Open Thread, 4/16/2017

Happy Easter. Spend most of the day figuring out how to restart Varnish. I don’t really know why there are so many database connection problems and caching…but I inherited the VPS. Might have to bone up on being a sysadmin more. Do any readers know if Varnish is really worth a modest site like mine?

Erdogan Claims Vast New Powers After Narrow Victory in Turkish Referendum. First, I have to say that The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad is pretty relevant today. Second, Erdogan has shown many faces to the world over the past 15 years. I remember for example him telling people in post-Arab Spring Tunisia that in a free society atheism is a real option (to some criticism).

Are 90% of academic papers really never cited? Reviewing the literature on academic citations. It’s really a problem in the humanities:

Many academic articles are never cited, although I could not find any study with a result as high as 90%. Non-citation rates vary enormously by field. “Only” 12% of medicine articles are not cited, compared to about 82% (!) for the humanities. It’s 27% for natural sciences and 32% for social sciences (cite). For everything except humanities, those numbers are far from 90% but they are still high: One third of social science articles go uncited! Ten points for academia’s critics. Before we slash humanities departments, though, remember that much of their most prestigious research is published in books. On the other hand, at least in literature, many books are rarely cited too.

White supremacist who created stir at Stanislaus State seen punching woman at Berkeley protest. First, please note that this woman went to the protest to get “Nazi scalps” according to her social media. Second, the image of a white supremacist punching an anti-fascist woman is exactly what Sarah Haider told me was going to be a problem with contemporary Leftist valorization of violence: Left-wing organizations have proportionally many more women than right-wing militant organizations, which isn’t an asset in pitched physical combat.

Theresa May’s Conservatives are 21 points ahead of Labour in new poll. I think Scotland will leave the United Kingdom in the next 5 years.

Suzan Mazur interviews Richard Lewontin. I used to think Mazur was exceptional, and she still is, but only in her artlessness in pushing her agenda.

10 thoughts on “Open Thread, 4/16/2017

  1. The citation stuff is interesting. I have to wonder what the statistics look like when you take review articles out of the citing mix.

  2. Has knowing more about the genetic turnover in Europe during the Bronze age given you any more thoughts about Raymond Crotty’s book When Histories Collide, which you reviewed a few years ago? Has any other author discussed the role of lactose tolerance in world history?

    1. even when i read the book i knew that the genetic distance btwn irish and other northern europeans was very small. at this point the difference can’t be genetic…if there is a difference. i don’t think the irish perform badly in comparison to most western european countries.

  3. Varnish is extremely useful when you have lots of static elements that are dynamically served. One example I remember was a merchant site where we found that every single image (icon, decorations, even backgrounds) was triggering a full “check cookie, update unique visitor stats or create unique cookie” script cycle.

    The site required no less than 40 windows servers to run at peak times. Adding a varnish cache cut that by half.

    Thankfully, wordpress doesn’t do that, so you’re safe.

    Anyway, varnish might be useful when you start getting close to max load on your server. If your CPU remains below 50% and your page load time below 2s, you probably don’t need varnish.

  4. Immediately as you say “Scotchit”, I think “whither Northern Ireland?” Hard to see that one going well..

    What’s genetics saying of late regarding assertion that “humans sexually select for female neoteny?”. I’ve also heard that the aesthetic selection for body and limb-muscle curves must be enormous, since primates don’t need curves to function at peak, yet humans are rife with them. Perhaps curves are simply a side-effect of a human vs. primate fat-storage emphasis, which has led to evolutionary success? Is this all old, long-settled news in terms of genetic sequencing discoveries?

  5. “I think Scotland will leave the United Kingdom in the next 5 years.”

    Who will pay their dole money? Germany?

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