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C.A. Palma
molecular engineer & massive online open research
molecular engineer & massive online open research
C.A. Palma's posts

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Epic coding via gaming from UCSB. Via +Tobias Kaposi.

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"Traditionally, as a quantum chemist, you leave the talking about orbitals to physicists, organic chemists and all the others denying the many-particle nature of reality."

For this and more exquisite quotes and equations check out Felix' awesome blog:

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Only 8 days left to take part in the EU's consultation on future and emerging technologies!

Many of you have probably read the Horizon 2020 - Europe's new research scheme - plan to allocate ~80 billion research funds primarily to an SME-oriented framework in an attempt to  boost the EU's economy in the short and short-medium term:

You will notice that fundamental technologies are missing in the main plan, e.g. post-graphene 2D materials, metamaterials, molecular and quantum computing, attosecond networking, bottom-up bioengineering, etc.

Some of these fundamental technologies are now being allocated 2.7 billion, with the FET: Future and emerging technologies scheme, which may arguably be the only H2020 framework allowing the EU to stay "ahead of the game":

You can participate in the EU's consulation and tell the EU what kind of technologies you consider to be really emerging.

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Billionaires privatizing science

1- Governments are arguably no longer using our taxes to fund socially benevolent science.
2- Billionaires and corporations are filling the research void.
3- Nature Journal and the NYtimes warn that science may be “skewed" towards trendy subjects.

Some random thoughts:
1- Despite average citizens literally paying the government to do research and being the source of wealth of billionaires, we think we do not have power to do research ourselves.
2- We believe that only governments and billionaires have the organizing capabilities to fund and do research.

Why not just believe in the #openresearch #citizenscience scheme?

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Interesting piece on how today's research schemes on an urgent field of study work: 20 years of Alzheimer research has been arguably "lost" because of federal funding policies. Without open research and funding schemes, we all lose. #OpenResearch  

"Opinions differ as to why Roses' finding was neglected, but many agree that bad timing played a part. In 1991, John Hardy and David Allsop had proposed the 'amyloid cascade hypothesis'. (...)
But Roses did not subscribe to that theory. “Amyloid is one of many substances that builds up in plaques as a result of dying cells and atrophy in the brain,” he says. “I never did think it was the cause.” In saying so, he may have deterred others from investigating a possible ApoE–amyloid link, and inadvertently set up a competition between the two hypotheses for funding. He never got another grant to work on ApoE" -

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Reg. Mathematics & Crowdsourcing. #Openresearch   
A radical idea

What if we gamify and then crowd-source the checking of reducibility and discharging rules as found in proofs of the four-colour theorem [1]? For instance, in the Robertson-Sanders-Seymour-Thomas proof (See e.g. [2]), there are some 200 000 colourings to be checked in the reducibility step. With a mere million internet users one could have five pairs of human eyes check each one of these cases, more than if a referee or two checked a proof.

One could get more ambitious, and check the computer part of the Snark theorem/conjecture [3], which is still unpublished, despite being announced in 1999 [4]. I don't know if this is due to errors, or just difficulty in verifying. Since the snark theorem/conjecture implies the four colour theorem, this would be another independent check.

Image source:

[4] A number of 'manuscripts' a referred to in, one of which deals with the claim; the word snark is nowhere mentioned, and the claimed proof may be distributed among several of these papers.

#mathematics   #sciencesaturday   #proofs  

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Why should we all be researchers and inventors?

Because we already are. We are born inventors. We are born with unlimited curiosity and energy to create and discover. As we grow older however, universities teach us that high-level, do-it-your-self discovery is only for a privileged fraction of all humanity, thereby turning an originally benevolent system (the University) into one encouraging social inequality.

With his discovery, six grader Simon (below), reminds us that the (current) closed university system is not only unfair, but plain ineffective, hindering progress world-wide. #citizenscience   #openresearch  

Unrelated footnote. As a trained chemist, the author does not endorse the use, let alone the commercial use, of small molecules with disruptive effects on bio-organisms (i.e. toxins). It is the personal opinion of the author, that highly trained chemists should control biodiversity with holistic, biomimetic and biocompatible cutting-edge biomolecular engineering schemes and not mediocre for-profit small-molecule short-sighted solutions. #pharmaisnotresearch

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for those of you who spend more time on FB...

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