👓 What really happened when two mathematicians tried to publish a paper on gender differences? The tale of the emails | Retraction Watch

Read What really happened when two mathematicians tried to publish a paper on gender differences? The tale of the emails (Retraction Watch)
Retraction Watch readers may be familiar with the story of a paper about gender differences by two mathematicians. Last month, in Weekend Reads, we highlighted an account of that story, which appea…

This article and the related links cover a lot of the questions I had when I read the original in Quillette the other day and only wish I’d had the time to follow up on as a result. Now to go on and read all the associated links and emails….

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🎧 “General Chapman's Last Stand” Season 3 Episode 5 | Revisionist History

Listened “General Chapman's Last Stand” Season 3 Episode 5 by Malcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

"Good fences make good neighbors. Or maybe not."

General Leonard Chapman guided the Marines Corp through some of the most difficult years in its history. He was brilliant, organized, decisive and indefatigable. Then he turned his attention to the America’s immigration crisis. You think you want effective leadership? Be careful what you wish for.

A piece of history I was surprised to not have heard about with relation to current immigration policy. Also a great example of how policy makers need to be able to think 20 steps into the potential futures to realize the ramifications of what they’re doing an the effects it will have on future generations.

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👓 MIT Students Solve the Spaghetti Breaking Mystery That Stumped Richard Feynman | Open Culture

Read MIT Students Solve the Spaghetti Breaking Mystery That Stumped Richard Feynman (Open Culture)
Even thirty years after his death, Richard Feynman remains one of the most beloved minds in physics in part because of how much attention he paid to things other than physics: drawing and painting, cracking safes, playing the bongos, breaking spaghetti.
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👓 Using Medieval DNA to track the barbarian spread into Italy | Ars Technica

Read Using Medieval DNA to track the barbarian spread into Italy (Ars Technica)
Cemeteries from the Longobard spread into Italy tell tales of migration and mixing.
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👓 Top cancer expert forgot to mention $3.5M industry ties—he just resigned | Ars Technica

Read Top cancer expert forgot to mention $3.5M industry ties—he just resigned (Ars Technica)
For years, José Baselga didn’t mention industry links in dozens of top medical pubs.
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👓 Top Cancer Researcher Fails to Disclose Corporate Financial Ties in Major Research Journals | New York Times

Read Top Cancer Researcher Fails to Disclose Corporate Financial Ties in Major Research Journals (New York Times)
A senior official at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has received millions of dollars in payments from companies that are involved in medical research.

This makes me think that researchers should have a page on their websites (like impressum, about, or other similar pages) that lists all of their potential research conflicts? What to call it? A Disclosure page, a Financial Ties page? It could have a list of current as well as past affiliations, along with dates, and potentially the value amounts paid (which are apparently available publicly in separate filings). In addition to posting their potential conflicts and disclosures on their own websites, researchers could easily cut and paste them into their publications (or at least their students, post docs, fellow researchers, or secretaries could do this when they’re apparently too busy to make a modicum of bother to do it themselves.)

I’m kind of shocked that major publishers like Elsevier are continually saying they add so much value to the chain of publishing they do, yet somehow, in all the major profits they (and others) are making that they don’t do these sorts of checks as a matter of course.

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👓 Here are the subjects our reporters enjoy covering the least | Ars Technica

Read Here are the subjects our reporters enjoy covering the least (Ars Technica)
A look at why reporting on some areas of science is just asking for pain.
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🔖 Theory Of Self Reproducing Automata by John Von Neumann, Arthur W. Burks (Editor) | 9780252727337

Bookmarked Theory Of Self Reproducing Automata by John von Neumann (University of Illinois Press)

Waiting for the price of some of these to drop.

Digital copy available on Archive.org.

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📖 Read pages 93-112 of 288 of Linked: The New Science Of Networks by Albert-László Barabási

📖 Read pages 93-112 of 288 of Linked: The New Science Of Networks by Albert-László Barabási

An interesting overlap of Bose condensation mathematics and physics into network theory.

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👓 Statement by Amie Wilkinson addressing unfounded allegations. | Amie Wilkinson

Read Statement by Amie Wilkinson addressing unfounded allegations. by Amie Wilkinson (math.uchicago.edu)
This statement addresses some unfounded allegations about my personal involvement with the publishing of Ted Hill's preprint "An evolutionary theory for the variability hypothesis" (and the earlier version of this paper co-authored with Sergei Tabachnikov). As a number of erroneous statements have been made, I think it's important to state formally what transpired and my beliefs overall about academic freedom and integrity. I first saw the publicly-available paper of Hill and Tabachnikov on 9/6/17, listed to appear in The Mathematical Intelligencer. While the original link has been taken down, the version of the paper that was publicly available on the arxiv at that time is here. I sent an email, on 9/7/17, to the Editor-in-Chief of The Mathematical Intelligencer, about the paper of Hill and Tabachnikov. In it, I criticized the scientific merits of the paper and the decision to accept it for publication, but I never made the suggestion that the decision to publish it be reversed. Instead, I suggested that the journal publish a response rebuttal article by experts in the field to accompany the article. One day later, on 9/8/17, the editor wrote to me that she had decided not to publish the paper. I had no involvement in any editorial decisions concerning Hill's revised version of this paper in The New York Journal of Mathematics. Any indications or commentary otherwise are completely unfounded. I would like to make clear my own views on academic freedom and the integrity of the editorial process. I believe that discussion of scientific merits of research should never be stifled. This is consistent with my original suggestion to bring in outside experts to rebut the Hill-Tabachnikov paper. Invoking purely mathematical arguments to explain scientific phenomena without serious engagement with science and data is an offense against both mathematics and science.

A response to an article I read the other day in Quillette.

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👓 Adaptable lizards illustrate key evolutionary process proposed a century ago | Science Daily

Read Adaptable lizards illustrate key evolutionary process proposed a century ago (ScienceDaily)
The 'Baldwin effect' has now been demonstrated at the genetic level in a population of dark-colored lizards adapted to live on a lava flow in the desert.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

One explanation has been that many of an animal’s traits are not fixed, but can change during its lifetime. This “phenotypic plasticity” enables individual animals to alter their appearance or behavior enough to survive in a new environment. Eventually, new adaptations promoting survival arise in the population through genetic changes and natural selection, which acts on the population over generations. This is known as the “Baldwin effect” after the psychologist James Mark Baldwin, who presented the idea in a landmark paper published in 1896.  

September 11, 2018 at 08:57AM

Journal article available at: https://www.cell.com/current-biology/pdfExtended/S0960-9822(18)30899-6

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👓 Academic Activists Send a Published Paper Down the Memory Hole | Quillette

Read Academic Activists Send a Published Paper Down the Memory Hole by Theodore P. Hill (Quillette)
In the highly controversial area of human intelligence, the ‘Greater Male Variability Hypothesis’ (GMVH) asserts that there are more idiots and more geniuses among men than among women. Darwin’s research on evolution in the nineteenth century found that, although there are many exceptions for ...

I understand the potential political implications of such research, but blocking publication like this seems a tad underhanded. I’ve not yet read the paper, but want to take a look at it at least from an evolutionary theoretic standpoint. Admittedly on its face it sounds a bit more like pure theory rather than anything supported by actual evidence and underlying research in reality, but there’s no reason to stop the idea if it could potentially be a fruitful area.

If a formally refereed and published paper can later be erased from the scientific record and replaced by a completely different article, without any discussion with the author or any announcement in the journal, what will this mean for the future of electronic journals?

This is a very concerning issue and a good reason why people should also practice samizdat and place multiple copies online in various repositories.

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👓 Caught mid-flow: the “Baldwin effect” | The Economist

Read Caught mid-flow: the “Baldwin effect” (Economist Espresso)
While most side-blotched lizards living in the Mojave desert match the colour of its sand, those
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📖 Read pages 13-79 of 288 of Linked: The New Science Of Networks by Albert-László Barabási

📖 Read pages 13-79 of 288 of Linked: The New Science Of Networks by Albert-László Barabási

It’s an interesting overview of the subject of network science and complexity. Potentially good if you know nothing of the area at all, or if you’re about to delve heavily into the topic. I’m breezing through it quickly with an eye toward reading his more technical level networks textbook that came out two years ago as well as some of his papers in the area.

Some of the pieces so far are relatively overwritten given that it’s now more than 15 years later… but the general audience then probably needed the extra back story. The only math so far is at the level of simple logarithms and the few equations are buried in the footnotes.

There are some useful rules of thumb he’s introduced for the generalists and engineers in the crowd like the idea of things that fall into an 80/20 Pareto rule are very likely power law models.

He’s repeated some common stories about Paul Erdős and Alfréd Rényi. I hadn’t heard the story about Erdős saying there were too many plus signs on the Notre Dame campus–that was kind of cute. I did enjoy that he’d dug at least an additional layer deeper to pull up Frigyes Karinthy’s short story “Chains” to introduce the original(?) conceptualization of the idea of Six Degrees of Separation.

I’ll circle back later for additional highlights and annotations.

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📖 Read through page 13 of 288 of Linked: The New Science Of Networks by Albert-László Barabási

📖 Read through page 13 of 288 of Linked: The New Science Of Networks by Albert-László Barabási

So far a very facile opening. Somewhat surprised to see a reference to Jesus and Paul here, but interestingly apropos.

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

Introduction

…the high barriers to becoming a Christian had to be abolished. Circumcision and the strict food laws had to be relaxed.

Highlight (yellow) – 1. Introduction > page 4

Naturally, if you make it easier to be a Christian, then it will be easier to create links and grow the network

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