Metaspamming

Like all of you, I get my daily dose of spam. This one sneaked through both of my spam filters, but that was of course because it isn't spam. It fights spam. If you have been a victim of "all sorts of internet crime that arose from South Africa, Ghana and especially Nigeria", just contact these nice Nigerian officials. There's five and a half million dollars waiting for you. Or maybe not? Click the picture and judge for yourself...Read more …

Machines I want

Now, isn't this frustrating. After a hard day's work, putting all effort in converting my thoughts to text, I read this: Philip M Parker is the world's fastest book author, and given that he has been at it only for about five years and already has more than 85,000 books to his name, he is also probably the most prolific. Parker himself says the total is well over 200,000. So how does Philip M Parker (professor of innovation, business and society at Insead in France) do all that? When he turns to a…Read more …

The Department

Earlier this year Daniel Drezner discussed why there will never be a reality show about academia. Well... this is not reality, but pretty funny nevertheless. The Office Department: a merger between the Kennedy School of Government and the Government Department at Harvard. The difference? They (Kennedy School of Government) want to go and save the world. What we (Government Department) want to do is save the political science profession. I don't know which job is tougher. Probably the latter. [ht: CoreEcon / Dani Rodrik]Read more …

Xmas Workaholism among Scientists

A remarkable letter in today's correspondence section of Nature. For some odd reason, a group of scientists from Oxford and the National University of Singapore thought it would be a good idea to investigate the level of research activity of scientists during the holidays. In order to find out how many submissions were made to academic journals on Christmas Day between 1996 and 2006, Richard Ladle, Ana Malhado and Peter Todd searched Google Scholar for articles received on 25 December. Even taking into account the overall increase in the volume of submissions, there…Read more …

And the winners are…

Yesterday was the single most (ok, second most) important annual event for science: the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. The Ig Nobel Prizes have been awarded since 1991 for those scientific achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. They 'celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative -- and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology'. In Harvard University, great scientists gathered to hear who would follow in the footsteps of eminent illustrious intellectuals like: Daniel Simons of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Christopher Chabris of Harvard University, for…Read more …

Indonesia Too Democratic?

Can a country be too democratic? Vice President of Indonesia, Jusuf Kalla, thinks it can be. The Jakarta Post reports on his visit to China, and it seems like Kalla is quite impressed by what is going on in China. If only Indonesia was a bit less democratic they would be able to make the same progress as China is making."China's strength is that it can plan and implement. Our system, which is too democratic with too much individual freedom that often disregards the rights of others, has made it difficult for us…Read more …

Top 15 Controversial Honorary Doctorates

The tradition of awarding honorary degrees stems from Oxford University. These degrees were first awarded here in the 14th century and were given mostly to academic scholars. Nowadays the recipients range from academics to politicians to artists. Lately there has been quite some controversy about a few universities that had awarded Robert Mugabe an honorary degree. To my knowledge our most popular honorary degree recipients must be dr.dr.dr.dr. Václav Havel and dr.dr.dr. Nelson Mandela. Mandela has at least 30 honorary degrees - next to a long list of other awards. Václav Havel, former…Read more …