commented on The Man Who May Become the First Black Person to Win a Nobel in the Sciences
Patents aside, some might say that the number of pubs and invited lectures is low, but he spent 25 years at Bell Labs, where what is allowed to be published and discussed in open lectures would be necessarily limited.
One of the unfortunate things about science is the overemphasis on numbers of publications as a shorthand for achievement. It's not uncommon for high-profile scientists, in the biomedical arena especially, to have hundreds of publications. Contributing to this is the Least Publishable Unit, or LPU, where a single cohesive study is broken into multiple pieces for submission to the same or different journals, often with different first authors so more people get that kind of coveted credit. Co-authorships can be garnered for brief consultations, provision of a tiny amount of research material obtained with public funds, or even (and most egregiously) just a favor owed.
And it becomes relatively easy to trot around giving seminars when your lab is full of nose-to-the-grindstone grad students and post-docs.
Balancing this out, though, prize committees at least focus on the actual significance of published works in terms of paradigm-shifting insights and new syntheses.
commented on The Story of Soda Is the Story of America
@1, 4: Is it a Ballardism? As a non-resident with ties to the area, I've been told that elders of Norwegian heritage say things like "Finish yer pop, son" and "Care for a mint?", where "mint" refers to any variety of candy including chocolate.
commented on The Tuesday Morning News
Sysco and US Foods, two companies that together control more than a quarter of this country's food distribution, sidle toward the altar.
Hosannahs to "synergies"
and muttered asides about the [remote] possibility of antitrust action here
4:25 PM yesterday
commented on Tunnel-Digger Stuck Under Downtown
—But it actually IS like free energy, of course. Your heat pump only consumes kilowatt hours to a) compress the refrigerant [in heat mode, you're refrigerating the ground around the source loop and moving the heat indoors], b) move the transfer medium [usually a water/antifreeze mix] between the ground loop and the heat exchanger, and c) move heated air or water around the house—so it's much cheaper than electrical-resistance heating or burning fossil fuels for heat.
3:10 PM yesterday
commented on Wake Me When They Have a "Dislike" Button
I realllllly want all those metastasizing social-media floating button bars to die die die. Sometimes they're just in the way of reading; sometimes they really mess with print-to-.pdf if they're the only thing the print function sees.
AdBlock can make some of 'em disappear, but not others.
12:16 PM yesterday
commented on The Girl Named After the Bottled Water Her Mother Wants Her to Be Able to Afford Eventually
I look forward to reading this. Thanks, Jen. And kudos to the NYTimes for using cascading style sheets or whatever to make it print-to-.pdf pretty elegantly and with images included.
But I'd add without [much] snark that the girl might have been named Catskill for the protected-watershed mountains that provide most of New York's superb water right out of every tap in the city, rather than a ridiculously wasteful corporate product.