Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What I am reading 8/18/2015

WaPo - Major publisher retracts 64 scientific papers in fake peer review outbreak -
In the latest episode of the fake peer review phenomenon, one of the world’s largest academic publishers, Springer, has retracted 64 articles from 10 of its journals after discovering that their reviews were linked to fake e-mail addresses. The announcement comes nine months after 43 studies were retracted by BioMed Central (one of Springer’s imprints) for the same reason.
Douchebags.  That's really all I can say.

NY Times - Two Female Soldiers Poised to Graduate From Ranger School -
Two female soldiers will graduate this week from Ranger School in Fort Benning, Ga., the first women to have made it through the Army’s premier leadership course and one of the most challenging and exhausting training programs in the military, Army officials said on Monday.
Congratulations, sincerely, but I'm not sure this really settles anything about the women in combat / women in infantry debate.  There are always people who will excel no matter what that are not reflective of the general population.  I think a far better test would have been training a large number of female infantry soldiers and comparing their progress to males over 3-5 years. (For the record - I support allowing women to serve in any role they can physical qualify for as long as it doesn't affect unit cohesion / mission readiness.  I admit that is a slippery standard and I don't know how to enforce it fairly, but that exception has to exist in order to allow the military to fulfill it's primary mission.)

Boing Boing -Soda Pop Soldier, a novel of what is far too likely to come, by Nick Cole -
Nick Cole's Wasteland saga is amazing. When I realized his Soda Pop Soldier was a take on one of my favorite odd advertising campaigns, the Cola Wars, I had to read it. 
I have had this book sitting around for over a year.  I have tried a number of times to read it and have never gotten past the third page.  Maybe it's time to try again.

Slashdot - Debate Over Amazon Working Conditions Goes Back Years -
This weekend, The New York Times published a lengthy report about working conditions for white-collar workers at Amazon. Describing the e-commerce giant as a "bruising workplace," the report paints a picture of a Darwinian environment. But criticism of Amazon's working conditions actually goes back years. In The Everything Store, a book-length account of Amazon by Bloomberg BusinessWeek reporter Brad Stone, the Amazon of yesteryear is indeed described as an aggressive place in which Bezos pushed employees relentlessly. So is Amazon a terrible place to work? 
In the comments about the article people point out that Amazon execs are writing in to say that they have never been asked to work on a weekend etc.  I believe the are referring to this piece.  Not my experience.  I worked at Amazon, as a contractor a few years ago, I was only there for a couple months (my choice I told them when I took the position that I had another job lined up but was waiting for the security review to complete) but I saw enough while I was there to say that there is probably some truth to both sides of the debate.

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