I have already written about my love for BibTeX and BibDesk for referencing. One of the best things about it is that you can often fetch bibliographic information straight from the journal’s websites, Google Scholar or other sources.
However, whilst this is great most of the time, there are many cases where journals are delivering broken BibTeX that BibDesk cannot parse, or that are just not well formed. What’s following is a brief rant on journal’s low quality BibTeX download and a few general observations.
German weekly Spiegel Online reports on a new initiative by the EU to make more extensive use of the data gathered about airplane passengers to fight crime. The data to be evaluated will include, amongst others, Names, addresses, itineraries, credit cards, telephone numbers, travel agencies, food preferences, seats and change of reservations. This is a significant number of potential variables, and some seem rather arbitrary to me. (Seriously, food preferences?) This legislation is modelled on the US’s similar law, and is meant to be introduced on international flights at first, but there are plans to introduce it in inner-European flights as well.
A recent article by Trumble et al. (2012) investigates testosterone levels in the Tsimane, hunter-gatherer society in the Bolivian Amazon. They organised a competitive football match between eight different Tsimane villages (Seriously, how cool is that – organising a football match as part of your research?), tested testosterone levels of the (male) players men before and after a match and compared these to testosterone levels in an age-matched male US sample. The authors have two key-findings: On the one hand, both groups show increased testosterone levels in a competitive football match. On the other hand, baseline testosterone levels are lower in the Tsimane.
Paul Feyerabend was one of Popper’s earliest students and followers, but soon turned to criticise Popper’s theories vigorously. Neither of them were shy of words when criticising colleagues’ works, nor would they try to conceal their criticism. Feyerabend recalls the following dialogue:
“‘I am not going to read your diatribe!’ Popper had shouted when he saw my [Paul Feyerabend’s – Antipattern] comments on his diatribe against Bohr. (He calmed down when I told him that many people had complained about my aggressive style and had ascribed it to his influence. ‘Is that so?’ he said, smiling, and walked away.)” (in: Feyerabend 1995, p. 146)
Both, the German daily TAZ and the weekly Der Spiegel report that the Deutsche Bank has financed lectureships and research projects at Berlin universities, and supported the foundation of the Quantitative Products Laboratory, a research institute in applied financial mathematics. This raises questions about the independence of the research carried out at the institute, and the role of external funding in science.
Brain imaging techniques such as CT, fMRI and EEG have revolutionised psychology. They are indeed exciting technologies that can offer insights into the way our brain works. And thus, scientific columns in newspapers regularly report that a behaviour or perception can be linked to a certain brain area. The idea is that if we know that if a brain area is active during a certain task that is otherwise not, it is involved in the process, or, if a brain area is defective and with it specific cognitive functions, then these are linked, too. But things are not as simple. (They never are) Just because an area is active during a cognitive process does not necessarily tell you what it actually does.