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December 03 2014


November 29 2014

Reposted fromArchimedes Archimedes viascience science

February 06 2014


Academics Launch Torrent Site to Share Papers and Datasets

One of the core pillars of academic research is sharing. By letting other researchers know what you do, ideas are criticized, improved upon and extended. Unfortunately it’s not always easy for academics to share their work, for a variety of reasons.

AcademicTorrents, a new torrent site by and for academics, hope to change this status quo.

The site was launched by Joseph Cohen and Henry Lo, two PhD students working at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. The torrent site aims to provide academics with a cheap and decentralized platform to share their work and data with the rest of the world.

“Sharing data is hard. Emails have size limits, and setting up servers is too much work. We’ve designed a distributed system for sharing enormous datasets – for researchers, by researchers. The result is a scalable, secure, and fault-tolerant repository for data, with blazing fast download speeds,” Cohen and Lo explain.

AcademicTorrents allows researchers to upload datasets, articles and other research material. The site runs it own tracker and supports web-seeds as well, which guarantee that files are available at all times.


One of the goals of the project is to give research back to the researchers, instead of having it locked away behind paywalls. Currently most of the top publications are being monetized by publishers, but with AcademicTorrents any journal can distribute papers for free.

“One aim of this site is to create the infrastructure to allow open access journals to operate at low cost. By facilitating file transfers, the journal can focus on it’s core mission of providing world class research. After peer review the paper can be indexed on this site and disseminated throughout our system,” the site’s founders note.

The site supports “collections” where torrents can be grouped by interest, source, author and so forth. These collections can be followed through RSS feeds, so users are automatically notified when new content is added.

Besides supporting the free availability of research, AcademicTorrents also has a more practical use. Since all files are shared by peers, it’s possible to share very large datasets at minimal cost.

“Large dataset delivery can be supported by researchers in the field that have the dataset on their machine. A popular large dataset doesn’t need to be housed centrally. Researchers can have part of the dataset they are working on and they can help host it together,” the founders explain.

Academics, or anyone else who’s interested can join the site and start sharing. NASA’s 42 gigabyte map of Mars may be a good start, and a recent copy of Wikipedia might come in handy too.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

Tags: science paper
Reposted fromsofiasinports sofiasinports viasmrqdt smrqdt

January 13 2014

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Nobel winner declares boycott of top science journals

Randy Schekman says his lab will no longer send papers to Nature, Cell and Science as they distort scientific process
“Leading academic journals are distorting the scientific process and represent a “tyranny” that must be broken, according to a Nobel prize winner who has declared a boycott on the publications.

Randy Schekman, a US biologist who won the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine this year and receives his prize in Stockholm on Tuesday, said his lab would no longer send research papers to the top-tier journals, Nature, Cell and Science.

Schekman said pressure to publish in “luxury” journals encouraged researchers to cut corners and pursue trendy fields of science instead of doing more important work. The problem was exacerbated, he said, by editors who were not active scientists but professionals who favoured studies that were likely to make a splash.

The prestige of appearing in the major journals has led the Chinese Academy of Sciences to pay successful authors the equivalent of $30,000 (£18,000). Some researchers made half of their income through such “bribes”, Schekman said in an interview.

Writing in the Guardian, Schekman raises serious concerns over the journals’ practices and calls on others in the scientific community to take action.

"I have published in the big brands, including papers that won me a Nobel prize. But no longer," he writes. "Just as Wall Street needs to break the hold of bonus culture, so science must break the tyranny of the luxury journals."

Schekman is the editor of eLife, an online journal set up by the Wellcome Trust. Articles submitted to the journal – a competitor to Nature, Cell and Science – are discussed by reviewers who are working scientists and accepted if all agree. The papers are free for anyone to read.

Schekman criticises Nature, Cell and Science for artificially restricting the number of papers they accept, a policy he says stokes demand “like fashion designers who create limited-edition handbags.” He also attacks a widespread metric called an “impact factor”, used by many top-tier journals in their marketing” (read more).

(Source: Guardian)

Tags: science paper
Reposted fromPaelmoon Paelmoon viascience science

November 17 2013


Exclusive: 'Jaw-dropping' breakthrough hailed as landmark in fight against hereditary diseases as Crispr technique heralds genetic revolution - Science - News - The Independent

Until now, gene therapy has had largely to rely on highly inaccurate methods of editing the genome, often involving modified viruses that insert DNA at random into the genome – considered too risky for many patients.

The new method, however, transforms genetic engineering because it is simple and easy to edit any desired part of the DNA molecule, right down to the individual chemical building-blocks or nucleotides that make up the genetic alphabet, researchers said.

“Crispr is absolutely huge. It’s incredibly powerful and it has many applications, from agriculture to potential gene therapy in humans,” said Craig Mello of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, who shared the 2006 Nobel Prize for medicine for a previous genetic discovery called RNA interference.

Tags: science paper

November 09 2013

It is not just scientists who enjoy technically rigorous speculation, though. Economists have investigated interstellar travel as well. One of the best-known papers was written by Paul Krugman, a trade theorist, in 1978, in between his duties as an “oppressed assistant professor”. “The Theory of Interstellar Trade” describes itself as “a serious analysis of a ridiculous subject, which is of course the opposite of what is usual in economics”.
Tags: economy paper
Reposted bylordminx lordminx

October 29 2013


October 24 2013


October 18 2013


The strange case of solar flares and radioactive elements

"It doesn't make sense according to conventional ideas," Fischbach said. Jenkins whimsically added, "What we're suggesting is that something that doesn't really interact with anything is changing something that can't be changed."
Tags: science paper

September 27 2013


PLOS ONE: E-Readers Are More Effective than Paper for Some with Dyslexia


E-readers are fast rivaling print as a dominant method for reading. Because they offer accessibility options that are impossible in print, they are potentially beneficial for those with impairments, such as dyslexia. Yet, little is known about how the use of these devices influences reading in those who struggle. Here, we observe reading comprehension and speed in 103 high school students with dyslexia. Reading on paper was compared with reading on a small handheld e-reader device, formatted to display few words per line. We found that use of the device significantly improved speed and comprehension, when compared with traditional presentations on paper for specific subsets of these individuals: Those who struggled most with phoneme decoding or efficient sight word reading read more rapidly using the device, and those with limited VA Spans gained in comprehension. Prior eye tracking studies demonstrated that short lines facilitate reading in dyslexia, suggesting that it is the use of short lines (and not the device per se) that leads to the observed benefits. We propose that these findings may be understood as a consequence of visual attention deficits, in some with dyslexia, that make it difficult to allocate attention to uncrowded text near fixation, as the gaze advances during reading. Short lines ameliorate this by guiding attention to the uncrowded span.

Tags: paper

September 17 2013


Abrupt rise of new machine ecology beyond human response time : Scientific Reports : Nature Publishing Group

Society's techno-social systems are becoming ever faster and more computer-orientated. However, far from simply generating faster versions of existing behaviour, we show that this speed-up can generate a new behavioural regime as humans lose the ability to intervene in real time. Analyzing millisecond-scale data for the world's largest and most powerful techno-social system, the global financial market, we uncover an abrupt transition to a new all-machine phase characterized by large numbers of subsecond extreme events. The proliferation of these subsecond events shows an intriguing correlation with the onset of the system-wide financial collapse in 2008. Our findings are consistent with an emerging ecology of competitive machines featuring ‘crowds’ of predatory algorithms, and highlight the need for a new scientific theory of subsecond financial phenomena.
Tags: paper economy

August 29 2013


Is Global Warming Really Slowing Down?


Have temperatures really stopped rising? Not exactly. (…)

Okay, so it's clearly misleading to say the planet has stopped warming. What's actually going on? It's pretty nuanced: (…)

How significant is the surface temperature slowdown in the context of global warming as a whole? The slowdown is certainly big enough to measure—or else we wouldn't be discussing it—but not a huge deal in the context of the climate system. (…)

So what is causing the surface temperature slowdown? Scientists point to multiple causes, including more heat going into the deeper oceans, a recent minimum in solar activity, and more volcanic activity. (…)

What is the role of the Pacific Ocean? Perhaps the leading explanation for the slowdown is that the oceans, and particularly the vast Pacific, are storing more heat at depth. (…)

What about volcanoes? Scientists seem increasingly convinced that the oceans are the chief factor behind the slowdown. (…)

What about the sun? And water vapor? At least two more possible contributing factors also arise in scientific conversation. (…)

Does all of this mean that climate models are wrong? [Not exactly] (…)

What about claims that the climate is less sensitive than we thought to greenhouse gas emissions? "Climate sensitivity" is a somewhat odd measure—it refers to the amount of warming that would occur once the planet adjusts to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. (…)

Does this mean I can worry less about global warming? That's probably not a good idea. (…)
Tags: science paper

Just thinking about science triggers moral behavior : Nature News & Comment

Public opinion towards science has made headlines over the past several years for a variety of reasons — mostly negative. High profile cases of academic dishonesty and disputes over funding have left many questioning the integrity and societal value of basic science, while accusations of politically motivated research fly from left and right. There is little doubt that science is value-laden. Allegiances to theories and ideologies can skew the kinds of hypotheses tested and the methods used to test them. These, however, are errors in the application of the method, not the method itself. In other words, it’s possible that public opinion towards science more generally might be relatively unaffected by the misdeeds and biases of individual scientists. In fact, given the undeniable benefits scientific progress yielded, associations with the process of scientific inquiry may be quite positive.

August 19 2013

A mouse is given false memories – she reacts in concordance to experiences she never had.

But what are the ethical ramifications?

The Article
Tags: paper biology
Reposted byhavoc00 havoc00

August 17 2013


Paper on Monster Hunting and Population Dynamics in Puella Magi Madoka Magica


In this paper we present a design for a multiagent model of Heroes and Monsters that fight over a city population, in which the Monsters attempt to eat the city population and the Heroes attempt to oust the Monsters. With this model, we are able to investigate the effects of several different system parameters and variations in the environment, and how they each impact the health of the system. In this investigation, we will provide hypotheses of how we expect the system to react, and then will analyze the results which we observe, justify those results, and then discuss the implications of those results. This will allow us to evolve our hypotheses and be able to more accurately predict how our system will perform and what we can expect from our system in future experiments.


The inspiration for the project comes from the Japanese animation series Puella Magi Madoka Magica (1) . In this series the antagonist is an overseer for an alien energy collection system. The overseer recruits heroes to fight monsters, granting a wish to the newly recruited hero for the contract for magical power. The hero uses their new-found magic to fight monsters in return for that wish recovering their power with each monster’s defeat. The overseer neglects to mention a few key facts: the monsters are former heroes that ran out of magic power, the overseer collects a small amount of energy as each hero recovers their magic, and even more when the heroes transform into monsters. The entire system is set up to have heroes transformed into monsters, but not endanger the entire populace [1].

Tags: madoka paper

April 21 2013


The Fermi Paradox: An Approach Based on Percolation Theory

Thoughts on a scenario in which civilizations have a probability to colonize and the colonies form their own civilizations again with colonizations probabilities. In effect, trickle down colonization.
Clusters of colonizing civilisations surrounded by non-colonizing civilizations with non-colonized "empty" regions between civilization clusters.
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