09 August, 2009

Conference proceedings vs articles in Computer Science

It came as a surprise to me that in Computer Science conference proceedings are more prestigious than peer-reviewed articles (see comments to this post). Furthermore, people never publish papers in journals, considering those to be a waste of time.

This is an opposite of what is going on in physics/chemistry/biology, so I asked Daniel Lemire on twitter whether that is true. Daniel explained to me that before the on-line era, the publication cycle was way too long for such a fast-developing field like Computer Science. Therefore journals traditionally don't have so much authority as conference proceedings, which are much faster for science communication.

06 August, 2009

Angry and calm faces

If you look at this image, the face on the left looks like an angry old man, while the one on the right looks like a calm woman.

Step back from your computer five or ten feet, and you will see that the images seem to change places!

The thing is that coarse features and fine features are distinguished differently at different distances.When both sets of features are blended into one image, the mind sees the different feature sets, depending on the distance of the viewer.

Here is the original post. There is also some real research done on this.

Thanks to Valera Yundin for the link.

05 August, 2009

Bose-Einstein condensation of calcium achieved

Scientists from Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (German national metrology institute) in Braunsweig recently obtained a Bose-Einstein condensate from about 20 000 calcium atoms. This is the first successful attempt to condense alkaline earth species.

Up to now, Bose-condensation was achieved in atomic gases of a number of alkalis (Li, Na, K, Rb, and Cs), and also of ytterbium, chromium, hydrogen, and metastable helium.

04 August, 2009

Peer-Review 2.0

A new kind of peer-review was featured in a recent post in Nature blog.

Commenting on a blog post about something completely different, a guy nicknamed Liquidcarbon drew attention to an article in Journal of the American Chemical Society, that he found to be completely odd. After less than 24 hours after his "WTF is going on there?", the experiments were reproduced showing results, different from those of the original paper.

Being quite far from pure chemistry, I can not judge whether the conclusions of the article and those of bloggers are correct. But, anyway, here is a good example of how science will probably look like in the future - now we call this Science 2.0.

03 August, 2009

Do you read all the papers you cite?

If the answer is "Yes", it is most likely a lie.

Quite a while ago, Mikhail Simkin and Vwani Roychowdhury from UCLA published a preprint about this, "Read before you cite!". The authors present a statistical approach to estimate how many people who cited a paper, had actually read it. Here "to read" means "to take at least a brief look" or even "to download a copy of the paper".

The main idea of the method is to analyze... the number of misprints in the list of references. For instance, if some paper is cited by a bunch of different articles, with the same misprint in the page numbers, most likely the authors just copy-pasted a reference from each other's work, without even downloading the article. As for me, I faced with this a few times.

The final estimate obtained by Simkin and Roychowdhury is that about 80% of the citers don't read (say, never downloaded) the paper they cite.

Thanks to Daniel Lemire for sharing the link on Twitter!