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Comment Re:Will referee? (Score 1) 206

I am mathematician, and I am intending to sign the pledge, and I think most likely I will also omit pledge no. 2). The reason I am hesitant to make 2) a strict rule is the following (not unlikely) scenario:
  • A young scientist (say, with a post-doc position) submits an article to an Elsevier journal.
  • I am a natural choice as referee (i.e. it's easier for me to judge the work than for any other potential referee the editor might think of).

If I refuse to referee the article, the editor may have trouble finding a referee, or the referee may be less qualified. Either will result in a longer delay of the process, and in a more random outcome of the process. Meanwhile, maybe the next job application for the author is only a few months away. My own judgment is that the author preferably shouldn't have sent this article to an Elsevier journal. But I don't feel so strongly about it that I want this to cause him to have one fewer published article on his CV during his next job hunt.
The other scenario where I would accept to referee is the one pointed out by other commenters: I am aware of a problem with the article (does not cite related results/correct result, but one of the proofs is wrong/incorrect results/...) - it would be a disservice to the community not to point this out to the editor. Which is all a referee report is in such a case.

The Internet

Submission + - Google Harnesses Wind to Power Iowa Data Center (

1sockchuck writes: "Wind turbines will contribute about 18 percent of the power for Google's new data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which was officially announced this morning. Iowa utility MidAmerican Energy can generate up to 460 megawatts of electricity with its 323 wind turbines, and is planning to more than double that capacity. The use of wind power from MidAmerican fits Google's ongoing emphasis on green computing and energy efficiency, which just activated solar panels on its Mountain View campus and recently announced a push for high-efficiency computer power supplies. The Iowa data center is the fourth $600 million facility Google has announced this year."

Submission + - First Man-Machine Poker Competition - $50k prize (

FullyCompletely writes: During the upcoming 2007 AAAI Conference in Vancouver, a team from the University of Alberta will compete against human poker experts Phil "The Unabomber" Laak and Ali Eslami for $50,000 in the first Man-Machine Poker Competition. The University of Alberta Poker Research Group are the authors of Hyperborean, the winner of the AAAI 2006 Computer Poker Competition. The 2007 competition is just around the corner, and the results will be announced at AAAI from July 23-24th in Vancouver, Canada. During AAAI, the team's newest program — Polaris — will also compete live in duplicate poker matches against Phil and Ali. The game is Limit Texas Hold'Em, and four 500-hand sessions will be run. More details about the competitors and the duplicate poker format can be found at the match website. The purpose of the AAAI Computer Poker competition and this Man-Machine match is to further AI research. The programs in last year's competition made a good showing, and this year's contenders are expected to be very strong. Competitions in other games (Chinook against Marion Tinsley in Checkers, Deep Blue against Kasparov in Chess) have shown that computers can beat human opponents in deterministic, perfect information games, but poker is different — there's hidden information and stochastic outcomes. Is it time for computers to challenge human dominance in Poker, too?

Submission + - "Spam King" pleads guilty in U.S. federal

Monty writes: As previously reported by Cmdr Taco in February, 2006 ( 41229) looks like Adam Vitale finally decided to plead guilty ( 1120537620070611) to violation of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 in federal court in New York City. Is his cohort Moeller next?

Submission + - The Man Behind the Google Doodle

theodp writes: "His drawings are viewed by nearly 180 million people a day. He's one of the most important graphic designers in the business world. And yet the mild-mannered 29-year-old keeps a low profile, devoting only a small fraction of his time to his art. Dennis Hwang is the Google doodler, the man whose hand-drawn alterations of the search engine's logo commemorate holidays, artists' birthdays, and other random events that the company deems important. His fans include James Watson, who asked for a signed print of the Google DNA logo."

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