- Is "just-in-time" supply chain management truly the work of the devil, or merely incredibly annoying? We've had a problem with a gate valve on a piece of cleanroom equipment at my institution, and the vendor (a) has no spare valves; (b) has no spare parts for the valves; and (c) says it'll take around 4 weeks to fab a replacement valve. Now, I understand why a business wouldn't want a huge inventory sitting on shelves, and that there are real fixed costs associated with inventories. Still, how hard would it be to have some spare parts, particularly when these things don't go bad when stored? I can tell you that it doesn't make me predisposed to ever buy anything from this supplier again. So, while it may be penny-wise, it sure feels pound-foolish for companies to alienate customers by having no backup supplies at all.
- Ahh, scientific publishing. Two folks from Cornell used an amusing computer program to generate a grammatically correct but completely nonsensical fake paper (pdf). They then got that paper accepted to an open-access journal, without the knowledge of the editor (!), with the strong implication being that this publisher was willing to publish literally anything as long as the authors are willing to pay the fees. Wonderful. I've suspected for a while (basically when a couple of publishers spammed me about being a contributing editor on journals I'd never heard of, back when I was a brand new assistant prof) that there are some shady practices out there.
- Also regarding scientific publishing, I was shocked and appalled (ok, not really, but certainly surprised) when I got the proofs of an article that we have coming out in Phys Rev B. Why? Because it was clear from the marked-up "author query" version of the manuscript that the AIP production office had converted our beautiful LaTeX manuscript into Microsoft Word format for editing. What is the world coming to?!
- Lastly, I was fortunate enough to receive a new iPod Touch as a gift. Anyone out there have suggestions for must-have apps?
Monday, June 22, 2009
Four items, and a physics post later in the week.
Posted by Douglas Natelson at 8:23 PM