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The Exploitative Economics of Academic Publishing

or-switch Re:Publiation costs (72 comments)

It's true. When PLOS first came out it was $1500 and article flat rate. They got blasted in the popular press for this. The article i published there was originally slated for the Journal of Biological Chemistry. If we didn't use any color it would've been $4,000 and in color it would've gone to nearly $6,000. PLOS was cheap, colorful, and it's still free to read online and I've never had to get copyright permissions to use those figures. I still have the copyright technically.

about 3 months ago

The Exploitative Economics of Academic Publishing

or-switch Re:Journals do a little more.... (72 comments)

I love technology but don't post to Slashdot much. I didn't realize you have to use HTML formatting to get a carriage return, as opposed to it publishing like it looks on screen. Biologists use Word sometimes. You can make fun of my ignorance all you want but we also discovered something interesting about obesity signaling this morning. It won't be easily understood when I publish it if it's not formatted properly. I sure wish there was a way to pay someone to do that for's ok not to be able to do everything 100% on your own...there's a bigger picture that needs attending to.

about 3 months ago

The Exploitative Economics of Academic Publishing

or-switch Journals do a little more.... (72 comments)

I largely agree that journals charge far too much for subscriptions but they do provide value added. Latex is great for physics and math, but provides little help to biologists. Frankly, after writing grants, doing the work, analyzing it, writing it up, and defending it at conferences, I feel I don't have a lot of time left over to play with margins and get the typesetting and hyperlinked references all working. The layout work actually is valuable. Yes, new tech makes it easier, but there's still the research to do. Additionally, some journals have staff that help with the review process. Peer review is done by people busy with other things who often miss a lot, espeically well executed fraud. Many of the biology-related publishers perform text and image analysis of submitted articles to look for evidence of fraud. They find duplications, square edges where square edges are never found (introduced through deletions), etc. Not EVERY journal falls into ALL of the stereotypes, and Elsevier is by far the worst offender. I also find it funny when people blast open access journals for having page charges to authors as if this is a new affront. Virtually all journals (at least in the biochem/biology space) have HUGE page charges and often charge hundreds of dollars extra for each color figure. A lot of color ISN'T used to save money. When the Public Library of Science opened in 2003 they got blasted because they had a flat $1500 publishing charge and then it was free open access from there. That charge was less than half that charged by other journals for just the base price. Publishing WELL includes editorials, perspective, handling fraud and retractions, etc., and keeping the legacy data available in supplements available to modern computers. I suppose this COULD be done by a volunteer army by it's important enough to pay to have it done well. These are the archives of our knowledge. This may look cheap and easy to the IT crowd but other disciplines don't fall so easily into having 1 server at MIT and some volunteers. It doesn't and shouldn't be as expensive and bound up in copyright as it is (PLoS lets me keep the copyright and it's so nice not to have to ask for permission to use my own figures) but there is probably a happy middle ground as is already been explored by more and more open access journals.

about 3 months ago

Lost Hour-Long Jobs Interview Found

or-switch Re:Put it up (120 comments)

It would be great to put that on Youtbue. However, one should make sure there were release agreements signed by Steve or his proxy, and if not, get permission from the family first.

more than 2 years ago

World Population Expected To Hit 7 Billion In Late October

or-switch 7 is a special number... (522 comments)

7 is special in the bible. Maybe the birth of the baby that caps off the 7 billion will start the rapture, which has been delayed from earlier estimates due to the unforeseen development of birth control (psychics and prognosticators can't nail EVERY detail).

more than 2 years ago

There's Been a Leak At WikiLeaks

or-switch Re:WikiLeaks is great and all, but naming names? (167 comments)

So, wealthy people should have no expectation of privacy by virtue of being wealthy, but the poor should receive extra protection? You suck.

about 2 years ago

Estimated Transfer Time Is No More In Windows 8

or-switch It's hard to calculate this properly? (456 comments)

What's wrong with them. I've been doing some mega transfers on my Macs lately and those progress bars are right on, even for transfers that took two days to complete. When it says an hour left, it pretty damn well means it. By-hand calculations based on file size and sustained transfer speeds match their's straight on. From the behavior I think Macs sum up the total size of all files and divides by the current transfer rate (or recent average). If there's a dip (router gets slow) the time adjusts accordingly. In Windows I see it jump around dramatically as files move. I THINK what it's doing is looking at average-time-to-transfer-a-file. If you have a mxi of large and small files (I move huge data file along-side the tiny scripts that generated them) and I think it thinks that the 10 minutes it took to move a data file means the next 5 KB text file is going to take the same amoutn of time, but then it starts that file and thinks, "Oh no, this is going fast now, shorten the time." I think they're changes are probably a lot of smoke and mirrors

more than 2 years ago

Faint Praise From WSJ For a Linux Touchscreen PC For Seniors

or-switch Re:Wow, an endorsement from Rachael Ray! (59 comments)

Yeah, I saw the lack of forward/reply-all and thought, "Oooh, someone on that team has a sense of humor." Of course they'll put it back in, but it's tempting to go as is and call it a real feature.

more than 2 years ago

Jeff Bezos Wants To Put an Airbag In Your iPhone

or-switch The API will get hacked SO FAST! (102 comments)

How about a bug that causes the springs to deploy when your face is close to the screen while using Facetime. How about setting off the airbag in someone's pants both getting a good guffaw over the obvious fart-joke implication while simultaneously sterilizing the target. What about getting springs lodged in your leg while dancing or tripping down stairs. Oh yeah, nothing can pos-i-blie go wrong.

more than 2 years ago

Eyeglasses Made of Human Hair

or-switch I'm sure v2 could be prettier (97 comments)

This is the problem of the difference between marketing and art. The art students, in addition to their technological development, must've also decided to make 'artistic' looking glasses, and hence they look like rejects from 80's fashion shows. If actually manufactured one hopes they would use contemporary designs, put real lenses in them, and then we can see if people are ok with the idea of wearing a stranger's hair on their face all day.

about 3 years ago

Draft Proposal Would Create Agency To Tax Cars By the Mile

or-switch Why fancy technology? (932 comments)

Maybe it's different in other states, but in California you have to get a smog check every couple years. You bring your car in, the stick a sensor up the tailpipe (the car's) and you find out if you meet emissions standards. And the reporting back to the DMV is all electronic. Just have the smog check guy write down the car's mileage. The DMV or other government computer calculates the distance traveled in the last 2years, calculates the tax, and distributes it over the next two tax years. If the car is sold/bought/retired the mileage is recorded at title time and the old owner pays for new miles and the new owner for miles since. Of course, you will be screwed multiple ways when any solution goes into effect: Paying your own tax, and then paying the taxes of the bsuinesses you deal with since they have to pay more too. Remember when gas prices went up and then delivery fees started to increase? You'll pay the tax over and over again through various channels.

more than 3 years ago

EFF Advocates Leaving Wireless Routers Open

or-switch Legalities aside, this is philosophically flawed (686 comments)

Legal protections, abuse, etc., are all important, but the basic issue with the article is the assertion that everyone has the right to free WiFi (one could argue that we all have the right to clean drinking water but I still pay a monthly bill for mine and know my neighbor would not approve of me filling my bathtub from his garden hose). The issue becomes, if it's a right, or at least socially responsible, who pays for it? If you have the right to demand free WiFi access, you are demanding someone pay for it. If I can use my neighbor's WiFi for free, what do I do when he moves away? Demand my other neighbor let me into their system? If it's a right then why not increase taxes and have the government subsidize all the your taxes, get free internet. If I can afford it and my neighbor can't, would a law be passed saying I'd have to let him use mine? Where would it stop?

more than 3 years ago

America's Tech Decline: a Reading Guide

or-switch Inappropriate metrics (611 comments)

I took offense at the idea that the US is cracking because other countries are moving towards knowledge-based and green economies and infrastructures faster than the US did. Umm, the US did it first, and did it well, and then SHOWED other people how to do it (you can't open an iPad factory and not expect people to learn something about technology, design, manufacturing, marketing, etc.). Also, the US will be slower to change to a green infrastructure because we already HAD an infrastructure. It's well and good for China to say their new roads are made with green concrete when the US already has 8.5 million miles of roadway in place. It would be environmentally irresonsible to tear it all up and replace with greener options since it's already there. I get that appropriate metrics are hard to use, but come on....

more than 3 years ago

Salt Lake City To Launch Mobile Payment System

or-switch SLC is the BEST place for this field test? (60 comments)

$10 says that after they roll this out to the rest of the country we rapidly find out that nobody noticed the system doesn't work for buying alcohol

more than 3 years ago

Chinese Scientists Make Cow Producing Human-Like Milk

or-switch Misleading title (127 comments)

The researchers have added a human component to cow milk, but they didn't do eveything that's different in one shot. The upside is this is a naturally occuring antibiotic that would have benefits not just for babies but also for adult drinkers. Your body already produces this (for example, it's in your tears and helps a lot with preventing eye infections). It may also help with reducing the need to load cow with as much antibiotics as they do. To the poster who asked about antibodies, it won't have them. Those need to be human and specific to the mother. Antibodies are sufficiently complex that coming up with a comprehensive suite of them appropriate for mass consumption wouldn't be possible. Though maybe a small handful around common ailments/issues might be possible.

more than 3 years ago

Book Review: 15 Minutes Including Q&A

or-switch Re:Brevity, Brevity, Brevity!! (153 comments)

At my company, unfortunately, powerpoint presentations at team meetings are pretty much the only way key data get presented and recorded. Some of it's in the database, but because these slides will often be referred to in perpetuity, without consulting the author, there need to be lots of words to make sure the message is clear. While that may be fine internally, too many people have gotten in the habit and their external presentations are way to heavy and wordy. Gotta be flexible depending on your aims.

more than 3 years ago

US To Send Radiation-Hardened Robots To Japan

or-switch What, only robots? (183 comments)

The US has a plethora of hardened death row inmates. Why not use them? Nothing could posibly go wrong (yes, I spelled it that way on purpose, Simpsons reference). It can be the basis of either a fictional or based-on-a-true-story type summer blockbuster movie in a couple years.

more than 3 years ago

Makerbot Thing-o-Matic 3D Printer Review

or-switch my favorite part (117 comments)

was the kitty

more than 3 years ago

Swedish Firm Proposes City Buildings On Rails

or-switch This winning design... (223 comments) part of our town's 10 year plan to have a huge disaster.

more than 3 years ago

When Smart People Make Bad Employees

or-switch Re:Like astrology .. (491 comments)

Maybe he means that he 'fights for the users.'

more than 3 years ago


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