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Timothy Gowers
19,658 followers -
Mathematician
Mathematician

19,658 followers
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It's sad that G+ is closing down, but I hope that doesn't mean that everybody deserts it immediately. I wouldn't mind enjoying all your interesting posts and links for a few months more.
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Interesting: a court ruling in the Netherlands obliges the government to reduce carbon emissions by more than they currently plan to do. Let's hope this inspires a whole lot of similar court cases in other countries.
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Theresa May’s inspiring vision for Britain

"But what we've been doing here at conference of course and I think what matters to people out there is what the government does and what we focus on in terms of their day to day lives and what really matters to them.”

What hope for the country when the PM has cloth for a brain?
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It's certainly not the most important aspect of the story, but the wording of the lawsuit against Kevin Spacey for sexual harassment is quite extraordinary. This is its second paragraph (of two I think).

As a direct and proximate result of Spacey's actions, plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer severe mental anguish, emotional pain and distress, fear, humiliation, grief, embarrassment, nervousness, worry, anger, frustration, helplessness, nervousness, sadness, stress, mental and emotional distress, and anxiety.

I can only hope that the prosecution won't be required to give a strict proof of that statement, though it helps that the constituent parts are not logically independent ...
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The AMS ought to be ashamed of itself

I've just received an email that says the following.

"News this week that Sir Michael Atiyah may have solved the Riemann hypothesis has set the world of mathematics alight.

"In 1859 Bernhard Riemann formulated his renowned hypothesis that no one has come close to proving - until now. Read more about the mathematical universe of prime numbers, infinite sequences, infinite products, and complex functions that for decades have remained a mystery for so many mathematicians."

It's advertising a book, and is followed by a button that says BUY NOW.
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It's not every day that one gets to see an eleven-ton Anthony Gormley sculpture suspended in mid-air. This one, Free Object, was on display on the opposite side of the river from the Wren Library at Trinity College for last academic year, and I happened to catch it (after waiting around for an hour or so) being removed. Apparently it has been bought by a private collector in the US.
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George Monbiot claims that Sci-Hub may have saved his life, and argues that using it is the ethical choice. An earlier article he wrote a few years ago about scientific publishing was largely responsible for my own radicalization when it comes to this issue.
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It looks as though the link tax is going ahead. I hope it won't turn out to be as catastrophic as it looks.
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If you're European, please write quickly to the MEP(s) for your constituency, as it really would be a disaster if the proposals got through. There is a link to a site that makes it easy to do.
It's like deja vu all over again. The EU is once again proposing to require licensing fees to post links to news stories (like this post!), and to force all uploaded content on the internet to be censored by databases of dubious copyright claims (e.g. claiming all Bach music as under copyright; see https://boingboing.net/2018/09/05/mozart-bach-sorta-mach.html). This is bad for the internet, bad for Europe, bad for Wikipedia (see https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/06/eus-copyright-proposal-extremely-bad-news-everyone-even-especially-wikipedia) and bad for everyone except the huge corporations to whom it caters. This proposal was blocked earlier this summer but has now come back for a vote by the full European parliament. If you're in Europe, the link contains instructions for how to help persuade your MEP to vote against this bad proposal.
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In brief, the article below says that a number of European funding bodies are going to insist on full open access from the moment of publication of any work that they fund. One great thing about it is that they will not allow publication in hybrid journals -- that is, ones where subscriptions are paid but authors have the option of making individual articles open access. As they say, it was intended as a transitional arrangement, but the transition is not taking place, and instead publishers are raking in both subscription revenue and additional money from APCs for the same articles.

It may not be 100% good news in the long term if it encourages a move to expensive APCs, but a sign that it's a step in the right direction is that the publishers don't like it. Springer, for instance, complains that it could undermine the entire publication system, an outcome that I would welcome.

Hat tip to +Stephen Eglen for drawing my attention to this.
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