Archive for 'Improbable investigators'

Hedges on the view of gardens residents

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

Can Hedges help define the view of gardens residents? Yes. Here is a report in which Hedges does exactly that:

Co-operative Rehousing: The View of Portland Gardens Residents,” T.A. David and Alan Hedges, Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, University of Birmingham, 1988.

BONUS: How Hedges and Hedges trimmed the American dream about land

BONUS (possibly unrelated): A shrubbery:

How Hedges and Hedges trimmed the American dream about land

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

Can Hedges trim a book? Yes, yes. Here is a book trimmed by Hedges and Hedges:

Land and Imagination: The Rural Dream in America, by Philip Rosenberg (Author), Elaine Hedges (Editor), William Hedges (Editor) Hayden, 1980.

BONUS: Hedges on the view of gardens residents

BONUS (possibly unrelated): A shrubbery:

Divide and concur: A physics paper with 5,154 authors

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

A physics paper with 5,154 authors is the newest reached pinnacle in people’s drive to divide and concur, when there’s credit to be had. Those 5,154 physicists stand a-write on the collective shoulders of the 976 physicians who shared the 1993 Ig Nobel Prize for literature.

topolThat 1993 Ig Nobel prize was awarded to Eric Topol [pictured here], R. Califf, F. Van de Werf, P. W. Armstrong, and their 972 co-authors, for publishing a medical research paper which has one hundred times as many authors as pages. [The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 329, no. 10, September 2, 1993, pp. 673–82.]

The new, 5,154 physicist paper is: “Combined Measurement of the Higgs Boson Mass in pp Collisions at √ s = 7 and 8 TeV with the ATLAS and CMS Experiments,” G. Aad et al. [5,154 authors total] (ATLAS Collaboration), (CMS Collaboration), Physical Review Letters, 114, 191803, published 14 May 2015.

Davide Castelvecci, writing solo in Nature News, gives an appreciation of the 5,154:

Physics paper sets record with more than 5,000 authors
Detector teams at the Large Hadron Collider collaborated for a more precise estimate of the size of the Higgs boson.

A physics paper with 5,154 authors has — as far as anyone knows — broken the record for the largest number of contributors to a single research article.

Only the first nine pages in the 33-page article, published on 14 May in Physical Review Letters, describe the research itself — including references. The other 24 pages list the authors and their institutions.

The article is the first joint paper from the two teams that operate ATLAS and CMS, two massive detectors at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Europe’s particle-physics lab near Geneva, Switzerland. Each team is a sprawling collaboration involving researchers from dozens of institutions and countries….

Here is the beginning of the new paper’s list of 5,154 co-authors, most of whom are still alive [according to the paper itself, not all of them are]:



BONUS: A fun calculation for you to perform with friends: How many minutes it would that take to read aloud the complete list of 5,154 co-authors?

BONUS: Another report in Nature News, published two days earlier than “Physics paper sets record with more than 5,000 authors”): “Fruit-fly paper has 1,000 authors

Maternal Depression? Boyle/Pickles

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Professor Andrew Pickles of the University of Manchester

To understand a little something about maternal depression, perhaps the place to start is Boyle/Pickles. Their most pertinent published study is:

Boyle, M. H.; Pickles, A. (1997) Maternal depressive symptoms and ratings of emotional disorder in children and adolescents, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 38.

“Finding a Mate With No Social Skills”

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Computer scientists Chris Marriott of the University of Washington and Jobran Chebib of the University of Zürich recently posted a paper on the arXiv preprint server with the provocative title of “Finding a Mate With No Social Skills.”

Well, that title gives many of us a lot more hope, doesn’t it? In fact, there is a wonderful ambiguity in the article title: it can either refer to finding a mate without using any social skills or, more amusingly, to finding a mate who doesn’t have any social skills.

The authors seem to have the former meaning in mind. As they write in their abstract:

Sexual reproductive behavior has a necessary social coordination component as willing and capable partners must both be in the right place at the right time. While there are many known social behavioral adaptations to support solutions to this problem, we explore the possibility and likelihood of solutions that rely only on non-social mechanisms. We find three kinds of social organization that help solve this social coordination problem (herding, assortative mating, and natal philopatry) emerge in populations of simulated agents with no social mechanisms available to support these organizations. We conclude that the non-social origins of these social organizations around sexual reproduction may provide the environment for the development of social solutions to the same and different problems.

And just how do they quantify being in the right place at the right time? By finding each other at the same location of a random geometric graphs, of course. The idea behind using such a graph is to include effects from being embedded in space. (One places “nodes,” representing locations, using a random process and then connects pairs of locations to each other via “edges” if they are sufficiently close to each other.)