Friday, February 23, 2018

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Oh…snap! 1895-style.

From the mini-Annals of Improbable Research (“mini-AIR”) “Pitted Pebbles in the Bunter Conglomerate of Cannock Chase.” T. Mellard Reade, Geological Magazine, vol. 2, no. 8, August 1895, pp. 341-5. LINK: The author instructs: “Mr. W. S. Gresley criticizes the summing-up of my views… It would have been more satisfactory if Mr. Gresley could have read […]

From the “You’ve Got to Be Kidding” Category…

November 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Humor, Writing

I wonder if these authors chose this title, just to get the attention. Anyway, here it is.

The “secret of success in mathematics: Plagiarize!”

The lyrics from For many years now, Mr. Danny Kaye, who has been my particular idol since childbirth, has been doing a routine about the great Russian director Stanislavsky and the secret of success in the acting profession. And I thought it would be interesting to stea… to adapt this idea to the field […]

An example of why hyphens are necessary

March 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

The following is an excerpt from an email sent to staff at the University of Manchester. As part of the University’s commitment to creating change in gender equality across the University we are running a half day unconscious bias training session focussed on recruitment and promotion. The following is how it should have been punctuated […]

Dead salmon have meaningful brain activity, or how to get scientists to stop using outdated methods

March 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured

We’ve all seen in our science bad approaches or terminology that get established and are difficult to kill. Chuck Doswell has his pet peeves, I’ve battled against my share: conditional symmetric instability to explain banded precipitation and moisture flux convergence as a diagnostic for severe storms forecasting. Bennett et al. were awarded the 2012 Ig […]

Can you explain your science using the 1000 most-used words in the English language?

February 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Humor, Resources, Writing

Give it a shot here: (The title Up Goer 5 refers to xkcd’s comic of trying to explain the Saturn 5 rocket blueprint using only those 1000 words.) (From Jim Steenburgh and his student John; Image from

Book Review: Fake Science 101

January 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Humor

OK, it’s not strictly about communicating science, but this book was so freaking funny, I had to post something about it here. Fake Science 101: A Less-Than-Factual Guide to Our Amazing World. Here are some snapshots of the type of humor this book contains. Scientific fact: In order to save money, the Ivory Tower is […]

How to Prepare a Really Lousy Submission: Water Resources Research Editorial Team

Sent to me from colleagues at the University of Utah. [PDF]

How NOT to review a paper. The tools and techniques of the adversarial reviewer

December 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Humor, Resources, Reviewing

A paper by Graham Cormode (2009) [PDF], sent to me by Rene Garreaud. The abstract gives you a flavor of how this paper reads…. There are several useful guides available for how to review a paper in Computer Science. These are soberly presented, carefully reasoned and sensibly argued. As a result, they are not much […]

Wanted: Copyeditor. Inquire with God.

December 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Humor


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