The Blood of Science

OK, another bit of bile. Just the thing for a rainy day that raises the gorge.

This time it’s about nerd manuscript publishing. This morning I ran across an article [Link] entitled “Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?”

The answer, from this blogger, incidentally, is TARTARUS, VERO! with apologies for the Anglicized punctuation.

Back when I first entered graduate schule, I was immersed in the refereed journal publication environment as a part of seeking a graduate academic degree. But I have to admit that the part I was shielded from until after matriculation was the financial side. I found out about that when I wrote my first, independent, manuscript.

At that time I was employed by the Yankee Army (sometimes called the Yankee Army of Occupation, but not very loudly in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill because that occupation was providing most of the economic influx for Nawth Alibam. And still is. But all the attention gets diverted to the Space Cadet Agency which puts in less than 0.1 of what the YA does.) When I was told how much it would cost to publish my jest accepted manuscript in a professional society journal, about a month’s take-home pay at that time, I went into AW, STERCUS! mode. Then I was pointed, by one of the guardian librarians of YA employed nerds to the proper Army Regulation (more binding in Nawth Alibam than real Yankee Government LAW.) 

So I went to my boss and laid the bill on him, respectfully, mind you, and for that I learned three new words of a profane nature. The problem was not that he didn’t have the money for the publication, just that it wasn’t budgeted. So thereafter I made sure to budget a dollop of money each year to pay for publication costs.

Several years later when I got to be a high elected officer of a professional society I did a study on the relative costs of paper and electronic publication. I found out several things. The costs of publication were very unbalanced. Basically, the author bore all the burden of providing a print ready, edited manuscript to the journal. This was in part due to the practice of making other authors edit the subscription. This is sometimes known as peer review. All the journal itself does is pay for mailing manuscripts about and the actual printing and mailing of journals. Their expenses fall into three bins: mail; paper and ink; and printing labor. 

If we change to electronic publication, we replace (USPS) mail with email and we replace paper, ink, and printing labor with a server and a part time IT guy. Cost is about 0.1-0.2 of the paper route.

When I reported this, I found out that the organization wasn’t going to change. They were going to stick with paper. Why? Because they were charging about three times what they needed and were siphoning the two extra times into paying staff to do other society things. And buy luxury treatment for the society officers.

That’s one of the reasons I pretty well left the society when my term was up. 

But I later found out that the for-profit journals, which have much lower standards for publication, like basically the cashing of the cheque, were making 5-10 times what their costs were. 

So basically, the nerd publishing instrumentality is a giant parasite on the planet’s science efforts.

And parasites are seldom beneficial.

And why I basically only publish on-line. 

Word Abuse

Five day. Shift from week in to week out. Yuck! And a middle of week holy day next week. More YUCK! 

So in such a good mood, I thought I would exercise some bile. Especially on misuse of words by bogs. And other cockroach-human hybrids.

First, the misuse of the word “official”. I was set of this morning by a link to a news article entitled: “Elon Musk has officially started digging a tunnel under Los Angeles (TSLA)” that came to be via ‘News Republic’. [Link] Upon seeing this abomination I immediately checked my trusty dictionary client ( one of the advantages of Linux over Winders, incidentally!) and found that an official is

“Official    1. Of or pertaining to an office or public trust; as, official duties, or routine.  2. Derived from the proper office or officer, or from the proper authority; made or communicated by virtue of     authority; as, an official statement or report.”

The point being is that Mr. Musk is not a proper officer or authority and hence cannot act “officially”. And the bloody (excuse the English profanity) journalists are vertically copulating the language and the information once again.

The only humans who can do “official” things are members of government, either elected or meritorious. And the latter are much more to be trusted since the former are usually sociopaths and pathological prevaricators. 

Second, the misuse of the word “normal”. I hear this consistently misused. Such behavior is to be expected from bogs, and one may derive a bit of amusement from lecturing them on their abuse and ignorance so long as one stops short of inciting them to their habitual (and enjoyed) violence, but not from people of some degree of education. 

To my knowledge there are three meanings associated with the word “normal”. The first two are mathematical, indicating an orthogonal relationship to something else, or that a function is bounded over some range. The third is chemical, and specifies the concentration of some molecular (ionic) species in solution. 

As commonly used by the boggerate, “normal” is used in place of “modal”, perhaps because of the almost universal acalculacy among bogs. That is, their inability – handicap – to understand or perform any maths except phalanges enumeration. 

End of bile outpouring.

Emanations and Manifestations

It be Seventh Day and thus almost to the end of week out. I do so dislike week out, almost as much as I dislike holidays when the instrumentality packs in and I have to suffer the counter-existence struggle of coping with restriction. 

So since I am inclined in a mood of complaint and self-pity, it seems a useful time to ‘hawg’ some tabs, as it were.

First, an article [Link] in the Capitalist Swine Journal (aka Wall Street) about the future of college being on-line. I admit to continued skepticism. Yes, I know that too many of our colleges of today rival Ford’s assembly line for depravity, din, and absence of educational effect. I also note that we have too many for-profit colleges stealing from the poor and ignorant, especially the bogs. And yes, I do have some – limited – sympathy for bogs. 

As one who has managed moderate sized organizations and thereby hired people for all manner of positions, I can assert with considerable experience that those who obtain diplomas – I decline to say education or degree – from either for-profit or on-line factories are not worth the cost or effort. 

Yes, there are exceptions, but they are so rare as to rival chicken with teeth. So unless you are running some sort of transient body shop where you run people off after a couple of years lest they become too expensive or too knowledgeable, stick to hiring people who have sat through lectures, done labs, and learned to work problems. You will not find these skills imparted in on-line classes and usually not in for-profit knock shops.

Next, an article [Link] about another (?) bunch of French scientists who have done a research that indicates that some radiation exposure is necessary for life. I have to admit to laughing a bit when I read this. Mostly because of how bogs react to science. I have mentioned previously how amusing, as in “look at that idiot”, the history f social radiation is. When x-rays were first discovered and into the atomic age, people found all sorts of beneficial effects from radiation, most of which were shams and swindles by demagogues. Lately the anti-radiation crowd has rivaled the anti-vaccination crowd for their abysmal stupidity and terrorist antics. Of course, the anti-vaccination fools don’t wear aluminium foil caps. (Actually, the redneck members line the insides of their gimme caps with the foil, which often results in severely burned ears when they also use cellular telephones.)

I especially enjoy telling the anti-radiation weenies that they are constantly exposed to radiation even if they go live in a hole in the ground. I usually stop when they reach for a firearm or hunting knife, which is common since that is the level of their powers of rational discussion.

Of course, it is this type of behavior that explains why politicians are the way they are.

Toy Car Luggage

Five Day. It has been a difficult week. Much discomfort in the joints. And today portends to be a nasty one for weather. And then into the abyss that is week out. So my morale and mood have not been good.

Hence it was with a somewhat negative view that I noted an article [Link] this week. It is about some research (?????????) done by French “scientists” on “rolling luggage”. The thing with “rolling luggage” is that everyone’s time is golden so long as it is one’s own (?) time and not someone else’s which is stercus.  So no one wants to wait for checked luggage and insists on traveling with a miniature suitcase with a long handle and a pair of wheels either mounted on an axle or incorporated into the structure of the suitcase. And they drag, not roll, these suitcases through the aeroports and onto airliners where half of the suitcases end up checked baggage anyway because the room in the bins is quickly exhausted. 

From a physics standpoint what is important here is that the wheels are of fixed orientation and the suitcase is under continual force. If the wheels are on an axle, they are fixed but the axle can rotate. As these are pulled through the aeroport the suitcase tends to wobble, sometimes violently, and even tip over like a ship in high seas. Sadly, the suitcases that do tip do not sink, they just cause several other travelers to trip over them and cause a traffic jam and much ill will all about.

That latter is not physics, thankfully.

Back when I was a bairn, I had a couple of toy cars. These cars were made in Japan of hammered and painted tin and they had four rubber or plastic tires, in pairs mounted on metal axles. (Plastic was expensive in those days.) And when you would push these cars as hard as you could, they would run straight for a while (if they didn’t flip immediately) then veer off and even flip over. By the time my younger brother came along and played with toy cars, the body was now plastic but the behavior was the same.

This is why when I saw the article I was immediately cynical and thought this was nothing but self-promotion. After all, the French, as a people, are known for their arrogance. Most places you go, if you sincerely try to speak the language, you are warmly welcomed. In France, if you try to speak French, the French will try to kill you. 

Basically, the suitcase is an extended version of the toy car. Since the wheels are fixed in orientation, and, if mounted on an axle, constrained to rotate together. and under continual force, every little variation in the rolling surface – floor, for the bogs – causes a perturbation. In addition, and this is the real biggie, the direction of the force (pull) and the direction of the wheel’s rotation is not the same. So while the wheel is turning, it is also being dragged a bit to the side. If the wheels are mounted on an axle, this dragging causes one side of the suitcase to dig in and stall, at least momentarily. And if you pull the suitcase fast enough, the bumps and drags interfere constructively and you get a Tacoma Narrows bridge event. (Although that’s not really why the bridge collapsed, of course.)

Now why is this article self-promoting? Because every physicist who has traveled since the introduction of “rolling luggage”, has experienced this either directly or by observation and figured out what was going on. And most of us then returned to checked baggage. So this stuff isn’t new. It’s not as bad as going out to the Eiffel Tower and repeating Galileo’s Tower of Pisa experiment – and bragging about as new – but it’s close.

Incidentally, this physics is also close to the reason why Alibam Pickup Truck aimers aren’t competent drivers: the trucks themselves are impossible to steer like a motorcar and the state in its warped politics is unwilling to force pickup drivers to take training in the interest of the safety of the citizenry. Which is why Alibam is a third world state, a toy car state. Absent of understanding of basic physics and absent of any regard for the citizenry.

Much like the contemporary bog traveler. 

Leaky Prophylactic

One Day. Back to Gym. Sparse – thankfully! But the podcast, part of the fiftieth anniversary of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas”, was a dismal bore. Too much dronage about artsy novels. Not my cup of tea – or any other steeped or brewed beverage. I’ll take a good airplane attention diverter novel any day. Except perhaps a bosom ripper. Something will a well told story, not one of those artsy things that lack any atom of story but are oh! so! froo-froo.

Speaking of which, I ran across one of those articles [Link] about what the stupid and unintelligent need to purchase for their paternal parents for the invented fake holiday, one of many, I fear. The whole thing is a thinly disguised but otherwise blatant advertisement. But it did have the goodness of engendering – to steal a word from Chaucer – cogitation.

First, most holidays these days are anything but. Technically, holiday is an Anglo-Saxon/English/Amerikan corruption of “”holy day”. Such are purely religious and despite the obvious contention of corporations that spending money is a form of worship, a matter only for those who participate in that flavor of religion. Any slopping over that boundary is a breach of religious freedom. In particular, freedom from being exposed to hemorrhoidal superstition and stupidity. 

Sadly, the practice has been taken up by all sorts of organizations that are not supposed to be religious such as governments and corporations. Who now seem to be the true enemies of religious freedom when in actuality the governments might be allowed memorial days where participation by the citizenry is voluntary and not imposed. IOW, the fabric of government and society should not be folded like a bedouin’s tent as observance of such.

And corporations should be penalized as criminals for any such trangression. 

In summary. NO MORE government “holidays”. NO MORE fake commercial “holidays” like yesterday.  And church holidays should be well fenced in to prevent spillage.

Second, the manufactured stercus recommended by these articles is purely EXTRO stuff. None of it is the least bit interesting to INTROs. And, as a rule, the children of INTROs are self-reliant enough to make up their own minds without the aid of prevaricative advertising. (And YES, I know that is REDUNDANT!)

Just to assist the Bogs who still have no idea of the nature of EXTROs and INTROs, EXTROs obey Bose-Einstein statistcs: They Clump. Doesn’t matter what you put in the washing machine, EXTROs clump together. INTROs on the other hand, obey Fermi-Dirac statistics. They are individualists, loners, avoiders of clumps. Especially EXTRO clumps. And if they need to know how to do something they will learn it on their own or figure it out on their own and don’t need greedy capitalist propaganda to delude themselves with.

As a matter of some further clarifications, all politicians seem to be special types of EXTROs. They clump but only among those of shared ideology, usually partisan nonsense. They are also completely dependent on prevaricative capitalist propaganda for any form of thought other than gonadal. 

Now, I can go stand in the rain with my head uplifted and my mouth open, with a mind open to wonder and learning.

How Now?

I read [Link] an article entitled “The surprising number of American adults who think chocolate milk comes from brown cows” that claims that 16.4 MegaAmerikans think (believe?) that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. 

I am a bit befuddled by this. If I apply logic then the usual whitish milk we buy in stores originates in whitish cows? This is amazing considering how uncommon whitish cows are. Almost all the cows I have observed in my travels have been black or brown or brindle or motley. Almost none are whitish. So do the whitish cows have an enormously increased productivity that they can produce most of the milk consumed on the planet? And if so, why are we not investigating their genetics so that we can decrease the methane pollution of cows? 

Even in a Repulsian administration, this seems negligent and counter-survival.

On the other hand, if these people are, in fact, either deluded or demented, then it explains many things. Like why all the politicians are anti-reality and totally antagonistic to each other. And any improvement in the condition of the nations or its citizens. 

That being the case, it seems the clear duty of every (actually) patriotic Amerikan (as opposed to the false patriotism of greed,) to go out and dispose of a brown cow.

In that way, we shall surely eliminate all the denial and delusion and evil persecution.

Callahan on Setebos

Five Day. Gym discontinuity. And, absent the Cross Time Saloon, an occasion, it seems to me, for a bit of humor because when we think things are dire we have humor. Let us Laughing to our Graves GO!

It occurred to me that number naming is call enumeration, so if one is counting the amount of Sodium one ingests daily, can we call this Masseration? After all, it is largely due to maceration.

Or if we are counting how much food we eat, may we call this Caloration? After all, it is a form of calibration.

And lastly – blessedly? – let us consider the nature of a Techno-Schmuck. This is a human who is a user of technology but oblivious to its operation. When this person purchases a new piece of technology, the first thing they do is discard the assembly instructions. Then they try and assemble it based on their mental meanderings and perspiration. And when that fails and they have to call in the social group/family nerd, they are asked where the manual is and the Techno-Schmuck is oblivious and even indignant that the nerd can’t assemble/fix their botch. 

These people go on to be highly unsuccessful managers and executives of failing technical organizations. Of course, they accelerate the failure, which may, in a morbid sense, be viewed as a mitzvah.