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Comment: Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (Score 0) 178

by shrewdsheep (#47430239) Attached to: Peer Review Ring Broken - 60 Articles Retracted

Wrong. The issue is that publishing is considered sufficient.

It should be publish or die. How do you know they're doing anything if they don't publish? they could be reading slashdot all day for all you know otherwise.


But as is made clear here, simply publishing and getting it through peer review is clearly not good enough. We need to increase what they have to do to avoid this situation.

For example... maybe one scientist pays another scientist to reproduce his work.

Maybe you have big collections of graduate students that as part of their process of getting a degree get assigned some random papers submitted by scientists in their field and they have to reproduce the work.

Obviously this isn't always possible... but whenever it isn't possible that needs to be put as a giant red asterisk on the paper saying "this work has not been reproduced"...

Do that and you're not going to get as much fraud or laziness.

I think that there is a common misunderstanding about the function of a publication. First and foremost it is a progress report of the scientist. This creates a lot of published noise - no doubt - OTOH it creates something that can be measured. This is absolutely critical to keep the scientific circus running (in a positive way). There are different ways to measure quality (which journal, reading an abstract, reading an article, asking by email) and scientific progress/quality is somewhat orthogonal to the publishing process. If you want to be sure of something be sure you have your act together to judge publications. The system can be gamed but it is not a problem in itself.

Comment: Re:Turing test not passed. (Score 0) 285

by shrewdsheep (#47422787) Attached to: The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI
It should be pointed out that there is the notion of a significant proportions of jurors being fooled, i.e. there has to be statistical test showing that the proportion is bigger than a pre-specified threshold, given a pre-specified level of significance. Giving a resulting threshold by itself is meaningless. The Turing test is well defined and can be carried out whereas "originating a 'program' that it was not engineered to produce" is utterly undefined and a test could therefore not be carried out.

Comment: Re:Yes, Perl is indeed dead and rotting (Score 1) 283

by shrewdsheep (#47304717) Attached to: Perl Is Undead
I am a Perl developer of 20 years. Yet I feel that the lack of modern OO-syntax and -semantics makes the language akward to use. There is Moose but it comes with a startup performance penalty and syntax-modifiers like MooseX::Declare make such code incredibly difficult to debug. Yet there are some CPAN-modules for which I could not find replacments yet for either Python or Ruby. Parse::RecDescent allows you to write powerful parsers in an (IMO) incredibly sane way using (modified) BNF DBIx::* is a set of modules for ORM that allow you to write OO-database code without *any* glue code I would like to learn about alternatives (I am personally leaning more to Ruby than to Python). If Moose with MooseX::Declare would go into the core language without performance penalty, I would be happy for the next 10 years.

Comment: Re:Progenitors? (Score 1) 686

by shrewdsheep (#47220261) Attached to: Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

We weren't the first complicated life here. It took several mass extinctions, but then humanity as we know it took around 300,000 years to evolve from the ancestor primates, give or take a few million to get from the single-cell stage.

That would be a few million years from the splitting off of primates and a few billion years from the single-cell stage.

Comment: Re:Progenitors? (Score 1) 686

by shrewdsheep (#47220253) Attached to: Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

And through an accident of evolution our atmosphere was flooded with toxic oxygen early on. It's quite possible that any alien astronomers would have glanced at our world and thought "Whoa - an oxygen atmosphere, that's weird. What sort of hellish fire-stormed world do you imagine *that* would make for? Well, we're not going to find any life there, make a note in the logs and lets keep looking for more promising candidates."

I believe that would be a strong indication *for* life being present. Oxygen is a reactive molecule which would vanish by chemical reactions normally. Its presence indicates a steady state equilibrium which is one of the hallmarks of life.

Comment: Re:true, but not really because of R itself (Score 1) 185

by shrewdsheep (#47091097) Attached to: R Throwdown Challenge
I definitely concur. The depth of implementations of statistical methods dwarfs that of other languages (with Matlab coming closest). Two more aspects to add: R can be used to program in functional style. Together with being a vectorized language this can make programs more compact while still readable. This was what made me stick with R which is now one of my preferred languages. There is also the micro-DSL called formulas in R. Unless another programming language implements something similar, R will always be superior in specifying and working with statistical models. Escpecially, implementing new statistical methods is made much simpler using this machinery (plus tailor-made data handling: merging, missing data, etc.).

Comment: Re:The Economist (Score 1) 285

by shrewdsheep (#46777307) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?
I am digitally subscribed to Scientific American (German version) which is delivierd in DRM-free pdf. I remember that I relished just browsing magazines when I was young and I believe that this experience is gone for good. However, the experience can come close by using the internet to browse the issues and then bringing up the pdf on the tablet.

Comment: Re:The problem is that too much of it is state bas (Score 1) 135

Being in the field, I would like to add that transition to private industry might be more difficult for biomedical researchers as compared to engineers. Private employers are mainly pharma, some agriculture. Most employment trajectories leave research and even the biomedical field entirely. That being said, the standards for getting a PhD seem rather low nowadays (Europe/US) such that a tightening of standards could potentially lead to a virtuous circle (less researchers, better quality -> better research -> higher standards).

Comment: Boring and irrelevant (Score 1) 224

by shrewdsheep (#46600721) Attached to: Introducing a Calendar System For the Information Age
The next calendar system is as boring and irrelevant as the next programming language. Time is defined and measured by the passing of base unit (say a second) which can be counted. A calendar system is a surface on top of that unit. Make your pick but please do not bother others with your *better* new system.

You can bring any calculator you like to the midterm, as long as it doesn't dim the lights when you turn it on. -- Hepler, Systems Design 182