Peer Review Goes Public

first_imgA scientific revolution for the internet age is taking place: peer review is coming out of its secrecy into public light.  Tired of the dominance of big-name journals and their editorial policies, independent-minded researchers are taking their publications to the web.  The revolution is explained by AP reporter Alicia Chang (see Yahoo News), and by the editors of The New Atlantis.    The new methods of bringing scientific research to visibility has problems of its own.  It’s too early to say if it will succeed.  But with scandals in its closet and complaints of plagiarism, favoritism and stifling of non-traditional ideas, traditional peer review has come under growing criticism.  The freedom of the internet is making open-access sites like arXiv and PLoS a growth industry, while the big-name journals are having to crack open their inner sanctums with blogs, open-access articles and other internet-savvy innovations.This is a trend to watch.  We don’t know yet if the problems will outweigh the benefits.  It might become comparable to how cable and the web ended the dominance of the mainline news broadcast networks.  Did you know that peer review is a relatively recent phenomenon?  Though early modern scientists stressed the need for sharing and verifying experimental results, peer review as practiced today did not become common till after World War II.  Now, it has too often hindered the very quality it set out to establish.  Authors fear giving away their life work to rivals who might wind up on the review committees.  Journals tend to look for ground-breaking and sensational works, downplaying ordinary but important work.  And worst of all, ideas outside the mainstream are often silently dropped from view.    Competition is good for ideas; Darwinism has for too long been a stifling orthodoxy.  There will be problems.  Mavericks might get carried away in this new wild west.  Readers might consider an online paper authoritative without sufficient warrant.  The potential benefits look strong, though.  This might stimulate more student interest in science, and the new freedom may lead to more bold exploration of new promising leads (like intelligent design).  Wikis and blogs will permit rapid validation and falsification, and lively debate among scholars.  With the new “multitude of counselors” there may be more safety than the few secret reviewers of the past provided.  Welcome to Web 2.0; hang on.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Small Florida Homes With Solar Features

first_imgSolar Hot Water and PV Make Them Near-Zero-EnergyCAPE CORAL, FL — Greencastle, a green builder in Cape Coral, Florida, is aiming at the small-home market with three new designs for near-zero-energy homes. Called the MicroModern, the MicroFlorida, and the MicroTuscany, each of the three models measures under 1,600 square feet. According to Greencastle president Shawn Harvey, the homes are “not too big, not too small, but just right.”The energy-efficient homes have low-e double-glazed windows (0.30 solar heat gain coefficient), Icynene-insulated attics, and above-grade walls made with insulating concrete forms (ICFs). The tight, well insulated envelopes “should reduce the cooling demand to probably one ton,” said Harvey. The homes will include metal roofing, hard-surface flooring (Travertine tile and hardwood), and LED lighting.Greencastle will build one of the homes on your lot for about $300,000, a price which includes a solar hot water system and a 3-kW photovoltaic array. Although the PV array isn’t big enough to provide all of the electricity for a typical family, it should make a big dent in the average utility bill. “I would love for these homes to be true zero-energy homes,” said Harvey. “But really, what I am selling is a near-zero design. The hot water demand has been almost eliminated and lighting demand is reduced dramatically. I know that the 3-kW array should more than meet the demand of the air conditioning system.”According to Harvey, Florida builders are facing a tough economic climate. “If I told you the market was challenging, that would be an understatement,” he said. “There are tens of thousands of foreclosed properties around here. A year ago when we developed the concept for these homes, it was clear that things were going to get tougher. We decided we were going to do our best to create demand. We believe that good design will sell if priced right. Based on the reaction we have had to these houses, we believe there is a market for this niche, and that this niche has been totally unserved. Certainly, there are days when there is no good news at all and you have to work at keeping your chin up and moving forward in the belief that things will improve.”For more information, visit www.greencastleinc.com.last_img read more

Forget Skeuomorphism: The (Digital) World Is Getting Flatter

first_imgRelated Posts How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? Tags:#user interface design Computer interface design is all about metaphors: That’s not really a window or a desktop or a menu you’re using… it’s just a clever approximation of the real-world items sketched out on the screen. One designer’s examination of those kinds of conventions in user interfaces on desktops, smartphones and tablets may give us a glimpse into the future look of the devices we use.The concept of approximating real-world tools and interfaces on the screen is known as skeuomorphism, according to Sacha Greif, a French computer designer who currently resides in Osaka, Japan (which sounds much cooler than, say, a Hoosier living in Indiana).Greif recently wrote a compelling essay called “Flat Pixels,” which explains skeuomorphic design versus the up-and-coming trend of flat design. Greif lays out a great primer explaining what skeuomorphic design actually is, using the example of how many on-screen calculators are designed to look. Usually, just like their physical counterparts, even down the to “C” key in some cases.Button, Button, Who’s Got The Button?This is a type of design that I have commented on before to my students, only I didn’t know until I read Greif’s article what this design concept was called. In my case, when I explain the interface of Microsoft Excel or LibreOffice Calc, I describe for them the old spreadsheet books that accountants used to use, and how the modern-day spreadsheet applications mimic that with rows, columns, cells and worksheets.Skeuomorphic design, by Greif’s definition, attempts to mirror the physical functionality of a tool, even replicating physical items or characteristics that are no longer used all that much. Greif mentioned “radio buttons,” which is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a hot-button for me, because of the blank stares I get from my undergrads when I mention the term in class.When was the last time anyone even saw an actual radio button? I can’t remember my last time using one, though I miss the satisfying “ker-chunk” I’d hear when tuning into WLS-AM as a kid in the car. Yet, even in “modern” interfaces like Office 2010, radio buttons are still all over the place.Greif highlights elements of skeuomorphic design as opposed to the rising trend of flat design. In flat design, typography and minimalism take center stage over the functionality of real-world objects. Greif cites Windows 8’s Metro interface as a strong example of flat design and indeed, he might hopefully find our own design here at ReadWrite somewhere on the flat end of the design spectrum.Apple’s iOS has leaned heavily on skeuomorphism in the past, with added elements of what Greif describes as realism: The stitched-leather effect seen in many Apple-designed iOS apps is a good example of that, though in recent months Apple appears to be backing away from that kind of design approach. A very skeuomorphic and realist design.(See also Tim Cook Cleans House At Apple – Scott Forstall Is OutandWill Apple’s New Design Approach Kill The Luster Steve Jobs Loved?)The Interfaces AheadGreif takes care not to hold up one type of design over the other, pointing out the pros and cons of each flavor of interface. But he believes that flat design may have an edge in the near future, as it is particularly suited for mobile interfaces, and easier to code – something he believes all designers will have to do more of.“This is why I’ve been embracing flat design lately: not just as an aesthetic choice, but as a design exercise that forces me to shore up my weaknesses,” Greif concludes.If other designers feel the same way, then simpler, cleaner designs could be more prevalent in device interfaces moving forward.Of course, there are other design schools that don’t fall neatly into the skeuomorphic or flat schools of thought, so it won’t be all about flat. But given the current rebellion against skeuomorphism, I think it’s safe to say that interfaces will be moving away from digital-as-physical constructs for the time being.I, for one, will still miss the ker-chunk.Image courtesy of Shutterstock. Why You Love Online Quizzescenter_img brian proffitt Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac…last_img read more

The Kinder, Gentler Apple (We Really Don’t Want)

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Apple is a different place since Steve Jobs left us. The stock price is way down, and the company apologizes at an unprecedented rate. Granted, Apple almost never apologizes for anything, and when it does, the apologies tend to be less than apologetic. So “unprecedented” simply means “more than once per century” – but this Apple is different.For one thing, Apple just apologized for being, well, Apple.Apple’s China Strategy Breaks New GroundIn Apple’s apology to China over allegedly shoddy customer support, Apple CEO Tim Cook said:We are aware that a lack of communications… led to the perception that Apple is arrogant and doesn’t care or attach enough importance to consumer feedback. We express our sincere apologies for any concerns or misunderstandings this gave consumers.Perhaps Cook isn’t aware, but nonchalance toward industry feedback and arrogance are hallmarks of Apple’s history. Now it’s apologizing for these traits? This from the company whose founder, Steve Jobs, famously said:Some people say, ‘Give customers what they want.’ But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, ‘If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, “A faster horse!”‘ People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.And from the same founder who, when told the iPhone 4 had serious antenna issues, told users that they were holding the phone wrong?A Kinder, Gentler AppleThis is a very different Apple. When you read Cook’s apologies on Apple Maps problems or now on China, they actually read like he’s sorry, and not simply going through the motions of looking apologetic.It’s a kinder, gentler Apple. And I’m not sure I like it.Sure, there are good reasons for Apple to apologize. For one thing, it’s the right thing to do when someone, or some company, messes up. For another, it’s good business, and given Apple’s recent stock market stumbles, making peace with Apple’s biggest future market – worth $22.5 billion in fiscal 2012 and on a torrid growth pace – makes a lot of sense, as All Things D‘s John Paczkowski posits.Missing Apple’s ArroganceBut I liked the Apple that was infuriating in its smug assurance that it was right. Because most of the time, it was, and holding its ground forced the industry to be more circumspect about easy assumptions about what would work. I know that I, personally, have been proved wrong many times about Apple, and am grateful that it hasn’t listened to what I or others in the media were saying.Or, as former Apple employee Guy Kawasaki tells it,“Apple market research” is an oxymoron. The Apple focus group was the right hemisphere of Steve’s brain talking to the left one. If you ask customers what they want, they will tell you, “Better, faster, and cheaper”–that is, better sameness, not revolutionary change. They can describe their desires only in terms of what they are already using….The richest vein for tech startups is creating the product that you want to use—that’s what Steve and Woz did.Whatever the Chinese blow-up, if you’ve ever called Apple on a support issue or visited an Apple Store, you know that Apple has exceptional customer support. Better than any other technology company that I know. It rivals Nordstrom, it’s so good.I suppose Apple felt the need to make China happy, but I hate seeing it prostrate itself and become something it’s not: humble. Apple is great because it pays little attention to critics. Or used to. Lately it’s been apologizing somewhat regularly. I want the unapologetic, arrogant Apple back. Matt Asaycenter_img Tags:#apology#Apple#Steve Jobs#Tim Cook Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementlast_img read more

Software-Defined Networking (SDN): What It Is, How It Works, Why It Matters

first_imgCloud computing is all about “abstracting servers,” turning actual hardware into virtual machines and moving them out of your organization so you don’t have to worry about them. Big data’s non-relational databases and Hadoop clusters perform a similar level of abstraction on database administration. Software-defined networks (SDNs) may do the same thing with networking.SDN promises to make high-capacity networks cheaper to build and especially to re-configure on the fly – as well as potentially faster and more efficient. As more and more computing moves to the cloud, those network improvements will be critical to keeping everything affordable and available.It won’t be just cloud environments that will get SDN benefits, either. SDN could enable corporate networks to be reconfigured on-the-fly. Imagine being able to plug in a multimedia-intensive device in a conference room and the network adapting to effortlessly handle the sudden new load without grinding the rest of the building’s network traffic to a staggering halt. Or re-arranging cellular networks during a disaster to deliver connectivity when and where it matters most. That’s no doubt why analysts like IDG are predicting the business of SDN hitting $2 billion by the year 2016. But Software Defined Networks are incredibly complicated, so even as many networking professionals look forward to SDNs as the best thing since sliced bread, others are scratching their heads and wondering if the IT hype machine has gone completely off the rails.Who’s right? To answer that question we need to look at exactly what is a software-defined network, and how do you create them?Here’s The SDN TheoryThink about a traditional network and everything that entails. You have your routers, your switches, and lots and lots of CAT5 and CAT6 cable strung around: all physical hardware that, when connected in a certain way, defines the flow of data in the organization. Like laying down a network of highways, planning a network takes time; it has to be done right the first time because shuffling things around afterward is expensive.A network has to do two big things: deliver data and manage the flow of that data. If I am downloading a video from California, the network knows to get it to me here in Indiana. Shunting the data through India and Europe would not be the most efficient way to do it – unless, of course, some big physical failure occured between here and the West Coast that required the signal to be sent the long way around the planet.Inside a company, the same thing happens on a smaller scale. Data is passed back and forth, and that traffic is usually managed by software inside the physical devices – software that knows how to manage the day-to-day operations of the workplace.With cloud computing, the physical servers that hold the virtual machines are still networked together with the same routers and switches that are used in a workplace network. But the demands on that physical network can be much, much greater – at times – than anything your employees can dish out. (Which, really, is the whole point of using the cloud in the first place.)What SDN does is this: Assume you have the network cable laid out between every physical server in the cloud environment and all of the optimized routers and switches. The SDN layer essentially acts a virtual software switch or router in place of (or in conjunction with) the physical network devices.So instead of software embedded in the routers and switches managing the traffic, software from outside the devices takes over the job. The network layout, or topography, is no longer rooted in the physical. Instead, it’s flexible and adjustable to the systems’ needs on the fly.Properly implemented, this means an application running inside the cloud itself can take over the job of directing networking traffic. Or a third-party cloud-management application could do the job. That could make it easier to perform tasks such as load balancing devices across servers and automatically adjusting the network architecture to deliver the fastest and most efficient data paths at the right time.Rules Of The SDN RoadThere are risks involved in this kind of networking – namely those stemming from how complicated these kinds of operations can be.Traditionally, networking “decisions” have been left in the hands of the the devices on which the network actually runs. That’s what they are meant to do. Taking the control away from these specialized devices and the embedded software that runs them could be the prelude to a networking disaster, unless everything is done exactly right.Done improperly, this would be akin to letting every driver in Cleveland have independent control of all the traffic lights in town. Chaos. This is why there’s a gap between theorizing about SDN and actually implementing it.Right now, the Open Networking Foundation’s OpenFlow protocol and the Linux Foundation’s new OpenDaylight project are two open source projects working to establish a set of SDN traffic rules that applications can use to prevent such chaos.These protocols would also vastly simplify the work of application developers, who would not have to learn the nuances of networking control, but rather just call on one of these tools to handle the heavy lifting for planning the right path through a network, based on an application’s need.Think of it like getting a police escort through a strange city. You don’t have to know anything about the city or worry about stops – you just get in your car and follow the vehicles with the flashing lights, trusting that they know what they’re doing and where they’re going.SDN Benefits Could Be WidespreadBecause of its complexity, SDN won’t take off right away. But once SDN is implemented, the benefits will be immediately apparent. Cloud computing environments controlled by SDN will see significant increases in speed and efficiency, since their networks will be optimized for the applications running in that cloud environment. Corporate and mobile networks are also likely to gain benefits from SDN implementations.IT will have to lay down the rules of the road first, but no one can deny there is big potential in software-defined networks to bring more adaptable networking resources to businesses and consumers alike.  Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#networking#software defined networking How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloudcenter_img Related Posts Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … brian proffittlast_img read more

They are leaving a ‘sinking ship’: Aparna Sen on Bengali actors joining BJP

first_imgA day after several Bengali actors joined the BJP, noted film-maker Aparna Sen on Friday said they were leaving a “sinking ship” and drifting towards power. The actors were with the CPI(M) when it was in power, rallied behind Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee when she took over the reins of the State and are switching over to the BJP when it is gaining ground, she told PTI in an interview. On Thursday, several Bengali actors, including Parno Mittra, Rishi Kaushik, Kanchana Moitra and Rupanjana Mitra, joined the BJP at its headquarters in the presence of the Party’s West Bengal unit head Dilip Ghosh and senior functionary Mukul Roy.“Now that Mamata is slowly losing ground and the BJP is gaining, they are going to the BJP. Where there is power, they will go. There are people like that. I don’t care about them, I don’t think about them,” Ms. Sen, who is in Delhi for the premiere of her film “Ghawre Baire Aaj”, said. “People leave the sinking ship and go where the power is. It’s a common human instinct,” she added. Over the years, the TMC has been fielding several Bengali superstars as candidates for elections. Superstar Dev won the Lok Sabha polls for the second term this year, while actors Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty debuted in Parliament this time. Ms. Sen, who is known for being vocal on socio-political issues, said Hindi film stars have to think about the wider range of audience they cater to and that’s why they don’t publicise their political stands. “If they are seen to have any political colour, then they will have a problem,” the 73-year-old said. She said the BJP is “gaining ground” in West Bengal due to the failure of the Trinamool government and the lack of a viable alternative. “I don’t think they (people of Bengal) see any alternative actually at the moment because TMC government also has failed them and the Left, for all practical purposes, doesn’t exist anymore and Congress is also hardly there.” “But I think the Left and the Congress need to rise again. Because apart from anything else we need a strong Opposition,” she added. Ms. Sen was one of the many celebrities who campaigned against the Left government during the Nandigram and Singur movement, which helped the TMC come to power in 2011. In 2006-07, there were mass protests against the then Left State government over land acquisition for a Tata Nano factory in Singur and a chemical hub in Nandigram. The multi-lingual actor-director, who has made films such as “36 Chowringhee Lane” and “Mr. and Mrs. Iyer”, said in response to a question that she has always been a strong critic of Ms. Banerjee and had never supported her politically.“I didn’t support her cause. I was only against the massacre in Nandigram. I was not supporting Mamata’s cause. I was against uprooting of people in Singur when there was a land just opposite, where that could have been done [the Tata Nano factory]. “That was along with many other people, not just me. Nobody supported Mamata. Mamata happened to be the vote catcher and she took advantage of that situation. In fact, I have criticised Mamata many times publicly,” the National Award-winning director said. Asked if she has ever raised her concerns with Ms. Banerjee personally, Ms. Sen said she doesn’t have direct access to the Chief Minister. Ms. Sen recently met agitating junior doctors in Kolkata along with other civil society members and also visited the violence-hit Bhatpara area.Are her political activities were helping the BJP gain ground?“No, not at all. I talk to the people Bhatpara and we heard complaints both about BJP and about TMC. We heard a lot of complaints about Arjun Singh (the local BJP MP from Barrackpore). I have all those videos.” Ms. Sen was speaking on the sidelines of the Jagran Film Festival, where her political thriller “Ghawre Baire Aaj” premiered. The film based on Rabindranath Tagore’s novel ‘Ghare Baire’ portrays a love triangle in the backdrop of the current political situation in the country.last_img read more

Wrist splint

first_imgA wrist splint can relieve symptoms that can occur from overuse of the hand and wrist.Review Date:6/4/2011Reviewed By:Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.last_img