Today I almost got into a session of just clicking around to various web sites to waste time. Imagine that: sitting in a dig house in Egypt futzing around online out of (sort of) boredom. It got me thinking more about the nature of fieldwork and the newfound connectivity we have here. When I came here in 1988 for the first time, we really were cut off from the world. No telephone, no mail, and only a short wave radio for outside information and/or entertainment. I just about went batty. Things weren’t really all that different for me until 2003 when there were internet cafes at least in Maadi (suburb of Cairo) where we were based, so at least at the end of the day I could, for a few shekels, send and receive emails. That was great because I could get news from the home front on a daily basis and keep the project PI informed of what we were doing. It was still a slow connection so web surfing was pretty much out, but the contact was very welcome, but at the same time we were still kind of isolated.
Fast forward to now, and I have 3G nearly all the time so at least as far as sitting in front of a computer is concerned, it’s not much different from being home. I can send and receive email all day if I’m here, surf whatever web sites I want, and actually freely Skype with the ArchaeoWife whenever I want (although it’s pretty much restricted to Saturday or Sunday night for me, due to the time difference).
It’s only the last few days that I’ve been doing more web surfing. I still value just being out of the loop and concentrating just on the tasks at hand. OTOH, in the previous post I related how I was using Google Translate to work through a French publication. I would have been dead in the water before this. Plus, that remoteness can be trying after a while; I think after the third week the novelty of being in a strange place wears off and you start looking for familiar things again.
So, I shall try to refrain from randomly web surfing as I don’t want to end up ‘doing the same things I do back home’; living and working in a very different, and very much simpler environment for a while has doe me a world of good and I want to keep it that way. For five more weeks.
And fer Christsakes at least I can totally avoid any election crap. . . . . .
ArchaeoWife: “Hey, did you know that ArchaeoBlog was ranked in the Top 30 Archaeology Blogs of 2011?”
Me: “How many were there, 31?”
Narrowly edging out Billy Bob’s Archaeology Blog.
Mr. Ego. . . . .
Scholars Aim to Bust Archaeological Fantasies
On February 28, archaeologist James Tabor and documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici held a news conference in New York to announce the discovery of a first century tomb in the East Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem—and the publication of a book suggesting a connection between the tomb and the family of Jesus. Reaction was swift.
Andrew Vaughn, the executive director of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), named Eric Meyers, an archaeologist at Duke University, and Christopher Rollston, an epigrapher at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, as guest editors of the ASOR blog for the month of March, to provide a platform for scholars to react to the Talpiot tomb story.
That’s a great use of blogging, IMO. Not really “popular” as in a short, edited magazine article, nor a long jargon-filled journal article, but a nice way for experts to argue with one another in an informal way that the general public can follow.
It’s Althouse.Blogspot.com’s birthday! #8 to be exact, and she beat ArchaeoBlog by a mere 8 days. I wonder if I’ll remember this blog’s birthday on the 22nd? Probably not, I think I remembered it once before this. OTOH, now that I’ve actually looked it up a few days in advance, maybe I’ll do something special. . . .like, inserting a jpg of a birthday cake. You know, something special.
FWIW, I’ve been working on my second survey report. The place I’ve been doing some work for has been letting me (ha! more on that later) write up the reports on some of the projects I’ve done — in addition to acting as the field supervisor or only person doing it — and the first couple were monitoring things so the reports were fairly brief. I learned on the last one that survey reports need to be much more detailed and have a LOT more background, though they tell me that eventually all of them will probably need to be quite extensive, this coming from the State office. So, there needs to be background on the local history, prehistory, geomorphology and soils, geology, blah blah blah, in addition to the data from the actual shovel probes. My first one I kinda screwed up — well, scratch that, I did screw it up — by forgetting to insert the actual probe data and leaving in the old data from a different project whose final report I was using as a template. And it got submitted! Oops. So this one I’m doing now is taking a while because I’m making sure every i is dotted and every t crossed. Part of the problem with the last one was, in addition to it being my first full survey report, I had a couple other projects going at the same time and it was a bit much for a newbie. But, eh, that’s part of the learning process, I guess.
Anyway, congrats to Althouse! Another Badger in the blogosphere. Maybe we should call it the BadgerSphere!
UPDATE: Comment by a reader: Lastly, as someone who has tried, and given up numerous times- I salute your dogged ability to keep writing….everyday. Even with a day job.
Ha! It’s also known as OCD. . . .
Car Lust turns 1,000!
Posts, that is. More or less (counting them is tricky). It’s been fun. Odder than this pokey little blog. Here, I can sit down and blast out a post or two in a few minutes. There, it’s like an actual article that I have to research, write, edit, submit, etc. Actually, this thing is more like “blogging” to me: remember, ‘blog’ came from ‘web log’ which was generally just a place to post links (a log) to web sites you’ve visited. Kinda quick and dirty. Hence, links is mostly what I do here, apart from the occasional treatise on something or other.
But I like both, obviously.
Still waiting for the fat guy in the white suit smoking a cigar to send me an email saying “Hey, kid, I like your car writing. . . .” *sigh*
Here’s Why No One Reads Your Blog
She gives three reasons: You’re boring, You’re a waffler, You’re not a controversialist.
I actually can relate to some of that. Which is why I don’t regularly regale you, the loyal reader, with the various cute and rambunctious antics of my various cats, except on rare occasions. Admittedly, I kind of fail on the second two. I could, of course, blurt out my opinion on various aspects of archaeological theory and practice — say, for example, by taking a purely hypothetical example of perhaps saying that post-processualism is a waste of time — but mostly only tenured professors can get away with that stuff since they can piss off whoever they want and still have a job. I remain committed to criticizing things fairly gently since A) I still have to work, and B) It’s not like we’re usually talking about life and death here anyway. Oh! Maybe that will be my controversialist stand! “Archaeology is not all that.” Go ahead and disagree with me vociferously, commenting furiously and linking to it all over the place!
Why Doesn’t Everyone Blog?
I wanted to follow up on the very clever study by David McKenzie and Berk Ozler about blogging impact that I mentioned yesterday. The authors also employ several methods to gauge the impact of blogging on the academic reputation of the blogger and of her institution, and on attitudes of readers. The authors conclude:
Using a variety of data sources and empirical techniques, we feel we have provided quantitative evidence that economic blogs are doing more than just providing a new source of procrastination for writers and readers. To our knowledge, these findings are the first quantitative evidence to show that blogs are having some impacts. There are large impacts on dissemination of research; significant benefits in terms of the bloggers becoming better known and more respected within the profession; positive spillover effects for the bloggers’ institutions; and some evidence from our experiment that they may influence attitudes and knowledge among their readers. Blogs potentially have many impacts, and we are only measuring some of them, but the evidence we have suggests economics blogs are playing an important role in the profession.
The study linked to can be obtained here. I haven’t read it yet, but thought I’d pass it along.
I am, in actual fact, a hot young lesbian and generally post in lingerie and heels.
I don’t think so. Was very busy composing a new Car Lust post which should go up next week. May or may not be interesting to y’all. It’s not a. . .traditional car.
Well, okay, I also spent most of the afternoon hanging out with a hot babe friend of mine. And best friend outside of the ArchaeoWife. No tweets of nekkididty though.
Today I am happily ensconced in my office listening to my new/old toy: I hooked up our old DVD player to my vintage stereo system. I’d had just my old turntable, amp, and tuner hooked up, but. . . .eh, radio and LPs are getting a little old. I was thinking about getting a used CD player or something, but then I remembered we had an old (as in only a few years actually) DVD player sitting downstairs because I’d upgraded to Blu-Ray. I hadn’t actually thought that it would play CDs, although apparently nearly all of them do, and this one even says on the front that it plays CDs and MP3s and junk. It is now hooked up and playing a Best of America CD. . . .that I downloaded on iTunes and burned to CD! Damn you all, I am NOT a Luddite despite my love for vintage stuff!
In other news, the History of Archaeology Interest Group newsletter is out. I think this is for all comers, but maybe only for members. Also try the Archaeological Record’s site and see if you can view the latest edition. I’ve only skimmed through it yet, but am definitely looking forward to this one.
Via Kris @About.com comes a link to a Middle Savagery post on a session at the SAAs on, yes, Blogging Archaeology:
For our last question, I would like to ask you to consider the act of publication for this blog carnival. How could we best capture the interplay, the multimedia experience of blogging as a more formalized publication? What would be the best outcome for this collection of insights from archaeological bloggers?
Kris and others talk about peer-reviewing blog posts as “publications”. This is something I don’t support. Sort of. Well, I think it’s kind of a dumb idea. Which is not to say that some form of electronic open-access journal with some form of peer-review isn’t a bad idea (it’s not). Nor is some sort of data repository, not only for data but also for much of the “gray literature” that floats around in various government and private offices worldwide; we would all benefit greatly from making more data and research available.
Blogging is, I think, different. I think it’s a great way to throw out ideas, flesh out incipient research, generate comments (from peers and others) on what you’re doing, and share arguments and data. It’s even useful for putting out a few short treatises on whatever topic interests you. There’s a continuum, as there should be, from high-level peer-reviewed research down to informal discussions, where blogging (IMO) lies. Blogging can, I think, be seen as a positive aspect of one’s career even if it isn’t all long articles of pure archaeological research. It can be seen as generating ideas and getting feedback on them, and interacting with the general public who tend to be, through tax dollars going to public universities for example, supporting the work. I don’t think it needs to be elevated to peer-review status.
Of course, my other gig is slightly more formal than here. Over there, I have to write actual articles that are edited by professionals, so I won’t say all blogging is the truly informal almost-stream-of-consciousness kinda thang I practice here.