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Biweekly links for 08/10/2009

by Michael Nielsen on August 10, 2009
  • Bad science: Hit and myth: curse of the ghostwriters
    • Excellent article explaining mechanisms by which incorrect science can be amplified and become widely accepted: “Using the interlocking web of citations you can see how this happened. A small number of review papers funnelled large amounts of traffic through the network. These acted like a lens, collecting and focusing citations on the papers supporting the hypothesis.”
  • Citing papers that you’ve never read — or that were never written « IREvalEtAl
    • “The Most Influential Paper Gerard Salton Never Wrote, an article by David Dubin tracing the history of the vector space model as applied to the field of information retrieval. In this article, Dubin points out that a highly cited paper, “A Vector Space Model for Information Retrieval”, published by Gerard Salton in 1975 in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science, does not in fact exist…Nevertheless, the non-existent article is cited 215 times according to Google Scholar.”
  • Decca Aitkenhead meets Clive James | The Guardian
    • Clive James on writing: “Thomas Mann, he said – and this is great, this is writing – he said a writer is someone for whom writing is harder than it is for other people.

      That line is perfect in every way. Not only is it perfectly written, but it’s absolutely true.

      The only thing I’ve got better at as the years have gone by is I’ve grown more resigned to the fact that it comes hard. You realise that hesitation and frustration and waiting are part of the process, and you don’t panic. I get a lot better at not panicking. I get up every morning early if it’s a writing day and I will do nothing else but write that day. But the secret is not to panic if it doesn’t come.”

  • Total Recall
    • Blog for the book “Total Recall”, a book about lifelogging, by Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell. Many interesting tidbits about what you can do with a record of your life.
  • MyLifeBits – Microsoft Research
    • Gordon Bell’s remarkable MyLifeBits project: “MylifeBits is a lifetime store of everything. It is the fulfillment of Vannevar Bush’s 1945 Memex vision including full-text search, text & audio annotations, and hyperlinks…. a lifetime’s worth of articles, books, cards, CDs, letters, memos, papers, photos, pictures, presentations, home movies, videotaped lectures, and voice recordings and stored them digitally. He is now paperless, and is beginning to capture phone calls, IM transcripts, television, and radio.”
  • Three Rivers Institute » Approaching a Minimum Viable Product
    • I’ve been guilty of this: Kent Beck: “By far the dominant reason for not releasing sooner was a reluctance to trade the dream of success for the reality of feedback.” Interesting to think about what this means in the context of open science.
  • MediaFile » Why I believe in the link economy
    • From Chris Ahearn, President, Media at Thomson Reuters: “Blaming the new leaders or aggregators for disrupting the business of the old leaders, or saber-rattling and threatening to sue are not business strategies – they are personal therapy sessions. Go ask a music executive how well it works… If you are doing something that you would object to if others did it to you – stop. If you don’t want search engines linking to you, insert code to ban them. I believe in the link economy. Please feel free to link to our stories — it adds value to all producers of content… I don’t believe you could or should charge others for simply linking to your content. Appropriate excerpting and referencing are not only acceptable, but encouraged. If someone wants to create a business on the back of others’ original content, the parties should have a business relationship that benefits both.”
  • Scan This Book! – New York Times
    • Kevin Kelly on book digitization. I was particularly interested to see that Kelly takes very seriously both the idea that: (1) it will be near-impossible to maintain current business models built around copyright; and (2) we may end up with a lot less creative work going on as a result. Many people take (1) seriously, and many people take (2) seriously; relatively few people really do both.

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