Tuesday assorted links

by on March 8, 2016 at 12:15 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Progress in human geography (not from The Onion).

2. “It’s the first time that the burger group will also come out to vote,” quipped politician Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed before the elections in May 2013.   “They’re going to join the chapati-and-salan [curry] folk. They might need to carry their laptops on their heads to protect them from the sun.”

The first, underlined link is from the article itself, the source link is here, sprawling but interesting throughout on Pakistan.

3. Livestream sources for the AI Go match against the human champion.

4. The culture that is Britain: “J.K. Rowling tweeted after her visit: “@OrkneyLibrary I had the best time! Thanks for wonderful chat, cake and, of course, letting me touch The Book.”

A photo attached to the tweet shows the author holding a book about organic gardening by Coronation Street actress Thelma Barlow.”

5. Collective memory in bacteria.

1 Ray Lopez March 8, 2016 at 12:23 pm

0 comments? C’mon people.

2 Pshrnk March 8, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Sorry for being slow. I was daydreaming about my young girlfriend.

3 Ray Lopez March 8, 2016 at 12:40 pm

#1 – I think the paper is proposing that we name glaciers after women, but hard to tell. When they named typhoons / hurricanes after women the women complained however.

#2 – no English subtitles, sorry I didn’t get it. But humor in the Middle East is funny, and not always easy to translate. My favorite is the apocryphal story of the Palestinians of all ages who split their sides laughing at the thought of a little old Jewish lady slipping and breaking her neck. Imagine the audience of all ages having a good belly laugh, then the women folk doing ululation.

#3 – what is time control? Who are the commentators? Yasser Seirawan and Jennifer Shahade? I won’t watch a six hour match I don’t understand where there’s no colorful commentary.

#4 – Have no idea what that overpriced witch is talking about. Anathema on her head! I see, organic gardening, OK. Whatever.

#5 – somewhat old news. Bacteria in colonies are more potent than individualists, that’s why plaque rots your teeth.

4 Orangesoda March 8, 2016 at 12:51 pm

#2 – Pakistan is not in the Middle East. But I’ll acknowledge that certain elements of that society would like it to be (the ones on the opposite end of the people profiles in the article).

5 Nathan W March 8, 2016 at 11:08 pm

2) Ever watched America’s funniest home videos? If one of the crowdshots showed them laughing about an accident of a black/hispanic guy instead of the other white guy videos, would we immediately assume they were racist? Anyways … you’re talking about a story and indeed relations are not good between these groups. Also, on cultural differences between ME and Pakistan – a) my poorly informed understanding is that truly tribal influences are still far more important in Pakistan than in the ME, and b) while there are clearly Salafists in Pakistan, my understanding is that the more dominant practice is the more mystical version, which includes much veneration of Muslim “saints” and various figures in Sufi thought.

6 Careless March 8, 2016 at 11:39 pm

If one of the crowdshots showed them laughing about an accident of a black/hispanic guy instead of the other white guy videos, would we immediately assume they were racist?

That depends on who “we” is. A lot of your tribe would.

7 Nathan W March 9, 2016 at 4:28 am

Tribal thinking in modern society is for brutes and group thinkers. No thank you. Did I not essentially speak against the perspective of those who you would incorrectly group me together with, for such a circumstance? Please stop try to put me in boxes (tribes, in this case).

8 The Original D March 8, 2016 at 6:50 pm

Shh… you’re only encouraging Art Deco, Nathan W and E Harding.

9 Baphomet March 8, 2016 at 12:25 pm

#1: That it is not from The Onion does not mean that it cannot be intended facetiously. At least I find this thought comforting.

10 TMC March 8, 2016 at 12:26 pm

#1 does retain the same quality of most CC research. I find nothing to snicker at.

11 Jason Bayz March 8, 2016 at 12:39 pm

#1. have you seen Peer Reviewed on twitter?


12 anon March 8, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Some interesting things there, though that is not to say everything interesting should be publicly funded. (If I read correctly, #1 was not funded, but was “based on” other things that were.)

13 Andrew M March 8, 2016 at 12:41 pm

4. The culture that is one small, very remote corner of Britain. It says more about the country’s past than its future direction.

14 dearieme March 8, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Remote from what? It’s quite handy for Fair Isle.

15 Robert March 8, 2016 at 3:41 pm

How does it say more about the UK’s past than its future?

16 dearieme March 8, 2016 at 4:22 pm

Maybe he means that they were white people with intellectual interests and a community spirit.

17 Mark Thorson March 8, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Learning and memory have been demonstrated in Paramecia, as observed in the swimming behavior of individuals. I don’t believe a mechanism has ever been shown which can explain how a single-cell animal can learn and remember. It’s a simple demonstration — any high school student could do it.

18 JWatts March 8, 2016 at 1:12 pm

“1. Progress in human geography (not from The Onion).”

Does this mean I should start assuming that geography is another branch of science, where the actual science doesn’t have the highest priority?

19 prognostication March 9, 2016 at 4:14 pm

No more so than that is true of every other social science…

20 Anon. March 8, 2016 at 1:53 pm

The paper in #1 was made possible by a $460k government grant.


21 anon March 8, 2016 at 5:16 pm

Slow down, “This work is based upon work supported by” is a weird usage.

Someone might be trying to pull a fast one by saying the downstream work is funded by someone but not saying their own work is.

22 anon March 8, 2016 at 5:20 pm

Ah, I see from the link below that the grant goes to the same main author in both instances.

The world is worse than I believed.

23 Nathan W March 8, 2016 at 11:13 pm

Perhaps the grant application showed much promise of producing some real breakthroughs for the fact of coming from a woman’s perspective. One field where I’m fairly persuaded that specifically directing funds towards female researchers could be beneficial is international relations – my female IR prof published an article making precisely this point, and i was very much convinced. This, however, is garbage 9definitely not “science”) in my opinion, and I doubt she will get much/any funding next time around. Mistakes are made in research funding, both in government, corporations, and the million dead ends that individual researchers and inventors explore before stumbling upon the breakthroughs.

24 Thor March 9, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Yes, but this represents an advance human-ice relations.

(…”lead[ing] to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.”)

Sounds Sokal like to me in its ridiculousness.

25 John Mansfield March 8, 2016 at 2:37 pm

“Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.”

Self-recommending, in a more straight-forward sense then usually applied here.

26 dearieme March 8, 2016 at 6:57 pm

Is that an allusion to onanism? if it isn’t maybe it should be.

27 Careless March 9, 2016 at 12:58 am

I really don’t understand how one can live one’s entire life as a living Sokal Hoax

28 Dave Barnes March 8, 2016 at 2:42 pm

The entire paper is here


my tax dollars were pissed away on this one

29 Nathan W March 8, 2016 at 11:26 pm

I would like to see the grant application that was accepted. Presumably it looked a lot more promising than what we got.

30 JWatts March 8, 2016 at 2:48 pm

“thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.”

That paper has to be a spoof. Or more likely a Sokal type paper, designed to prove a point.

“Higher Superstition argued that in the 1990s, a group of academics whom the authors referred to collectively as “the Academic Left” was dominated by professors who concentrated on racism, sexism, and other perceived prejudices, and that science was eventually included among their targets—”


It’s sad to say, but I’m not sure the Sokal affair had any discernible effect on the trends away from intellectual rigor.

31 JWatts March 8, 2016 at 2:55 pm

Compare the Sokal affair paper:

“Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” proposed that quantum gravity has progressive political implications, and that the “morphogenetic field” could be a cutting-edge theory of quantum gravity” … “it is becoming increasingly apparent that physical ‘reality'” is fundamentally “a social and linguistic construct”.”

With the linked paper:

‘Glaciers, gender, and science -A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research’ – “Feminist theories and critical epistemologies – especially feminist political ecology and feminist postcolonial science studies – open up new perspectives and analyses of the history of glaciological knowledge. Researchers in feminist political ecology and feminist geography have also called for studies to move ‘beyond gender’, to include analyses of power, justice, and knowledge production as well as ‘to unsettle and challenge dominant assumptions’ that are often embedded in Eurocentric knowledges.”

32 Thor March 9, 2016 at 1:50 pm

But the Eskimos, dude, they just used to hack away at the ice. Hack and chop! It was vicious, practically European violence they used. Brutes.

33 Anon. March 8, 2016 at 3:52 pm
34 John Mansfield March 8, 2016 at 3:59 pm

That line suggests a Sokal hoax paper, but after reading it, I think the authors really mean it. Men thinking the phrase “human-ice interactions” is a sign of a hoaxer tipping his hand—that’s just more evidence of the need for feminist glaciology.

35 Ricardo March 8, 2016 at 4:35 pm

I thought of Sokal as well, but in fact there is an interesting Aristotelian vein in the paper, which is almost certainly there by accident.

36 delurking March 9, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Everyone bringing up the Sokal Hoax has missed the important point of the Sokal Hoax. His writing in the hoax paper was indistinguishable from that all of the actual post-modern critical theorists. If you were to read his paper side-by-side with the others’, you couldn’t tell it was a hoax from post-modern philosophical parts of it. What made it identifiable as a hoax was that he put in blatantly wrong statements about physics and the history of physics, and used those wrong statements to support the paper’s post-modern philosophical statements. His point was that the entire field was not applying any rigor to the parts that were obviously amenable to rigorous treatment.

37 cheesetrader March 9, 2016 at 1:02 pm

I’m sure you’re familiar with this old classic?


Just hit reload to get a sparkling new version of drivel

38 AIG March 8, 2016 at 4:10 pm

#1. No big deal. $413,000 is just 0.004% of the total amount of money the US government spends in a day.

To be fair (I don’t know why), the $413,000 (http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1253779) awarded to this Mark Carey fellow are not for…this…paper. They are for a series of “research”, of which this is only one of the papers. Apparently there’s 3 more papers published using this money, a book coming, and probably a lot more to come.

The NSF grant gives the detail.

Not that it matters much in terms of the quality of the research. All the papers outlined there seem like ridiculous rubbish. But then again, this is a…history…professor. Rubbish is the point of their research.

39 Boonton March 9, 2016 at 6:56 am

It seems like the paper isn’t even part of the grant:

This project will examine the early development and subsequent evolution of the five main aspects of glaciology: ice dynamics; ice-ocean interactions; landforms and glacial geology; ice as archive of climatic records; and ice as natural resource (water). Specific case studies will be analyzed to illuminate the ways in which science, nature, and society intersect. The resultant book will address (1) the formation of glaciology and theories of ice dynamics; (2) the role of the International Ice Patrol (1913-present) in iceberg analysis and ocean-glacier interactions; (3) the establishment of theories about catastrophic glacial lake megafloods; (4) the Cold War context for ice coring and climatology; and (5) glacier retreat and hydrology.

The project has broad impacts because hundreds of millions of people worldwide live near glaciers, depend on glacier runoff for their water, reside in zones subjected to ongoing glacier hazards, inhabit coastal areas that could be flooded by melting ice sheets, and vacation in glaciated landscapes that hold particular cultural value such as national parks. The US Intelligence Community recognizes that the effects of glacier retreat potentially threaten US national security, and thus generating new knowledge about glaciers and glaciology contributes to policy and social well-being.

Research results will be disseminated in conference papers, guest lectures, and the posting of data and bibliographical materials on an online database and digital library. The project also proposes five educational activities that will produce broader impacts for students, the university, and the general public: (1) creation of a Science and Society Group, the foundational step to establishing a Center for the Study of Science and Society at the University of Oregon; (2) development of an “Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program” science and society curriculum to teach undergraduates alongside prison inmates in the unique penitentiary environment; (3) construction of a new Honors College course on the history of the earth sciences; (4) employment and training of undergraduate students in specific research projects; and (5) mentoring of a postdoctoral fellow.

I’m not sure how the prison exchange program relates to studying glaciers but it does seem like most of the money is being spent on a lot of stuff, not just a few papers about glacier names.

40 John Mansfield March 8, 2016 at 4:59 pm

Rubbish? Creating LP records out of refrozen glacier meltwater and listening to them play back sounds of the glaciers as they melt again doesn’t strike you as a meaningful way for humans to interact with glaciers?

41 Thor March 9, 2016 at 1:51 pm

It is indeed an advance in human-ice relations.

42 CorvusB March 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Now, I wonder where #1 fits in the “The Relationship between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies” schema.

Frankly, #1 sounds to me like something that should be scheduled for publication on April 1.

#5 is quite interesting.

43 Nathan W March 8, 2016 at 11:32 pm

1) If she wants to publish some groundbreaking research on glaciers, she should present her ideas for the broader scientific community. If you need a “feminist glaciology” to explain how groundbreaking it is, probably it’s not very good science. If she’s concerned about anti-female bias, just publish under a first initial rather than a first name.

44 Alain March 9, 2016 at 2:43 am

#3 well it’s a wrap. AlphaGo wins round 1.

Humanity had a good run, a lot of fun was had by all, but all good things must come to an end.

45 Zach March 9, 2016 at 11:20 am

It’s really interesting to go back and look at the comments on the last post on alphago, given this new information:

46 Axa March 9, 2016 at 6:53 am

#1: I just read the article. Main question: is glacier science biased because almost all scientists are white males with a colonialist view of the world?

The curious issue is that the question is implicitly answered with a big YES. So, authors identified a problem and 90% of the article is the solution proposal. I’m not curious to read the references but it seems the answers on why glacier science is under white male bias is in the cited articles.

I’m a bit skeptic on this. I doubt a lot of people that propose solutions before proving there’s a problem. In all the article, not a single example of “this is the problem”. I can’t see the emperor’s clothes =(

47 djw March 9, 2016 at 10:39 am

Its biased because they only study white glaciers.

48 Nathan W March 9, 2016 at 11:33 am

Lol. 🙂

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