Some splendid lunar animations


I’m work­ing on a talk today. At one point it threatened to be inter­est­ing, but I think I’ve got that under con­trol. Something that might spoil that plan though are some lunar anim­a­tions from NASA. You can Dial-A-Moon at their web­site and down­load anim­a­tions of lunar phases and libration.

Libration is inter­est­ing. It’s the wobble in the moon as it gets pulled around in orbit. The down­load­able anim­a­tions bring this out nicely and NASA has gone to some lengths to make them as usable as pos­sible for people. You can down­load the files in vari­ous formats from or watch them via YouTube.

#blog   #moon   #astro­nomy  

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CC licensing and open access


Here’s an example of how lim­it­a­tions through CC licences can change what you do with a paper.

I’m look­ing at an image. At first I thought to use it in a blog post about organic bat­ter­ies. I thought I could do that because the paper is open access, but the licence of the paper is BY-NC-ND. Taking an image from the paper and blog­ging about it is pretty much mak­ing a D of it. The ND for­bids deriv­at­ives, even if the point of the deriv­at­ive is to say “Hey go look at this paper!” The page for the image itself has no CC licence inform­a­tion, so it looks like the copy­right in the footer applies.

I can see why there’s the NC clause. This has its own prob­lems, like mak­ing it unus­able for things like Wikipedia, but I can see sense in it. But ND seems an odd clause for sci­entific papers. Surely (properly-credited) deriv­at­ive works are a good thing for sci­ent­ists? I can see there’s a reason for ND in artistic pro­tec­tion, but sci­ence papers gen­er­ally aren’t works of art. Are there good reas­ons for Nature to have the ND clause?

I’ve trimmed the image thumb­nail and descrip­tion from the link because they would be deriv­at­ive from ori­ginal paper.

#blog   #pub­lish­ing   #aca­demia  

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Lithium stor­age mech­an­isms in pur­purin based organic lith­ium ion bat­tery elec­trodes : Scientific Reports : Nature Publishing Group

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The opposite of Open Access


Here’s an inter­est­ing paper I found while look­ing for inform­a­tion on a topic: EVALUATING THE STATUS OF UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN EGYPT. I’ve no idea if the con­tent is inter­est­ing. However, the reason I don’t know that (and prob­ably never will) is what makes the paper so interesting.

It’s avail­able at -http://​dx​.doi​.org/​1​0​.​5​8​4​8​/​A​P​B​J​.​2​0​1​2​.​0​0​005– http://​www​.ingenta​con​nect​.com/​c​o​n​t​e​n​t​/​a​p​b​j​/​i​j​m​c​/​2​0​1​2​/​0​0​0​0​0​0​1​4​/​0​0​0​0​0​0​0​1​/​a​r​t​0​0​005 . Actually I prob­ably should have said it’s ‘avail­able’ with air quotes instead. The reason is obvi­ous when you try to down­load it. Like 90% of journ­als you can’t because you need a sub­scrip­tion, but usu­ally there’s an option to buy the paper at some high rate. Not here. You have to sub­scribe to the journal to get the paper.

To be clear to read this paper on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Egypt, because I have an interest in archae­olo­gical her­it­age, I have to sub­scribe to a journal that pub­lishes in the same issue:

I’m will­ing to believe these are all excel­lent papers in their field and well worth £150 as a bundle to the right per­son — but not to me. Publishing this way really does lock away research to a nar­row audi­ence. The bar­ri­ers to get­ting the paper mean I won’t be includ­ing it in any research databases.

The punch­line? Check the name of the publisher.

#blog   #archae­ology   #her­it­age   

Edited due to a com­ment by +Rheza Rozendaal : I really should have checked the DOIs

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Why I spoiled my ballot paper


It’s elec­tion day for the Dyfed and Powys Police and Crime Commissioner elec­tions. I think they mean Police Commissioner. I don’t think it’s Conservative Party policy to have more people com­mis­sion­ing crimes too. I think if were to con­jure a scheme to ali­en­ate people from demo­cracy, the Dyfed and Powys Police and Crime Commissioner elec­tions would be an excel­lent model to follow.

Labour’s can­did­ate is a former agri­cul­ture min­is­ter who was cen­sured for fail­ing to deliver on prom­ises. The Labour gov­ern­ment removed her from office on the eve of the big agri­cul­tural show in Wales because they thought that would be less embar­rass­ing than hav­ing her con­tinue in office.

I can­not vote for the Labour can­did­ate. That leaves, and I’m pedantic enough to list every single party, the Conservatives.

That’s it.

To be fair to the Conservative can­did­ate, he does sound sane. He’s in favour of help­ing drug addicts with rehab­il­it­a­tion. I think a Conservative can­did­ate who favours things that work over dogma is a good thing and I’d like to sup­port him. And there’s the bonus that you’ll be able to say with con­fid­ence the police really are the para­mil­it­ary wing of the Conservative Party. And that’s the prob­lem. I have com­plete con­tempt for the elec­tion and it’s the Conservatives who’ve fois­ted it on the coun­try. A vote for the Conservative can­did­ate is a vote of approval for the sys­tem and this is abso­lutely the wrong system.

Political rep­res­ent­a­tion to the police is not the thing I have a prob­lem with. There are issues that are polit­ical with a small p that need rep­res­ent­at­ives. My prob­lem with the elec­tion is that we already have them. We have a local coun­cil, we have a county coun­cil, we have a national assembly and we have the UK Parliament. There’s plenty that’s wrong with them, but as far as poli­cing goes they have a fant­astic advant­age. They’re plural.

The law should be impar­tial. Politicians often are not, and even those who are need to be seen to be impar­tial and it’s dif­fi­cult to do that with a party tag round your neck. However with the lay­ers of gov­ern­ment even if I do think there’s polit­ical bias, I can find a rep­res­ent­at­ive who I can at least talk to. The local Conservative can­did­ate is clear that he will aim to rep­res­ent all people in the region. Great but why would the Conservative Party want to bypass the demo­crat­ic­ally elec­ted bod­ies like the local coun­cil (no Conservative major­ity), the county coun­cil (no Conservative major­ity), the national assembly (no Conservative major­ity), or the UK par­lia­ment (no Conservative majority)?

If I can’t vote for either then not-voting makes sense. The prob­lem with not-voting is that it’s indis­tin­guish­able from apathy, which is a sig­nal to all parties that they can do whatever they like. That leaves spoil­ing the bal­lot paper.

Spoiling the bal­lot paper is futile in the UK. It makes no dif­fer­ence to the res­ult, but to me at least it’s an action. Police Minister Damien Green has con­tempt for people who don’t vote http://​www​.bbc​.co​.uk/​n​e​w​s​/​u​k​-​p​o​l​i​t​i​c​s​-​2​0​2​5​7​552 and you can see why when so much of the elect­or­ate has con­tempt for him. I can now at least com­plain I have tried to take part in the pro­cess and a lack of choice includ­ing the choice to re-open nom­in­a­tions is exclud­ing me from democracy.

If we were allowed to write in can­did­ates my choice would be Jackie Roberts. I think she has exper­i­ence, know­ledge of the local area and, see­ing as she’s Chief Constable of the Dyfed-Powys force, she’d have an office in the heart of the organisation.

The com­fort is that pre­sum­ably Damien Green will be out of his post tomor­row. His sin­cer­ity that Police and Crime Commissioners are a good idea must surely mean his own post of Police Minister is redundant?


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How much is Stonehenge worth?


You can now use English law to work out what Stonehenge is worth in this blog post from Ulla Rajala. Someone has been fined for des­troy­ing a quarter of one of the Priddy Circles in Somerset and you can work out from the fine for that what the fine for bull­doz­ing Stonehenge would be — if English law were consistent.

The bonus ques­tion What gets the biggest fine, bull­doz­ing a quarter of a pre­his­toric monu­ment or installing uPVC win­dows into a lis­ted farm­house? is easy to answer.


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Priddy Circle ver­dict: how much is a monu­ment worth?
This week brought the sen­ten­cing of the case of the par­tial destruc­tion of one of the Priddy Circles in the Mendips in Somerset. A retired busi­ness­man who had bought the farm house near the Circles ha…

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Not a good writing day today


Actually an abso­lutely lousy writ­ing day today. I’d writ­ten myself into a dead end. There’s two ways of deal­ing with that.

The clever way would have been so have accep­ted there was a prob­lem that I wasn’t going to fix in a rush and moved on to the next sec­tion. After get­ting that done I could return to the prob­lem point and re-write to get from there to here.

However, I thought the sec­tion I was stuck with might affect how the rest of that chapter works, so I looked for a fix. And looked. And looked. I finally have one, but it’s prob­ably cost me a day’s writing.

I have a party I have to go to tomor­row, so it’s a bit of a stall on the writ­ing at the moment. This is a slight pain as my cal­en­dar tells me it’s just day 2 of #AcWriMo . I would have been nice to get to day 3 before run­ning into a big­ger problem.

#blog #writ­ing  

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November Writing


Over at the Extelligence Experiment I’ve put up some plans for writ­ing a short book in November. The aim won’t be to get some­thing per­fect done, but a work­able draft I can hack around. The daft part of the pro­ject is I plan to upload sec­tions as I go along, so if it goes wrong then it will go wrong repeatedly and embar­rass­ingly through­out November.


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November Writing
I’ve recently had more test res­ults back fol­low­ing an oper­a­tion and found out that the thing that’s kept me busy all sum­mer wasn’t can­cer, merely some­thing that could eas­ily be mis­taken for …

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