Cutting a Round Cake on Scientific Principles
cutting a round cake on scientific principles
Over 100 published science journal articles just gibberish
Do scientific papers ever seem like unreadable gibberish to you? Well, sometimes they really are.
Some 120 papers published in established scientific journals over the last few years have been found to be frauds, created by nothing more than an automated word generator that puts random, fancy-sounding words together in plausible sentence structures. As a result they have been pulled from the journals that originally published them.
The fake papers are in the fields of computer science and math andhave titles such as “Application and Research of Smalltalk Harnessing Based on Game-Theoretic Symmetries”; “An Evaluation of E-Business with Fin”; and “Simulating Flip-Flop Gates Using Peer-to-Peer Methodologies.” The authors of those papers did not respond to requests for comment from FoxNews.com.
This is not the first time nonsense papers have been published.
In 1996, as a test, a physics professor submitted a fake paper to the philosophy journal Social Text. His paper argued that gravity is “postmodern” because it is “free from any dependence on the concept of objective truth.” Yet it was accepted and published.
‘We are in the process of investigating… [and] taking the papers down as quickly as possible.’
– Eric Merkel-Sobotta, a spokesman for the publisher Springer
But how could gibberish end up in respectable science papers? The man who discovered the recent frauds said it showed slipping standards among scientists.
“High pressure on scientists leads directly to too prolific and less meaningful publications,” computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in France, told FoxNews.com.
But he has no explanation as to why the journals published meaningless papers.
“They all should have been evaluated by a peer-review process. I’ve no explanation for them being here. I guess each of them needs an investigation,” he said.
The publishers also could not explain it, admitting that the papers “are all nonsense.”
“We are in the process of investigating… [and] taking the papers down as quickly as possible. A placeholder notice will be put up once the papers have been removed. Since we publish over 2,200 journals and 8,400 books annually, this will take some time,” Eric Merkel-Sobotta, a spokesman for the publisher Springer, which published 16 of the fake papers, told FoxNews.com.
The fraud was first reported in the journal Nature.
Labbé has made it his mission to detect fakes, and ironically has published a paper in a Springer journal about how to automatically detect fake papers. He also built a website that detects whether papers are computer generated.
“Our tools are very efficient to detect SCIgen papers and also to detect duplicates and plagiarisms,” Labbé said. SCIgen is the program that generates random papers.
Some professors said that pay rules that base professor salaries on the number of papers they publish may lead to fakes.
“Most schools have merit raise systems of some kind, and a professor’s merit score is affected by his or her success in publishing scholarly papers,” Robert Archibald, a professor of economics at the College of William and Mary, who studies the economics of higher education, told FoxNews.com.
He noted that because other professors may not read the paper, “publishing a paper that was computer-generated might help with merit pay.”
Labbé also said that overly numerical measures might encourage fraud.
“In aiming at measuring science it is perturbing science,” he said.
The author of this piece, Maxim Lott, can be reached on twitter at @maximlott or at [email protected]
Over 100 published science journal articles just gibberish
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Women are more vulnerable to the damaging effects of alcohol than men because they are generally smaller in stature and have less body water, a US scientist has claimed.
According to Dr Howard Monsour, chief of hepatology at Houston Methodist Hospital, women who are already predisposed by genetics to have liver disease should limit their alcohol consumption or stay away from alcohol altogether.
“There is a misconception that you have to be an alcoholic to develop serious liver disease. Not true. In fact, if you have a genetic disposition, drinking more than a moderate amount could be very damaging, especially for women,” Monsour said.
About 20 to 30 per cent of the population has a genetic disposition to cirrhosis of the liver and Monsour said it is important for people to know if they have a family history of cirrhosis before making the decisions to drink large amounts of alcohol.
“One drink a day might be too much for a woman who has a genetic pre-disposition to cirrhosis of the liver,” Monsour said.
“One drink for a woman has about twice the effect as it does for the same amount consumed by a man,” he said. The liver stores energy and nutrients and produces proteins and enzymes necessary for optimum health. It protects the body from disease and eliminates toxins like alcohol. “When women drink the same amount less is dispersed and the concentration is higher. They also have a lower activity of a metabolising enzyme in the stomach called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH),” Monsour said.
ADH helps convert alcohol to acetaldehyde, which eventually is metabolised to carbon dioxide and water. This causes a larger amount of the alcohol to reach the blood and eventually in susceptible persons can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, a disease that normally has no visible signs until liver damage is too extensive.
Doctors may soon be able to ‘draw’ new bone, skin and muscle on to patients, after scientists created a pen-like device that can apply human cells directly on to seriously injured people.
The device contains stem cells and growth factors and will give surgeons greater control over where the materials are deposited.
It will also reduce the time the patient is in surgery by delivering live cells and growth factors directly to the site of injury, accelerating the regeneration of functional bone and cartilage, scientists said.
The device developed at the University of Wollongong (UOW) will eliminate the need to harvest cartilage and grow it for weeks in a lab.
The Bio Pen works similar to 3D printing methods by delivering cell material inside a bio-polymer such as alginate, a seaweed extract, protected by a second, outer layer of gel material.
The two layers of gel are combined in the pen head as it is extruded onto the bone surface and the surgeon ‘draws’ with the ink to fill in the damaged bone section.
A low powered ultra-violet light source is fixed to the device that solidifies the inks during dispensing, providing protection for the embedded cells while they are built up layer-by-layer to construct a 3D scaffold in the wound site.
Once the cells are ‘drawn’ onto the surgery site they will multiply, become differentiated into nerve cells, muscle cells or bone cells and will eventually turn from individual cells into a thriving community of cells in the form of a functioning a tissue, such as nerves, or a muscle.
The device can also be seeded with growth factors or other drugs to assist regrowth and recovery, while the hand-held design allows for precision in theatre and ease of transportation.
The BioPen prototype was designed and built using the 3D printing equipment in the labs at Wollongong and was handed over to clinical partners at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, led by Professor Peter Choong, who will work on optimising the cell material for use in clinical trials.
Decrease Portion Sizes : Get started eating smaller portions
The Dietary Guidelines encourage you to enjoy your food, but eat less and to avoid oversized portions.
The amount you eat or drink plays an important role in your energy balance strategy. Most people eat and drink more when served larger portions. Choosing smaller portions can help you lose weight and keep it off.
Portions have increased over time. See examples here. You may be eating more than you realize. Some common food portions can equal the amount that is recommended for the whole day. For example, on a 1600 calorie Daily Food Plan, 5 ounces a day of grains are suggested. Some bagels weigh up to 5 ounces – the entire day’s allotment of grains!
Your Daily Food Plan helps you manage your daily intake by recommending the amount of food you need from each food group.
Your portions at each meal do not need to be any specific amount-but to stay within your energy needs, the total amount you eat each day should match the total amount recommended for each group. For example, 1 regular slice of bread counts as 1 ounce of grains. This doesn’t mean that you have to eat a sandwich with one piece of bread. It just means that if you eat two slices, you should count them both toward your total grain intake for the day.
Concerned about eating smaller portion sizes? Here are some common “stumbling blocks” and ideas to help you overcome these barriers:
|“I don’t have time to measure out my foods all the time.”||Being successful at decreasing portion sizes doesn’t mean that you have to measure every meal or snack you eat. Once you’ve taken the time to measure out a few examples, you will be able to estimate portion sizes better. Plus, just eating or drinking less than you normally would means you are decreasing your portion sizes.|
|“My Daily Food Plan tells me to eat more of some things but also to decrease portion sizes. I don’t understand if I should eat more or less.”||The recommendation to decrease portion sizes is particularly important for high calorie foods or for foods with a lot of empty calories, such as cakes, cookies, sugary drinks, and pizza. It is important to Focus on Foods You Need. For example, eat a large portion of steamed broccoli (but with only a very small amount of butter or cheese sauce, if any).|
|“I like to eat a big burger every once in a while. Are there other ways to eat less?”||In general, it is a good rule to eat and drink smaller portions. You can occasionally eat or drink foods in larger portions, but not as part of your daily diet. Make that big burger a “once-in-a-while” special treat, and on most days choose the smaller options.|
|“I was always told to clean my plate.”||Resign from the “clean your plate” club now. Stop eating when you are satisfied, not when your plate is empty. Start your meal by only eating half of what’s on your plate. Stop for a moment and decide if you really want to eat more. Don’t forget that you can save some leftovers for another meal or snack. Learn more about keeping food safe to eat. Nothing has to go to waste, and the food will taste better when you are hungry again!
As a nurse at Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital, Len Kincaid wants to make sure people are living healthy lifestyles.
But even as he encouraged patients to quit smoking, he was struggling with his own long-term tobacco habit. Nothing seemed to be working — until he tried electronic cigarettes a year and a half ago.
“It felt like I had completely quit smoking,” said Kincaid, 48. “To this day, I’ve never felt the need for a cigarette.”
Now Kincaid has two jobs: After his shift at the hospital ends, he heads to Vaporcraft Electronic Cigarette Specialists in Clawson, a shop and “vaping” lounge he opened with his wife, Barbara, in April.
Demand is high at the shop, and the trend is growing across the country, according to figures from Bloomberg Industries. The devices began appearing around 2006.
They are expected to account for as much as $1.7 billion in sales this year, according to the forecasting firm, which says tobacco cigarettes are an $80 billion-a-year industry. The firm predicts e-cigarette sales will surpass traditional cigarette sales by 2047.
And as the popularity of “vaping” grows, debate continues over possible health effects of smoking the electronic devices.
Health officials warn that the cigarette substitute, while tobacco-free, delivers nicotine, an addictive substance that raises a user’s heart rate and blood pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“Based on the studies that have been done, it’s not a safe alternative,” said Angela Minicuci, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health.
Advocates for e-cigarettes say they allow smokers to transition away from tobacco, which has been linked to cancer and emphysema.
“We’ve known since the early 1960s that smoking kills you, and we’ve been searching for some way to quit,” said Beaumont’s Kincaid. “Finally we’re got this miracle way to quit smoking.”
E-cigarettes come in a variety of models and styles but all are battery-powered devices that provide inhaled doses of nicotine through a vaporized solution. At the Kincaids’ shop, models cost $41 to $200, and accessories and “e-juice” — liquid nicotine that fills an e-cigarette cartridge — add to the cost.
Some people prefer disposable e-cigarettes, which can cost as little as $3 per unit. A pack of regular cigarettes costs $6.54 in Michigan, according to the American Lung Association.
The Federal Drug Administration appears to be on the cusp of regulating e-cigarettes, but at least for the time being, there’s nothing preventing sales to minors in Michigan or 29 other states. Many shop owners, including the Kincaids, refuse to sell to anyone under age 18.
E-cigarettes aren’t covered under Michigan’s Smoke-Free Air law, which prevents smokers from lighting up inside businesses and bars.
At Central Michigan Univeristy, electronic cigarettes have been banned in residence halls and in most areas on campus since 2010.
“The decision was made because the FDA still hasn’t made a decision on the safety of them, so until it’s done, we’re going to treat it as if it’s second-hand smoke,” said Shaun Holtgreive, executive director of campus life at the Mount Pleasant school.
Vaping is just as successful as nicotine patches in helping smokers break the habit, according to a study completed by researchers in New Zealand and released last month in the medical journal The Lancet.
But according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a growing number of children are being introduced to nicotine through e-cigarettes.
The CDC report, released this month, is the first large national study to gauge use by middle and high school students. It found use by those groups doubled between 2011 and 2012.
About 2 percent of the students said they had used an e-cigarette in the previous month, according to a survey done last year. That was up from 1 percent in 2011. The study is based on a questionnaire filled out by nearly 19,000 students in grades 6 through 12 in 2011 and another 25,000 in 2012.
More young people smoke traditional cigarettes than the new electronic ones, according to the report.But the study seems to indicate some children are starting with electronic versions and then moving on to tobacco products.
The CDC study showed that 20 percent of middle school vapers and 7 percent of high school vapers had never tried conventional cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes come in a variety of flavors, which can appeal to children, said Dr. Samuel A. Allen, a pulmonary and critical care specialist with Beaumont Hospital.
“I frequently have patients who tell me peach is the best flavor,” said Allen. “With all the different flavors out there, you can tell they are marketing this to minors.”
Allen said he doesn’t recommend e-cigarettes to his patients who are trying to quit smoking, but if they insist on using them, he shows them how to gradually swap out regular cigarettes.
“I tell them this is the lesser of two evils,” said Allen. “There is no real data to show these are less harmful or more harmful than cigarettes. They just haven’t been around that long for there to be any studies on the long-term effects.”
Some users swear by the devices, like former trial lawyer Don Petrulis, who started smoking again when he retired, four years after quitting.
“My wife said, ‘Uh uh, you’re not going back there. Why don’t you try those electronic cigarettes,’” said Petrulis, 69, who lives in Troy.
A month in, he swears by his plastic, disposable substitute, saying he’s got no more craving and feels better. “If you’ve got to smoke, this is the best alternative,” he said.
Going on a health kick reverses ageing at the cellular level, researchers say.
The University of California team says it has found the first evidence a strict regime of exercise, diet and meditation can have such an effect.
But experts say although the study in Lancet Oncology is intriguing, it is too early to draw any firm conclusions.
The study looked at just 35 men with prostate cancer. Those who changed their lifestyle had demonstrably younger cells in genetic terms.
The researchers saw visible cellular changes in the group of 10 men who switched to a vegetarian diet and stuck to a recommended timetable of exercise and stress-busting meditation and yoga.
The changes related to protective caps at the end of our chromosomes, called telomeres.
Their role is to safeguard the end of the chromosome and to prevent the loss of genetic information during cell division.
Researchers have been questioning whether this process might be inevitable or something that could be halted or even reversed.
The latest work by Prof Dean Ornish and colleagues suggests telomeres can be lengthened, given the right encouragement.
They measured telomere length at the beginning of their study and again after five years.
Among the 10 men with low-risk prostate cancer who made comprehensive lifestyle changes, telomere length increased significantly by an average of 10%.
In comparison, telomere length decreased by an average of 3% in the remaining 25 men who were not asked to make any lifestyle changes.
Shorter telomeres have been linked with a broad range of age-related diseases, including heart disease, and a variety of cancers.
I’m definitely going to wait to see whether this can be replicated on a larger scale and with more sizeable effects before I get excited”
Dr Tom Vulliamy of Queen Mary University of London
The study did not set out to check if lifestyle changes and telomere lengthening would improve cancer outcomes, but the researchers say this is something that should be investigated.
Prof Ornish said: “The implications of this relatively small pilot study may go beyond men with prostate cancer. If validated by large-scale randomised controlled trials, these comprehensive lifestyle changes may significantly reduce the risk of a wide variety of diseases and premature mortality.
“Our genes, and our telomeres, are a predisposition, but they are not necessarily our fate.”
Dr Lyn Cox, a biochemistry expert at Oxford University in the UK, said it was not possible to draw any conclusions from the research, but added: “Overall, though, the findings of this paper that changes in lifestyle can have a positive effect on markers of ageing support the calls for adoption of and adherence to healthier lifestyles.”
Dr Tom Vulliamy, senior lecturer in Molecular Biology at Queen Mary University of London, said: “It is really important to highlight that this is a small pilot study.
“Given this, I’m definitely going to wait to see whether this can be replicated on a larger scale and with more sizeable effects before I get excited.”
Experts agree that telomere shortening is unlikely to be the sole explanation for human ageing.
For example, humans have much shorter telomeres than primates and mice, yet live for far longer.
But past work has shown that people who lead a sedentary lifestyle can experience accelerated cellular ageing in the form of more rapid shortening of their telomeres.
TEN Reasons to Wish You Had an Endless Supply of Liquid Nitrogen
In a perfect world, all faucets have three knobs: hot, cold, and liquid nitrogen. We’re not there (yet!) but these ten little party tricks from The King of Random are the perfect reason to wish we were.
To be fair, some of the applications are better than others. Self-inflating balloons can’t hold a candle to crazy-flaming-soda-can. But if you were really hard-pressed to find more uses to make up for it, it seems like liquid nitrogen + literally any food = endless amusement.
So if you need to make your next party dope as hell, make sure to grab a Dewar flask and start pestering your favorite chemistry student for the goods. What could be cooler? [The King of Random]