Computer algorithm has more papers than you do!


Oh man, oh man.

Via Retraction Watch, I just learned that Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University has found more than 120 published fake papers written by the algorithm known as SCIgen. That’s >100 by IEEE and 16 by Springer according to the nature article by Richard Van Noorden.These are mostly conferenced proceedings-but they’re purportedly peer reviewed.

You can make your own fake paper too. Here’s ours: Geld: A Methodology for the Improvement of Scatter/Gather I/O

Remember when John Bohannon wrote a somewhat misleading attack on the open access publishing model in Science? It seems traditional publishing has their own misgivings about peer review.

From Van Noorden’s report:

Labbé says that the latest discovery is merely one symptom of a “spamming war started at the heart of science” in which researchers feel pressured to rush out papers to publish as much as possible.


Related links
Ike Antkare one of the great stars in the scientific firmament

Uncle Sam poster modified from Wikipedia source.

Designing 3D printable Lieberkühn Reflectors for macro- and micro-photography

Designing a Lieberkühn Reflectors for macro- and micro-photography

A Lieberkühn Reflector gets its name from one Johann Nathaniel Lieberkühn, who invented the speculum that bears his name which you may recognize from reflective headband decorations for doctor costumes. The name is generally changed from “speculum” to “reflector” when referring to optical reflectors used in photography and microscopy, perhaps because the term has drifted from its original Latin root meaning “mirror” to refer to probing instruments for dilating orifices.


Lieberkühn reflectors were a way to bathe an opaque specimen in fill light. Lieberkühn reflectors and their use have unfortunately fallen by the wayside with the advent of modern conveniences like LEDs and fiber optic illumination. The above example from the collection of the Royal Microscopical Society displays a Lieberkühn on a simple microscope. In use, the reflector would be pointed towards the specimen, and fed light by a second mirror like the one on the rightmost microscope. Both of the microscopes pictured were on display at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford

The working part of the Lieberkühn reflector is a parabolic mirror, which doesn’t add the spherical aberrations of hyper- or hypo-bolic configurations. As an added benefit, mirrors don’t tend to add chromatic dispersion or other aberrations associated with refraction (though they can effect polarisation). A parabola can be described as a a particular slice through a cone , but for the purposes of my first prototype, the functional description in cartesian coordinates will do.

y = alpha x^2
Where alpha depends on the focal length of the parabola.
alpha = 1 /4 f

To get a functional, 3-dimensional mirror, I describe the parabola in terms of the focal length and a given radius as a 2D trace and spin it with rotate_extrude() in OpenSCAD. Leaving an aperture in the middle leaves room for light to reach the objective. The reflector shown below has a 4mm central aperture for the objective, 16mm focal length and 32mm diameter.



I have sent a few prototypes (matched to particular lenses or objectives) to Shapeways for prototyping. After some characterisation these will appear on theBilder shoppe.

Touring CERN’s Compact Muon Solenoid

theScinder visited CERN!

On the cutting edge of wading through petabytes of data, the reader will probably recognise the organization from big press releases concerning the discovery of the boson-with-properties-consistent-with-the-Higgs (resulting in the Nobel in Physics for Peter Higgs and François Englert last year) and the report from OPERA that they had discoverd faster-than-light neutrinos (resulting in the resignation of Antonio Ereditato and Daria Autiero, despite a rather cautious initial press release.)


The triage room. This is where hardware throws away tremendous swaths of data, so you don’t have to. Uninteresting events are deleted permanently before being parceled out around the world on the LHC worldwide computing grid.


Please put on your dosimeters now.



The CMS itself. The view in this photo is somewhat hampered by the compactness of the solenoid. A view of the detector complex before it was completely installed offers a more complete side view.



Thanks to Wolfram Zeuner of the CMS for showing us around the CMS, and Markus Schulz from the computing centre for arranging the visit and providing a tour of the computing centre.