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+ - New research suggests cancer may be an intrinsic property of cells->

Submitted by cranky_chemist
cranky_chemist (1592441) writes ""Cancer simply may be here to stay. Researchers at Kiel University, the Catholic University of Croatia and other institutions discovered that hydra — tiny, coral-like polyps that emerged hundreds of millions of years ago — form tumors similar to those found in humans. Which suggests that our cells' ability to develop cancer is 'an intrinsic property' that has evolved at least since then — way, way, way before we rallied our forces to try to tackle it, said Thomas Bosch, an evolutionary biologist at Kiel University who led the study, published in Nature Communications in June."

The paywalled original article is available at"

Link to Original Source

+ - Nature Publishing Group Requires Authors to Waive "Moral Rights" to Works->

Submitted by cranky_chemist
cranky_chemist (1592441) writes "Megan O'Neil has published a story on the Chronicle of Higher Education's website noting some unusual language in the license agreement between authors and Nature Publishing Group.

"Faculty authors who contract to write for the publisher of Nature, Scientific American, and many other journals should know that they could be signing away more than just the economic rights to their work, according to the director of the Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communication at Duke University.

Kevin Smith, the Duke official, said he stumbled across a clause in the Nature Publishing Group’s license agreement last week that states that authors waive or agree not to assert "any and all moral rights they may now or in the future hold" related to their work. In the context of scholarly publishing, "moral rights" include the right of the author always to have his or her name associated with the work and the right to have the integrity of the work protected such that it is not changed in a way that could result in reputational harm."

Nature Publishing Group claims the waivers are required to ensure the journal's ability to publish formal retractions and/or corrections.

However, the story further notes that Nature Publishing Group is requiring authors at institutions with open-access policies to sign waivers that exempt their work from such policies."

Link to Original Source

+ - edX Drops Plans to Connect MOOC Students With Employers->

Submitted by cranky_chemist
cranky_chemist (1592441) writes "MOOC provider edX, after a failed pilot program in which none of 868 students were hired, now plans to abandon a program that allowed companies to mine their massive open online courses for talent. edX cited HR departments for the program's demise, stating "Existing HR departments want to go for traditional degree programs and filter out nontraditional candidates.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:And so, it begins (Score 4, Funny) 383

by cranky_chemist (#45693225) Attached to: NSA Has No Clue As To Scope of Snowden's Data Trove

It's worse than that.

They're afraid that the world will soon learn some inconvenient truths: (a) that Oswald in fact acted alone in assassinating Kennedy, (b) that the crashed object at Roswell was in fact a high-altitude weather balloon, (c) that the Rosenberg's were in fact Soviet spies, (d) that the moon landings in fact happened and were not staged in a Houston hangar, and (e) that every ounce of the gold in Ft. Knox is in fact sitting exactly where it should be.

And then the American public might start asking questions related to ACTUAL government conspiracies.

The horror...

Comment: Re:crossing fingers. (Score 3, Insightful) 106

by cranky_chemist (#45651715) Attached to: Nobel Winner Schekman Boycotts Journals For 'Branding Tyranny'

The problem is that Schekman's argument is off base.

From the article (yes, I read it):

"These luxury journals are supposed to be the epitome of quality, publishing only the best research. Because funding and appointment panels often use place of publication as a proxy for quality of science, appearing in these titles often leads to grants and professorships."

His argument appears to revolve around these three high-impact journals serving as the gate keepers of "good" science. But his ire is misdirected. If funding and appointment panels are giving undue weight to publications in these journals, then THE PROBLEM LIES WITH THE FUNDING AND APPOINTMENT PANELS, not the journals.

His argument is paramount to "Scientists shouldn't publish in these journals because they're too highly regarded."

Comment: Re:seems a bit strange (Score 4, Insightful) 341

by cranky_chemist (#45555839) Attached to: Study Linking GM Maize To Rat Tumors Is Retracted

You are correct.

Weak science and insufficient sample sizes are matters for the journal's referees to suss out and, if necessary, recommend that the journal not publish the paper. The fact that the paper passed peer review should have the journal re-examining their editorial/peer-review policies.

Ultimately, the decision to publish (and responsibility for publishing) a paper lies with the journal's editor in chief.

Comment: Re:Maybe, the "greedy" journals have a point (Score 1) 114

by cranky_chemist (#45332479) Attached to: Hoax-Proofing the Open Access Journals

The boycott of Elsevier was primarily related to their "bundling" of journals---the act of forcing libraries to buy subscriptions to their low-impact, narrowly focused, but very expensive journals in order to have access to their high-impact, high-circulation journals. See

Think about this process.

Elsevier prints journals for which they receive their content FOR FREE from academic researchers, most of whom are funded by taxpayer money. They then receive FREE peer review of those articles from the academic science community, many of whose salaries are paid from taxpayer funds. They then turn around and sell those articles back to the very universities whose professors provided the content and peer review (for FREE), which are also funded by taxpayers. And THEN they have the audacity to price gouge in the process.

Nice work if you can get it. But don't expect to not be called a profiteer.

Comment: Re:I agree... (Score 1) 279

by cranky_chemist (#45318701) Attached to: Why Organic Chemistry Is So Difficult For Pre-Med Students

And what exactly happens to all of those "doctors" with $400,000 student loans who now cannot work as doctors?

If we used your approach, no doctor would ever be able to secure a student loan again. The risk of default would be astronomically high. The only difference is that now the lenders would be the ones choosing who gets to become a doctor.

Comment: Re:Wasn't that difficult when I went through it (Score 4, Informative) 279

by cranky_chemist (#45318297) Attached to: Why Organic Chemistry Is So Difficult For Pre-Med Students

P-chem is difficult because it's students' first immersion into quantum mechanics.

You learned the sanitized version of quantum in gen chem---all those rules about electron configurations and the funky shapes of atomic orbitals. But you simply memorized it. In P-chem, you were confronted with the actual wavefunctions from which all of that stuff is derived. If you've never seen a wavefunction or eigenvalue before, it's a total mind trip. And virtually nobody has encountered such things prior to P-chem.

And then you learn that, once you move beyond a one-electron atom, must of the equations become impossible to solve. And now you must introduce a series of assumptions and limitations to arrive at any solution whatsoever. And that's when the goo starts oozing out of your ears.

Somewhere at the end of it all, you realize that chemistry and theoretical physics are not distinctly different subjects.

Comment: Re:I agree... (Score 4, Insightful) 279

by cranky_chemist (#45318033) Attached to: Why Organic Chemistry Is So Difficult For Pre-Med Students

There's a certain perverse logic in using Organic I and II to weed students out.

They're sophomore-level courses. They're also the most difficult two-course sequence all pre-med/pre-vet/pre-pharmacy students will collectively take during their first two years. Pre-med students outnumber the openings in medical school by at least 10 to 1. They must be weeded at some point. The sooner you weed them out, the sooner those students can stop wasting their time and tuition money on a course of study they will never complete.

I'm not sure I agree with it, but that's the logic as it was explained to me.

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