, the biblioblogosphere has seen interesting discussions about openness, sympathetic listening, the difficulties of managing one's social networks and the like.  We are really still at the very beginnings of figuring out the best ways to engage in discourse using all of these new tools.

So amidst the kerfuffle surrounding the latest Gorman outrage, I was struck by Laura K’s comment, “I think that when people need to diminish the efforts of others to make themselves look/feel better, it speaks to a pettiness in our profession.”  Well said (although I don’t think it’s peculiar to our profession).  Laura K was making the comment in response to the reports of the (curiously) unnamed presenter at the NASIG conference who apparently used one of Jane’s posts as an example of why blogs are bad.

What intrigues me  is that the comment was made in the context of a larger discussion in which some bibliobloggers have been piling on Michael Gorman’s recent pieces on the Brittanica blog, and a number of the posts I’ve seen exhibit the same apparent need to “diminish the efforts of others.”  A sampling:

“the latest Michael Gorman insanity,” “Gorman rambles…like a lost puppy…,” “rambling, nearly incoherent piece….”

“His hair is still blue…”

“I believe Michael Gorman was sad that we were not talking about him anymore…”

“his usual insultingly privileged self.”

These bloggers feel strongly about the issues, and I follow them because they often write useful and thought-provoking things (which I sometimes agree with and sometimes not), and just as often, are simply fun to read.  But presumably, the speaker at the NASIG conference also feels strongly about what he was saying (as does Gorman).  From the reports, it seems likely that I’d disagree with him vociferously, but I don’t have any grounds for questioning his sincerity or his passion for his beliefs.  And yet, it seems that in the minds of some, it’s unfair and petty to go after one of Jane’s posts, but it’s perfectly fine and reasonable to question Gorman’s sanity, ethics, emotional stability and hairstyle(!)  Why is that?

I’ve seen a number of very good responses to Gorman, in particular on Information Wants To Be Free, librarian.net, Walt at Random and Many to Many.  Think what you want about Gorman, the issues he tries to raise in his piece are fundamental questions to how our societies are going to view scholarship, authority, community and the generation of knowledge in the future.  I disagree with his stance, but he’s trying to talk about the right issues.  Challenging his ideas with better ideas is what’s needed.  Engaging in ad hominem attacks seems, well, petty.

As I was contemplating this post, I was reading de Botton’s superb “The Architecture of Happiness.”   He refers to Le Corbusier’s 1922 plan for Paris as one that “seemed so obviously demented that it intrigued me.”  He goes on,

Only after properly understanding how a rational person might come up with an idea to destroy half of central Paris, only after sympathising with the aspirations behind the plan and respecting its logic, did it seem fair to begin to mock, or indeed feel superior to...

But alas, attaining such an understanding of those one wishes to criticize requires work and time.

Writing and Thinking

It's easy to imagine Terkel's warm, soothing voice asking the questions as the kid from Hibbing sits nervously in the studio.  Terkel's about my age in this clip from an interview he did with Dylan in 1963, and he's been carrying on these kinds of conversations for a couple of decades.  Dylan is in his early myth-making phase, and you can pick up the untruths -- that he saw Woody Guthrie play in California when he was ten, that he lived in Mexico for awhile before he went to New York.  He doesn't repeat the bit about playing piano in a whorehouse in Denver, which was always one of my favorites.

But you also see how quickly he responds to Studs, and how quickly he trusts him.  This ain't no journalist trying to get a quick spin on the latest folk-craze thing.  This is somebody who understands, and who he can talk to, and open up with some.  With the current interest in all things Dylan occasioned by Chronicles and the Scorcese documentary, it's a perfect little bit to find tucked in at the end of Granta 90.  Once again, I shake my head in awe and admiration -- if I was ever going to be a real editor, my role model would be Ian Jack.

Jack has made Granta the very best English-language literary magazine in the world.  During the Fadiman years, American Scholar came very close, but I'm sorry to say that with her forced departure, the Scholar has declined somewhat.  It's still very good, but there's been a slight and subtle shift in tone -- it used to be all about the writing.  It has come to be about the content.  But content is everywhere -- we're drowning in the stuff.  Excellent writing gets tougher to find all the time.

What Jack seems to be doing with Granta, and what Fadiman did with the American Scholar, is to place content in the service of the writing.  To be sure, the content is often thrillingly wonderful, and Granta has the added challenge of organizing issues thematically, which pushes the content forward a little bit more; but the essence of the magazines is that every sentence sparkles.  I read Foreign Affairs regularly too -- that's for content, and means slogging through some of the most godawful dull and uninspired prose that any college professor teaching upper-level poli sci ever had to wade through.

Working in the web world makes good writing difficult, because good writing takes time. And sloppy writing enables sloppy thinking. "Web 2.0" actually speaks to something specific and so it  makes sense to me -- "Library 2.0" is sloganeering that signifies very little. "Open access" has become a label that can be slung around wildly with each walrus, queen or fuzzy-headed caterpillar given it just the meaning that they want it to have, and ignoring all other nuances. And don't get me started on the violence being done to the language by my president.

Writing ought to be a way of challenging oneself.  The words ought to poke back at you, cause you to sit up straight and ask yourself -- is this really what I mean?  Does this sentence really makes sense following that one?  Does that word really signify what I'm trying to get across?  But it appears that many people think they just have to transcribe the noise that rattles between their ears.  And noise is most of what comes across.

Bitching For Sport

The shadow spreading over my country from the Crescent City has taken away my appetite for writing for the last week.  I've been obsessed with following the story and, since I rarely watch TVnews, I've been getting it online.  I read the coverage in the New York Times and the Washington Post, and check the Times-Picayune for updates.  I click on AP headlines to see if there's anything new.   When I run out of new news there, I can't help myself from digging further into the blogosphere.  That's where it gets really depressing.

I'm not surprised at the partisanship, at how quick the anti-Bush crowd is to see this as more clear evidence that the idiot should be impeached, while his defenders just as quickly focus on the failures of local and state officials and praise W for his efforts to rescue them from their manifest incompetence.  At this point I can almost give a shrug of resignation at the paucity of genuine thought on both sides, how the partisans cherry-pick the news for those items that "prove" their points, while ignoring or dismissing all evidence to the contrary.  It's as if recognizing the fact that Nagin waited too long to call for a mandatory evacuation would enable our president to slither away from the blame, or to admit that the head of FEMA is manifestly out of his depth would be to allow an unadmissible chink in the armor protecting W, the great and decisive leader.  The partisans have long since decided what they want to believe, and in this age of emotion and irrationality, it is considered completely acceptable to rummage around in the barrel of broken facts and pull out just those that you can arrange neatly as "evidence" for your position.

Most dismaying, however, is the amount of petty viciousness.   Not so much in the blog entries themselves, but in the comments.    Over and over I see comment threads that descend into hostile name-calling among anonymous posters.    Clearly these people are not interested in anything like discussion.  When you call someone a "reactionary, ass-sucking, right-wing fuck" I don't think you're trying to persuade them to your point of view.

At this level of babble there's no distinction between the right and the left.  And I can't figure out what drives these people.  You imagine them hunched for hours over their keyboards, scanning their hundred favorite blogs, feeling like a heat-seeking missle, looking for postings or comments that they can obliterate with a blast of withering, scatological scorn.  I suppose they think that they're incredibly clever.  Do they think they're defending their version of the truth?  Or is it just another videogame -- seek out and destroy the bad guys.

This is the part of the blogosphere that the sceptics (remember Gorman?) are talking about.  And there is a lot of it.   For all the self-preening among bloggers about "citizen journalism" and the dawn of a bold new age, most of the billions of words that get spewed every day present us at our very worst.  Makes me want to close up shop and quit participating.  I don't want to be associated with those people.

Blog Nerves

In response to my JMLA editorial on blogging, a colleague sent an email message asking if I'd seen the Chronicle article from a few weeks ago, Bloggers Need Not Apply.   The article (written pseudonymously) describes the author's experience on a faculty search committee in which the blogs of several candidates ended up working against them in a job search.  The specific examples in the article provide an appropriate note of caution, but the implicit conclusion (particularly the impression given by the title) overreaches.   It isn't the fact of keeping a blog that should be of concern -- it's what one does with it.

The Gypsy Librarian comments on my editorial as well.  In response to my line about people "shooting from the hip," he says, "I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing; it is the nature of the blogosphere to be conversational, and [in] 'real' conversations, very often speakers will shoot from the hip." 

I like the conversationality of the blogosphere, but in fact it isn't a conversation.  Not unless you visualize your barroom disquisitions as being transcribed word for word while anyone in the world might be listening at your shoulder.  Back in the early days of email I first heard the phrase, "Don't put anything in an email message that you're not willing to see printed on the front page of the New York Times."  I always try to follow that rule in email, and it is even more true with the blog.  The tone may be conversation-like, but it is very public conversation.  I know that some of my colleagues at Lister Hill read my blog.  While I doubt that my president or provost read it or are even aware of it, I'm not sure about that, and there's every reason to believe that they might end up seeing a posting or an excerpt from one.   My mother reads my blog, for heaven's sake.

I think (hope) the blog is a pretty accurate reflection of who I am.  I try to be as honest as I can be.  Someone reading this will get a pretty good picture of my day-to-day life, my politics, my interests, my likes and dislikes, my opinions on some of the issues of the day.  If I were in a job interview situation, somebody looking at the blog would see pretty much the same guy that they saw during the interview.  If they don't want to hire that guy because of who he is, then it wouldn't be a good place for me to work anyway.

The message that someone should take from the Chronicle article is not that one shouldn't keep a blog -- it's that in the wired world, we're living in glass houses.   When I put words out into the blogosphere, I want to be sure that I can stand behind each and every one of them, no matter who's watching.

Blog People

Lynn and I have a running argument about the JMLA cover.    When I asked her to take on the role of cover editor, it was to compensate for my own lack of graphics skills.   She accepted the job primarily as a favor to me and, working with the EBSCO corporate communications designers, has produced a series of covers that I've been very pleased with --  in general.  What I did  not expect, and have never entirely approved of, is that she uses my editorial as the starting point for each cover concept.  With every issue we have the argument, as I try to point out that there is a great deal of other worthwhile and interesting content in the issue and that it is unseemly for me to appear to be focusing the cover on myself.  She just laughs and says I'm being oversensitive. 

When I saw the initial mockup for the cover of the July issue I tried to put my foot down.  Since the editorial is about blogging she used a screen shot of my own blog.  That would have put my picture on the cover of the  JMLA.   Too much.  We compromised.  The screen shot is now scrolled down a ways so that my picture doesn't appear and it's not immediately apparent that it's my blog.  I can tolerate that, but it still makes me uncomfortable.

Reading the essay itself makes me uncomfortable too, of course.  It's very rare that I can read something that I wrote some months ago and not find a whole raft of sentences that make me cringe.  And the slightly stilted language that the official house style requires (no contractions, no sentence fragments) never seems quite like my real voice.

Leaving the details aside, however, I'm reasonably pleased with the overall shape of the piece, and still agree with most of what I said.  I'm happy to see that Roper and Cohen have seen fit to mention it on their blogs, and I've gotten a couple of complimentary emails from people who've read it. 

Still, it's already quite dated.  Natalie Biz has been retired (I suspect that once it became widely known that she was a work of fiction, keeping it up wasn't as much fun for Guthrie anymore), and Saucy Librarian appears to have become password protected.   The blogosphere is a very malleable place.

The main points of the essay are still sound, however.  The transformative effect on the MSM continues apace.  More and more libraries are experimenting with the technology, and the amount of junk and the smattering of worthwhile content continues to expand.  I keep reading the stuff.  I keep writing it.   I still don't know where it's going.

Elevating the Debate

Marcus is going to make an attempt to "elevate online political debate".  A noble endeavor, and I hope he gets some interesting and worthwhile contributions.  I'm not hugely optimistic, however.  He suggests that the "success" of The New Republic is an indication that "people really do appreciate thoughtful political writing."  But in reality, for most of its 90 years, TNR has hung by a thread, and its miniscule circulation is evidence that those appreciative people are rather few in number.

On the other hand, this is not a new phenomenon.  Everytime I hear somebody fretting about the coarsening of political discourse, I want to ask them when exactly it is that they think it was polite and genteel.   The cartoons of Thomas Nast or H. Daumier are far rougher than anything that appears in today's papers.  One of my favorite books of all time is American Aurora, which tells the story of the first great political newspaper in this country.  The battles between the partisans of Jefferson and those of Adams make the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" look like pikers.  And while senators may from time to time make intemperate comments, they haven't gone wailing on each other with walking sticks in a while. 

Having spent some ten months now trolling about the blogosphere, my observation is that many of the people taking the time to maintain blogs, regardless of their partisan passions, actually do try to be thoughtful and reasonable -- even when they're unwilling to give any ground to the enemy.  It's in the comments that the ignorant ranting and name-calling tends to take place.  Blog technology invites that kind of shoot from the hip response, and takes what used to be restricted to the coffeehouses and taverns onto the internet.  That might make it more visible, but I don't think it necessarily makes it more prevalent.

My favorite part of Marcus's proposal is the 1,000 word minimum.  True, he'll get some flabby writing, but it does increase the chances that he'll get some pieces that try for sustained discourse.  My biggest frustration with internet communication has been that it encourages people to make short, passionate statements of belief, rather than taking the time to build a persuasive argument.  (This has been very much the case, for example, with most of the online chatter about open access.)

I've been reading Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy over the last few months.  Last night I read the chapter on Descartes, the first great modern philosopher.  Among his many other interests, Descartes was concerned with knowledge -- how do we know things?  What does it mean to say that I know something?  The distinction between knowledge and belief is one that very few people pay attention to.  Just look at the debate between those who support the theory of evolution and those who want it banned from the classrooms.  There was a story on NPR last week commemorating the Scopes trial.  A young woman from a high school in Maryland came on, passionately explaining that she knew that evolution was wrong.  First of all, it's just a theory, right?  So it's not a fact.  And, more importantly, she holds the truth of Jesus Christ in her heart.  There's no reason to think the young woman is unintelligent.  She was very articulate, and clearly very frustrated with the interviewer at having to explain something that was so obvious to her.  She can't quite understand why it isn't obvious to everybody.  She has absolutely no understanding of the difference between knowledge and belief.

AE Housman said it best:  "A moment's thought would have shown him.  But a moment is a long time, and thought is a painful process."  I hope that Marcus's call encourages some people to take the time, and do the hard work.