Wednesday, January 11, 2012

From around the web

While working on several writing projects simultaneously, I've run across some interesting articles and links.
  • Here is an interesting discussion about whether our ordinary metrics are doing a good job at measuring scientific impact (and therefore encouraging the kinds of collaborative behaviors that tend to advance science).  One tricky bit not really addressed here is the challenge of distinguishing when a 12 author paper really involves excellent collaborative work, with everyone contributing to a scientific advance; and when a 12 author paper really represents the work of about 3 people, with others included for contributions (intellectual, financial, or political) of varying small degrees.  
  • This is a (slightly ad-laden) compilation of many online lectures related to condensed matter physics.
  • Likewise, here are a series of continuing education lectures by Lenny Susskind (who taught me graduate stat mech) on statistical mechanics, and another series on quantum mechanics.  I find it very interesting that these are so clearly organized - he must've put a lot of time into planning them.
  • Here is Phillip Gibbs with a great article about why c stands for the speed of light.  I'll admit, I was one of those people he mentions that had read (and naively believed) Asimov's assertion that c stood for the Latin celeritas, meaning "speed".  Guess I need to reconsider!
  • More evidence that Elsevier is just evil.  Through lobbyists, they're trying to kill public access to data from publicly funded research if that research has been published in a journal of a for-profit publisher.     
  • And for fun, here is a place (not the only one, I'm sure) that sells serious computer keyboards - the kind with real clicky metal leaf springs and solid metal backplanes.  I got one of these a couple of years ago and love it.  It reminds me of the best keyboard I've ever used, from an old HP 9000 workstation back in my beginning grad school days.

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