Blog of Random Thoughts and Pictures

Scientific papers and journals in the future

June 24th, 2008

So are Are Academic Journals Obsolete?
My last post highlights the question and here are some varying opinions
1) Interweb based debate, this Slashdot article appears to go along the lines of yes they’re needed as it a mechanism for “Peer review with Quality in mind”
2) Paper based debate, this paper by Bora Zivkovic provides a very interest prediction for research papers

scientific paper of the future will be a work in progress — with different people with different skills and talents contributing to a body of work sequentially: one has the idea, another turns it into a hypothesis, another designs the experiments, another runs them, another analyzes the data, another visualizes them, another interprets them, another places several such pieces of work together into a historical and philosophical context and finishes writing the “paper”.

B. Zivkovic, The future of the scientific paper, Journal of Science Communication, Volume 07, Issue 02, June 2008,
So this makes me wonder will Open Access Journals be some way to fulfil this prediction? I’ve seen an example of SRE before, here’s another one PLoS One.
Although in both cases the Computer Science papers submissions are quite low
as compared to the other sciences.
But in some ways will we just skip this and just pander to the YouTube generation for example

Research behind what really is behind the Diet Coke and Mentos physical reaction?

June 12th, 2008

Just picked up this interesting item from the NewScientist on the Science of Mentos-Diet Coke explosions explained which has taken its cue from the American Journal of Physics paper “Diet Coke and Mentos: What is really behind this physical reaction?”
According to the author, its not totally down to the chemical reaction of the ingredients in the sweets, and the ingredients in the Coke, its also got to do with microscopic dimply surfaces of the Mentos which disrupts the attractions between water molecules hence encouraging bubble cascading.

But didn’t the guys from MythBusters already solve this one? [1]
Well one explanation may be that research papers do not get published at Internet speed! The paper was received 7 June 2007; accepted 5 February 2008, published June 2008. The MythBusters show aired on August 9, 2006 ……… hmmmm hang on a second that doesn’t quite match up, but I see back in the comments field for this article the author is defending their work.
The paper looks at items:-

such as the importance of the speed with which the samples fall through the soda and the soda temperature. I also rigorously quantify the effects of surface roughness of the samples and the changing surface tension of the liquids, using nanoscale microscopes and contact angle measurements. I credit the Mythbusters in the paper for identifying the primary ingredients (and I love their show), but they did not really go into the WHY behind the reaction as much as I do in the paper.

Mores the point who would have thought a PhD dissertation on “Nanotribology Fundamentals: Predicting the viscous coefficient of friction” would lead to explaining this.
I’m a believer that the devil is in the detail.
Einstein in one of his early papers answered the simple question : How can you measure sugar molecules dissolved in a cup of tea? His formula for measuring the size of sugar molecules in a liquid was applicable to all molecules and provided much of the framework essential to his analysis of Brownian motion [pdf].
Okay okay I’ll finish .. it’s still interest though.
[1] Embedding disabled by request

IPv6 being pushed into the limelight

June 5th, 2008

I know I’ve mentioned this maybe one too many times … but it now appears that the only sustainable solution to deliver expected economic and social opportunities for the future of the Internet economy is the deployment of IPv6.
So says an OECD Report on the Economic considerations in the Management of IPv4 and in the Deployment of IPv6 [pdf].
Pigeon Point Lighthouse on Flickr by MumbleyJoe [1]
I wonder will this report on IPv6 and the recent EC supported EUROPEAN IPv6 DAY – 30 May 2008 see IPv6 safely come home to port, or may leave it still be left out to sea in the ocean of undeployment?
It looks like Europe has an Action Plan …. do you?
Launch IPv6 video [wmv] in external Media Player [2]
And in the US Google plan ….

[1] CreativeCommons MumbleyJoe
[2] Copyright of European Commission 2008