Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Allegro non Troposphere

"Bring-your-telescope-to-work-Day" sounds all very well in principle, but inevitably it goes pear-shaped, and ends up with Another Kiwi scraping parasitic flatworms off the inside of the lens. The little buggers get everywhere.

In other astronomical news, the stratospheric diatoms are back! Dr Wainwright has vouchsafed further details about the 2002 Anglo-Indian collaboration that used a weather balloon to take a reconditioned CD drive up to 41 km., and sample whatever odds and sods might occupy the near-vacuum at that altitude.

I remember a documentary about sending probes into space to collect alien life-forms, and it NEVER ENDS WELL.

Anyway, there is evidently an entire ecosystem up there between the Aurora Borealis and the noctilucent clouds, a "high cold biosphere", sustained by organic detritus falling out of orbit, much as whale-poop drifts down into the oceanic abyss and sustains a vibrant food-chain. The low troposphere is a veritable Ellis Island of constantly-arriving new lifeforms, borne on ice-meteors, encapsulating for the journey from other stars within protein sacs and vanadium-titanium spheres -- seen at right emitting a seemingly endless stream of ectoplasmic white goo from ears and mouth spilling mucoid contents in the manner of a vomiting pumpkin.

Figure 6. A flask-shaped BE (no EDX available).

Figure 8. A titanium–vanadium sphere with both biology-like filaments on outside and mucoid material oozing out of sphere EDX at C and O only.

It further appears that labelling these particles with the DNA-specific fluorescent dye DIPD or the membrane-specific DiCO6 shows that they are not Life as We Know It, because they are all DNA and also all cellular membrane. As shown by the change in colour of their Scanning-EM images. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!
Figure 13. Particle masses isolated from the stratosphere, stained with DAPI.

Figure 14. Particle mass isolated from the stratosphere, stained with DAPI, showing edges breaking into nanoparticles.

Figure 15. Particle mass isolated from the stratosphere, stained with DiOC6.

Tell us about this journal Astronomical Review, Uncle Smut! At great length with all the boring details!

With pleasure! Time was when Astronom,Rev. was the thorn in the crown of KE-I publishing, a Saloon des Refusé for contrarian cosmological speculations unfettered by the surly grip of reality. Astronom.Rev. supported the work of SETI (yay!), charged a nominal $25 / page processing fee, and enlisted the names of Francis Everitt and Roger Penrose for the editorial board.

Then Taylor & Francis bought the title and racked up the article-processing charge to $750. The current one-person editorial board is no doubt inundated with submissions, which he reluctantly rejects for failing to reach the journal's demanding standards, for its most recent volumes (covering 2015) contain only Wainwright's article and three others.

It was hard for erstwhile editor-in-chief Dylan Fazul to reconcile himself to the loss of Astronom.Rev. -- it remained on the website of KE-I Journals for half a year, into mid-2015. But to help him over the grief there were six other journals needing material... including Medical Research Archives.

So all across the civilised world, and in NZ as well, people checked their email and found spam like this. It is a small but perfectly-formed slice-of-life narrative, conjuring the sense of a network of solicitous individuals:
Dear Dr. YYYY,
My last email must have reached you at a bad time so I am following up. If you are not the right person to talk to about this please let me know or feel free to forward this email. 


From: Dr. Kateryna Bielka, M. D. [ Sent: Wednesday, July 6, 2016 7:42 AM
To: Dr. YYYY
Subject: manuscript submission from Dr. YYYY
Dear Dr. YYYY
I hope this email finds you well. My colleague Reni asked if I could get in touch with you about your paper titled XXX. Firstly thank you for taking the time to publish this, it was an interesting read. I am hoping to have the opportunity to discuss having a short followup or perhaps a review article published in one of the next issues of our journal. I think our readers could be interested in a paper with information from any continued research or new data since this was published. It would not have to be a long article, but if you don’t have time for this perhaps you could also reach out to the co-authors or one of your students to collaborate.

If you have moved on from this line of research I am certainly interested in knowing more about your current projects; perhaps there is the potential for an article that would fit our journal. If you have any questions about whether or not a certain subject fits the scope of the Medical Research Archives I can put you in contact with Dr. Steven Lindheim from our editorial board.

Could you please let me know your thoughts on this?

Dr. Kateryna Bielka, M. D.
Senior Editor
Medical Research Archives


From: Koen, Reni []
Sent: Saturday, July 30, 2016 4:22 PM
To: Dr. Kateryna Bielka
Subject: manuscript submission from Dr. YYYY
Would you contact the authors of XXX about possibly preparing something for one of the next two issues? Let me know if you can’t find the article online and I will send it.

Thank you,
The Archive's definition of "Medical Research" is unusually wide, and the subject XXX can range anywhere from "The place of Renaissance speculations on memory palaces in contemporary culture" , to "freshwater fish ecology". If "junk mail disguised as entire forwarded conversations" does not become its own literary genre, I will be sadly disappointed. I particularly like the suggestion that the recipient should foward it, and try to recruit students or colleagues on the spammer's behalf. Don't break the chain!!
Stolen from Oglaf
Other versions of the invitation maintain the personal touch, but come from Internal Medicine Review, so Lisseth Tovar, Milena Mihaleva and Drs Donald Combs or Chadwick Prodromos fill the respective slots in the template for Senior Editor, colleague, and editorial-board member. Int.Med.Rev. is another of Dylan Fazel's project, but for some reason it stands outside the KE-I umbrella, and it is covered separately at ScholarlyOA. Int.Med.Rev. also has a Washington address. From it we learn (through the Goofle Street View) that you can also cash cheques there, then buy liquor and Chinese takeaways at the adjoining premises, which saves time if you've paid $2900* to publish a paper and you want to celebrate .

The format is an elaboration of spam that Editorial Assistant Krystyna Vinokurova was blasting out with Dylan's name in 2014, using the same gambit -- "The guilt you feel for ignoring my non-existent earlier request can only be assuaged by submitting an article".

Some have questioned the reality of these people, or wondered -- in cases such as Reni Koen, the Bulgarian customer-service specialist in online gambling and casino management -- if they are aware of the use of their names. However, further inquiry finds Dr Lovar announcing her editorial post in her LinkedIn entry, while Milena Mihaleva's status as Senior Editor / Writer appears in the Face-Bukkake. It may be that Dylan recruited the entire team through their entries at UpWork, a freelancing service where they offered their skills in writing / editorial work (or in project management, in the case of Ms Vinokurova).

 It is not clear how use an editor or writer would be at the Internal Medicine Review, which is a write-only medium. The papers are only accessible to subscribers,** and there is no way to acquire a subscription.
[Thx Jeffrey Beall and commenters]

Uncle Smut, apart from the Astronom.Rev. history, does this have anything to do with Wainwright's stratospheric diatoms?
Not as such, no.
* The processing fee is negotiable by a factor of 10 if you deal with Lisseth or Kateryna.

** With occasional unexplained exceptions.


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I'm disappointed that this article has nothing to say about Fred from Jupiter.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

much disappoint that you did not reference THIS:

Shan't be back....

Smut Clyde said...

Nag nag nag. Evidently I should send out a bleg any time I want to reference a trope from crap SF movies, to see which crap SF movies are most popular.