Thursday, March 27, 2014

Moose and Drones

Any story about moose and drones deserves our attention. From reader D. S. comes this story about Alaska's decision to outlaw moose hunting with drones. That is, the hunting of moose, not moose doing the hunting. Moose actually doing the hunting, with drones, is still legal.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Yet Another Insane Conference Solicitation

Needless to say, I don't work on "polymer and composite materials".

Dear Shallit, J.,
This is Ms. Yin pan from 2014 Global Conference on Polymer and Composite Materials (PCM 2014) which will be held in Ningbo, China on May 27~29.

Considering your research titled On NFAs where all states are final, initial, or both may be relevant to our conference, We cordially invite you to present your new research at our conference. Accepted papers will be published in IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) which is an open access journal indexed by CPCI (Conference Proceedings Citation Index), Scopus, Compendex and Inspec. Authors also have the option to publish papers in special issues organised by PCM2014 in SCI (Thomson Reuters ISI) indexed journals .

Keynote speech titles:
Mechanical and Tribological Aspects of Nanocomposite Coatings
Investigation of Controlled Migration of Anti-fog Additives in Thin Polyolefin Products
Injection of "Liquid Wood": Samples Microstructure and Properties
Some High Coordination Compounds of Lanthanides (III) Derived From Schiff Bases Derived From 4-aminoantipyrine and Their Application.
New Polymer Materials for the Potential of Optical, Electronic and Green Energy Applications.
Highly Efficient Polymer Solar Cells.

We are also calling for reviewers
Reviewer's papers can be published without publication fee in Open Access journals 'Progress in Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials' or 'Advances in Materials Science and Applications'.

Reviewer Benefits:
Free to visit the 2014 China (Ningbo) International Engineering Plastics and Modified Plastics Industry Exhibition
Free to tour around Ningbo after the conference
Enjoy a discount for your conference registration fee
Be a potential candidate of Technical Program Committee for the next PCM conference
If you want to join us as a reviewer, please send us your CV.

Best regards
Ms. Yin Pan
PCM 2014 Organizing Committee

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Scott Vanstone (1947-2014)

Here is a good tribute to the life and career of my late colleague Scott Vanstone, written by my colleagues at the University of Waterloo.

Scott and I only wrote one paper together, on the analysis of a gcd algorithm, back in 1998.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A New Crazy Invitation from Bogus Conference

Dear Shallit, J.,

This is Ms. Linda from the 3rd International Conference on Civil Engineering and Urban Planning (CEUP 2014), which will be held in Wuhan, China, June 20-22.

Considering your research paper titled On Lazy Representations and Sturmian Graphs maybe relevant to our conference. We cordially hope you to share your new research on our conference. There will be a tour around Wuhan after the conference.

If you are interested to be a reviewer of our conference, please send us your CV. Reviwers can publish their papers without publication fee in one Open Access journal Journal of Civil Engineering and Science .

Papers submitted to our conference are more welcomed.

Best regards
Ms. Linda Li
Conference Assistant of CEUP 2014

Why the morons running this conference think that my paper is relevant to "Civil Engineering and Urban Planning" is beyond me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Margaret Wente Thinks University Professors Should Teach More

It's pretty funny that Margaret Wente thinks that some university professors are overpaid lazy slobs with cushy jobs, and they need to teach more and stop wasting their time on all that useless original research.

Ms. Wente, who has a well-documented history of plagiarizing other people's work, is not exactly a voice of moral authority when it comes to laziness and originality. In a just world, Ms. Wente would no longer have a job as a columnist, let alone a job at Canada's most prestigious newspaper.

I wonder if the real reason behind Ms. Wente's dislike of university professors is that it was a courageous university professor, Carol Wainio, who was largely responsible for exposing Ms. Wente's shoddy journalism.

P.S. Margaret "It's Easier to Repeat Myself Than Come Up With Something New" Wente made the same points back in 2009.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mathematics and Beer

MG: If you pour root beer in a square glass, does it turn into beer?

JOS: Not if it's your fourth root beer.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Creationist Delusions of Persecution

The creationist website, Uncommon Descent, looks more and more like a parody.

A nontrivial fraction of their postings are currently devoted to imagined persecution of their nutty beliefs. Take this one, for example, where faux journalist Denyse O'Leary discusses the recent discovery of a large virus.

Denyse, as usual, is a bit late to the party. The usual science outlets reported on this three days before Denyse, and other giant viruses have been around for at least ten years. Denyse doesn't do any actual journalism; she just riffs off the work of real journalists.

Denyse uses it as an opportunity to create an imaginary persecution scenario, suggesting that evolutionary biologists would say "None of these creationists should be allowed to hold a job in science". Nobody's said anything even remotely like this; the work was done by non-creationist biologists, was published in a prestigious place to great fanfare, and the discovery merited an article in Nature.

Neither does the giant virus discovery invalidate common descent as a useful theory. (In exactly the same way, relativity doesn't invalidate the usefulness of classical mechanics.) The real state of affairs with regard to common descent is now known, and has been known for a while, to be more complicated than initially thought, with complications arising from horizontal transfer, among other mechanisms. Any honest reporter realizes this.

It's creationists, not evolutionary biologists, who treat Darwin like some sort of demigod that had to be right about everything. The rest of us have known for a long time that Darwin was wrong about many things. When was the last time you heard someone speaking about gemmules as particles of inheritance?

Nobody in the evolutionary biology camp says "believe them and shut up"; Denyse seems to think that biologists are like the Catholic Church. This is just a bizarre creationist persecution fantasy. As for "tenured prof[s]", O'Leary's favorite target, just who exactly do you think discovered the giant virus? Hint: it wasn't Denyse, Steven Meyer, or any other of her non-tenured creationist friends.

You can't make up this kind of stupidity.