Gravity's Rainbow

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Stuff worth reading

Mysterious Poop Foam Causes Explosions on Hog Farms There are problems and then there are problems. The video associated with this article is also great. I love when academics talk about things like exploding shit foam and do totally gross stuff like it ain’t no thang. Despite growing up on a hog farm, I was gagging watching the video and I wasn’t even there.

Everyday Socialism, American-Style, Is Happening Now Shhhh. Don’t let the Republicans find out what we/they’re doing.

Why the world faces climate chaos – Does FT make everybody cry?

To admit that a free economy generates a vast global external cost is to admit that the large-scale government regulation so often proposed by hated environmentalists is justified. For many libertarians or classical liberals, the very idea is unsupportable. It is far easier to deny the relevance of the science.

US deficit falls faster than expected Don’t worry, the Republicans will find something new to freak out about. Like the IRS giving extra scrutiny to non-profits devoted to not paying taxes.
WSJ: “When Your Boss Makes You Pay for Being Fat”

Space Oddity – YouTube Doesn’t this make you wanna be awesome?

When science goes silent – Canada I’ve been thinking about getting a government science job, but I’d really rather not give up public outreach. Also, this is fucked up.

Goodreads | Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change by Andrew T. Guzman Best case scenario: maybe you’ll die before it gets too bad.

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May 15, 2013
by sarcozona

But the main backing for government intervention in STEM education has come from the business lobby. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a businessman stand up and bemoan the alleged failure of the education system to produce the science and technology ‘skills’ that his company requires, I’d be a very rich man.

I have always struggled to recognize the picture these detractors paint. I find most recent science graduates to be positively bursting with both technical knowledge and enthusiasm.

If business people want to harness that enthusiasm, all they have to do is put their hands in their pockets and pay and train newly graduated scientists and engineers properly.

Colin Macilwain in Nature.

Stuff worth reading

May 7, 2013
by sarcozona
1 Comment

Some choice quotes from Peter Lawrence in PLOS Biology.

On productivity

[N]o longer are communication and record the primary purposes of publishing; instead, we now use papers as tokens to get jobs and funding.

On impact metrics

[O]nly false objectivity is offered by evaluating real people using unreal calculations with numbers of papers, citations, and journal impact factors. These calculations have not only demoralised and demotivated the scientific community, they have also redirected our research and vitiated its purpose.

On large lab groups

The peculiar demands of our granting system have favoured an upper class of skilled scientists who know how to raise money for a big group. They have mastered a glass bead game that rewards not only quality and honesty, but also salesmanship and networking. A large group is the secret because applications are currently judged in a way that makes it almost immaterial how many of that group fail, so long as two or three do well. Data from these successful underlings can be cleverly packaged to produce a flow of papers—essential to generate an overlapping portfolio of grants to avoid gaps in funding.