[Foundation-l] Attribution survey, first results

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Mon Mar 9 23:52:06 UTC 2009

Sage Ross wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 9, 2009 at 12:14 PM, Chad wrote:
>> On Mon, Mar 9, 2009 at 12:05 PM, Mike Linksvayer wrote:
>>> p.s. Personally, discussions of "offline" here and everywhere (say,
>>> accessibility of educational materials) are absurdly myopic.
>>> Consideration of offline use is about as relevant now as consideration
>>> of horse stables in urban planning 100 years ago
>> One would argue that putting in horse stables 100 years ago was a smart
>> move, as people use horses. You can't know that someone's going to up
>> and invent the car.
> Furthermore, horse populations continued to grow well into the 20th
> century.  Horses peaked in the US in the 1910s, and in Finland in the
> 1950s, and horse-drawn equipment was the core transportation
> technology of World War I and played a key role even in World War II.

I continue to admire my great-grandfather's prescience.  He was a 
harness-maker in small-town Saskatchewan when in 1922 he was seen 
driving away from town forever on the day that his shop burned to the 
> This is a typical pattern when a complex technology is introduced in
> the presence of a simpler one; it's not a simple matter of
> replacement, and old technologies (where the infrastructure is easy to
> maintain) can stick around and even become more significant, even
> while a complex technology spreads as well.  (See David Edgerton, The
> Shock of the Old.)

Results vary.  Slide-rules were replaced by electronic calculators very 
> I'm speculating here, but it would not surprise me at all if amount of
> print publishing is still growing, and could continue to do so for a
> few more decades at least.
I agree that it is probably still growing, but I would not measure its 
prognosis in decades.  That technology had a big boost in the 1830s when 
rag papers were replaced by the much cheaper wood-pulp papers.  Now the 
rapidly declining costs of electronic storage are in conflict with 
increasing costs of paper production and shipping.  When environmental 
factors are brought in the costs go up even more.  Perhaps the tipping 
point is reached when the new technology becomes accessible and 
affordable to a high percentage of the world's population.


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