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Modern Methods For Sharing Innovation

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the let's-see-what-you've-got dept.

Hardware Hacking 91

The New York Times is running a story about Johnny Chung Lee, a hardware hacker made famous for his projects which modified the Nintendo Wiimote to do things like positional head tracking and multi-touch display control. The article focuses on the suggestion that Lee's use of YouTube to demonstrate his innovations has done a better job of communicating his ideas than more traditional methods could. Quoting: "He might have published a paper that only a few dozen specialists would have read. A talk at a conference would have brought a slightly larger audience. In either case, it would have taken months for his ideas to reach others. Small wonder, then, that he maintains that posting to YouTube has been an essential part of his success as an inventor. 'Sharing an idea the right way is just as important as doing the work itself,' he says. 'If you create something but nobody knows, it's as if it never happened.'"

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91 comments

I just go outside.. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25517413)

And yell, loudly. Eventually, people start running from everywhere, the police show up, etc, just to see what I'm yelling about. Then after that, I know the people who heard me yelling talk about it for weeks.

Re:I just go outside.. (0, Offtopic)

kesuki (321456) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518515)

well personally i'm paranoid schizophrenic,and the comments i wanted to link to were selectively deleted from slashdot. and this comment may mysteriously disappear as well.

I was called the scariest guy on slashdot. it was modded +5 funny but it probably got me killed in my 30s and as such i can recall it. just trust me, i am the scariest guy on slashdot.

it was in that entry about the mice having their memories deleted, and well i know this comment will dissapear and create a lot of headaches, but that's why i like slashdot, real human moderators, to come to the aid of human kind when it is most in need.

ahh what the hell i need fuel i have delusions of grandeur as well just call me GOD. there it's out of my system. i screamed as loudly as i could in a mental institute "I AM GOD" and then they drugged me up after the police came. yeah, yelling I AM GOD to someone an making them very very scared i can't say it was fun, because at the moment i honestly believed it.

by the way, some people say you need to get high to really appreciate some tv shows, for me, i just have to go off my meds for a day. it's sweet.

But Youtube will still be blocked anyway at work (4, Insightful)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517507)

As someone who works in R&D I can absolutely agree.

I stumbled across his valuable work in my own time though, since the Government of Canada blocks Youtube and other blog/social networking sites. Until workplaces and institutions relax/modernise internet policy usage, we won't be seeing the full benefit of these new methods of communication.

Re:But Youtube will still be blocked anyway at wor (1)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517849)

A ScienceTube would solve that problem, no?

Re:But Youtube will still be blocked anyway at wor (1)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517903)

Not really, as it would require other people to judge what is relevant to the particular scientific area I'm currently researching, and hopefully place it upon ScienceTube.

An employer who trusted their employees to actually work and not to go all giddy over pictures of puppies wearing hats, would solve the problem more efficiently.

Re:But Youtube will still be blocked anyway at wor (0)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517971)

You make an excellent point. There should no censorship/restriction whatsoever. Freedom must be the name of the game.

Re:But Youtube will still be blocked anyway at wor (2, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518045)

When you find something work related at youtube, send a link to your boss. Do this often when you work from home. As management makes a business case for it, it will happen.

Re:But Youtube will still be blocked anyway at wor (1)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518283)

Doesn't work as nicely as it does in private industry - the policy makers are not scientifically inclined and only display a token interest the opinions of those beneath them.

I daresay (because I've been out of it directly for the last 6 years) that private industry has already found a balance between the productive and non-productive usage of things like YouTube.

A waste of bandwidth (2, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518675)

Where I work, YouTube is blocked and rightly so. A true scientist has more effective communication methods than videos. That's why *writing* was invented in the first place. A set of abstract symbols is perfect for sending through ideas and findings.

I think it's a sad side effect of computers and the internet that people are forgetting how to write effectively, using icons and videos instead of clearly structured and written text.

Now get off my lawn.

Re:A waste of bandwidth (1)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519543)

Just take 30 seconds of time and bandwidth, by viewing this starting half-way through from 2:30-3:00

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd3-eiid-Uw [youtube.com]

Now tell me that those 30 seconds don't convey more via video than could be conveyed through 30 seconds of reading abstract symbols.

Every tool can be misused, and video is not a perfect tool for many tasks. But to slate all of YouTube because it can be used frivolously is dangerously short sighted.

"deep linking" in youtube videos (3, Informative)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25521565)

Just take 30 seconds of time and bandwidth, by viewing this starting half-way through from 2:30-3:00

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd3-eiid-Uw [youtube.com]

Now tell me that those 30 seconds don't convey more via video than could be conveyed through 30 seconds of reading abstract symbols.

Fun fact: YouTube now lets you link to a specific time in a video, by added a time-index anchor at the end of the URL. For example, add #t=2m30 [youtube.com] to the link you just posted.

Re:"deep linking" in youtube videos (1)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25521903)

That's pretty awesome, thanks for the tip.

Re:"deep linking" in youtube videos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25527973)

I guess there is some use for that old-fashioned writing thing after all.

Re:A waste of bandwidth (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523357)

Just take 30 seconds of time and bandwidth, by viewing this starting half-way through from 2:30-3:00

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd3-eiid-Uw [youtube.com]

Now tell me that those 30 seconds don't convey more via video than could be conveyed through 30 seconds of reading abstract symbols.

But to get to that 30 seconds, if you didn't tell me the time to look at, I would have to wait 2m30s to get to the point. (Which is an unfortunate problem with video - it's not easily scannable like text, where I can try some search terms and see if the rest of the abstract symbols are worth investigation.

This is hampered by long-winded folks who show 9 minutes of everything and nothing, then get to the point.

There is a happy medium - a combination of text, graphics and video - the video should be used to highly the dynamic part that no text could describe clearly, while the text and pictures can highlight your setup - being static, it's far easier to examine and replicate than to keep seeking 10 seconds back in the video...

Alas, the problem is, video is the new gimmicky feature, so it's video everything even when there are better methods of communicating things. Video for dynamics, graphics for illustration, and text for description. Littering text around a video also helps index it. Or for others, it seems, video is the lazy man's pad of paper - don't want to write it up, so I'll just film it all.

Re:A waste of bandwidth (1)

raduf (307723) | more than 5 years ago | (#25521921)

That may have been tongue-in-cheek, but i'll bite anyways. In this case even if the first medium would have been paper, you'd still have heard of it through a video. Those particular demonstrations work much better this way then in print. Imagine what you would have thought reading an article about someone modding a wii remote. Boring, eh?

Re:A waste of bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25524199)

For some inventions, the written word is not enough. A video helps get the point across much better.

Re:A waste of bandwidth (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526903)

This is similar to the argument that Europeans are smarter than Americans, because they are forced to learn more than one language. I call bullshit on both arguments.

Communication is the grease that allows society to exist. Grease doesn't power or control a machine. It only keeps the machine from tearing itself apart. The less grease you can use the better. Using a lighter, less viscuous grease allow the machine to be more efficient. In all cases, having to work through the viscosity of the lubrication robs a machine from accomplishing its ultimate goal (regardless of what the goal may be.)

Learning to interpret symbols that are often vague or ambiguous robs the process of some efficiency. I can post a video of here-this-is-how-it-works.mpg, or I can write a manual. The latter takes orders of magnitude more training and experience to do properly, and the end result is that it is less effective and more time consuming to use.

It is the same for learning multiple languages. You can travel across Europe and need to know five different ways to order breakfast. You can claim Americans are dumb for not knowing five languages, but I counter that you're dumb for NEEDING five languages in the first place.

The one downside to being able to write effectively, and don't kid yourself into thinking that it was ever a common trait, is that the tediousness of writing forces a clarity of thought. It is easier to be be sloppy in a quick video and still be effective enough to get the job done. Not that clarity of thought has always been a common trait either, but at least with writing as the only form of mass communication we strived for it.

Re:A waste of bandwidth (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 5 years ago | (#25527011)

On the contrary, language, especially English, is particularly ambigious, and a highly inefficient means of communication. However, it is practical when nothing else is available except your mouth. Writing, by extension, is the most practical method of record keeping, as it requires the least technology to create and replicate. There is also an advantage to language in that it can express the abstract. However, abstractions are more practical for social settings, of which language dominates as the preferred means of communication.

But there are many better methods of communication and recording, though such methods have only recently become viable. Actually, the recording part has been easy for the past 40 or so years, but the duplication part only recently became ubiquitous.

There is value to the old way, and value to the new way. I wouldn't shun either just for the sake of doing so.

Re:A waste of bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25527549)

If video recording/transmission were as easy to invent as writing, I doubt writing would have been invented for at least a few hundreds of years later. It's much easier to communicate when you can not only speak (something you already know how to do, unlike writing) but you can also gesture and show things.

Re:But Youtube will still be blocked anyway at wor (1)

pablodiazgutierrez (756813) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519339)

Perhaps we need a tool, 'a la' StumbleUpon, that lets people classify content as serious or time waster. Then companies could use the tool to decide that gets filtered in their offices. Any takers?

Re:But Youtube will still be blocked anyway at wor (1)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519855)

I'm content to let the old guard (literally) die off. It wasn't too long ago that email was the office bogeyman and considered a novelty - until legitimate business uses were consistently made of it.

It's the same story - if your workers are abusing a technology then your problem is with your workers - or rather your management of those workers - not the technology.

Management is usually last to point the finger of blame at itself, which is precisely why we continually see technology scapegoated.

Filtering content as 'serious' or 'time-wasting' legitimises the bogus mindset of the old-guard and thus prolongs the damage they perpetuate to true innovation.

Re:But Youtube will still be blocked anyway at wor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25521977)

Management is usually last to point the finger of blame at itself, which is precisely why we continually see technology scapegoated.

That problem isn't limited to management and technology. People in general are reluctant to assume responsibility when things go wrong.

Re:But Youtube will still be blocked anyway at wor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25521333)

the Government of Canada blocks Youtube and other blog/social networking sites

I wasn't aware of this. Hold on while I add it to wikipedia...

Re:But Youtube will still be blocked anyway at wor (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522979)

Is embedded steaming blocked as well? You could just throw together a quick site that has embed links for the relevant videos and send a link to the man in charge.

Because of the Internet, everyone's an expert... (4, Insightful)

Anik315 (585913) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517521)

The Internet has made innovation much easier. You just have to be willing to do the appropriate reading. There is clearly alot of innovation going on behind the scenes by ordinary people but no one knows about most of it and it makes it seem as if innovation is in decline. If technical journals made it easier for ordinary people to get published it might alleviate the situation somewhat.

Re:Because of the Internet, everyone's an expert.. (4, Insightful)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517601)

The innovation going on behind the scenes is trending to make the pay-per-view technical journals less relevant precisely because of their exclusionary nature which relies upon a monopoly on the accepted forms of professional communication.

Re:Because of the Internet, everyone's an expert.. (2, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517763)

The innovation going on behind the scenes is trending to make the pay-per-view technical journals less relevant precisely because of their exclusionary nature which relies upon a monopoly on the accepted forms of professional communication.

Ever consider the concept of signal [nature.com] to noise [timecube.com]? Sure, you can find almost anything on the Internet if you look hard enough. Sometimes, I just want to find what I'm looking for, organized in a coherent fashion and perhaps backed up by some organization with a real telephone number.

Or just somebody with some toehold to reality.

Re:Because of the Internet, everyone's an expert.. (1)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517791)

And Wikipedia.. that'll never work.

Re:Because of the Internet, everyone's an expert.. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517877)

Ahem. I said coherent. But anyway, Wikipedia is a wonderful thing, I can find out about all sorts of useless bits of social trivia and TV programs that I've never heard of. But as far as a technical reference, it is pretty spotty. And it tends to be either less detailed than I'm looking for (on technical subjects) or way more detailed than I had hoped it would be (on said TV programs).

The Wikipedia is an enormously interesting experiment in human knowledge, but I think the death of paid subscription databases has been greatly exaggerated.

Re:Because of the Internet, everyone's an expert.. (1)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518059)

If I thought that Wikipedia were near the end of the scale of what we can achieve through collaborative information gathering and/or decision making, then I'd readily agree.

As Clay Shirky points out with regards our cognitive surplus, Wikipedia is just a drop in the ocean with regards our potential.

Re:Because of the Internet, everyone's an expert.. (2, Interesting)

Dan Pope (1388435) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518719)

Wikipedia is indeed patchy, but I wouldn't tar all of its technical content with the same brush. Certain fields are represented very well, e.g. mathematics. There are in some fields quite a solid core of people that watch edits on anything in certain categories and look at the changes, effectively performing peer review. Of course, things slip through, but if you look at the profiles of these people many of them are university professors, researchers, and so on. I think mathematics on wikipedia is possibly a bit of a special case though, since definitions are necessarily extremely precise, far more so than in other fields. This does, at least in part, ensure that a lot of the people who contribute have the kind of mindset needed to be editors. (Before a load of people flame me about how this applies in physics, computer science etc, my only reason for not using those as a reference is that as a mathematician myself, I thought I'd talk about what I know.)

Wikipedia is also often the *only* place you will find a page explaining what something actually is, first time. Search engines almost never achieve that.

Re:Because of the Internet, everyone's an expert.. (1)

MaxVT (875481) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543001)

Actually, they do, in a way: the first search result (or one of the top ones) for many queries on Google would be the page on Wikipedia.

jewtube is the cancer (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25517595)

killing our imagination

no sensible person would ever use it

If you never see it, it never happened (2, Insightful)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517623)

And if they make me remember my registration, I'll never read their article.

a picture is worth a thousand words... (2, Insightful)

the positive path (1288162) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517633)

and a video is worth a million.

Re:a picture is worth a thousand words... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25530617)

a picture is worth a thousand words...
and a video is worth a million.

Yet a picture can take up a million words
And a video take a billion.

It's a penny for your thoughts
When you put your two cents in,
But you make it up in volume
And you rake the profit in.

Papers and seminars are useless (5, Insightful)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517663)

Every paper I've read and every talk I've been to has been nearly useless for reproducing the results. The author/speaker always glosses over some crucial component as though it were common knowledge. "Here we used a 4th Order Adaptive Runge-Kutta solver to integrate the following equations for fluid dynamics." "Um, excuse me, but do you have any source code for that solver?" "That's left as an exercise to the reader." Last time I checked, professors would give you a much lower grade if you didn't show your work.

Re:Papers and seminars are useless (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517923)

well, to be fair, if they had to hold your hand through the entire process it'd take a lot more time--since these are usually more complicated inventions than those in Dr. Lee's videos--and so fewer speakers would be able to share their research. i mean, they're seminars not workshops. scientific seminars usually aren't aimed at laymen audiences, so you're expected to have a certain level of knowledge and scientific background. that way speakers can just gloss over the nonessential steps that other researchers involved in the field could be expected to solve on their own. and if you do need clarification, couldn't you just approach the speaker after the presentation?

of course, if the speaker misjudges the education-level/knowledgeability/scientific background of his audience, then he would be wasting his time and everyone else's. so it's important not to assume that the audience already knows everything that you know about the mechanism/method you use to demonstrate your invention or idea. and it's just as important to court the right audience for your seminar.

Re:Papers and seminars are useless (2, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519201)

Indeed. One 20 minute talk is not enough time to give details about how to do even the most basic of lab procedures needed to replicate results in biology. In many studies, one year of lab experience is not enough.

Re:Papers and seminars are useless (2, Insightful)

EaglemanBSA (950534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517933)

The reasons for this are less that they don't want to share the information, and more that you can't include such things in most papers because of page restrictions/time restrictions on the publication/presentation. It is usually assumed anyone _that_ interested would know how to plug these things into an RK4 (etc), so he can get on with what his work really means.

That said, my solution to this has been to include a url with all my relevant source code in the references section of all the papers I've published. It's a professional way to include the information without having to deal with the publication's restrictions, and I wish I saw more of it, especially as journals go electronic and have no excuse for such small page limits.

Re:Papers and seminars are useless (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518261)

Yup, I also try to include links to svn repositories with my papers these days. I also don't tend to regard publication and peer review as being related anymore. Publication is a way of keeping score, but peer review happens first. I put my code in a public subversion repository and blog about it first. Then I incorporate any feedback I've received, and then I write paper. The paper is just a summary of the work. If you want more details, then read the blogs and the code.

Re:Papers and seminars are useless (1)

sketerpot (454020) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518609)

Yup, I also try to include links to svn repositories with my papers these days.

THANK YOU THANK YOU HOLY SHIT THANK YOU! I can't tell you how many times I've wanted that when I was reading a paper. Everybody needs to do this if possible. YES.

Re:Papers and seminars are useless (1)

pablodiazgutierrez (756813) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519397)

The problem with that approach is that it effectively removes the 2-way blindness from review systems that aim for it. Most conferences provide means for uploading supporting content, and you can use this for your code, properly anonymized. It's a different thing once the paper has been accepted.

Re:Papers and seminars are useless (1)

DrIdiot (816113) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518301)

That's because Runge-Kutta is a well known method. You can even find an algorithm on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]. For the speaker's audience, this is common knowledge - it's covered in basic differential equations classes (or numerical methods classes) - and it's boring to go over the details. People aren't going to his talk to revisit elementary concepts. If you don't know the basic concepts required to understand his talk and aren't even willing to look it up on Wikipedia, stop going to talks.

Re:Papers and seminars are useless (1)

aphyr (1130531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518581)

Agreed; RK4 is a well-documented algorithm, and unless you're dealing with truly pathological functions or edge-case parameters, results should be easily reproducible no matter what implementation of the algorithm you use.

I *do* understand your frustration when dealing with algorithms that have just been invented for purposes of the analysis; I'm in the process of trying to compare the divergence of trajectories in the quantum vs classical Duffing oscillators, and some of the papers I'm reading leave their algorithm almost completely undescribed. On the other hand, explaining how the analysis works could easily take dozens of pages, so for limitations of space, perhaps that's best. :-)

Re:Papers and seminars are useless (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518913)

and how would a modern researcher get patents etc or not get ripped off by his peers if he showed you how its done ?
the whole idea is for research to act as an advertisement for further grants and eventually obtain patents and add real value to the corporate backers. plus it boosts your credentials as a researcher. there is no value to scientific research if joe schmoe can just duplicate my work and rip it off. keep your grubby paws off my research you proles.

Re:Papers and seminars are useless (1)

invisiblerhino (1224028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519303)

OK, I'm not going to just list every paper I've ever read as a counter argument. But in my experience (physicist), if such details are left out, it's because they're either common knowledge or space is limited. Admittedly, some people just bullshit but that's rare.

Re:Papers and seminars are useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25520551)

Speaking of professors, I've got some, and if I don't show how I added up multiple-digit numbers, or how I performed the process of division, or even if I show no work for exponentiation, I don't get marked off!

"Show your work" serves precisely three roles:

First, to prove that the material is understood. This is necessary at lower levels in education, but as one ascends the hierarchy, the degree to which one can simply be trusted to have some idea what one is talking about increases, as it should.

Two, to provide a safety net to award partial credit in case of mechanical error, or for an error in understanding that is not major enough to justify completely incorrect marks. This is self-evidently worthless in the kind of environment you describe.

Three, to permit the audience to follow what the hell is going on. This is the part you're complaining about, but the first question should be "am I really representative of the audience". If the crucial component really is common knowledge, not glossing over it just wastes everyone else's time, and holds everyone back to your level--something I seem to remember being unpopular in modern basic education.

Re:Papers and seminars are useless (1)

jschen (1249578) | more than 5 years ago | (#25520967)

Seminars are only to give you a taste of the topic. If you don't get what you need from a seminar, read the associated paper(s). If that isn't good enough, check over the supporting information. (At least in chemistry, many journals now allow supporting information with virtually no size limit, and including, as necessary, objects such as animation that can't be included in the printed journal.) And if that doesn't do the trick, get a copy of the corresponding thesis dissertation(s) (if there are any) or contact the corresponding author.

Every once in a while, my postdoctoral advisor gets e-mails requesting more information about a paper from the lab. If necessary, we'll track down the original lab notebook page from our pile of old notebooks in storage, even if it's from the 1970's. It's part of our job as scholarly researchers, and we request the same information from other laboratories and almost always get a useful response. Just because the information you want isn't presented to you on a silver platter doesn't mean it's not readily available.

Cold fusion (2, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517731)

I recall that cold fusion got so much notice by the scientists holding a press conference ... before publishing their paper.

Presumably the next pseudoscience snake oil innovation will be publicised in a YouTube video incorporating phone footage of a hilarious injury and the word "FAIL" in Impact Condensed, to the tune of "Still Alive".

Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (4, Interesting)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517783)

Who needs peer review when you got YouTube and the Internet? The entire world should be our peers, not just a small elitist group. Traditional peer review is mostly a censorship mechanism that is used to suppress minority opinions. It creates an incestuous situation whereby science becomes stuck in a rut of its own making from which only a Kuhnian revolution can extricate it. This is no good. The cross pollenization of ideas is essential to progress and should be welcome by all scientists. The writing is on the wall. The Internet will kill the old-style peer review system and I, for one, will not shed any tears. Just cast your idea upon the waters and see how it fares. If it's any good, it will grow. If not, it will die. That is the new trend. What could be better?

As a case in point, the Slashdot moderation mechanism is a prime example of an old-style peer review mechanism that is due for a serious revision. It allows a small group of regulars (with time on their hands) to change what others should perceive according to their perspective. Where is the freedom in that? We don't need chaperones, thank you very much. A private kill-file/rating system would be better, in my opinion.

OK. Now mod me down if you disagree and make my point for me.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (3, Insightful)

siride (974284) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517999)

A little elitism is a good thing. You don't want just people making judgments in fields that they know little to nothing about. That's where you get pseudo-science and superstition.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (2, Insightful)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518033)

That's where you get pseudo-science and superstition.

Well, I want to be the judge of that. I refuse to let others make that decision for me. Freedom is the name of the game.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519335)

Of course Louis argues against traditional peer review and elitism. In his case it has worked well at keeping his own brand of psuedo-science away from respectable outlets. For those of you arguing against him - don't bother. Just google him and read some of the bizarre rants that he has come up with in the past. Then remember that peer review was designed to keep him, and those cranks like him, away from mainstream academia.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25521215)

Everybody knows who I am. At least have the decency to identify yourself when you attack someone personally. Ohterwise, you're just a gutless coward. No backbone. Or just small fries, as you put it. LOL.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25521601)

Well, people believe in young earth creationism, psychics, voodoo and a whole lot of non-sense. No one is saying that the opinion of the masses should be oppressed. I don't have to respect the opinions of people who have no idea of what they speak.

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." - Mark Twain.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25521665)

That's where you get pseudo-science and superstition.

Well, I want to be the judge of that. I refuse to let others make that decision for me. Freedom is the name of the game.

You _are_ free. You can stay away conferences and journals. You can create a new concept called Science 2.0 and convince people to join you exclusively on YouTube, blogs, Wikipedia, your new revolutionary idea for Science 2.0 review and publishing, or whatever.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522121)

You _are_ free. You can stay away conferences and journals. You can create a new concept called Science 2.0 and convince people to join you exclusively on YouTube, blogs, Wikipedia, your new revolutionary idea for Science 2.0 review and publishing, or whatever.

You're right, we are free but with one little but important exception. The taxpayer's money is being used to promote and fund non-free science.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 5 years ago | (#25527261)

If you think you can be the judge of a topic you know nothing about, I must question your ability to make judgments.

You have every right to make a judgment, just as everybody else has the right to ignore you. And if you try to make the claim that you are somehow qualified when you are clearly not, then you would and should be considered a fraud.

Replication matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518663)

You don't want just people making judgments in fields that they know little to nothing abou

Yeah but the whole essence of science is reproducibility. If peer reviewed journals are publishing things that can't exactly be reproduced because of IP concerns of the authors, and, a web site is publishing content whose results can be reproduced, you have better science on the web site.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25520781)

"A little elitism is a good thing. You don't want just people making judgments in fields that they know little to nothing about."

Your comment assumes that men (elite men) have the universal capacity to separate truth from it's illusions, this is not the case. Elitism actually stems from the enlightenment fallacy, about the nature of reasoning and truth.

(Quick version)
http://i35.tinypic.com/10fruxh.jpg [tinypic.com]

(Longer version)
http://www.linktv.org/video/2142 [linktv.org]

A few wise words from are good old friend Ibn...

"Therefore, the seeker after the truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and, following his natural disposition, puts his trust in them, but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them, the one who submits to argument and demonstration, and not to the sayings of a human being whose nature is fraught with all kinds of imperfection and deficiency. Thus the duty of the man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and, applying his mind to the core and margins of its content, attack it from every side. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency."--Ibn al-Haytham

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_al-haytham [wikipedia.org]

Elitism = bad, having people knowing how to separate truth from it's illusions = good, but NO man has a monopoly on the truth. Experts have been frequently shown to be wrong throughout history, one only has to see the history of science to know how stupid experts are. They just don't get caught until after they are dead. Notice how when we look back in time, histories "experts" look childish as knowledge advances. Lots of histories world changers were resisted, criticized, or ignored by the "elites", especially in mathematics.

George Cantor, and George boole, just to name a few

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Cantor [wikipedia.org]

"Cantor's theory of transfinite numbers was originally regarded as so counter-intuitiveâ"even shockingâ"that it encountered resistance from mathematical contemporaries such as Leopold Kronecker and Henri Poincaré[3] and later from Hermann Weyl and L. E. J. Brouwer, while Ludwig Wittgenstein raised philosophical objections. Some Christian theologians (particularly neo-Scholastics) saw Cantor's work as a challenge to the uniqueness of the absolute infinity in the nature of God,[4] on one occasion equating the theory of transfinite numbers with pantheism.[5] The objections to his work were occasionally fierce: Poincaré referred to Cantor's ideas as a "grave disease" infecting the discipline of mathematics,[6] and Kronecker's public opposition and personal attacks included describing Cantor as a "scientific charlatan", a "renegade" and a "corrupter of youth."[7] Writing decades after Cantor's death, Wittgenstein lamented that mathematics is "ridden through and through with the pernicious idioms of set theory," which he dismissed as "utter nonsense" that is "laughable" and "wrong".[8] Cantor's recurring bouts of depression from 1884 to the end of his life were once blamed on the hostile attitude of many of his contemporaries,[9]..."

One could write entire volumes about the errors in reasoning and mistakes of the "elite" throughout history, the truth is hard, and no one has a monopoly on the truth. Therefore we should all be careful about being dogmatic about anything, and not tie our identities up with what we think we know, because as knowledge advances new information will likely upset our current conceptions of what we accept as truth or not truth.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

siride (974284) | more than 5 years ago | (#25521201)

Look, you definitely don't want a closed priesthood of know-it-alls. That's bad and as you point out, it's had bad consequences in the past. On the other hand, you don't want people with little to no experience, who don't follow any sort of rigorous methodology, making up "knowledge". We've already seen what happens when that happens: urban legends, informercials and God knows what else. You have to strike a balance between keeping a field professional with caring and thoughtful practitioners. You want to have some barrier of entry, to keep out the true junk, but you also don't want a closed society. Anybody who cares enough should be able to get in and make a contribution. Again, it's balance. Opening the floodgates, or closing the doors completely -- neither of these are good solutions.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25528683)

So, the question becomes "Who controls the doors?", ie, who is the gatekeeper of knowledge?

How about this? We have a system where people can communicate, making any sort of claim they feel led to make. Other people are allowed to discuss it, and some may make counter-claims. Anyone is allowed to present evidence to support their claims. At some point, an entity may collect a set of claims/counter-claims with their relevant supporting evidence and present them in a clear and condensed, easily digestible format. We will call said format a "scientific publication". Said "scientific publication" shall charge its readership for the privilege of reading it, and will be judged upon its ability to provided well supported claims in an easily digestible format. Those that develop a reputation for doing a better job of presenting relevant claims shall be able to charge a higher subscription price.

A reader wishing to investigate all claims could delve into what has become known as "The Internet". A reader who wishes to have the data pre-digested would subscribe to the "scientific journal" of his choosing.

You think I could get a patent on this idea?

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

stuckinarut (891702) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518029)

The internet concept was initially developed as a way for scientists to share their research and data freely and easily. The general populous has also been able to make use of the network through the various social tools now developed to work on it. The original purpose is still served very well such as the data sharing for the LHC. I's hardly surprising that scientists are now leveraging the social tools to further their research in the way non-scientists initially furthered their entertainment using the original network.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518277)

I thought about posting a long counter-argument, but then I remembered one already existed. Go and read the comments on any digg article.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518435)

Quote:

"The free, unhampered exchange of ideas and scientific conclusions is necessary for the sound development of science, as it is in all spheres of cultural life. ... We must not conceal from ourselves that no improvement in the present depressing situation is possible without a severe struggle; for the handful of those who are really determined to do something is minute in comparison with the mass of the lukewarm and the misguided. ...

Humanity is going to need a substantially new way of thinking if it is to survive!" (Albert Einstein)

Thought it was a good quote to follow up your excellent post.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

xant (99438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518579)

Traditional peer review is mostly a censorship mechanism that is used to suppress minority opinions

This is not entirely fair. Before the Internet, information was difficult to search through, and the expense to the creator of putting information out there was higher, but nowhere near as high as the expense to readers (look up the cost of some of the better-respected scientific journals these days). In such an environment, you want a filter to keep crap out.

The Internet marries nearly-free publishing to nearly-free subscribing, and slathers on extremely good searchability. It is new and game-changing. The old ideas aren't about "censorship", they were the right way to do things in the pre-Internet world.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518961)

Your point is well taken. Let me just say that the old ideas may not have been about censorhsip but they ended up that way due to human nature. Hence the need for periodic revolutions a la Thomas Kuhn. This is not good, in my opinion. Readers (consumers) should have a say so on who's doing the vetting. Who's vetting for the vetters? That is the question. It was not easy in the old days but now it is, thanks to the computer and the internet. We need to change to a better, freer system.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

ispeters (621097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518611)

I lean towards agreeing with you regarding the future of peer review in science, but, regarding Slashdot's moderation system, quitcherbitchen'.

I read at +3 (unless I'm moderating or happen to catch a story before there's about 100 comments) because I don't want to read all the crazy bullshit that gets posted to this site. Notice that I read at +3 because I choose not to read the bullshit, not because some invisible hand of censorship has taken away my right to wallow in it. If you want to read everything, read at -1. If, like me, you don't have time for the neo-Nazis, the GNAA, the Goatse references, the multiple copies of the same post from different commenters, the recurring troll memes, etcetera ad nauseum, you can choose to filter it out.

Ian

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518721)

Well, nobody wants to read BS but why should anybody be forced to rely on others to decide for them what is BS and what isn't? Usenet has been around for ages and people have learned to use the killfile mechanism to get rid of most of the crap. It is not perfect but it can be improved upon on sites like this one because the web is not restricted to an antiquated format like usenet.

Usually, the BS comes from a consistent segment of posters. I believe that social sites should forbid anonymous posting and require registration. Every registered reader should be given the means of privately rating other readers as they see fit. Members should also have the freedom to adopt the ratings of a trusted friend or a group of friends IF they so desire. Freedom should be the guiding principle, always. As an aside, I suspect that this approach would significantly increase Slashdot's membership.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

ispeters (621097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519337)

Well, nobody wants to read BS but why should anybody be forced to rely on others to decide for them what is BS and what isn't?

Who's forcing you? Read at -1 or read through the RSS feed and pass it through your killfile at your leisure. I agree that freedom is important. I disagree that any freedom is "missing" or being infringed here. You're free to read Slashdot (assuming you are free--I suppose some people aren't free to read Slashdot) and you're free to make use of the moderation system or not, according to your wishes. You're also (generally) free to set up a competing site that provides "better" filtering for whatever definition of "better" you'd like to use.

I understand that, in a free society, people should be free to gripe about problems and maybe even instigate change through griping. Perhaps Slashdot's moderation system could be improved (or replaced), so I don't have a beef with someone complaining about the implementation. What I do have a problem with is people claiming that they're being oppressed when there are people in the world who are actually being oppressed. Claiming that Slashdot's moderation system is depriving you of some measure of freedom is an offensive example of ridiculous hyperbole.

Ian

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519487)

You're fighting a strawman of your own making. Nobody said anything about being oppressed. And it's not a matter of ignoring the moderation. The Slashdot system does prevent people who have been moderated down frequently from posting. Indeed there are other competing discussion sites that do not use Slashdot's moderation system and I bet you that Slashdot has been feeling the heat lately. I suspect that your taking offence means that you are either associated with Slashdot or you like its moderation system because it makes you feel good about yourself when you're a moderator. Hey, more power to you. Too bad you can't mod me down, right now, eh?

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

ispeters (621097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25520187)

You're fighting a strawman of your own making. Nobody said anything about being oppressed.

Perhaps. I interpreted your cry for more freedom as an expression of feeling oppressed. I suppose there's a gray area between the black and white here and maybe I misinterpreted your position. You originally said "[the moderation system] allows a small group of regulars (with time on their hands) to change what others should perceive according to their perspective. Where is the freedom in that?" [slashdot.org] and it's that that I interpreted as you feeling oppressed.

Like I said earlier, I don't have a problem with people complaining about Slashdot's system--I don't have any delusions that what's here is perfect and short of joining Slashdot's staff, the only way to fix anything is to voice your opinion. What I disagree with is the claim that anyone's freedom to act is impaired by Slashot or its policies. This site is a globally-accessible private club with lenient admission policies. If you don't like it, you always have the freedom to go somewhere else.

And it's not a matter of ignoring the moderation. The Slashdot system does prevent people who have been moderated down frequently from posting.

I didn't know that. Given that it's a big internet, I still fail to see how anyone is losing freedom here, though. Slashdot embodies a community of people with a certain "groupthink" that goes along with it. It's certainly not an ideal system, but to claim that freedom is being curtailed somewhere is still ridiculous. If you have something to say that Slashdot's evil moderators are suppressing, say it anonymously, use Tor or another proxy or log in from your public library if the system is blocking your IP, say it on one of the many free blogging sites and link to it, say it anywhere, really. The moderation system obviously affects the scope of the discussion here on Slashdot, but being excluded from a discussion does not keep you out of all discussions. Maybe it hurts someone's feelings but it's not wrong and no one's being forced to do or not do anything.

I suspect that your taking offence means that you are either associated with Slashdot or you like its moderation system because it makes you feel good about yourself when you're a moderator.

You suspect wrong, but then I'm now falling into the trap of trying to win an argument on the internet.... I'm not associated with Slashdot (besides having an account here), and the rare time that I moderate anyone, I tend to mod people up, not down. It's too bad I can't prove any of that. Humans are social animals so I probably do get small warm-fuzzies when I "encourage" other people's opinions by modding them up, but I don't take any pleasure in modding people down--I'd rather ignore them or have a discussion, like I'm doing here.

Too bad you can't mod me down, right now, eh?

I actually have mod points today but, rather than try to silence your comments by modding you down, I decided to spend some of my Sunday afternoon having a debate so, no, it's not "too bad".

Ian

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

john83 (923470) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518619)

Elitism isn't a bad thing. I like reading papers which have been vetted for quality. Show me one modern paper which had a truely brilliant idea but was rejected by multiple established journals, and I might lend your idea some credence.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518835)

Elitism isn't a bad thing. I like reading papers which have been vetted for quality.

Yeah, but but that is your prerogative. You trust a segment of the scientific community to do your filtering for you and that is fine. I, on the other hand, don't trust them and I should not be forced to rely on their judgement.

Show me one modern paper which had a truely brilliant idea but was rejected by multiple established journals, and I might lend your idea some credence.

That's just it. We don't know what the ideas are for the most part because they don't get published. However, history is replete with instances of people being rejected by the scientific consensus (the Wright Brothers come to mind) and end up being shown right through their own efforts and courage. In fact, I sense that science is due for a major paradigm shift and I expect the next revolution to come from outside the scientific community.

Re:Who Needs Traditional Peer Review? (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522025)

We dont need a paper to determine if something is possible. Instead, you do it and document what you did to get to that point.

You dont need sources upon sources upon papers upon esteemed colleagues. All you need is your wits, know-how and elbow grease.

Im thinking about that Australian who designed a 1 million/min electrically fired gun, the Wiimote, Linux, and other hardware.

VR Goodness (1)

sdemjanenko (1296903) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517885)

Thats cool, last winter I spent some time making his wii systems for myself. I was certainly cool. i also did a couple modifications. This technology certainly has a lot of potential to make it so everyone with a wii can have a VR system. What was it that the carnegie mellon professor made, a $500 VR system? Well its now like $300.

Drink up - corporations can play this game too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518469)

For those who missed it, there's a very cool link [youtube.com] at the end of the article to another project. This one is a smart glass for Microsoft Surface which automatically calls for refills when your drink runs low.

Not Research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518487)

I hope everyone realizes that what Chung Lee did was apply a 25 year old technique to new hardware?

Very fun, but not new, not research, not even a novel application.

He plugged cheap hardware into a well-known technique. (BTW Mr. Lee never represented the work as being novel - just a cool hardware hack)

Light my fire. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519513)

Johnny Chung Lee:"'If you create something but nobody knows, it's as if it never happened.'"

Jefferson:"If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me."

Rule 32 (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#25520859)

Pics, or it didn't happen.

One of the (many) problems of the current patent system is; there is not actual requirement to demonstrate that your idea works to receive a patent. Another is that many of the patents do ant adequately describe an innovation so that another skilled person can implement it.

The beauty of a YouTube video is that the first problem is addressed in that a working demonstration is available for all to see. The second issue is delt with in that if you've figured out how to actually make one work, odds are better that your instructions will be sufficient for someone else to build one as well.

He's right, you know ... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25521287)

'Sharing an idea the right way is just as important as doing the work itself,' he says. 'If you create something but nobody knows, it's as if it never happened.'"

Just ask Leonardo da Vinci.

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