We’re only human after all.

by Maria on October 27, 2003

Last Friday night, I went along with a friend to a cello recital in the Marais, an arty area of Paris. We missed the right door three times in the dark, but finally found our way upstairs, through an ordinary old apartment building complete with post boxes, lights on a timer, little old ladies and exhortations to keep the door shut, to the last remaining temple in Europe of Comte’s humanist religion, the Chapel of Humanity.

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Book cites

by Eszter Hargittai on October 27, 2003

Starting today, searches on Amazon.com will look for your terms in the entire text of over 120,000 books. Not only do you get a list of books that cite an author or mention a concept, but you can also view a pdf copy of the page where the citation occurs.

As an academic, this serves as an extremely helpful complementary tool to the Social Science Citation Index (or other citation index equivalents), which allow similar searches for journal articles.

It is also a fun procrastinatory tool as I try to figure out which of the Hargittai references are to my work and not to the work of my parents.:) (Thanks go to my Mom for calling this new feature to my attention.)

Journal Boycott

by Brian on October 27, 2003

The SF Chronicle reports that two UCSF scientists are leading a boycott of six journals published by Cell Press, a division of Reed-Elsevier. The immediate cause of the boycott is that Cell wants the UC system to pay $90,000 for electronic subscriptions to the six journals, and the scientists regard that as exorbitant.

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Fox in charge of chicken coop

by Chris Bertram on October 27, 2003

Via “Libertarian Samizdata”:http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/004847.html#004847 and the “Telegraph”:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/10/26/nnazi26.xml&sSheet=/portal/2003/10/26/ixportal.html comes further evidence that the British police are not particularly careful whom they employ:

bq. A detective responsible for investigating racially motivated crime lives in a home filled with Nazi SS uniforms and tributes to Hitler, The Telegraph can reveal.

bq. Det Con Linda Daniels, who is married to a known racist and BNP member who believes the Holocaust was “exaggerated”, works in the community safety unit at the police station in Notting Hill, one of the most ethnically diverse areas of London.

bq. The unit, one of many set up across the city as a result of the inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, investigates “hate crimes”, including “racist crime, domestic violence, homophobic crime and hate mail”.

bq. Her home, however, which she shares with her 52-year-old husband Keith Beaumont, contains a life-size mannequin of a Nazi SS soldier, with swastikas on its helmet and belt, in the hallway.

Kudos to Samizdata’s David Carr for pointing to the story. The sentiments expressed in the accompanying comments thread (her private business, political-correctness-gone-mad, Trevor Phillips just as bad, blah , blah blah) are somewhat alarming).

Geras on copyediting (revised and lawyered)

by Daniel on October 27, 2003

Crikey, if you guys regularly had to get something through a legal department, you would never again complain about mere copyediting … I’ve made a few illustrative comments which need to be taken into account before we resubmit this piece to Norman for a redraft ….

I do not generally [consider deleting, or move to beginning of sentence] hold people in contempt because of for their profession, their job^, or their calling.

[Can we prove this? Could we provide at least three examples of each (ie, three of not holding people in contempt because of their profession, three of not holding in contempt because of job, and three of not holding in contempt because of calling). Otherwise change this to “I do not always hold people in contempt ….”]

But copy editors editing!

[This sentence may be unclear to non-native English speakers]

That is something [Make consistent with either ‘editors’ or ‘editing’ in previous two sentences] different.

[Different from what? Can we prove this? Could we find someone else saying that it was different and just quote them?]

Not as bad, I will grant, as war criminals or child molesters

[Need specific examples here rather than making a value judgement. Perhaps we could provide a table of the numbers of people tortured and children molested by each of the three categories? At the very least, we need to say why we think copyeditors are not as bad as war criminals or (I really would prefer “and/or”) child molestors]

, they nevertheless belong in one of the very lowest categories of human intelligence^, and indeed morality.

[Specifically which category? How many categories are we using, and where do copyeditors, war criminals and child molestors come respectively? This sentence can’t be printed unless we provide a sidebar giving our scales of categories of human intelligence and morality. Ideally, we should also combine the two into a weighted average intelligence/morality scale. We should also give examples of where saints, charity workers and tenured professors come in order to demonstrate how much differentiation there is in our scale.]

You will [consider ‘may’] object that copy editors perform a most useful and necessary function, turning what is often ill-formed and error-strewn text into something more presentable. This, too, I will grant.

[This doesn’t appear to be consistent withour view above, and could be taken out of context. Need to rephrase the sentence to make sure our view is clear].

However, it there is no excuse for what copy editors they [referent is clear] also do

[Avoid unequivocal statements of this kind – of course there must be some excuses. Suggest “there is no excuse meeting what a reasonable man would consider to be a reasonable standard of exculpatory value”]

– which is to [run-on; consider breaking into two sentences] interfere with people’s painfully-crafted stuff
[lazy choice of word] when there is no reason whatever for doing so

[As above, there are preumably lots of reasons – you give one below – once more, suggest “no reason meeting what a reasonable persion would consider to be a reasonable standard of rationality”. BTW, the piece is too long as it stands and needs to lose 50 words]

, other than some quirk in the ^mind of the particular copy-editor ing mind which is at work….

[“Quirk” is an ambiguous term. Do we mean an idiosyncracy or do we intend to imply incompetence or something worse? If the former, we need to make it clear. If the latter, we will need to support this claim]

I have charged £541.63 to the Normblog profit centre for this advice, as per usual overhead conventions.

We’re #1

by Kieran Healy on October 27, 2003

My agents inform me that Crooked Timber (NASDAQ: CRKD) is now the #1 result on Google Searches for “Crooked” and also “Timber,” further demonstrating our ability to deliver added value to our shareholders.