Friday, December 5, 2014

O brave new world,
That has such people in't

"The Interlattice," said Another Kiwi over a pint of Mango-nel Weaponised Fruchtbier, "is like fire, or a bicycle, or an alligator pit... perilous in the wrong hands, but a great boon when used wisely."

Wise use
Without the Interwebs, for instance, we would never have been apprised of the existence of Dr Ariel Fernandez -- strolling player, hydrogen-bond theorist and freelance drug researcher, himself the subject of recent inquiry from the commentariat of ResearchWatch.

Here is the Whackyweedia Chat page in which various pseudonymous entities, wishing to further improve the already-fulsome Ariel Fernandez entry, argue with the WW panjandra who had locked it before the advertorial style grew worse. Far be it for us -- given Dr Fernandez's fondness for lawyerly posturing and threats of defamation suits whenever he feels that his reputation has been traduced -- to suggest that many of the pseudonyms who present information to his credit are sockpuppets. Following a venerable literary tradition, we merely pretend that texts from different people are in fact the work of a single individual.
Dr Fernandez's understanding of defamation law is sufficiently novel to have inspired a blogpost from a lawyer.

Anyways, the Chat page is worth reading in its entirety, and would require little adaptation to work as a stage production such as the Riddled Amateur Dramatic Society $mas Pantomime. Ideally all the parts would be narrated by John Gielgud in the manner of Prospero's Books but you can't have everything. Alters spawn and support one another in the manner of split-personality schlock psychology fiction from the 1980s. The dramatic tension ratchets steadily up, with Wiki staffers cast in the roles of Stephano and Caliban. It culminates in a dramatic crescendo in which newly-created characters 'Liping Laura Meng' and 'Doug Larkin Tobias' -- still dripping fluids from the axolotl tanks -- vouch for the independent existence of 'Heidi B /  Haydee Belinky'; Heidi / Haydee claims in turn:

(a) to be a different person from A. Fernandez,
(b) indeed to hardly know him except by repute, which was inspiration enough to edit his Wiki entry;
(c) to be pseudonymous; and
(d) to be defamed and dishonoured by the Wiki staffers' base suspicions to the contrary. Lawyerly posturing
ensues, with threats of lawsuits to protect Heidi's good pseudonym.
All different people!

The spark for the original furore (and the only reason for caring about any of this) was that close examination of Dr Fernandez's data sets -- the foundation of his academic reputation -- revealed peculiar and unconvincing qualities to them. Almost as if the data points had been generated from a theoretical linear or parabolic line, with noise added in a half-assed way.

Further information is is available at Dr Fernandez's collection of press releases, where he wages a lonely rearguard action against the McCarthyist slander machine of Retraction Watch; and from the like-minded blog of Weishi Laura Meng who promotes Fernandez's work, interviews him, and is completely a nother person.

Bear in mind that this is the Intertubes where commentaters may not even be aware that they are dream-birthed emanations from someone else.
UPDATE: Apparently the Whackyweedia has policy against meatpuppetry as well as against sockpuppets. This would provide a perfect excuse to link to Survival Research Laboratory performances involving Piggly-Wiggly or the Rabot, but there seem to be no extant videos, only images.

Never mind, here's some Curved Air, because who doesn't love Sonja Kristina?

UPDATE2: We seem to have buried the lede here. But it was TOTALLY AN ACCIDENT, and anyway it was the lede's fault for loitering around near the back-hoe while we were engaged in body-disposal carbon sequestration activities.

Dr Fernandez is not just any Interweb or Twittertroll, deploying a sock-drawer of alters. He had carved out an illustrious high-flying academic career -- in the Icarian sense -- with an Endowed Chair and such as, before the journals went all Expressions-of-Concern and his co-authors sidled away from any confidence in the reality of his data, and he was amending the Acknowledgement sections of his papers to scrub the sources of funding in a way that removed them from the jurisdiction of the Office of research Integrity. Something is seriously wrong with an academic world that can spurn such talent, so now as AFInnovation he offers his expertise "as expert consultant in pharmaceutical patent litigation".

Reassuringly, Fernandez has not abandoned the scientific endeavour altogether. He continues to serve on the Editorial Boards of Metabolomics (a mockademic pukefunnels from the Omics vanity press) and the Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry (a mockademic journal spawned from the “Collegium Basilea” -- an odd organisation which bestows honorary titles in return for its membership fees). He continues to promote his research through Youtube, where it has impressed  non-sockpuppet cheerleaders like Xi Wang, Liping Xie and Howard Wu.


Yastreblyansky said...


OBS said...

I had a beer the other day that had figs in it.

Do figs fairly fit a festive frothy fighting ale?

No. Fucking fermented failures.

Smut Clyde said...

I give you Epic Coffee-&-Fig Stout!

No, really. I don't want it.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

How about a nice Sea Cucumber pale ale, S.C.?

rhwombat said...

ittdgy: blĂȘche-de-mer! The thought is Holothuringly scabra-ous.

Smut Clyde said...

Haleotherian. Do not exceed recommended dose.

rhwombat said...

Yep. Volatile organic compounds can go off with a Trepang!