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Dee Roytenberg
Attended University of California, Berkeley
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I think every field of studies could use a Journal of Negative Results in [that field]. The mathematical version should run a special "Big Problems" series.

On reproducibility: missing among the fixes is giving the original researchers additional kudos every time their research is replicated. That will have them bending over backwards to be as transparent as they can about their methodology, without any need to impose transparency standards by fiat.
 
The 7 biggest problems facing science, according to 270 scientists

"Likewise, Cambridge mathematician Tim Gowers argues that researchers should get recognition for advancing science broadly through informal idea sharing — rather than only getting credit for what they publish.

We’ve gotten used to working away in private and then producing a sort of polished document in the form of a journal article," Gowers said. "This tends to hide a lot of the thought process that went into making the discoveries. I'd like attitudes to change so people focus less on the race to be first to prove a particular theorem, or in science to make a particular discovery, and more on other ways of contributing to the furthering of the subject."

http://www.vox.com/2016/7/14/12016710/science-challeges-research-funding-peer-review-process
These are dark times for science so we asked hundreds of researchers how to fix it.
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Comments?
The rich are getting richer, the middle class can barely make it and the ranks of the poor are swelling. In a new study, the Urban Institute examined the composition of the middle class since 1979, and found that it is, in fact, shrinking. The data shows that the middle class shrank from 38.8% of the population to 32% from 1979 to 2014.
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+Dee Roytenberg - yes, there's a huge "payday loan" industry in the US, which traps people in debt with short-term, high-interest loans.  When you fall into that trap, you're not much better off than a sharecropper or serf:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Payday_loan
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It's remarkable that robots get a free pass in situations that would get a human in serious trouble. It's as though we were all secretly utilitarian but determined never to admit it to our fellow humans.

Also, I just have to quote the following comment on the original article in its entirety (emphasis mine):

Who gets to decide what is right and wrong? It seems to me, that the society of United States of America has lost their way as to what is right and wrong. I certainly wouldn't want them imposing their value system on my robot. Men marrying men, killing babies, allowing men to use public showers with little girls, rampant drug use, ignoring immigration laws, etc. Hopefully a robot would adhere to truly what is right and wrong as defined by our grandparents.
 
How to Build a Moral Robot

If robots are going to drive our cars and play with our kids, we’ll need to teach them right from wrong
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German atheist runs afoul of country's rarely enforced blasphemy laws after he was fined €500 for driving around with anti-Christian slogans on his car
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One might want to add that this is the ruling of the lowest local court, and the defendant plans to contest the ruling in a higher court. (Of course, I would never suggest that judges at higher courts are more competent than those stuck elsewhere, and that many rulings reported are overturned later...)
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Finland, too?
 
University of Helsinki:

— "The number of University staff will reduce by approximately 980 by the end of 2017"
— "terminations will account for 570"
— "Of the employees to be terminated, 75 will represent teaching and research staff and 495 other staff"

#universityofhelsinki #helsinki
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The actual interview can be found here:

http://www.freewebs.com/cvdegosson/connes-interview.pdf

It is quite long and touches on many topics, but the most interesting (for me) part of the discussion centered on the differences between various models of academic research environment. Here are some excerpts:

In France we have a marvel which is the CNRS. It’s a place where gifted people can get positions that they can keep for the rest of their lives. The main point is that it makes it possible for people like Lafforgue to think for many years about a problem without having to produce n papers per year and apply for an NSF grant. Young people can invest in long term projects which they could never do in a system with a short time unit.

[...]

You cannot decide before hand whom will be a Lafforgue and you will almost automatically have other people that will produce very little. It’s a rule. It is the price to pay to eliminate this pressure to write n papers per year which is nonsense in subjects which are really difficult. It takes 5-6 years to learn such a subject and you don’t produce anything in that long interval. The French system is extremely efficient in that sense that it gives to some people the ability to work without being constantly bugged by the need to produce a paper. It is totally different from other systems but it is successful. Most of the CNRS researchers in mathematics are very interesting and productive mathematicians

[...]

I believe that the most successful systems so far were these big institutes in the Soviet union, like the Landau institute, the Steklov institute, etc. Money did not play any role there, the job was just to talk about science. It is a dream to gather many young people in an institute and make sure that their basic activity is to talk about science without getting corrupted by thinking about buying a car, getting more money, having a plan for career etc.... Of course in the former Soviet Union there were no such things as cars to buy etc so the problem did not arise. In fact CNRS comes quite close to that dream too, provided one avoids all interference from our society which nowadays unfortunately tends to become more and more money oriented.

Yep, this is pretty much what I imagined my future to be when I was just starting out. Unfortunately, France seems to be the only country left in Europe (indeed, the world) which still maintains such a system, while the rest of the world is stampeding towards the US-style competitive grant-based system, in spite of the enormous amounts of waste and misery it generates, with the country where I live -- the Netherlands -- leading the pack (a friend once described the Netherlands as "a poor man's America"). I should have listened to my mother and learned French while in grad school.
 
An oldie, but since I am at the IHES this week and have seen Connes in action, worth an airing for his general points on young researchers

http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=313
Someone wrote in to tell me about a very interesting interview with Alain Connes, conducted at the IPM in Teheran at the time of the Workshop on Non-Commutative Geometry held there this past September. As always, Connes has quite a few provocative things to say, including some harsh criticisms ...
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Dee Roytenberg

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To close, I’d like to return to the human case. Many years ago, after I gave a lecture that featured your chicken experiments, a woman rushed up to me and said, “That first experiment describes my department! I have names for those three hens!”
 
Muir’s experiments and the social effects of naive eugenics

"Muir’s experiments reveal a tremendous naiveté in the idea that creating a good society is merely a matter of selecting the “best” individuals. A good society requires members working together to create what cannot be produced alone, or at least to refrain from exploiting each other. Human societies approach this ideal to varying degrees, but there is always an element of unfairness that results in some profiting at the expense of others. If these individuals are allowed to breed, and if their profiteering ways are heritable, then selecting the “best” individuals will cause a cooperative society to collapse. It’s a good thing that the early eugenicists did not have their way!"

https://evolution-institute.org/article/when-the-strong-outbreed-the-weak-an-interview-with-william-muir/
Muir’s experiments reveal a tremendous naiveté in the idea that creating a good society is merely a matter of selecting the “best” individuals. A good society requires members working together to create what cannot be produced alone, or at least to refrain from exploiting each other.
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Will Joachim Löw invoke his right to be forgotten now?
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Once seen, it cannot be forgotten...
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HUNTSVILLE, AL—Aiming to provide attendees with an authentic glimpse into the nation’s space program, representatives for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center announced Thursday that its newly updated Space Camp will allow children to simulate the anger and mounting frustration experienced by NASA personnel over a continual lack of funding.
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Grisha Perelman, Edward Snowden and Alexandra Elbakyan. Guess what the three of them have in common. (Hint: it's two words and an exclamation point.)
 
Let us read what we paid for

Imagine a business like this: you get highly trained experts to give you their research for free... and then you sell it back to them.  Of course these experts need equipment, and they need to earn a living... so you get taxpayers to foot the bill.  

And if the taxpayers want to actually read the papers they paid for?   Then you charge them a big fee!

It's not surprising that with this business model, big publishers are getting rich while libraries go broke.  Reed-Elsevier has a 37% profit margin!

But people are starting to fight back — from governments to energetic students like ‎Alexandra Elbakyan here.

On Friday, the Competitiveness Council —a gathering of European ministers of science, innovation, trade, and industry—said that all publicly funded scientific papers published in Europe should be made free to access by 2020

This will start a big fight, and it may take longer than 2020.   But Alexandra Elbakyan isn't waiting around.

In 2011, as a computer science grad student in Kazakhstan, she got sick of paying big fees to read science papers.  She set up SciHub, a pirate website that steals papers from the publishers and sets them free.

SciHub now has 51,000,000 papers in its database.  In October 2015, Elsevier sued them.  In November, their domain name was shut down.  But they popped up somewhere else.  By February, people were downloading 200,000 papers per day.   Even scientists with paid access to the publisher's databases are starting to use SciHub, because it's easier to use.

Clearly piracy is the not the ultimate solution. Elbakyan now lives in an undisclosed location, to avoid being extradited.  But she gave the world a much-needed kick in the butt.   The old business model of get smart people to work for free and sell the product back to them is on its way out.

For more, read:

John Bohannon, Who's downloading pirated papers? Everyone, Science, 28 April 2016, http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/04/whos-downloading-pirated-papers-everyone

and especially the SciHub Twitter feed:

https://twitter.com/Sci_Hub

Also read this:

Martin Enserink, In dramatic statement, European leaders call for ‘immediate’ open access to all scientific papers by 2020, Science,
27 May 2016, http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/05/dramatic-statement-european-leaders-call-immediate-open-access-all-scientific-papers

The Dutch government is really pushing this!  Congratulations to them!

#openaccess  
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+John Baez - thanks, John! There's more where that came from, hopefully some of it will see the light of day someday.

My question wasn't rhetorical. Among your recent posts, I was particularly fascinated by this one: https://plus.google.com/117663015413546257905/posts/ZSb9MWjdKss . It's a kind of thing I'd never discover, except by learning it from you!
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The man who was diligently seeking to physically extend the workday with a giant space mirror wished that he himself never had to sleep.

Imagine someone loving his life and work that much. I bet he was genuinely baffled at why anyone would disagree.
 
In the 90s, a team of Russian scientists tried to use a giant space mirror to turn night into day. For a second, they succeeded.
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Couldn't settle on a wisecrack to go with this, so I'll just leave it here.
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In Soviet Russia, Moscow can haz ballah you.
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