In the journal Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation, the proposition paper 'Publisher, be damned! from price gouging to the open road' (replicated) criticises the large profits made by commercial publishers on the back of academics’ labours, and the failure of the Finch report on open access to address them. After a lengthy delay, the paper was eventually published, but only with a large disclaimer from the publishers (Taylor and Francis) and after a stand-off with the editorial board. [more inside]
Over a hundred years ago, a most impressive collection of early motion pictures was collected by the Swiss Jesuit abbot, Josef-Alexis Joye, who collected a trove of films as a way of educating children and adults. In total, he collected around 2,500 titles between 1902 or 1904 and 1915. The abbot's collection was not forgotten or lost after his death in 1919 -- it was stored and cataloged, though in danger of deteriorating by the 1940s. A few decades later, Italian film historian Davide Turconi, fearing that the films would be entirely through deterioration, decided to clip a few frames from each print and save something of the collection. Luckily, his fears were unfounded, and many the films were preserved in the 1970s by David Francis of the National Film and Television Archive of the British Film Institute, where approximately 1,200 of the nitrate prints still exist. [more inside]
What’s it like for the first living ex-pope in 600 years to watch from up close as the successor he enabled dismantles his legacy?
The Vatican’s new secretary of state has said that priestly celibacy is not church dogma and therefore open to discussion, marking a significant change in approach towards one of the thorniest issues facing the Roman Catholic Church.
After a right-wing coup crushed the reforms of Vatican II, one scholar says the last two popes are illegitimate. It comes near the end of a thousand-year history of the Vatican’s global rise to power, ambiguous flourishing and rapid decline. It also comes after 40 years of internal counterrevolution under the previous two popes, during which a group of hardcore right-wing cardinals have consolidated power in the Curia and stamped out nearly all traces of the 1960s liberal reform agenda of Pope John XXIII and Vatican II. A handful of intellectuals, both inside and outside the church, quietly believe that means Pope Francis isn’t a legitimate pope at all.
You're about to be the base doctor at Halley Research Station in Antarctica for a year. For ten months, no one gets in or out. Fourteen lives are in your hands, including your own. What do you put in your medical kit? And how do your choices differ from those of your predecessors (Eric Marshall and Edward Wilson) a century ago?
The award for the best jokes at this year's Edinburgh Fringe has been given to Canadian comic Stewart Francis for this joke: "You know who really gives kids a bad name?.. [more inside]