Tentative Astronomical World Heritage Sites


I’m mak­ing a note for myself here, but other might be inter­ested. It’s occurred to me there’s a very easy way to list sites on the tent­at­ive world her­it­age lists with an expli­cit astro­nom­ical con­nec­tion. Just search for the word astro­nomy on the list. It’s not rocket science.

It’s not per­fect either. The list­ing for Herat is tan­gen­tial to astro­nom­ical her­it­age, but other entries are obvi­ously rel­ev­ant, like Astronomical Observatories of Ukraine and The Cape Arc of Meridian, South Africa.

One or two are new to me, so I have some read­ing to do.

#blog   #AstronomicalHeritage  

Embedded Link

UNESCO World Heritage Centre — Tentative Lists
UNESCO World Heritage Centre

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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 http://j.mp/dialamoon 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  

Embedded Link

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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