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Posts

January 28, 2015

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7:54 PM | Bad image prompts correction of Harvard-Brigham stem cell paper by Anversa
A group of Harvard stem cell researchers who already have one retraction and an expression of concern now have a correction. This one’s in Circulation Research, and it involves an image that previously had been flagged as suspicious in our comments. The group is led by Piero Anversa, who as we reported last year is […]The post Bad image prompts correction of Harvard-Brigham stem cell paper by Anversa appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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6:11 PM | Great man theory of history: a counter example
One of the persistent ideas that shows up again and again in history (and even in debate about modern social construction) is the idea of the great man.  Somebody (like Napolean, for example), who can transform a nation or who enable a group to do exceedingly remarkable things.  The competing, albeit wildly unpopular, alternative is attributing these things to institutions.  In the era of anti-government mania, this isn't an overwhelmingly popular view.  But one good example […]
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4:30 PM | “The main improvements reported are invalid”: Quantum communication paper retracted
A paper on quantum communication has been retracted for failing to address several important problems, making the conclusions invalid. Quantum communication involves sending a series of photons in specific quantum states over fiberoptic cables. It’s a little like the 1s and 0s of traditional computing, but much more secure. If the photons are intercepted on […]The post “The main improvements reported are invalid”: Quantum communication paper retracted appeared first on […]
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3:44 PM | Number of the Day: 74.5 Million
Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones in the holiday quarter, up 46% from a year earlier. That's roughly 1 iPhone for every 4 people, give or take, living in the U.S.
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2:30 PM | Serial plagiarist loses 13 papers
Accusations of plagiarism spanning at least 14 years have finally caught up with Richard Lawrence Etienne Barnett, who has had 13 papers retracted from a journal he had guest edited. The dean of the for-profit University of Atlanta has been accused of copying his own and others’ work a number of times, as we wrote in November. Here’s […]The post Serial plagiarist loses 13 papers appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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12:25 PM | Workshop on Algebra and Analysis at Tezpur University
Problem solving is an intricate skill and a very crucial part of any Mathematics education. This needs to be nurtured, and in general any effort to develop such seems to be very much neglected in this geographical part (North East) of the country. With this goal in mind, the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Tezpur University
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10:37 AM | Kepler discovers five new worlds
The telescope discovers the oldest solar system to date. The Kepler telescope has delivered again. Yesterday scientists at the University of Birmingham announced the discovery of a Sun-like star, called Kepler-444, which is orbited by five planets with sizes similar to those of planets in our own solar system. Kepler-444 was formed 11.2 billion years ago — it is the oldest […]
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10:35 AM | Blown off their feet
Two mathematicians' visit to the desert sheds new light on avalanches. A barchan dune. "Two mathematicians went into the desert" ... is not the start of a joke, but the reality of mathematical research. Mathematician Nathalie Vriend and her PhD student Mathew Arran have just returned from Qatar where they went to study sand dunes.read more
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6:00 AM | Il problema di gennaio (557) - Fette di torta ortodosse
Avete già spento le candeline? Avete preparato la torta per il sacro rito del taglio? Soprattutto, siete pronti ad applicare quel tanto di geometria euclidea che serve in questi casi, per fare impunemente la parte del leone? Piuttosto, apriamo un piccolo inciso per chiedere aiuto letterario ai lettori… alcuni di noi ricordano vagamente che il detto [...]
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6:00 AM | Nicolas Bourbaki à quatre-vingts ans
Bourbaki en 2015 ? - Monde de la recherche / Piste verte, featured
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12:00 AM | Tug of War
Tug of War Would it be possible for two teams in a tug-o-war to overcome the ultimate tensile strength of an iron rod and pull it apart? How big would the teams have to be? —Markus Andersen A couple dozen people could pull a half-inch iron rod apart. Tug-of-war, a simple game in which two teams try to pull a rope in opposite directions, has a surprisingly bloody history. I don't mean that there's some kind of gruesome historical forerunner of modern tug-of-war.[1]Although […]

January 27, 2015

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8:44 PM | Georgia State student paper retracts article for faked quotes, fires writer
Georgia State University student newspaper The Signal pulled an article and dropped a writer after discovering he lied about talking to a school spokesperson and made up quotes. The paper tells Retraction Watch that the undergraduate, Rico Johnson, has been removed from the staff of the paper. Here’s the notice for “Georgia State planning renovation for new […]The post Georgia State student paper retracts article for faked quotes, fires writer appeared first on Retraction […]
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6:03 PM | Number of the Day: 123
The national average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is a half-cent higher today than yesterday. That ends a record streak of 123 consecutive declines.
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5:36 PM | University of California, Santa Cruz to Develop Human Genome Variation Map
The Simons Foundation awarded a grant to a team of researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz to develop a graph-based human reference genome structure built from a diverse sampling of the human population.
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4:30 PM | Second retraction appears for former accounting professor James Hunton
It took five months, but in December a second retraction popped up for disgraced accounting professor James H. Hunton. Hunton resigned his teaching post at Bentley University in December of 2012. An extensive investigation by Bentley showed that not only was the data in two papers falsified. Hunton also lied about non-existent confidentiality agreements and tried […]The post Second retraction appears for former accounting professor James Hunton appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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4:00 PM | What if Google forgot about passwords?
This was an interesting thought experimentI thought it made a rather good point about just how interconnected everything on the web is becoming and how important large players can become to the overall ecosystem.  It's also a good engineering principle that one should avoid single points of failure when possible, because what could fail will eventually fail.   
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2:30 PM | Dead men tell no tales – nor respond to journal’s formatting queries
In November 2014, Mechanics of Advanced Materials and Structures withdrew an online-first publication on the grounds that, over the previous two years, the corresponding author has not responded to questions regarding formatting. There is, apparently, a good reason for that, although the notice for “Analysis of Effective Properties of Three-phase Electro-magneto-elastic Solids” suggests the editors of the journal […]The post Dead men tell no tales – nor respond to […]
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12:51 PM | Dr Who and the Quaternions
“The parametric engines are jammed! Orthogonal vector’s gone! I’m almost out of ideas!” I have a guest post at The Aperiodical reporting on the London Mathematical Society’s birthday party last week, where Doctor Who was a recurring theme.
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7:31 AM | The art of writing brief philosophy papers
I have always wanted to have a paper in Analysis or Thought. A really neat, short, paper, that is self-contained and makes an substantive philosophical point. Unfortunately, I tend to write articles of about 8000-9000 words, and first drafts are typically even longer. I've written some pre-read papers for conferences...
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1:00 AM | Ancient planets are almost as old as the universe
The oldest rocky planets yet are 11.2 billion years old, just a little younger than the universe - meaning the galaxy made an early start on planet building

January 26, 2015

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8:40 PM | Exclusive: Former NIH lab head who faked data now working as government patent examiner
The former director  of the X-ray crystallography lab at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, who was found by the Office of Research Integrity to have faked findings in three papers, is once again earning a government salary, this time as a patent examiner, Retraction […]The post Exclusive: Former NIH lab head who faked data now working as government patent examiner appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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7:21 PM | The Origin of Specificity in Regulated Protein Degradation Wednesday, February 18, 2015
One of the characteristic features of life — specificity — emerges in metabolism, information transfer from DNA to protein, embryology, immunology and virtually every other process. Its explanation on the molecular level is thermodynamic stability and structural complementarity. Yet one disturbing issue persists: the protein and nucleic acid sequences coding for that specificity are generally too small to distinguish actual partners from competitors. Similarly, protein degradation conveys […]
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6:45 PM | Number of the Day: 1,000
Duke University men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski scored his 1,000th career victory Sunday. That's no small feat.
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5:28 PM | Q: How do I know my windmill is on straight?
The original question was: I got quite the challenge from my father in law. The problem is well defined, but I’m having difficulties finding a meaningful answer. The reason why he asked me is because I’m an engineering student and … Continue reading →
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4:30 PM | New favorite plagiarism euphemism: “Inadvertently copied text”
Plagiarism earned genomics researchers an erratum, not a retraction, in BioMed Central journal BioData Mining. We keep a list of best euphemisms for plagiarism, and this one is right up there. Here’s the notice for “An iteration normalization and test method for differential expression analysis of RNA-seq data”: Following publication of our paper in BioData Mining[1], it […]The post New favorite plagiarism euphemism: “Inadvertently copied text” appeared […]
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4:30 PM | Infrastructure maintance and suburban development
One does not normally think of suburban developments as being financially bad ideas.  I often see these building patterns as contributing to urban sprawl (wiping out wildlife habitat), congestion on roads, and inequality but being a way to make housing affordable.  But this piece has a strong opinion on even the long term financial viability of this development pattern:In each of these mechanisms, the local unit of government benefits from the enhanced revenues associated with […]
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2:30 PM | Far from earth-shatteringly new: Plagiarism topples Chinese quake paper
A group of scientists at the Chinese Earthquake Administration in Beijing have lost their 2014 paper in Nature Scientific Reports for lifting chunks of text from a previously published article. The abstract of the paper, “Early magnitude estimation for the MW7.9 Wenchuan earthquake using progressively expanded P-wave time window,” states: More and more earthquake early […]The post Far from earth-shatteringly new: Plagiarism topples Chinese quake paper appeared first on […]
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1:30 PM | Learn to Count like an Egyptian
Last semester, I began my math history class with some Babylonian arithmetic. The mathematics we were doing was easy—multiplying and adding numbers, solving quadratic equations by completing the... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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12:00 PM | WS MoreOrLess: Global Wealth 24 Jan 15
Who is in the world's wealthiest elite, and where do they live? Which are the world's best and worst board-games? Oliver Roeder, a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight, says a statistical analysis can tell us. This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.
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6:00 AM | Terrorisme et Islam : que disent les chiffres ?
Il faut faire la différence entre la perception et les chiffres concernant les attentats : ce billet a pour objectif de préciser les liens entre terrorisme et islamisme. - Billets des habitués
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