Articles to 2014-07-18

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First the link to this week’s complete list as HTML and as PDF.

From Bohannon I finally learn what being a perpetual student is really worth. Bus fares and reduced entry are peanuts when my library shells out $ 2.00 for every article I read online, that’s $ 50.– for a typical blog entry every week. Does the taxpayer get any value back for his money? Seeing that my readership seems to be in the single digits, a range that includes zero, I doubt it, but I am grateful. I’m even more grateful that Richard Stallman’s prediction in The Right to Read so far has not yet materialised.

As I said in the lists of 2012-08-19 and 2011-09-01, plagiarism is not the worst kind of fraud, not even a particularly bad one, but the easiest to detect and to deal with, giving it a prominence it doesn’t deserve. I’m glad that with Chaddah the publishers begin to see it the same way.

Of course the article by Arsuaga et al. was mainly written before Meyer et al. (list of 2014-01-27) became public, but when it was finalized their results must have already been well known in the community. (see Gibbons, science 342 (2013), 1156) So I’m surprised that Hublin barely takes notice of them and Arsuaga et al. only cursorily do so in discussing the Sima de los Huesos fossils as Neanderthal precursors. In fact they seem belong on the Denisovan branch and at 430 ka they come very much later than the Neanderthal-Denisovan split of around 700 ka ago. Any specific conclusions for Neanderthal evolution seem ill advised at best under this light, at least until their hypothetical on-the-spot excuses (see Langmuir 1953, symptom 5) are backed up by new data.

On the one hand Evans makes a very important point about blind testing and the reliability of results, on the other he himself quotes fractions of total numbers between 24 and 35 to four significant figures. I do not expect full confidence intervals for every single number, but the way it’s quoted should at least give a slight indication of its precision, or all secondary literature combining those results is bound to be utter nonsense.

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