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View Diary: Your Abbreviated Pundit Round-up (110 comments)

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  •  Do you guys read every scientific journal... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Abra Crabcakeya

    ...on the off chance they'll have something political? Damn, that's some dedication!

    See the losers in the best bars, meet the winners in the dives -Neil Young

    by danoland on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 04:11:00 AM PDT

    •  There are really only two top science journals (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sundancekid11, Abra Crabcakeya

      Nature and Science.  It's not too hard to drop in on their websites or set up an email alert or whatever.

      -dms

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      by dmsilev on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 04:16:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Scientific American and Nat Geo are good (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BigOkie

        there is only one reality, republicans just forget at times

        by Bloke on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:19:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very different audience (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BigOkie, radarlady, Bloke, Abra Crabcakeya

          Science and Nature publish first reports of original research, intended for a broad audience of scientists. Scientific American publishes articles about recent research, typically recasting the original reports in a way that makes them more interesting to an audience of people interested in science. It's a much wider net to cast, and the articles are written in a very different style.

          I'll give you an example. About a year ago, I was fortunate enough to have an article published in Nature. Here's the introductory paragraph to that article; bear in mind that the guidelines for the opening paragraph is that it should be as nontechnical as possible, and accessible to the general reader of Nature:

          Most physical and biological systems are disordered, even though the majority of theoretical models treat disorder as a weak perturbation. One particularly simple system is a ferromagnet approaching its Curie temperature, Tc, where all of the spins associated with partially filled atomic shells acquire parallel orientation. With the addition of disorder by way of chemical substitution, the Curie point is suppressed, but no qualitatively new  phenomena appear in bulk measurements as long as the disorder is  truly random on the atomic scale and not so large as to eliminate ferromagnetism entirely[1]. Here we report the discovery that a simply measured magnetic response is singular above the Curie temperature of a model, disordered magnet, and that the associated singularity grows to an anomalous divergence at Tc. The origin of the singular response is the random internal field induced by an external magnetic field transverse to the favoured  direction for magnetization[2–4]. The fact that ferromagnets can be studied easily and with high precision using bulk susceptibility and a large variety of imaging tools will not only advance fundamental studies of the random field problem, but also suggests a mechanism for tuning the strength of domain wall pinning, the key to applications.

          You won't find a paragraph like that in Scientific American; even if there was an article on the same subject (how randomness can be used to tweak the properties of a magnet), the introduction wouldn't dive in and talk about things like measured singularities.

          -dms

          Having trouble finding stuff on Daily Kos? This page has some handy hints and tricks.

          by dmsilev on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:49:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Many years ago such articles were regularly found (0+ / 0-)

            in Scientific American. Not for a while , that I see. We tried again last year and let our subscription lapse in June.  

          •  Depends on your audience (0+ / 0-)

            If you are writing for other pHds then the more stringent standards in Nature and Science are better.  However the same quality of papaer can be found in any number of specialist journals targeted at an audience with a specific understanding of teh subject matter.

            If you are writing for the general populace as are New Scientist or Scientific American, then your opening would have to start by explaining the meaning of Curie temperature, that you are talking about the influence of randomly placed chemical impurities within the ferrous matrix and why domain wall pinning is important.  A well educated audience, at least one with a scientific background to that education, can pick up a copy of Scienfic American and understand at least the concepts being presented if not always the totality of the theory, there are times when that is not the case with Nature.

            there is only one reality, republicans just forget at times

            by Bloke on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 07:42:42 AM PDT

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          •  I used to read Scientific American (0+ / 0-)

            when the model for DNA was first proposed by Crick and Watson, but gave up when articles referred to (sub) molecular genetics.  Now I just read National Geographic!  What amazes me is that so many do not even read that.  If we are going to get a handle on Global Climate Change, more must be done to educate the non-scientific majority.  Also, my professors were very interested in the ethical issues related to their work.   Which is something that the current administration seems to ignore.

          •  Color me impressed, dmsilev! (0+ / 0-)

            "Statistics are people with the tears washed away." Sociologist Ruth Sidel

            by Vicky on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 09:07:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  There are MANY, MANY (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid, BigOkie

        "top" science journals.  In the field, we call these the "magazines", broadly read, glossy, "sexy" science that tells  an interesting story (not necessarily the "best" work in their field).  Don't get me wrong, I would give my pinky finger to get my work into either, but it isn't sexy enough ;)

      •  Except that Science subscriptions cost $142 a (0+ / 0-)

        year. We are gonna bite the bullet after first of year and get it ; after all, that's weekly , not monthly - and Scientific American is dumbed down to the point i can understand the math and physics articles. That's TOO dumb.

        •  WAY worth it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Abra Crabcakeya

          though i dont have time to read it if i could convince myself. You should check out the science blogs (linked too on friday here) lots of amazing stuff. And you can grab podcasts from itunes etc like sciencenow. We're lucky we're in an age when you literally cannot keep up with the amazing ideas and discoveries out there.

          I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

          by cdreid on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 07:40:41 AM PDT

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          •  Oh yes , I have no doubt it's worth it. I have (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cdreid

            lots of time but less money , being retired. Just gotta feel though the tradeoff for the right moment to do things , like everything else. Gauge the risk probabilities best I can with limited info and limited personal processing capacity.Problem solving for household decisions helps replace the challenges of work , a thing for which I'm very grateful. My wife wants to kill me , though, LOL!

            •  Ouch (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Abra Crabcakeya

              fixed income must be tough.

              If i can suggest you can find everything you need on the net. Its definitely there. The scienceblogs alone have enough to keep you reading all day every day. And then of course theres the FUN!!!!!!!! stuff. Hackaday and Makezine blog will give you ideas that your wife would kill you, hack you up, then kill you again over! I have an Arduino, lotsa microprocessors, a cnc mill, lathe etc i have no time to use. But SOMEDAY im crankin them babies up, makin me a terminator style robot and showin it off on make/hackaday hehe

              I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

              by cdreid on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 08:48:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Maybe a leopard knows that it is spotted - (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cdreid

                like I still greatly prefer to read from a printed page. Limited time I can sit up in chair to use computer , and alternatives like laptop etc. yet considered not workable for various related reasons. It'll all work out. Time spent on internet subtracted from time spent reading books from library , or servicing the unlimited needs and aspirations  of our dogs. No rest for the wicked, wimped out , or the witless , I am seeing.

    •  I read Nature monthly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigOkie, dmsilev, Abra Crabcakeya

      because of this...

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 04:17:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In SCIENCE (6+ / 0-)

      a few weeks ago, there was an article about Obama and McCain's science advisory panels.  One academic lobbyist described it as Obama having a thousand scientists to draw upon while McCain had "two guys and a dog."  That says it all.

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 04:26:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nobody reads scientific journals.. (5+ / 0-)

      Except for Nature and Science.

      It's the case for most scientists I know at least. Mostly people use literature-searches to find whatever's new and relevant to their area.

      But the two big ones do actually have real readership, from all the people who want to keep up with the big news in science in general and who'd prefer not to get it in watered-down, popular-science form.

      •  New Scientist I brill (0+ / 0-)

        there is only one reality, republicans just forget at times

        by Bloke on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:20:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I once read American Anthropologist , Journal (0+ / 0-)

        of Environmental Health , and Journal of the American Medical Association regularly.THese lapsed , in turn , by finally admitting that my student "eligibility" had long lapsed , by an editorial swerve toward propogandizing for privateer takeover of public agencies , and for general piggishness, priggishness, and profit crazed assholery.

    •  Nature mossed the point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cdreid

      I think that the major reason they should have gone against McCain is the anti-science stance espoused by teh ticket, particularly the witch hunter her self.  Look at teh derision of basic research and decrying education on science ie creationism.

      that should have made this an easy choice

      there is only one reality, republicans just forget at times

      by Bloke on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 06:23:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting that Nature took a side, politically (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vicky

      Personally, I do have one concern.
      "Empirical science" and "moral/spiritual belief" do not always align, perfectly.
      Knowing how material reality works does not necessarily mean that one knows how the mind + soul works or how man should live.

      There is a tendency among some scientists to presume that their method of viewing reality gives them a moral superiority -- and this is not always the case.  Science is not an abstraction; scientists often operate as an economic + academic lobby, marked by groupthink, social elitism and risk aversion.  

      No question, the Bush Administration has substituted a very narrow religious ideology for science. Obama deserves Nature's endorsement.

      I just don't want to see a USA divided along yet one more variable -- that of scientific method.  For the sake of American democracy, let's all work to establish dialogue between "scientists" and "anti-scientists".   Somewhere, there must be a political middle ground.

    •  Most technical journals (0+ / 0-)

      are just compilations of technical journal articles, published monthly, with no editorializing. Science and Nature do have editorial boards who shape and direct both the content of the journal and provide editorial comments. They're pretty unique in that they publish both overviews for the general reader, and more detailed articles in the back for the specialist. They're both cross-disciplinary, which is also unusual. Most journals cover very narrow (relative to the rest of the world)  subject matter.

      Needless to say, having read the plans of both candidates for funding research, I much prefer Obama's. Research in the physical sciences is in dire shape in this country. It's to the point where specific technical expertise is simply being lost as older researchers retire, with no younger people coming up in the fields. McCain has no intention of fixing that, ever, even if he understood how bad things are. Obama does.

      Radarlady, speaking from more unfortunate personal experience than she cares to go into here...

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