Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Geek Shit Wednesday Vol. XI

This week's Geek Shit Wednesday details two stories which could cheer environmentalists and one warning for Facebook users.

Climate Change Critic's Work Withdrawn Due To Plagiarism

Turns out that one of the staunch attackers of climate change theory in Congressional hearings has had to withdraw his paper on the subject because it's all someone else's uncredited work.

"The report in question was compiled by Edward Wegman of George Mason University. In it, he criticized the methods used to generate a version of the hockey stick graph generated by Michael Mann, a Penn State climatologist (similar results have been produced by other researchers). But he also raised questions about anything published by climatologists by performing a network analysis that ostensibly showed that it was a small field in which most participants collaborated and then served as reviewers on each others' papers, despite the potential for conflicts of interest. That analysis was later published as an independent paper, in which certain styles of research were suggested to be prone to "group-think, reduced creativity, and the possibility of less rigorous reviewing processes.'"

How funny that a paper ripped off of someone else is accusing researches of a lack of creativity.

[Ars Technica]

NO, There Still Isn't A "Dislike" Button

There's yet another Facebook "dislike" button scam going around, online security service Sophos said on Monday, with spammers yet again trying to scam users with "new" features.  Essentially, the link promises you the ability to enable a "dislike" button by copying and pasting a malicious code into your address bar.

From Mashable:

"It looks like the bulk of the damage from the scam occurred during the weekend. Nobody on team Mashable has seen the scam, and there is no evidence of the scam on public status updates from the past 24 hours. (It’s important to note that Facebook search isn’t comprehensive, and the scam may have found a way to hide from public search results.)"


Tree Rat Not Extinct After All

The reclusive Red-Crested Tree Rat reappeared after 113 years, with one specimen popping up in a Colombian forest and posing for some photos.  Its reappearance and continued existence is credited to the work of Fundacion ProAves, a conservation group which purchase large tracts of forest to preserve the species found in the threatened wilds.

"Despite its miraculous appearance, the rat, also known as the red crested soft-furred spiny-rat, seemed fairly relaxed about making history. Lizzie Noble, a volunteer from Britain, had been at the reserve for just a month when she witnessed the creature: 'He just shuffled up the handrail near where we were sitting and seemed totally unperturbed by all the excitement he was causing. We are absolutely delighted to have rediscovered such a wonderful creature [...] Clearly the El Dorado Reserve has many more exciting discoveries waiting,' she said in a ProAves press release."


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