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Submission + - Univ. of Minnesota compiles database of peer-reviewed, open-acces textbooks (insidehighered.com) 1

BigVig209 writes: "Univ. of MN is cataloging open-access textbooks and enticing faculty to review the texts by offering $500 per review. Despite the author calling the open-source rather than open-access, this may be the first time a land-grant, public university makes this kind of resource available to faculty and students."

Comment From a current CME grad student (Score 1) 279

I'm a graduate student in condensed matter experiment, and I'm not at all worried about my future job prospects. Yes, it is very difficult to get one of the ~10 top-ranked tenure track positions that come open every year in a given sub-field, which would require at least one very-intense postdoc (and to some extent a lot of luck). It's somewhat less difficult to get a tenure track position as a second-tier school, and if you're good at teaching there's plenty of opportunities at smaller universities and liberal arts schools. There are however, tons of companies that hire physicists every year, especially ones who specialize in the more applied side of CME (magnetics, semiconductors, devices, etc). That's what I'm interested in, mostly because I would rather not work 60+ hours a week for the next 15 years. Physics is great fun, but it's not the only thing going on in my life. Outright fraud in physics is astoundingly rare. There's Heinrich Schoen and that's about all I can think of in the last few years. It's not a perfect world -- there are some assholes and also well-meaning people who write papers which are flat-out wrong for one reason or another. However, the vast majority of people who work in the field are honestly trying to do good work. I don't think you have anything in particular to worry about.

Comment Good paper, but not a major breakthrough (Score 5, Interesting) 15

Being able to grow well-ordered arrays of bismuth selenide and bismuth telluride nanoplates is a great improvement over the original VLS/Van der Waals growth method developed by Cui's group, in which you could grow similar nanoplates but they were randomly distributed across the surface (it's a pain to work with them since you have to track whichever one you want to use down by hand). However, it's not a huge breakthrough in the field and doesn't put us much closer to any of the proposed devices which would actually use topological insulators. Although they don't show any transport data in the paper the quality of the nanoplates may not be that good based on the ARPES data shown -- the fermi level falls well into the conduction band, and not in the gap as would be required by most interesting applications. Also, a more commonly used technique called molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) can also be used to grow continuous films of these materials across whole wafers, and several groups have demonstrated very high quality films this way.
TL;DR: A nice scientific paper, on an exciting topic, but no major breakthrough. Several interesting uses for TIs have been proposed but they are all very far out, everything going on right now is still basic research. (Full disclosure: I'm not affiliated with either group, but I am sitting in the lab measuring some TI-based devices right now).

Submission + - New Frog Species Found in NYC (wired.com)

interval1066 writes: "Ars Technica reports that a paper by biologists Catherine E. Newmana, Jeremy A. Feinbergb, Leslie J. Risslerc, Joanna Burgerb, & H. Bradley Shaffer, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, describes a new subspecies of leopard frog has been found living exclusively in New York City. The researchers describe in the paper that the new frog has a distinctive croak, quite different from the two existing species of leopard frogs on the East Coast. The new frog is also stand-offish and tends to impotently honk their horns when stuck in traffic."
Education

Submission + - Indian science adviser caught up in plagiarism row (nature.com)

ananyo writes: A cut-and-paste job by a PhD student has embroiled co-author C. N. R. Rao — science adviser to India’s Prime Minister — in controversy.

The paper, by Rao and materials scientist Saluru Baba Krupanidhi at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, along with two of their students — Basant Chitara and L. S. Panchakarla — explored the use of reduced graphene oxide and graphene nanoribbons as infrared photo detectors and was published online by Advanced Materials in July last year (abstract http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adma.201101414). But three sentences in the introduction and a description of an equation had been copied verbatim from a paper published in Applied Physics Letters in April 2010 (abstract http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3415499), with the source referenced. The controversy has led to a degree of introspection in India where some postgraduate students don't regard cutting and pasting a sentence here or there into a paper as scientific plagiarism.

IT

Submission + - Nordic Nations Pitch For US Data Centers (techweekeurope.co.uk)

judgecorp writes: "Nordic nations are all pitching for business from data centre owners, based on their countries' excellent network provision, plentiful electricity from renewable sources, and a climate where servers can be kept cool cheaply, using the ambient air temperature, with no need for chillers. A Swedish delegation is visiting California to lure other players to follow Facebook into Sweden. Meanwhile, Iceland now has a new multi-tenant data centre to join the existing Thor site, and Denmark has a container-park data centre for its financial industry."
Your Rights Online

Submission + - Hacked emails reveal Russian astroturfing program (guardian.co.uk)

gotfork writes: Quoting The Guardian: "A pro-Kremlin group runs a network of internet trolls, seeks to buy flattering coverage of Vladimir Putin and hatches plans to discredit opposition activists and media, according to private emails allegedly hacked by a group calling itself the Russian arm of Anonymous."

While a similar program has operated in China for a long time, and some commentators have suggested that a similar program exists in Russia, this is the first confirmation.

Science

Submission + - 10-Year Old Girl Accidentally Discovers New Explosive Molecule, Co-Authors Paper (techie-buzz.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Clara might just be a normal fifth grade student, but she just got her name into a paper, which she co-authored with Robert Zoellner. It all started in science class when Kenneth Boehr, her science teacher, brought out the ball-and-stick model and allowed the students to just play around. The ball-and-stick models are used to visualize simple molecules and often proves quite instrumental in explaining the angles and lengths of bonds right.
Idle

Submission + - Syrian President's email hacked... Password was 12345 (talkingpointsmemo.com) 1

Nominei writes: The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the Syrian President, aides and staffers had their email hacked by Anonymous, who leaked hundreds of emails online. Reportedly, many of the accounts used the password "12345" (which their IT department probably warned them to change when the accounts got set up, of course).

Link to original news article: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/bashar-assad-emails-leaked-tips-for-abc-interview-revealed-1.411445

Submission + - Pink Floyd Engineer Alan Parsons Rips Audiophiles, YouTube and Jonas Brothers (cepro.com) 1

CIStud writes: "Famed "Dark Side of the Moon" engineer Alan Parsons, who also worked on the Beatles "Abbey Road," says audiophiles spend too much money on equipment and ignore room acoustics. He also is surprised the music industry has not addressed the artists' rights violations taking place on YouTube, wonders why surround-sound mixes for albums never took off, and calls the Jonas Brothers "garbage" all in one interview."
The Media

Submission + - Time's Person of the Year is 'The Protester'

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Time's editor Rick Stengel announced on 'The Today Show' that "The Protester" is Time Magazine's Person of the Year: From the Arab Spring to Athens, From Occupy Wall Street to Moscow. “For capturing and highlighting a global sense of restless promise, for upending governments and conventional wisdom, for combining the oldest of techniques with the newest of technologies to shine a light on human dignity and, finally, for steering the planet on a more democratic though sometimes more dangerous path for the 21st century." The initial gut reaction on Twitter seems to be one of derision, as Time has gone with a faceless human mass instead of picking a single person like Tunisian fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi who Time mentions in the story and is widely acknowledged as the person who set off the "Arab Spring." In 2006, Time chose "You" with a mirrored cover to much disappointment, picked the personal computer as "Machine of the Year" and Earth as "Planet of the Year," proving "that it should probably just be "Story of the Year" if they aren't going to acknowledge an actual person," writes Dashiell Bennett. "By not picking any one individual, they've basically chosen no one.""
China

Submission + - China-Based Hacking of 760 Companies Reflects Unde (bloomberg.com)

lacaprup writes: Chinese-based hacking of 760 different corporations reflects a growing, undeclared cyber war. From giants like Intel and Google to unknowns like iBahn, the Chinese hackers steal everything isn't nailed down. Simply put, it is easier and cheaper to steal rather than develop the legal way.
China has consistently denied it has any responsibility for hacking that originated from servers on its soil, but — based on what is known of attacks from China, Russia and other countries — a declassified estimate of the value of the blueprints, chemical formulas and other material stolen from U.S. corporate computers in the last year reached almost $500 billion

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