Peer review, or it didn't happen

In which Master Shake discovers that Time Warner has trademarked all forms of time travel. Warning - features Carl in a thing.

Exactly the sort of wonderful thing I hope for from Boing Boing!

An exception being “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.
But seriously Maggie, you posted the image without a link, is this circulating on the Reddits?
I can think of a couple of captions for that, but more on the goofy side, like

From this key point,
the T-shirt can now be folded symmetrically.

Wait! you spelled it bad. It’s “Time Masheen”… Like in Idiocracy (wonderfully relevant to this thread flick).

spoiler beware…

Time masheen

Pons & Fleischman’s anomalous heating effect, and other observed phenomena, were in fact repeatable although it’s quite difficult and most of the early attempts failed. The problem was the politically motivated focus on the word ‘fusion’ which was used in the framing of early theories that tried to explain the effect. The work was attacked by so-called “scientists” who emphasized the probable misuse of one word to discredit their scientific rivals and elevate adherence to dogma over honest and unbiased investigation of the most significant discovery since controlled nuclear fission. But real scientists (the kind that don’t insist on using invalid arguments from authority to filter their data) have continued to work on the real science involved ever since.

[quote=“Medievalist, post:3, topic:8484”]
I love the image, but I personally would only use it satirically to mock blind worshippers of peer review. Who will be along shortly, I expect.[/quote]

F&P weren’t victims of the media or peer review because they had a press conference prior to publication of their paper in an apparent attempt to cut the throats of their collaborators.

Very good point (if I’m understanding you correctly). The University employing Pons et. al. pressured them into both using the phrase “cold fusion” officially and having a press conference before the research was ready for publication, and they later expressed great regret for bowing to that pressure.

Just as with the H. Pylori debacle, the dissemination of knowledge outside the calcified apparatus of mainstream science drew ire and swift punishment.

Ohhhh, ye of little snark! Let not the literal shake thee, Mr. Holz! They know not what you meant.

Having caught one rather large and well-funded association of scientists outright faking the very existence of a peer review, I would argue that insisting on this as any measure of validity is even worse than worthless. Although, I would add that they paid both the writers and their PR firm very handsomely to produce the nonsense and promote it to the government (successfully).

And having seen too many invitations to peer review where those invited were to be judged on A) Whether they had participated to their employer’s desire amount and B) With their employer’s favored pov, I’m 100% sold on indie replication, nothing more and nothing less.

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I has MANY snarks! They are large and fierce! I keep them in the basement.

Yeah, I’d actually shoot for something in the middle. More of a Feynman approach, right? Every idea should always be up for review, and the more we hammer away at it the stronger our understanding of it gets. If somebody does a lateral hop and suddenly gives us a better model or framework, we should use reason and logic and analyze it. Meanwhile ‘I told you so’ or ‘my grand-daddy told my daddy who told me’ needs a new level of scrutiny if you apply it to somebody else.

Meanwhile, I stand behind my snark on the patent system, it is horrifyingly bad, and if anybody says I can’t use an IDEA to help another person because ‘somebody else owns it’ then either . .
a) that’s not what that person intended, or
b) that person’s a jerk, and I don’t care what they want.

Ideas shouldn’t be abused like that. None of us accomplishes anything on our own

So, totally broken, if I can exploit it to patent it, and then tell everybody they can’t use it unless they give me eleventy million golden stars, then I totally will!

See, big snarks!

Science is a process, not a single point in time. Fleischman/Pons/Hawkins made a mistake, but they did follow the process correctly – they published their findings, including enough information that folks were able to figure out what the mistake was.

Being wrong despite your best efforts doesn’t mean it wasn’t science. In fact, if there’s no chance that additional information will show your answer was wrong or incomplete, THAT probably isn’t science.

Their biggest error, in my opinion, was the paper’s title – jumping to the conclusion that they had achieved cold fusion rather than saying “here’s a fascinating result which we can’t explain except by invoking fusion, but we need more work and maybe help proving or disproving that conclusion.” A question mark at the end of the title would have been a huge improvement.

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The US Patent Office used to require that inventors submit a working model of their invention. They dropped that requirement with one exception: Anyone who wants to file a patent on a perpetual motion machine is still required to submit a model. It’s the simplest way to screen out both the fakes and the people who drew something on paper that won’t work in the real world.

Apropos of which: the Museum of Impossible Devices is a wonderful website for understanding those errors:

That’s actualy kind of neat!

I still despise the system with a firey, burning passion though.

I despise the system’s malfunctions, when they occur. When working as designed, the system is actually pretty darned cool.

That pair of statements goes for many human inventions, actually.

(In theory, practice is the same as theory. Unfortunately, in practice…)

If the experience of F&P teaches us anything, it’s that if you discover (or think you’ve discovered) something new and wonderful, for God’s sake, don’t call a press conference.

Assuming the right to free speech, everybody’s everything is always up for review. Unless you get snarky in a financially egregious way - then you have libel to deal with. And, if everyone has the same level of free speech, there are your peers.

I took Intellectual Property Law while in school. Funny, it was relatively cut and dried not that long ago.
It is traditionally (though not legally) your right to steal my processes, if you can manage it. And if I catch you at it, you wouldn’t typically be charged with a criminal act for that. (Only for illegal entry to my property, or using a computer to do it.) Instead, you are charged with profiting from my property - and if you lose, you have to return the profits you wrongly took. That doesn’t seem so bad. Actually, it looks like the best all-around option available is to simply steal product ideas that are worth the price of repayment. And, guess what? It’s done every day. Maybe not for any humanitarian purpose, but intent changes nothing. The very fact that trolls abound and that even actually ripping off a patent isn’t a directly criminal act itself tells me that you aren’t far off the mark, just as it was apparently intended to be.

Funny how we can reserve 56 billion for a Black Budget to skim your email, but not a thin dime for some humanitarian patent-skimming, isn’t it?

Yeah, that’s the bit I’m concerned with. It’s a problem that’s a product of the system we live in, the combination of patent law and our economic system that requires a degree of manufactured scarcity to function.

It’s not very close to ‘every human, inventor or not, should be well taken care of, and every invention or idea should be free for anybody to use’, is it? Because that’s kind of how it should be. Give me a few dozen intrinsically motivated inventors and watch them run circles around those who only do it for financial reward or need to for survival. No paywalls, no hoarding, nothing like that. Good inventors are happy to know their ideas catch on, we’re only trained to want the huge chunk of cash because we’re trained to worry constantly about our survival and future.

I mean, seriously, we’re trapping people in the bottom of every variant of Maslow’s Hierarchy there is. . . more manufactured scarcity. It’s absolutely tragic.

I guess it’s okay for an over-complicated role playing game, but I’d rather it not infringe on the real world. It’s all topsy turvy.

Yup, kind of have to laugh so you don’t cry, right? Or a billion to invade Syria at a minimum with little attention paid to the refugees instead of a billion getting everyone who doesn’t want to be in a war zone (and EVERY child!) out of there and setting them up in self-governing eco-villages somewhere. Talk about priorities, we don’t even give people any options.

Back on topic :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Yeah, I’m there. I think there’s a nice set of transitions between ‘My doctrine says so’ and ‘this seems right’ and ‘wow, this is actually repeatable and predictable’. I think the whole original thing was just in response to Newsworthy-Exciting crap like most of The History Channel, Discovery’s recent burst of yuk in their gems (Megalodon and Mermaids . . if Mythbusters wasn’t awesome I’d suspect the letter M was a code!), and most of the news.

They’re not REAL problems, but we’re pretty good collectively at making problems where none need to be, aren’t we?

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