Friday, February 28, 2014


  1. Richard Van Noorden in Nature: Publishers withdraw more than 120 gibberish papers. "Conference proceedings removed from subscription databases after scientist reveals that they were computer-generated."

  2. Female Science Professor: Talking About a Toxic Environment. "Should you tell administrators and colleagues why you are leaving?"

  3. In Pictures: Beautiful Science. A slide show of scientific maps and infographics over centuries. Great, great stuff. Especially, the polar area diagram, also called the Nightingale's Rose -- you can see a modern, animated version here.

  4. Adam Gopnik's book review essay on atheism: Bigger than Phil. "When did faith start to fade?"

    And here we arrive at what the [atheists], whatever their numbers, really have now, and that is a monopoly on legitimate forms of knowledge about the natural world. They have this monopoly for the same reason that computer manufacturers have an edge over crystal-ball makers: the advantages of having an actual explanation of things and processes are self-evident. What works wins. We know that men were not invented but slowly evolved from smaller animals; that the earth is not the center of the universe but one among a billion planets in a distant corner; and that, in the billions of years of the universe’s existence, there is no evidence of a single miraculous intercession with the laws of nature. We need not imagine that there’s no Heaven; we know that there is none, and we will search for angels forever in vain. A God can still be made in the face of all that absence, but he will always be chairman of the board, holding an office of fine title and limited powers.

    Given the diminishment in divine purview, from Galileo’s time on, the Super-Naturalists just want the language of science not to be actively insulting to them. And here we may come at last to the seedbed of the New Atheism, the thing that made the noes so loud: the broad prestige, in the past twenty years, of evolutionary biology.