Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Fool Tells the Truth

I love the latest PhD comic that explains the difference between the Social Sciences and the Humanities. The social sciences try to gather actual data and the humanities do "analysis" which generally just involves wild hypothesizing. So very true.

Two weeks ago, John Scalzi brought up a column in the Chronicle of Higher Education about how modern writers do all their work on computer. This will probably leave a massive electron trail of their writing process which can and would be used in later literary analysis. Based on Scalzi's excerpts, I took his column as lament that now literary criticism would soon require Humanities researchers to actually do math and proper analysis. I could just picture Professors Vroomfondel and Majikthise at the head of an angry mob demanding database administrators delete old drafts just so they have clearly delineated areas of doubt and uncertainty to publish papers on.

I was wrong about that take on the column though. In actuality, humanities professor Matthew Kirshenbaum wants to be one of those database administrators. Should be a cushy job many humanities types won't be qualified for. Oops.

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