The Future of Peer Review?

slashdot recently ran an article on a concept for distributed peer review, GPeerReview, hosted at Google ( It still looks rather half-baked (the author decides whether or not to post the reviews?!) but the basic idea seems like a possible foundation for something that could be actually useful.

Software testing

David Chelimsky on the rspec mailing list recommended a bit of a rant by Jay Fields, commenting on a discussion by Joel Spolsky, on the issue of being doctrinaire in software development processes. The specific example they start with is that some shops require "100% test coverage", but that can lead to way too much time spent maintaining the tests, rather than doing something useful.

Entropy flow - more from Kevin Kelly on "Cosmic Genesis"

Kevin Kelly has another post on The Cosmic Genesis of Technology. I sent him the following comments as corrections or perhaps refinements of the ideas. The introduction is quite poetic, and I think close to correct.

Access better than Ownership?

Kevin Kelly is one of the writers I love to read as he has an interesting vision of the dematerializing future. It's already happened where I work - before I started here, our revenue came essentially entirely from libraries subscribing to receive print copies of our journals. Now we sell access to the journals online, and take responsibility for hosting - as does every other scientific publisher still in business. Almost nobody wants the print journals any more.

Spaghetti and not spaghetti

In late summer of 1991, Shelly and I were moving from a beloved little apartment in Bloomington, Indiana, after our first year of wedded bliss, and preparing to relocate to the big city of Chicago. All our belongings were packed up (Argonne paid for the move, even for lowly postdocs such as we were) and we just had to clear out our refrigerator, put our last personal items in our car, and head out. We had participated in a shared community garden, the apartment not really having room for all the plants we wanted to grow. On moving day we had some last peppers and tomatoes from the garden to consume, and also various odds and ends in the fridge: onion, eggs, milk, butter, probably some nuts, together with some spices and other dry goods on the counter.

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