Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Actually thinking about the PLoS charging for submissions - what about non-US papers? Because in some countries $1.5k is worth relatively more as a proportion of the research budget than it would be to US institutions. And what about the poorer institutions in the States? Not that I can figure out any way of making it fairer. Hmm, guess I just don't like the rhetoric about open-access promoting fairness and equality, and then using such a clumsy capitalist mechanism to do it. But that's the system that exists, so one has to work with it.
Though I like their coupling of New Scientist-y explanatory blurb with the actual paper it is summarising, so the detail is there if you want it, but it's not solely dry statistical detail.

Moving not so swiftly on...
REM - when did they start just doing REM by numbers? Bad Day - just sing along and see how times you find yourself singing the wrong song - and how many different songs you sing [It's the end of the world as we know it seems to be the lead contender].
Ok so looking at their website - they have done a lot of stuff, so it's only natural some of it sounds the same.
Crowded - not quite what I expected. Do they know what crowded means?
Admittedly both those bands are better than repetitive stuff that seems to be lingering at the moment - such as the "you need to give up smoking" tones of Nickelback.
...why weren't we able?
I want to make love on the kitchen table.
When are you going to repaint the gable?
My life has become an Aesop's fable.

And sodding radio 1 chooses "fiddy" cent next. Woo-bloody-hoo. And that's tmesis apparently.
I'm about to start using "back in the day" aren't I? Except I'm not old enough.

And why am I so impressed by simple things? I think it's a boy. But what happened to the lost continent?

See this. No, no, no, no. Legalese works because it is specific language. Each word has a legal definition. To use currently prevalent words risks confusing the content and intention of laws - many words have varied definitions, and to use only one nuance from many contemporary variants allows greater scope for misunderstanding. Legalese might be hard to understand, but it can (with patience) be understood. Modernised language would create a great occurrence of unwitting misunderstanding. Ignorance of the law may be undesirable, but it is better than being ignorant of one's ignorance, which the misinterpretation of laws will produce.
As for resetting the legal landscape - law, like most knowledge, works on precedent. This allows flexibility to adapt to the current climate. So where once A might have won over B, now C suggests otherwise. And if that doesn't work there's D-J still available. Simplifying the quirks of the past would mean A beats B whatever. Or until the courts decide to create an exception - and then you have the beginnings of a cascade of precedence, whereby the entire system will reoccur. Creating a universal statement would be cumbersome, and allow little chance of case specific interpretation. Governments cannot write to that level of detail. That's why most legislation aims to be incremental - because situations always occur in which complete resolution is not useful.

Having just got back from driving into town - driving towards on set of traffic lights, and slowing down because of the queuing traffic. Big flash. Me - but there aren't any speed cameras here, are there? And then the car shudders and there's a very loud noise. And then I notice the traffic lights have just gone out. Oh right, the strike must have been close though. So people are carrying on as usual (ie they haven't noticed the lights are out yet), or slowly edging across. Fortunately as I get to them, they come back on (and on green for me). Cross, and carry on down the road. Can see from a long way off that the next set are on red for the straight over lane, green for turn right (turn across the oncoming traffic). This is pretty unusual, as it only happens when a pedestrian wants to cross (and bothers pushing the button). I approach, they're still in the same phase. I turn right under the green light. As I drive off and get to the next junction I can see in the mirror the lights are still in this unusual phase. They should have changed by now. There's going to be some happy people if they stay like that. But hey, they were fine for me.
It's a bit odd getting thunderstorms now though. I am slightly concerned as to why I thought it had to be a speed camera though.
Anyhoo, better go and do the lunch thing.

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