Author Archive | majestic

The Peer-Review Scam

In the world of academic journals, peer review of submissions is the gold-standard. However, all that glitters in academe is apparently not gold as this report in Nature reveals:

Most journal editors know how much effort it takes to persuade busy researchers to review a paper. That is why the editor of The Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry was puzzled by the reviews for manuscripts by one author — Hyung-In Moon, a medicinal-plant researcher then at Dongguk University in Gyeongju, South Korea.

The reviews themselves were not remarkable: mostly favourable, with some suggestions about how to improve the papers. What was unusual was how quickly they were completed — often within 24 hours. The turnaround was a little too fast, and Claudiu Supuran, the journal’s editor-in-chief, started to

In 2012, he confronted Moon, who readily admitted that the reviews had come in so quickly because he had written many of them himself.

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Why I Hate Thanksgiving

What’s your take on Thanksgiving, American disinfonauts? Do you love all that overeating and American Football on TV, not to mention time spent with family? Mitchel Cohen (writer, activist, poet, former chair WBAI-FM Local Board (2008-2012), Brooklyn Greens, Red Balloon Collective, rabble rouser) isn’t buying into the wholesome American holiday and he explains exactly why not at his blog:

On Thanksgiving morning 2003, George W. Bush showed up in Iraq before sunrise for a photo-op, wearing an Army workout jacket and surrounded by soldiers. He cradled a platter with what appeared to be a golden-brown turkey. Washington Post reporter Mike Allen wrote that “the bird looks perfect, with bunches of grapes and other trimmings completing a Norman Rockwell image that evokes bounty and security in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.”

Bush-Thanksgiving-turkey

As the world was soon to learn (but quickly forgot), the turkey platter was a phony, a plastic decoration that Bush posed with for the cameras.

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GoPro Drones

GoPro already owns the wearable video camera market which powered a very successful initial public offering of its shares this year. But how does the newly public company grow? By making the consumer drone market its own, reports the Wall Street Journal:

GoPro Inc. is developing its own line of consumer drones to expand from its core business of making wearable video cameras popular with surfers and other sports enthusiasts, according to people familiar with its plans.

The company plans to start selling multirotor helicopters equipped with high-definition cameras late next year, aiming for a price tag between $500 and $1,000, according to these people.

The entry of a big consumer-electronics brand to the drone market signals how mainstream—and lucrative—the industry has become in just a few years. Consumers have flocked to unmanned aircraft in recent years as technology advances have made them smaller, cheaper and easier to fly, leaving regulators scrambling to keep up.

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The Exponential Benefits of Eating Less

Or, “Eat Less You Pig.” James McWilliams explains why eating less food—whole food and junk food, meat and plants, organic and conventional, GMO and non-GMO—would do a lot more than just better our personal health, at Pacific Standard:

There’s one T-shirt in my drawer that I don’t wear, mainly because I think it’s sort of offensive. It reads: Eat Less You Pig.

A nutritionist gave it to me. She had the shirts made because she was tired of the endless hand wringing over what it meant to eat ethically, eat environmentally, eat to optimize personal health, and so on. Rather than debating the fine points of the carbon sequestration of grass-fed systems or the amount of glyphosate sprayed on GMOs or the yield potential of organic agriculture versus conventional or whether animals suffer on “humane” farms, she simply wanted a few choice words that would cut through the fog and free us from the burden of culinary complexity.

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To Prison for Poverty – Part One

This season reminds us that there are a lot of things to be thankful for.

For instance, not having to go to jail for minor infractions like parking tickets.

But sadly, that’s not the reality for everyone. We live in a world where government and corporations continue to make money off of those who are poor, hungry and desperate.

To Prison for Poverty exposes two private probation companies who exploit and make million of dollars off of people who can’t afford small fines.

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The 20th-Century Dictator Most Idolized by Hitler

Ataturk2.JPG

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as a Senior Captain of the Ottoman Army in 1907.

“Historians may credit Mussolini with inspiring Hitler’s rise to power, but the despot called a different contemporary his ‘shining star,'” writes William O’Connor at Daily Beast:

Adolf Hitler’s obsessions, for he was a man prone to unhealthy fixations, were dangerous for the world—whether with himself, with art school, with his dreams of grandeur, with Eva Braun, with his hatred of Jews—or, more obscurely, with Turkey.

To say that the roots of the Third Reich’s rise have been thoroughly examined would be an understatement. Yet one element of Hitler’s power grab has largely been neglected—the importance of Turkey and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (or as Hitler called him, his “shining star”) on the Führer’s thinking.

In his exhaustively researched new book, Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination, Stefan Ihrig charts the outsized role that Atatürk and the New Turkey played in the minds of Germany’s Weimar-era far right—an influence that extended through the Nazi years.

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HBO’s Bombshell Scientology Documentary

Alex Gibney has an excellent portfolio of hard-hitting documentary films including Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005), Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) and We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013). Now he’s turning the lens on the “church” of Scientology, with backing from HBO, reports the Hollywood Reporter:

THR has learned that Oscar winner Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) is putting the finishing touches on a film that tackles the Church of Scientology and its Tinseltown tentacles. HBO, no stranger to controversy, having ushered such hot-button docs as The Case Against 8 and the Paradise Lost trilogy to the screen, is eyeing a 2015 airdate for Going Clear, which is based on Lawrence Wright’s controversial book that was also exclusively excerpted in THR.

HBO long has championed documentary filmmaking. It commissioned the Scientology project nearly two years ago, right after the book’s January 2013 publication, when frequent collaborator Gibney brought it to the network.

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What Comes After Money?

In a straight to camera monologue, Daniel Pinchbeck asks “A recent article in Foreign Affairs proposes that Central Banks could just print money and give it to the people – particularly the bottom 80%. This is a startling idea, and it points to the need for a broader discussion around money as an instrument humans have created for exchanging and storing value. Do we need different tools for this, going forward?”

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Measuring the Impact of the Occupy Movement

Occupy Wall Street, Unofficial LogoLucy Townsend asks “Activists from the Occupy movement held their latest campaign in London this weekend. The protest movement, now three years old, has global recognition. But how can its impact be measured?” at BBC News Magazine:

The campaign started in New York, on 17 September 2011. They camped in Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street, protesting against corporate greed. Celebrities visited – Kanye West and Susan Sarandon among them. Press coverage followed and President Obama said he “understood their frustrations“.

The Twitter handle @OccupyWallSt has 205,000 followers. The @OccupyWallStNYC and @OccupyWallStNY have 185,000 between them. The Facebook page has 660,544 likes.

The initial action spawned hundreds of similar protests around the world. In London, a month later, activists erected tents at St Paul’s Cathedral. Again it was the city’s financial heart. For more than four months they camped, gave speeches, tweeted and networked before being removed forcibly by bailiffs following a court battle.

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