FM newswire for 16 January, hot articles for your morning reading

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis — with a new feature, daily good news!

  1. When Did the Word Negro Become Taboo? In 1966 or soon thereafter“, Brian Palmer, Slate, 11 January 2010
  2. Good news!  “Coral can recover from climate change damage, press release about this article:  “Marine Reserves Enhance the Recovery of Corals on Caribbean Reefs“, Peter J. Mumby and Alastair R. Harborne (U of Exeter), PLoS ONE, 11 January 2010
  3. Regime Change in Tehran? Don’t Bet on It… Yet“, Dilip Hiro (expert on Islam, see his Wikpedia bio), TomDispatch, 12 January 2010
  4. How Many Iranian Nuclear Physicists Are There? Would assassinating one or two of them stop a weapons program?“, Juliet Lapidos, Slate, 12 January 2010
  5. Good news!  “Antarctic sea water shows ‘no sign’ of warming“, The Australian, 12 January 2010 — For more on this see WUWT, which has links to the scientists’ website.
  6. One-child policy condemns 24m bachelors to life without a wife“, The Times, 12 January 2010 — For more about this see the FM reference page Demography – studies & reports.
  7. This is brilliant and technically correct, and demonstrates how even left-ish economists have been cooped by Wall Street:  “Is the economy a victory or a defeat?“, Brad Delong (Prof Economics Berkeley), The Week magazine, 12 January 2010 — “Yes, we’ve averted the worst, but unemployment is at 10%. Assessing the economic recovery.”  The financial sector has become more important than the real economy.

Really good news, more benefits from ClimateGate

If these principles had been followed by climate scientists during the past decade, we would know a lot more about climate change — and the issue would be less politiziced.  Secrecy creates distrust, and with good reason.

Excerpt from the press release

An expert panel of librarians, library scientists, publishers, and university academic leaders today called on federal agencies that fund research to develop and implement policies that ensure free public access to the results of the research they fund “as soon as possible after those results have been published in a peer-reviewed journal.”

The Scholarly Publishing Roundtable was convened last summer by the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology, in collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Policymakers asked the group to examine the current state of scholarly publishing and seek consensus recommendations for expanding public access to scholarly journal articles.

The various communities represented in the Roundtable have been working to develop recommendations that would improve public access without curtailing the ability of the scientific publishing industry to publish peer-reviewed scientific articles. The Roundtable’s recommendations, endorsed in full by the overwhelming majority of the panel (12 out of 14 members), “seek to balance the need for and potential of increased access to scholarly articles with the need to preserve the essential functions of the scholarly publishing enterprise,” according to the report.

… The Roundtable identified a set of principles viewed as essential to a robust scholarly publishing system, including the need to preserve peer review, the necessity of adaptable publishing business models, the benefits of broader public access, the importance of archiving, and the interoperability of online content.

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4 thoughts on “FM newswire for 16 January, hot articles for your morning reading”

  1. As a U-Mich. alum., I get quarterly mags from the engrg school. The ultimate goal is to extract $ for the alumni fund. The mag shows all the wonderful things that students and faculty are doing. One recent issue was devoted entirely to the various corporate programs that are being worked on. Back in the 60’s when I was there, it went on, but not to the extent that it does now. It is like the college of engrg has sold out to corporate interests. I was repulsed by the apparent sellout. Articles I have read in In These Times and elsewhere suggest that it is pretty much the same across the country. All campuses have their hands out for corporate $.

    Incidentally, when I went to U-M, it cost $1500/year total at a time when the minimum wage was $1.25. Now, tuition alone is around $20000/year. If I were a high school grad now, I could not afford to go there.

  2. Niger, negro, negra, neger, nigger. It’s all black to me. The wonder of words and their changing meanings.
    FM reply: Fortunately we know that these attitudes will pass away. From The original Star Trek episode The Savage Curtain, aboard the Starship Enterprise President Lincoln meets Lieutenant Uhura:

    LINCOLN: What a charming negress. Oh, forgive me, my dear. I know in my time some used that term as a description of property.
    UHURA: But why should I object to that term, sir? You see, in our century we’ve learned not to fear words.
    KIRK: May I present our communications officer, Lieutenant Uhura.
    LINCOLN: The foolishness of my century had me apologising where no offense was given.
    KIRK: We’ve each learned to be delighted with what we are. The Vulcans learned that centuries before we did.

  3. Roland Tingstadt

    If climate scientists had plied their trade in an open and above-board manner, we wouldn’t have the trillion dollar carbon trading empires and the huge UN programs for redistributing wealth to the developing world. That would have been a sin.

    As for university and corporations, bring it on. The hell of universities these days is racialist admissions policies and fascist speech codes. Unless universities can the nazi PC policies, they will be tossed in the trash heap.

    I do hate racist language, though. Have you noticed that the hateful word “nigger” rhymes with the innocent sounding word “bigger?” Every time I hear someone use the word “bigger” I just want to scream and shake them by the scruff and yell at them: “you g-d racist!” But somehow I manage to subdue myself every time.

  4. With respect to coral reefs:

    In my mind, one of the downfalls of the “global warming movement” is that it has focused the faux “environmentalist v. non-environmentalist” debate into one about whether global warming is occurring, whether it is man-made, and whether or not it will have bad effects, and the highly politically charged nature of the debate (which clouds the science and makes it hard to make an informed judgment…i.e. is what I am hearing propaganda or not?). This is made doubly bad because the doomsayers have likely exagerrated what will happen should global warming occuring (i.e. the Day After Tomorrow).

    This is unfortunate because there are real, nearly indisputable environmental problems occurring which are probably worse (or at least more predictably worse) than global warming. In particular we have the collapse of global fishery ecosystems due to overfishing (“Study Sees ‘Global Collapse’ of Fish Species“, NY Times, 3 November 2006), the double Texas sized garbage island in the Pacific (Wikipedia), and other staggering problems which are clearly man-made and which can probably be curbed.

    While I think we can focus on all the issues at once, and while I think that curbing atmospheric pollutants is probably beneficial regardless of “global warming,” it is unfortunate that one of the more debatable issues is the one that gets all the sexy air time.
    FM reply: I agree, and have written about this many times. With respect to fisheries, see The real pirates sailing the seas, in whom we have no interest and from which we will suffer massive damage (4 January 2010) — which has links to the research mentioned by the NYT. More broadly, see my posts about shockwaves — low probability, high impact scenarios.

    What should we worry about? My list, in no sequence.
    * War
    * Food supplies
    * Water supplies
    * Development of a new economic paradigm, needed stat.
    * Biochemical pollution, esp on Xenoestrogens (hormones)
    * How to manage the age wave (increased population followed by a crash)
    * Development of better energy sources (esp to replace coal and the internal combustion engine)

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