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Submission + - Investigating the Complexity of Academic Writing (

biohack writes: While the general public might expect that researchers should want to maximize comprehension of their work, academic writing tends to follow an opaque style permeated with professional jargon and complex syntax. Proposed explanations for the emergence of this style range from experts generally finding it difficult to be simple when writing about their expertise to more complex social and cultural theories:

Cynics charge ... that academics play an elitist game with their words: They want to exclude interlopers. Others say that academics have traditionally been forced to write in an opaque style to be taken seriously by the gatekeepers—academic journal editors, for example.


Submission + - Google, Book Publishers Settle Seven Year-Long Scanning Lawsuit (

redletterdave writes: "After seven long years of litigation, Google Inc. and the Association of American Publishers have reached an agreement to settle over the search giant’s book-scanning project, which will allow publishers to choose whether or not they want their books, journals and publications digitized by Google and accessed via its Google Library Project. The agreement, according to the two companies, acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright holders, so US publishers can choose to remove their books and journals digitized by Google for its Library Project, or choose to keep their publications available. For those that keep their works online with Google, those publishers will be able to keep a digital copy for their own use and sell their publications via the Google Play marketplace."

Comment comments and complexity (Score 1) 660

Two comments:

1. Comments are there to tell WHY the code is doing what it is doing, not necessarily what the code is doing. I deal with code all the time that has comments that tell me what I can easily learn by reading the code, but they don't tell me why so when it is broken I don't know if it is because there is a subtle problem with the code or that the developer didn't know what they were doing.

2. After literally getting headaches from reading code written by other people I came up with a simple metric: The complexity of the coding solution to a problem is inversely proportional to how well the developer understood the problem they were trying to solve. In other words, someone who understands the problem will have a simpler solution than someone who doesn't understand the problem as well. You can apply this metric to things other than code, too, but it is usually very apparent with software.

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