Arcadian Functor

occasional meanderings in physics' brave new world

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Location: New Zealand

Marni D. Sheppeard

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Moving North I

As expected, my comments about being blacklisted from the arxiv were deleted from a popular blog (this time The Cafe) and of course AF is not listed on respectable blogrolls. Nonetheless, it appears that blogging may have helped me obtain a postdoctoral research job somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. I would love to tell you all about it, but not until everything is official and my flight is booked. Perhaps this is a brave new world, after all.


Blogger zeynel said...

Good luck with your new position, I hope you will continue blogging. Why did they remove your comment?

November 06, 2008 5:58 PM  
Blogger Kea said...

Hi Zeynel, welcome to AF. Why? I suspect because they think I'm what they call a crackpot, by definition someone whose opinions and experiences they consider not worth listening to.

November 06, 2008 6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw your comments before they were deleted. They were very reasonable and on-topic. I wont comment there again.

I was surprised that Baez is such a big supporter of the arXiv's endorsment system. Does he really think that anyone with a sensible paper can submit it that way?

In a meritocracy people succeed because of their abilities and achievments. The peer review system was based on that principle. Now they want to replace it with a system of endorsements that is more likely to encourage sycophancy.

Endorsements are fine for students but those of us who have proved our research abilities with our qualifications and peer reviewed publications should not have to go begging for assistance in that way.

Only Americans could seek to undermine the peer review publication system with one where you need good contacts before you can even enter a preprint. Then they impose their system on the rest of the world and wonder why they get so many outsiders e-mailing them for their help and support.

The old peer review system is flawed only because it is run by profit making organisations who want safe articles to support their brand. Publishing in a journal is not easy for an outsider like myself but at least I can still get through if I write a good paper and choose the right journal. I have no chance of getting into the arXiv unless I start a campaign to make friends in high places. John Baez is starting to get into positions where he can influence the system and I fear that he and others like him aim to abolish the journals in favour of a new system where only your contacts matter.

I have submitted an essay to the FQXi contest in the hope that they will live up to their stated aims to recognise people who would not normally get support. I think I can guess where the prizes will actually go but it depends who they choose as judges. We will see. I hope you are still planning to submit an essay too.

Best of luck for your future plans.

November 06, 2008 9:45 PM  
Blogger Kea said...

Hi PhilG. It is indeed frightening that people in comfortable positions cannot see the problems with the arxiv system. Other comments of mine have been deleted there before - from recollection also related to new physics. It would seem that an attempt to discuss physics outside The Empire is automatically seen as crackpotism, despite all the experimental evidence suggesting that good scientists should listen.

November 07, 2008 8:15 AM  
Blogger Mark A. Thomas said...

Congratulations Kea,
A pre-Welcome to you to the fast paced North America. Don't worry its a phun place too. And all the hype you hear is true, maybe. A suggestion, don't reveal yourself until you are in the job with both feet in.

November 07, 2008 2:27 PM  
Blogger Kea said...

LOL, Mark. By the way, I said Northern Hemisphere, not North America.

November 07, 2008 2:54 PM  
Blogger Mark A. Thomas said...

I stand corrected. And I am sure not for the last time. Kea, good luck where er' ya go. I'm sure you'll do well. Someday I am gonna go and get educated and maybe I will not have readin and rithmatik problems.

November 07, 2008 3:45 PM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

I quit reading Not Even Wrong because it got boring. He goes a little overboard on the policy regarding comments, but I don't think that comments on blog posts is the right way to push your theory.

Instead, you should write it up and submit it to PRD. And after that, arXiv won't have a heck of a lot of reasons for rejecting your submissions.

November 07, 2008 3:56 PM  
Blogger Kea said...

Yes, agreed, Carl. But the comments under discussion had nothing to do with the details of any theory.

November 07, 2008 4:49 PM  
Blogger Daniel de França MTd2 said...

Several of my comments were also deleted from n Category Cafe and I was called crackpot, on email, by John Baez... And look, I was very specific when claim that I was right or anything, just that I was just looking for guidance, and trying to figure out how to proceed with the stuff I was thinking about.

I guess that is not a good place to be called a "cafe" and talk about idling things... Well, I was also told that I was offtopic, well, indeed I was.

November 08, 2008 12:43 AM  
Blogger Daniel de França MTd2 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 08, 2008 12:44 AM  
Blogger Daniel de França MTd2 said...

You are going to England. That's because you met a cool professor in October 20, that liked your ideas while having a coffee with him.

November 08, 2008 1:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carl, I agree about blog comments and would never post comments about my work except where very specifically on-topic.

Have you tried publishing in PRD as an independent researcher? Such journals are very concerned about their impact parameter and will quickly find a reason to reject anything that is not sure to be well cited in their view. Pick a journal with an impact parameter less than one for a more open minded appraisal if your work is not already well regarded. Of course people then sneer at those journals and refuse to read them, but that's life.

I'm afraid you cannot submit to arXiv unless you have an endorser, no matter how good your publications are. If you have good contacts in the right places it's no problem, otherwise it's just tough luck.

By the way we were talking about n-cat cafe this time, not Woit's blog, in case there was any confusion.

November 08, 2008 1:40 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Thanks for the clarification philg, I was about to go over to Woit to read the actual discussion.

But I hate to do this, I should be writing up physics papers instead.

I agree that 2nd level journals are probably a better idea. And it turns out that I like the formatting at Foundations of Physics more than PRD anyway.

November 08, 2008 7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck with publishing in FoP. According to wikipedia "It publishes only a handful of papers each month from prominent physicists". I was thinking more of something like International Journal of Theoretical Physics which Wikipedia says is "of lesser notability" but it is still very respectable and better than a "vanity journal". I published some "foundational" stuff there. When I was a student I could publish in Physics Letters B, but not now. Of course it depends on the type of work you are doing.

Keep writing. I'm looking forward to your paper.

November 08, 2008 9:06 AM  
Blogger Kea said...

Thanks for all the comments, everybody. Just brrrilliant, Daniel, although Causality is not what it seems. And LOL, Carl! (PhilG, I suspect Carl knows perfectly well that FoP is a top journal).

November 08, 2008 1:17 PM  
Blogger Daniel de França MTd2 said...

Lol Kea! Did you read what I posted on physicsforums? I am asking for opinions concerning causality:

For that matter, I even downloaded a scan of the book that engineering book Carl indicated when he discussed the checkerboard model.

November 08, 2008 3:11 PM  
Blogger Kea said...

Actually, no, Daniel. I think physicsforums is pretty boring these days.

November 09, 2008 7:33 AM  
Blogger Daniel de França MTd2 said...

"Actually, no, Daniel. I think physicsforums is pretty boring these days."

Ouch! Well, where else I could look to discuss ideas? Well, at least brainstorming ideas there will not make me banned...

November 09, 2008 9:27 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

We mostly abandoned physics forums as a consequence of the tendency of people there to defend status quo stuff a little too energetically.

The other half was when WordPress began allowing latex in posts and comments. After that, the big advantage of stuff here is that we have control over posts.

As an example of what happens when people who really don't understand physics get jobs policing physics forums, the straw that broke this camel's back was how I was treated on a simple general relativity calculation that was done using methods slightly different from the usual.

November 09, 2008 3:44 PM  
Blogger Daniel de França MTd2 said...

But Carl, it's hard to brainstorm or to talk in speculative mode, like we would talk in a lunch meeting, in blogs.

Carl, if I set up a forum, would you accept being a moderator with me? I could also make a blog... Tony Smith sugested me that. Of course, nothing is strict.

To tell you the truth, I my idea is to make an open source physics institute. Everyone can help with ideas... and there would also be the caffeteria, where all kinds of lunch talk can go.

I don't know if I rather make a blog or a forum. Maybe a mix of both. What I'd want to promote is knoledge share, knoledge growth, etc... Would you help me? I mean, I am inviting you.

November 10, 2008 5:11 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...


I don't like moderating the relatively small number of comments that show up on my blog (worst abuser is Nigel now that I think of it). I felt that those who moderated me on forums were not doing a good job. And I'm satisfied with what is going on now. In fact, for my needs blogs are far suuperior to forums. I hated the huge amount of useless posts you see on forums.

So you will have to moderate your forums without my help. But I wish you all success in this.

November 12, 2008 12:31 AM  
Blogger Javier said...

Congratulations (ok, somewhat retarded) by your new position.

About the crackppot issue I am getting more and more annoyed with that issue. For example, Jonh Baez seems to be an anticrackpot cruxadow, bute, belongin to the LQG comminuity (whatever if he wants to seem himself in that position or not) he is at least a "semicrackpot" for the hardcore of the stringy comunity. His labour in the n-category coffe would be considered apparte because it is a blog about mathmathical physics and not actually about physics.

And, anyway, I, and probably many of you, have seen in peer reviewed magazines (usually not the top ones, of course) articles of very low quality. Some of them could be considered "crackpots" under the actual criteria. But I don´t consider necesary to woory so much about them. Simply they will not get cites and they will vanish in limbo.

B.T. W, some time ago I told you that I didn´t follow too much your blog because my lack of knowledge in algebraci geometry. Now I am near to get a decent undersanding in that subject including the (censured) conmutative algebra requiered to properly understand it. Maybe them I could understand what your 100+ posts about M-theory actually have to do with string theory M-theoyr (if they are related topics afther all).

November 17, 2008 9:25 PM  

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