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Posts

March 28, 2015

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3:00 PM | WS MoreOrLess: How safe is flying? 28 Mar 15
The Germanwings A320 tragedy, in which 150 people died, is the latest in a series of fatal crashes over the past year. Are more planes crashing, or does it just seem that way? Plus: is the number of penalties Chelsea Football Club have been awarded in the Premier League this season "abnormally low" as they have claimed? This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.
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1:32 PM | Weekend reads: Monsanto demands retraction; fast-track peer review for fee scrutinized; fraud in China
This week at Retraction Watch featured 43 papers retracted at once for fake peer reviews. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Monsanto wants a WHO report linking their weed killer to cancer retracted. A pilot project by Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Reports to offer fast-track peer review for a fee has sparked the resignation of one […]The post Weekend reads: Monsanto demands retraction; fast-track peer review for fee scrutinized; fraud in China appeared first on […]
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6:00 AM | 28 Marzo 1928 - Buon Compleanno Alexander!
“Mi sembra che la biblioteca di questo rinomatissimo Istituto non sia poi così fornita di testi come uno si aspetterebbe…” “Qui i libri non li leggiamo: li scriviamo” Napalm. Parola strana, per una strana sostanza. Ma è stranezza compensata da un certa onestà implicita nel termine stesso: sembra inizialmente curioso, quasi perverso, trovare nel nome del [...]
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6:00 AM | La poursuite du lièvre par un chien
La poursuite du lièvre par un chien : quelques 'illustrations du problème des deux courriers au Moyen-Âge et au début du XVème siècle. - Histoire des Mathématiques / Piste bleue, featured
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12:00 AM | Space Burial
Space Burial I've often joked I'd like to have my remains put into orbit. Not in a "scatter my ashes" sense, but, like, "throw my naked corpse out the airlock" sense. Honestly, my main motivation is to baffle someone in the distant future, but it's an interesting scientific question: what would happen to my body in orbit over the course of years, decades or centuries? —Tim in Fremont This isn't really relevant, but I have to ask: Is there a reason you […]

March 27, 2015

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7:29 PM | Mathematical Impressions: The Golden Ratio
The golden ratio is greatly hyped, partly for its beautiful mathematical properties but also for nonsensical reasons. Distinguishing between the two requires understanding that mathematics is about structures and relationships, not just numbers in isolation.
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5:03 PM | Behind the Numbers: Song Streaming
Streaming music may be a boon for those interested in knowing exactly how many times their songs are played, and by whom. But managing per-song, per-play transactions isn’t a simple task.
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3:30 PM | “Not faithful” figures kill apoptosis paper
A paper on apoptosis in mice has been retracted by Infection and Immunity after a reader tipped them off that several figures were “not faithful representations of the original data.” When the journal, published by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), contacted the authors at Anhui Medical University in Hefei, China, they claimed they couldn’t provide the […]The post “Not faithful” figures kill apoptosis paper appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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3:04 PM | Number of the Day: $200
Late University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith left $200 to every letter winner who played for him during his 36-year run "to enjoy a dinner out." That's a priceless gesture.
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2:39 PM | Fearing Tenure: The Loss Of Community
By: Samir Chopra In 'The Clouded Prism: Minority Critique of the Critical Legal Studies Movement', Harlan L. Dalton wrote: I take it that everyone drawn to CLS is interested in specifying in concrete terms the dichotomy between autonomy and community. If so, talk to us. Talk TO us. Listen to...
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1:30 PM | Cabbage batch skids: new experiments dry up plant paper
Prominent plant researcher Mark Estelle has retracted a paper on plant hormones after follow-up studies showed the conclusions were incorrect. The hormone in question, auxin, is a major player in plant growth and development. The retracted Current Biology paper reported that a certain auxin receptor, designated AFB4, downregulates the responses of cabbage-cousin Arabidopsis thaliana to the signaling molecule. But […]The post Cabbage batch skids: new experiments dry up plant paper […]
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1:00 PM | Against a stupid meme, the gods themselves contend in vain
One of the most discouraging things about following the coverage of Mars One (and of science and technology reporting in general) is seeing how little important revelations are allowed to interfere with a good ongoing story.Take the popular journalistic sub-genre, the Mars One "how does it feel to be going to Mars?" interview. It is, largely by design, an almost perfect human interest story. It was also an extremely easy and inexpensive segment to produce.The weak point of the sub-genre has […]
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3:00 AM | Mars 2015, 4ème défi
Pour la deuxième année, chaque semaine, un défi du calendrier mathématique... - Défis du Calendrier Mathématique / Carrousel

March 26, 2015

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9:00 PM | Data “irregularities” sink paper on water treatment
Desalination and Water Treatment has retracted a paper it published in January by a pair of Turkish researchers for “irregularities in the methodology and data management.” The article, “Molecular simulation of Zn2+, Cu2+, Pb2+,  and NH4+ ion-exchange in Clinoptilolite,” investigated how well different natural forms of the zeolite Clinoptilolite remove heavy metals from wastewater. It […]The post Data “irregularities” sink paper on water treatment […]
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6:00 PM | Galaxy smash-ups show dark matter wants to be alone
Hints that dark matter might interact with itself via a new force are dashed
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4:16 PM | Beautiful physics
In our Researching the unknown project we explored what physicists at Queen Mary University of London get up to. As part of the project the designer Charles Trevelyan produced these four beautiful posters, which are our images of the week. Feel free to download and print them out, to adorn your classroom, bedroom or wherever you'd like to see them! Simply click on the images to download a pdf.read more
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4:05 PM | BioMed Central retracting 43 papers for fake peer review
BioMed Central is retracting 43 papers, following their investigation into 50 papers that raised suspicions of fake peer review, possibly involving third-party companies selling the service. In November 2014 we wrote about fake peer reviews for Nature; at that point there had been about 110 retractions across several journals. The addition of 16 retractions by Elsevier for […]The post BioMed Central retracting 43 papers for fake peer review appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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1:30 PM | Pain paper scratched for authorship issues
A group of pain researchers in Austria has lost their 2014 paper in the European Journal of Anaesthesiology because one of the authors wasn’t, well, one of the authors. The article, “Intravenous nonopioid analgesic drugs in chronic low back pain patients on chronic opioid treatment: A crossover, randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study,” came from a team […]The post Pain paper scratched for authorship issues appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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1:00 PM | For some reason, this morning I found myself thinking about scams and hoaxes involving space exploration
That lead me inevitably to this New York Sun headline from 1835GREAT ASTRONOMICAL DISCOVERIESLATELY MADEBY SIR JOHN HERSCHEL, L.L.D. F.R.S. &c.At the Cape of Good Hope[From Supplement to the Edinburgh Journal of Science]From Wikipedia:The articles described fantastic animals on the Moon, including bison, goats, unicorns, bipedal tail-less beavers and bat-like winged humanoids ("Vespertilio-homo") who built temples. There were trees, oceans and beaches. These discoveries were supposedly made […]
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12:30 PM | A Few of My Favorite Spaces: The Cantor Set
Last month, I wrote about the π-Base, a website that serves a similar function to the book Counterexamples in Topology. I’m teaching a topology class this semester, and it’s been fun to revisit some... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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6:21 AM | Mike the Mad Biologist has a good post on tenure
I don't have time to discuss it now, but if you're following the discussion, you should check it out.
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6:00 AM | Dynamique carioca
Faire des systèmes dynamiques à Rio de Janeiro - Billets des habitués
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1:40 AM | SCC 55: Edge Program
On today’s episode of Strongly Connected Components Samuel Hansen speaks to Sylvia Bozeman and Rhonda Huges, the co-founders, and Ulrica Wilson and Ami Randunskaya, the current directors, of the EDGE Program. EDGE is a program all about creating the next generation of women leaders in mathematics. They speak about how EDGE was started, where it […]

March 25, 2015

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9:00 PM | Unkosher reuse of data forces retraction of minced pork paper
The journal Food Microbiology has pulled a 2012 paper on pork processing which, as we reported earlier, contained salami-sliced data. The article, “Bayesian inference for quantifying Listeria monocytogenes prevalence and concentration in minced pork meat from presence/absence microbiological testing,” came from a group at the Department of Food Science and Technology at the Agricultural University […]The post Unkosher reuse of data forces retraction of minced pork paper […]
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6:00 PM | Three ways to fix the LHC before its big reboot
The Large Hadron Collider has got a short circuit, which could delay the monster machine's restart by weeks. Here are three possible fixes
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4:58 PM | John Nash and Louis Nirenberg share 2015 Abel Prize
In a press release, earlier today the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters have decided to award the 2015 Abel Prize to John Forbes Nash, Jr. and Louis Nirenberg “for striking and seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations and its applications to geometric analysis.” The full citation of the prize can
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3:30 PM | Bitter herbs: Parsley paper retracted after authors omit colleague
A pair of plant experts at Uludag University, in Turkey, has lost a paper on techniques for drying parsley because they evidently left a key contributor off the manuscript. The article, “Effect of Vacuum, Microwave, and Convective Drying on Selected Parsley Quality,” was published online in June 2011 by the International Journal of Food Properties. […]The post Bitter herbs: Parsley paper retracted after authors omit colleague appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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1:30 PM | Genetics journal isn’t down with O.P.D. – stealing other people’s data
Genetics and Molecular Research, an online-only journal, has retracted two articles about gastric cancer by a group of Iranian researchers who appear to have put their own names on other people’s data. Both articles were published in 2014. One was titled “Absolute quantification of free tumor cells in the peripheral blood of gastric cancer patients;” […]The post Genetics journal isn’t down with O.P.D. – stealing other people’s data appeared first on Retraction […]
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1:00 PM | At this point, the only things Mars One is likely to get into orbit are the wheels coming off of the bus
More background on the Mars One story.From CTV News:The Dutch non-profit group behind the project recently announced that it was pushing back the planned launch to 2027, due to a lack of funds for a robotic mission that was scheduled to precede the first human launch. The aim of the robotic mission is to test out the technologies required for human survival on Mars.From NBC:The Dutch-based Mars One venture is closing in on choosing its crews for one-way trips to the Red Planet, but will they be […]
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12:54 PM | A Beautiful Mind mathematician wins Abel prize
John Nash, made famous by the film A Beautiful Mind, has won the Abel prize – but not for his best-known work
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