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Comment Re:Awesome! (Score 3, Informative) 204

Instead of $200+ for a journal subscription

Hah! If only they cost $200...last year my current institution paid something like $4500 for two physical copies of Nature.

Most of the other subscriptions are actually provided in packages which cover a large number of journals (~50 - 100) and cost > ~$100,000 / yr.

Here's some info on UC's costs, the average cost for a life sciences journal is $1,700.

Comment Re:come on, Libertarian bastards (Score 1) 204

your crappily formatted manuscript is turned into something that's actually pleasant to look at, and is edited for typos and poor writing is smoothed out. Journals also provide editorial system support, which is ridiculously important (and obvious to anyone who's edited a journal) and indexing, dois, citation format support, etc.

The point sounds sensible - but it's actually largely false. With a few notable exceptions, the journals no longer provide any significant copy editing, and in my experience are constantly introducing textual and formatting errors which require subsequent correction by authors.

The indexes people actually use are external or unrelated to particular journals, like Scholar and ISI. Citations are handled extremely well by software plus trivial proofreading by authors. 'Editorial system support' isn't much more than coordinating reviews via email. None of this requires massive corporations predicated on information-restricting business models.

Comment Re:come on, Libertarian bastards (Score 2) 204

the professional societies - IEEE, etc.

Many of them are just as bad as the publishers. IEEE journals are closed access and require copyright assignment. The bottom line is that there is an immense cost to scientific progress because of literature access restrictions. They need to be abolished.

Personally, I am a scientist who has worked at under-resourced US institutions, and lack of journal access routinely causes weeks of delays while waiting for inter-library loan to come through. While many folks who work at tier-1 schools and corporations are in favor of open access, they generally don't understand the depth and urgency of the closed-access problem as it impacts second tier US and international, especially developing world, institutions.

Comment Re:He doesn't deserve a place in this discussion (Score 1) 204

Civil disobedience doesn't somehow become morally wrong because you don't want to go to trial, "face the music", or allow yourself to be arrested.

Or, to put it another way, allowing the government to immediately silence anything further you have to say after your act of disobedience is unlikely to aid your cause.

Comment Re:Old co-worker only needed 4 hours (Score 1) 315

I've always thought about trying segmented sleep

I really like biphasic sleep, personally, but most of the things I'd like to get done involve a computer screen which I find disrupts my ability to stick to the right length biphasic period. It is good for household chores, though. I'd probably try to stick to it if work schedules permitted.

The study from TFA argues that humans don't naturally engage in biphasic sleep, but it also shows that we naturally respond to ambient temperature rather than light and dark. I wonder if the East African and Southern Andes climates create temperature profiles which encourage one sleeping period, and if hunter-gatherers in, say, ancient California would have slept the same way.

Comment Good research, bad reporting (Score 1) 315

The reporting of this research seems to misinterpret the results a bit. It's important to keep in mind that North American studies are based on self-reporting, and it has been demonstrated that people self-report time in bed, rather than actual sleeping time.

Thus, the main result of the study is that Americans and hunter-gatherers sleep about the same on average, and that the amount of actual sleep associated with negative health outcomes in North America is less than 4 - 6 hours per night (as opposed to 7 - 8 hours).

The study also shows that technology and modern lifestyles do not, on average, disrupt North American sleep cycles. Further, the study indicates that humans do not naturally sleep according to dark and light, but rather to the ambient temperature. Finally, it suggests that humans may not naturally engage in biphasic sleep, although this could be because of the daily temperature cycles in East Africa and the Southern Andes.

Comment Re:Depends (Score 1) 315

This is not science, this is anecdotal.

It's not anecdotal - which refers to personal accounts - but rather involves a quantitative measurement made on many people, in different subpopulations (using a sleep tracking pedometer-like device). It's not really hypothesis-driven, so maybe it's "not science." I guess it depends on whether or not you think Karl Popper should get to decide who's a bad scientist.

The problem with the articles about this study is that they mention the glaring fact which explains away the result, but don't explore it. American sleep studies are based on self-reporting, but people tend to self-report time spent in bed rather than actual sleeping time. Account for that, and most people sleep a similar amount, whether American or hunter-gatherer. Further, it makes it clear that negative health outcomes are associated with regularly sleeping less than 4 - 6 hours a night.

As a researcher quoted by the NYT article said, "a healthy amount of sleep is whatever lets you wake up feeling alert and refreshed."

Comment Re:Next article: Water is wet (Score 1) 370

Why do you single out water? Aren't all liquids wet?

If wetness is a feeling you get from coming into contact with some substances, then I think there are non-wet liquids (and wet solids and gasses.

OTOH, if wetness is shorthand for waterness, then there are definitely wet solids and gasses, and assuredly dry liquids (anhydrous solvents of various kinds, mercury at room temp, etc).

2 pints = 1 Cavort