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    • How Our Everyday Life Creates Our Character and Our Destiny
      We are what we do. What we experience during our daily lives creates our habits, both of action and thought and those habitual actions and thoughts are our character. The character of men and women, and the shared character of a society is destiny. It determines how we respond to what happens, it is as […]
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Just Sayin’…

So, Hillary made an appearance at Syracuse University this morning. The line to get in was long and many people didn’t make the cut to get into the auditorium. It was filled to capacity. Mitt Romney should ask her how she does it. Among the waiting were people who wrote her name on the ballot in 2008 and still admired and respected her. She also managed to talk a lot of students into joining the foreign service.

Can anyone remember any other Secretary of State getting this much love? Because I don’t.

Meanwhile, Paul Krugman writes that Obama’s political team seems to not know what it’s doing and it hasn’t gotten any better on the economy in the past three years. From Obama’s Missing Theme:

Let’s not get into the question of whether he could, in fact, have done considerably more. The point for now is that this is not the story the administration has been telling, at any point. First they insisted that the clearly inadequate stimulus was just right; then they have tried various anodyne slogans nobody remembers, all of which seem to imply that we’re doing just fine.

Presumably this reflects the judgment of the political team, which apparently believes that pointing out obstruction conveys an impression of weakness, and that happy talk is better than a Trumanesque campaign of hammering the do-nothing Republicans in Congress. But I have seen nothing these past three years suggesting that the political team has any idea how to play this game — and the happy talk leaves them completely flatfooted every time the economy underperforms.

For the past few months there has been an evident drift into complacency, a belief that a string of good jobs numbers will validate the happy talk. That’s a bet that can easily lose Obama the election.

Ah-ha! You guys thought we wanted Hillary because she had lady parts, didn’t you? Confess. Remember Tweety saying that the only reason she won her first term as senator was because people felt sorry for her being a cuckolded wife? I can almost hear him chatting up Sally Quinn about it over the bacon wrapped dates. Au contraire. Women who came of age during the 60s, 70s and 80s didn’t do it all so that we could coast to some high profile job on the slipstream of some guy.

Looks like she’s the real deal, dudes, and your guy is just another guy who counted on his suave demeanor and golf swing to get him to the top. I don’t think Obama has any idea what’s coming his way this campaign season. The media and the party made it so easy last time, he barely needed to campaign. People were falling all over each other just to bask in the light of his reflected glory. He has never had to deal with the right wing noise machine before. Karl Rove is a diabolically clever person and Obama still thinks he can coast on his cool.

Jeez, he even has an unearned Nobel peace prize.

{{rolling eyes}}

I’d almost feel sorry for him except that the rest of us are screwed no matter who claims the White House.

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Harvard Faculty Have Had Enough

This post is all over the blogosphere today.  The Faculty Advisory Council at Harvard is saying enough is enough to the publishers of scientific journals.  The costs of these publications and the new subscription bundles are extortionary:

Perhaps this announcement is simply part of a negotiating strategy (one would expect Harvard librarians to be a clever bunch). But, be that as it may, what is particularly striking is the advice offered to staff regarding what they can do to help the situation, which chimes with what I and many others have been arguing as pathways to bolstering open access publishing (and was writing aboutonly yesterday). To pick out just two key phrases (with my emphases in bold):

“Consider submitting articles to open-access journals, or to ones that have reasonable, sustainable subscription costs; move prestige to open access.

If on the editorial board of a journal involved, determine if it can be published as open access material, or independently from publishers that practice pricing described above.If not, consider resigning.”

This sends an important message (one is tempted to the hyperbole that it may even be a ‘shot heard round the world’). If one of the most prestigious and richest institutions in the world cannot afford its journal subscriptions, then there is a serious problem in academic publishing.

 Atrios thinks that Harvard can handle the costs.  Maybe, but the rest of us can’t and, anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that as long as big institutional licensees keep shelling out millions of dollars in subscription fees, the rest of us, small companies and independent scientists, are going to be forced to follow the publishers’ fee structures.  For those of you who have never had to download a paper, try coughing up $35/paper.  If you’re starting a new project in a biotech area requiring some background research, literature costs can easily get out of control and be a significant drag on the limited funds available.

There’s really no excuse for this business model except that publishers like it this way and now that there are a lot of companies downsizing, they just jack up the costs on everyone else to maintain their profit margins.  They refuse to evolve so Harvard may be striking the first blow to make them do it.  I want to see an iTunes type model where papers cost no more than a couple of bucks  for a digital copy that I can download to my Notability app.  Journals are not printed anymore, the content is provided to the publishers for nothing and in many cases, already pre-formatted.  So, this crap has got to stop.  No more stranglehold on scientific information.

Go Harvard.

Wrecking Ball

Bruce sounds like he’s channeling some mountain music in this song.  Yes, the mighty Watchung mountain range of New Jersey. (they’re volcanic, doncha know)

Still, pretty good song.