Category: Uncategorized

A 2014 Reading List

We circulated a flash card around friends gathered to celebrate the start of 2014 and each one contributed the name of a book that you should add to your reading list soon. Here they are, in no particular order.

I’ve read six of these, and liked them all, which bodes well for the rest of them.


OspreyNot policy related, but I don’t write free form anything ever, so this is a rare occurrence that is going on the blog. PS: Work does not necessarily mean paid work. Osprey courtesy Sergey Yeliseev’s Flickr Stream used under a creative commons licence because the osprey is on my top 5 list of favourite birds and I did see one eating a rabbit on my walk back from work once.


I wish I worked like I walk
One foot in front of another
A steady, fast pace
Direct, seeking straight lines
Obstacles gone around or over
But always pausing to smile at the rabbits
Or to wonder when that osprey’s going to make my day
I wish I worked like I walk
Anticipating every light
Speeding up or slowing down
Observing every car that doesn’t see me
Shaking to a song that moves
But the walk continues
I wish I worked like I walk
Rain or shine, only the clothes and accessories change
The pace is still steady
A destination awaits
I know why I walk
The path is good and the end is clear.
and maybe that’s why
I don’t work like I walk…


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The good work that blogs do

Except this one of course, which is written by a single guy sittting in his mom’s basement, eating cheetos and playing video games all day and is full of spelling errors, spot one in this sentence!

Jay Rosen of the New York University School of Journalism writes an excellent opinion piece on journalism by bloggers. This list, which includes work on the pet food contamination issue, the U.S attorney politicization scandal, the Scooter Libby case, etc. would put a regular journalist to shame.

More evidence that the collective work and wisdom of the many, which blogs foster and promote, has greatly enriched journalism in this country. If I have a little time, I should look for more global examples of such efforts. I am sure China, Iraq and Iran are full of examples, not to mention India! Who can forget Baghdad Burning? The last post is from April of this year, hope everything’s still fine.

The Open Access "Debate"

Open access is a phrase used to describe the publishing of peer reviewed research in journals/websites which do not charge subscription fees. Since a bulk of published scientific literature  in the US arises directly from government, i.e. taxpayer funding, the public has already paid for this research. So, this is a debate in the sense that global warming is a debate, and yet another depressing indication of the plutocracy-protectionary principle!

Science & Technology at Scientific Open Access to Science Under Attack — Advocates of open access to scientific research may find themselves under fire from high-profile public relations flaks and high-powered lobbying groups.

The Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers hired Eric Dezenhall, head of Dezenhall Resources, a PR firm that specializes in “high stakes communications and marketplace defense,” to address some of its members this past summer and potentially craft a media strategy.

Yes, go ahead, use the same publicist types that brought you the “CO2 is life” campaign. If you read the article fully, you’ll see that these publicists suggest a simple message:

“it’s hard to fight an adversary that manages to be both elusive and in possession of a better message: Free information.” Finally, Dezenhall suggests joining forces with think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute and National Consumers League in an attempt to persuade key players of the potential risks of unfiltered access. “Paint a picture of what the world would look like without peer-reviewed articles,” he adds.

Yes, of course, open access journals are not peer reviewed, cigarettes are not addictive, CO2 is life, 1+1=3 (just checking!)

I am ashamed to call myself a member of the egregious American Chemical Society, which is part of this lobbying effort along with Elsevier and Wiley.

Let’s review who’s getting paid for publishing their work with one of these wonderful journals

  1. The authors:
  2. The peer reviewers
  3. The editors of the Journal
  4. The people who own the journal
  5. The shareholders of Wiley and Elsevier

The divisions could not be more clearly drawn. The people who produce the work, and the people who check the work for scientific accuracy, readability, appropriateness and suitability don’t get paid, the man does!

For an alternative, check out the workings of PLOS.

I hope the whole current system dies a swift and painless death.