Monthly Archives: February 2012

Who needs access? You need access!

If you’re wondering why it’s been so quiet around here recently …

I’ve been working on a new site, which I and two colleagues will be maintaining, and which I think is potentially the most important thing I’ve ever done.  It’s called Who Needs Access? You Need Access!, and you can read it at

Who needs access?  Kelly Trout, nurse and independent researcher

We have a problem: the majority of the research that our governments fund is not available to most people.  Continue reading

My dinner tonight

Fiona and the boys are visiting the in-laws, so I have the house to myself.  That means I can cook what I want when I want; and what I want is sushi (big surprise).

That’s one 250g fillet of salmon, four crabsticks, half an avocado, plus rice, mayonnaise, paprika, picked daikon and: walnuts.  Yes, I know that walnuts are not standard sushi fare, but I urge you to try it.  Their texture complements this other ingredients perfectly.  They work particularly well with the crabstick.

The scandal of academic publishing

Sorry it’s been so quiet here recently.  I’ve been taken up with writing about the extraordinary exploitative system that is modern academic publishing.  I’ve written lots about it over on my other blog, and also a few articles in non-technical outlets:

But if you only read one article about this issue, I have to recommend quantum physicist Scott Aaronson’s review of The Access Principle, which opens with a devastating metaphor.  Seriously, go and read it.  It’s brilliant.  Also, it will make you furious.

I’ve also been tweeting about this issue a lot: follow me on @SauropodMike if you wish.

Sushi photo by Mike Saechang

Pointless restrictions

I bought Fiona an iPad for Christmas.  (So far she’s used it mostly for playing Bejewelled Blitz.)  One of the nice extras that Apple offers is personalised engraving on the device.  I wanted to use this to include Fiona’s name and email address, using the old RFC-822 standard format Name <emailAddress>.  But no:

And I just want to shout: “why not?”  How can it possibly hurt Apple if I have angle-brackets engraved on my wife’s iPad?  Surely it can’t be that they pass the message embedded in an XML document and they’re incapable of escaping < into &lt;?  If it’s that, then am I allowed to use ampersands?  Because the text doesn’t say I’m not to.

And what happenes when Rafa Benítez wants to buy a iPad?  People do have accents in their names, you know.