Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This and That

Instead of substantial original writing, here are some links I came across over the weekend that you might also find interesting:

  • Back last summer, we had mentioned a report in Science by James Evans, Electronic Publication and the Narrowing of Science and Scholarship (doi: 10.1126/science.1150473). The paper said that as more and more scientific journals became available online, the articles referenced tended to be more recent, fewer journals and articles were cited, and more of those citations were to fewer journals and articles. This result seemed a bit surprising to Bee and me.

    Now, the Science issue of 2 January 2009 prints a few letters in reaction to this paper (unfortunately, subscription required), and comments by James Evans.

    For example, K. Brad Wray suggests that we may find that scientists' narrower focus on the literature is a good sign, as in science, relatively few papers affect subsequent scholarship, and scientists may be spending less time reading literature that is extraneous to their research.

    Yves Gingras, Vincent Larivière and Éric Archambault question the result as such, claiming that the conclusions are not warranted by Evans's data. Based on their own analysis (arXiv:0809.5250v1), they argue that Evens' conclusions reflect a transient phenomenon related to recent access to online publications which they know from disciplines in which online access has been available the longest (such as nuclear physics and astrophysics), and that researchers are increasingly relying on older science, and citations are increasingly dispersed across a larger proportion of papers and journals.

    Christopher S. Von Bartheld and Shaun P. Collin point out that current citation indices do not distinguish the purposes of citations, which may serve as confirmation, refutation, background, technical details, or another role, and that expanding the range of papers known to authors [via online access], a more complete grasp of current literature helps them to select more appropriate citations. Taking this into account, they argue, trends toward fewer citations may be a positive development.

  • In Physics Today, correspondence by readers is freely available online. In the January issue, Robert A. Putnam makes the interesting observation that the observed strength of fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background of about 1:100000 corresponds to pressure fluctuations in air, commonly noted as sound, in a crowded room, hence the cocktail party at the beginning of the universe.

    The same issue contains, also freely available, an article about AdS/CFT by Igor R. Klebanov and Juan M. Maldacena, Solving quantum field theories via curved spacetimes.

  • The January 2009 issue of Review of Modern Physics has articles about the The Physics of Maxwell's demon and information by Koji Maruyama, Franco Nori, Vlatko Vedral (doi: 10.1103/RevModPhys.81.1, arXiv:0707.3400), and on The electronic properties of graphene, by A. H. Castro Neto, F. Guinea, N. M. R. Peres, K. S. Novoselov and A. K. Geim (doi: 10.1103/RevModPhys.81.109, arXiv:0709.1163). Graphene is the chicken-wire single atom layer modification of carbon, where electrons behave as massless Dirac particles and show all kinds of cool stuff, for example the Klein paradox.

    Now, I'll need a few more weekends to read these two papers...


  1. Dear Stefan,

    Thanks for following up on the paper about citation behavior. And let us know if you've had time to read the mentioned papers, especially the one about Maxwell's demon sounds interesting. Best,


  2. Thanks for the links.

    With respect to citing old papers: in one paper I was citing an article from the '60's; one referee pointed out that there was a (much) older article from 1893 (the subject was cratering on the Moon)! I did end up citing this old paper.

    I am currently going through the Klebanov/Maldacena article in PT, to see if this famous AdS/CFT stuff becomes more clear to me...

  3. Hi Stefan.

    I would also like to thank you for all the links provided. The ones I hold in particular interest are those applying to entropy’s examination, where Maxwell’s demon serves as the device used to consider the questions. I must also admit I never realized how many versions of Maxwell’s little tormentor people have come up with.

    I still think however it’s somewhat a stretch to relate classical entropy with information. That is in the classical definition entropy has to do with the disordering of an initial state, which one could say has more of the effect of decreasing what I would describe as classical information in the process. That is to say that I see information as the ordering or things, as opposed to the disordering of them.

    I’ve never been able to accept that simply rubbing my hands together has more information to be created. To me it seems to be confusing what indeterminacy represents as being within quantum theory. If this was truly information then after an analysis of it one should be able to ascertain that it was created by the rubbing of my hands, yet the disordering of what’s contended to be information by its very nature only serves to preclude this ability.

    So for me it is different to ask if ordering decreases or information increases. I would ask for example what constitutes to have a plant what it is, the disorder it creates by its being, or the order required that is there then maintained to be? I therefore see the latter as the reason and the former as the consequence. So for me it boils down to this, what’s to be considered as information, a reason or the consequence of its being thereafter?




  4. observed strength of fluctuations ... corresponds to pressure fluctuations in air, commonly noted as sound, in a crowded room

    A romantic might say it was someone saying "Let there be light."

    Don't know what the crowded background would be. Angelic choir?

  5. Somehow having the idea of starting a fire "with a cylinder shape," somehow deeper defines the meaning of that question about the information then just hands rubbing. That cylinder, is a measure of the strings value. It's Reason for Being

    Information transfer can be a very fluid thing in terms of endocrinology and the human body.

    For the Bee Community, pheromones can be very "in struction all" to economic diversity. "The cash" takes on a new meaning.

    To me, the honeycomb structure in a weightless environment, might help to explain "the order of the honeycomb structure in nature" in face of gravity the builders work in.

    IN that Bee culture, are artists and workers and defenders of the faith.

    How these combs might be constructed over the object of things( very artistically expressed in photography), had to start from a "upper position and work it's way down.":)

    It may be a good proposal for an experiment in the space station?

    The economical exchange here just seems like "mice running the wheel of life," and getting no where fast. Even Dreaming would have be a better assessment of the "true heart of the thinking person" who is just plainly asleep here. Physically, the lips are moving and words forming in print, "the substance" of that economic content, is not being revealed.



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