Friday, July 22, 2016

Politics and the arXiv collide!

I read a lot of politics and so when I see a link to the arXiv on a political blog, I had to do a double take. After all, I read a lot of physics as well. It feels a little strange, to tell you the truth. Anyway, glad to see the arXiv serve the broader community (neh, a broader impact :). Anyway, the political blog is at the TalkingPointsMemo (highly recommended reading) and if you don't want to click through, the arXiv paper is this one.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Dishonest Folks

I'm aware that students can cheat with smartwatches, but wasn't aware of watches designed for cheating. Instructors may want to click through to the Amazon page to see what these look like.

And it's not just students being dishonest. I've had an archenemy in my department for a few years now and it's not pleasant. However, I could always step back and tell myself that he wasn't trying to hurt my career or enrich himself. He simply had a very different vision for what the department should be. Indeed, I think he had lost sight of what an academic should be.

But in a recent episode, I'm reminded of where the title for this blog comes from. The issue involved a personnel recommendation and, as usual, he was assigned to draft it (the committee would then have to approve it). He ignored what was discussed in committee (as per his usual), but he also saw fit to, at the very least, be very misleading. I would call it lying. This latter deception was surprising, but in the course of various emails trying to sway the committee members our way (him against me), he sends out an email similarly lying about the emails themselves.

I somehow find it surprising to find faculty act without basic integrity. And of course the fact that the paragraph in question is ultimately inconsequential just makes me even sadder about the whole situation. True to form though (the guy knows how to battle), when in the end he lost, he sends out an email praising the rewording as being better than his as if he hadn't just lost but instead succeeded in making the letter better!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Don't believe the Hype!

The academic establishment in their ivory tower is trying to shove some
more of their pseudoscience down the throat of the public yet again.
For thirty years, a cabal of Caltech and MIT scientists have bilked the
US taxpayer of a billion tax dollars via yet another unnecessary governmental
agency, the National Science Foundation (where in the
Constitution does it say that the government should support basic science
research? If it's so valuable, the free market would support it). In order
to keep their jobs and their plush summer salaries flowing, these ``scientists''
are trying to convince the public that they've finally measured something.
But they've gone too far, claiming a huge signal that perfectly matches what
the numerical results predicted (if they were a bit smarter, they would have
made it a bit more different!). And the system they claim to see would have
been orbiting for hundreds of millions of years, and the second they turn
on LIGO they just happen to see these black holes merge? What a coincidence!

None other than the great scientist Albert Einstein showed that gravitational
waves don't exist! Yes, I know his paper showing this was rejected, but do you
know which publication this was? Physical Review! The very same publication
that is pushing LIGO's latest by publishing their ``detection'' as a Letter.
We need to investigate who's funding this journal. I wouldn't be surprised
to find a Soros or Bill Gates funneling cash their way.

The astute reader will notice the similarities between this gravitational
conspiracy and the whole global warming hoax. They're following the same
basic plan...put a slick looking graph (e.g. the hockey stick) out there,
argue a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, and ask for more money. Let's all rise up
and call on our Congress to investigate and subpoena their emails. As mad
as you are reading about this, just think of all those poor, duped individuals
calling for a Nobel prize (of all things) for revealing a fundamental property
of nature and developing the technology for further discoveries. Hardly!
We need to put these people in jail for scientific fraud.

Update (03/02/16): As per Doug's comment, let me say explicitly this post was written in complete jest. I thought maybe it might produce some reactions one way or another, and so I monitored it for a while. When I saw no reaction for a week or so, I got busy and forgot about it.