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# Posts

### September 30, 2014

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Here’s another installment of PubPeer Selections: Commenters are sniffing around a paper about whether dogs’ poop habits change with the Earth’s magnetic field. What if grants were distributed randomly? That’s one response to a paper on “Big Science, Small Science, or the Right Mix.” The authors of a paper in Science Translational Medicine respond to […]
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The newly created Simons Society of Fellows gathered for the first time at the Simons Foundation offices in New York City.
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With America's aging, "empty nester" population, increasing environmental concerns and smaller household sizes, you might think the U.S. would want to build smaller houses. We haven't. Here are five reasons houses are still getting bigger.
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The authors of a paper retracted for plagiarism of a popular website have decided not to take the charges — which they don’t contest — lying down. Here’s the notice for “Alcohol consumption and hormonal alterations related to muscle hypertrophy: a review,” which appeared in Nutrition & Metabolism, a BioMed Central title: This article [1] […]
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Short answer: there is no such thing as an unbreakable rope.There's an old story about an isolated monastery located high on the side of an unclimbable cliff. The only access to the monastery was by way of a basket that was hold up the side of the cliff on a single rope. One day a pilgrim who was climbing into the basket noticed that the rope looked old and parade. He asked the monk "when do you replace the rope?"The monk replied "when it breaks."If we generalize a bit, this becomes a useful […]
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By Carolyn Dicey Jennings --out of 460 Signatures* (including the original list), 34% are women. --in the top 50 PGR departments (worldwide ranking), an average of approximately 14% faculty signed the document. --there is little to no correlation between PGR rating and either number of signatures per department (.015) or...
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By: Samir Chopra Rarely, if ever, does the term 'intellectual property' add clarity to any debate of substance--very often, this is because it includes the term 'property' and thus offers an invitation to some dubious theorizing. This post by Alex Rosenberg at Daily Nous is a good example of this...

### September 29, 2014

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Amidst the humongous number of heavenly entities existing in the universe, planet Earth deserves special mention and interest as it is the only entity that harbours and sustains life. The hardcore exponents of astrobiology might frown upon my statement and shrug me off as a cynic; but nevertheless, they too would nod their heads in Read more
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A pair of researchers who have been calling for the retraction of two papers by cardiology researcher Don Poldermans say the New England Journal of Medicine is “not justified” in its refusal to pull the articles. A little background: Poldermans resigned from Erasmus University in 2011 after having been accused of misconduct. Last week, we […]
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Agriculture might seem green by definition, but farming accounts for a lot of greenhouse-gas emissions when the entire food production system is taken into account.
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The conference was jointly sponsored by the Simons Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation with the goal of eliciting an exchange of ideas about the changing nature of evidence in the modern scientific endeavor.
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Although it shocks some observers every time, we’ve reported on the retractions of more than 100 papers pulled because authors managed to do their own peer review. Apparently, it’s happened again. Here’s a retraction notice in BMC Systems Biology for “Predicting new molecular targets for rhein using network pharmacology,” by  Aihua Zhang, Hui Sun, Bo […]
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The question is inevitably arising as to whether there is, at present, a phenomenon of internet shaming going on on the various blogs and other social media. I think we should take seriously the concern that there is. That's one thing I like a lot about this post by Simon...
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Molecular Vision has issued “full retractions” for a trio of articles by a group of eye researchers. All of the articles were led by Azza El-Remessy, director of the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy’s clinical and therapeutic graduate program. As much as that is, there might be more still with this case. The first […]
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Lee Fang has another solid piece of investigative journalism at the Nation. It covers a lot of important ground (I'd recommend reading it for yourself), but I did want to single out a  couple of paragraphs that hit on a previously mentioned point.The Department of Education under Obama has seen a flow of revolving door hires from the education investment community. In May of this year, the Senate confirmed Ted Mitchell, the chief executive of the NewSchools Venture Fund, as the Under […]
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Can we always find order in systems that are disordered? If so, just how large does a system have to be to contain a certain amount of order? In this video Imre Leader of the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at the University of Cambridge gives an equation free introduction to a fascinating area of maths called Ramsey theory. read more
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The world’s favorite number is seven, at least if the result of a poll conducted by Alex Bellos is to be believed. Some people like it because it is prime, some because they have a lot of sevens in... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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"This talk will mostly be stories ... I want to tell you about Albert Einstein, and about his theory of relativity — what it is, why he was thinking about it and also about some of the very latest developments that have happened just this year."read more
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Two young listeners emailed the programme to ask how we calculate the distance to the sun. We decided to invite them and their parents to More or Less towers where Andrew Pontzen, an astrophysicist at University College London was on hand to explain the answer. A BBC nature documentary stated that there are 14,000 ants to every person on earth, and that were we to weigh all of these ants they would weigh the same as all the people. Can this be true? Tim Harford and Hannah Moore investigate […]

### September 28, 2014

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The emergence of republicanism as a major stream in political theory and philosophy, as well as history of political ideas, since I suppose the 1980s, but since the late nineties for political philosophy in the normative Rawlsian style, is a highly welcome phenomenon from my point of view. That does...
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Prof. Vijaykumar Ambat from Cochin has shared with us his latest brochure on mathematical Olympiads which contains an wealth of information not only about Olympiads but about various other things that might be useful to school and college students. The brochure can be downloaded here.
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From Variety“Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have amicably resolved their legal disputes, and are looking forward to advancing their shared goal of honoring Mr. Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history,” the litigants announced in a joint statement on Friday.I suspect Disney pretty much had to settle this and hopefully the Kirby heirs negotiated with this in mind. As mentioned before (Do copyright extensions drive innovation? -- Hollywood blockbuster edition), the entertainment […]
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Martin Hairer a obtenu la Médaille Fields pour ses travaux sur les Équations aux Dérivées Partielles Stochastiques. Nous expliquons l'intérêt de ces équations à l'aide d'exemples et de simulations. - Echos de la recherche / Piste rouge, featured

### September 27, 2014

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Here's how students in other disciplines apparently choose a PhD program (h/t Bryce Huebner) http://www.andyfugard.info/choose-a-phd-programme This strikes me as extremely good advice, and in the modern age of the information overload, a perfectly adequate method once a prospective graduate student knows where to start. That suggests to me that all...
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This week at Retraction Watch featured revelations about legal threats to PubPeer, and a swift expression of concern for a paper denying the link between HIV and AIDS. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Introducing the Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science (PNIS), “the journal that publishes just about anything (real or fake).” Andrew Wakefield’s […]
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The Assam Academy of Mathematics has recently conducted the state level mathematics Olympiad for various categories. The question paper for the Class 9 and 10 category can be found here. We thank Upam Sarmah for the question paper.
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A while ago I collected a few of the mathsy games I play on my phone to while away my commute. I’ve found a few new ones since then, so I thought I’d do a new post to tell you about them. Calculords Android, iOS, £1.76/\$2.99 A really goofy game that fully owns its geek appeal: you play the... Read more »
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AUTORA: Catherine Combelles - Ressources pédagogiques : « pour aller moins loin » / Piste bleue

### September 26, 2014

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College football teams, which are divided into conferences loosely by geographic region, play 12 games each season. The conferences arrange eight or nine games for each of their member teams, and those tend to be the tougher contests. The remaining three or four games (the split varies by conference) are set up by the individual teams, who select opponents at their own discretion.
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Analysis of 40 years of college football games in which top-ranked programs played teams outside their conferences shows that the elite teams have been winning those games, which they schedule themselves, by wider and wider margins.