Index | Comments and Contributions | previous:8.1 rules for research

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From: chris#NoSpam.labtam.labtam.oz.au (Chris Taylor)

Special Category: Definitions and terms
                  A brief guide to Scientific literature

The following phrases, frequently found in technical writings, are defined
below for your enlightenment.

Phrase                               Translation

It has been long known...............I haven't bothered to check the references
It is known..........................I believe
It is believed.......................I think
It is generally believed.............My collegues and I think
There has been some discussion.......Nobody agrees with me
It can be shown......................Take my word for it
It is proven.........................It agrees with something mathematical
Of great theoretical importance......I find it interesting
Of great practical importance........This justifies my employment
Of great historical importance.......This ought to make me famous
Some samples were chosen for study...The others didn't make sense
Typical results are shown............The best results are shown
Correct within order of magnitude....Wrong
The values were obtained empirically.The values were obtained by accident
The results are inconclusive.........The results seem to disprove my hypothesis
Additional work is required..........Someone else can work out the details
It might be argued that..............I have a good answer to this objection
The investigations proved rewarding..My grant has been renewed

From: eridani#NoSpam.scn.org (Martha K. Koester)

Synthesised according to.............Purchased from Sigma
standard protocols

Thanks to Joe Blow for expert........Thanks to Joe Blow for doing
technical assistance and Jane        all the work and Jane Doe for
Doe for valuable discussion.         telling me what it meant.

From: neve#NoSpam.up.univ-mrs.fr (Gabriel NEVE)

While it has not been possible.......The experiments didn't work out,
to provide definite answers to       but I figured I could at least
these questions.                     get a publication out of it.

Mus musculus domesticus..............Mus musculus domesticus
was chosen as especially suitable to is a lovely animal
test this hypothesis.                which is easy to study in
                                     the lab.

Accidentally strained during.........dropped on the floor

Handled with extreme care............not dropped on the floor
throughout the experiments

Although some detail has been........It is impossible to tell from the
lost in reproduction, it is clear    original micrograph.
from the original micrograph

Presumably at longer times...........I didn't take the time to find out.

The agreement with the predicted
curve is...
        excellent                     fair
        good                          poor
        satisfactory                  doubtful
        fair                          imaginary
        as good as could be expected  non-existent

The most reliable values are..........Jones was a student of mine.
those of Jones.

It is suggested that...
It is believed that...               I think that...
It may be that...

It is generally believed that........A couple of other guys think so too.

It is clear that much additional.....I don't understand it.
work will be required before
a complete understanding...

Unfortunately, a quantitative........Neither does anybody else.
theory to account for these effects
has not  been formulated.

It is hoped that this work will......This paper isn't very good, but
stimulate further work in the field. neither are any of the others in
                                     this miserable subject.

High purity..........................Composition unknown except for
Very high purity                     the exaggerated claims of the

A fiducial reference line on.........A scratch.
the specimen...

[adapted by Dominic Semple and Gabriel Neve from 'A glossary for research
reports' by C.D. Graham, Jr., Metal Progress Vol 71, No. 5, 1957, and
Technology Review, January 1977]

And the last one from mammalogists :

Arvicola voles were found as         The radio-traking collars we've
especially suitable to investigate   got are too big for Microtus
this interesting ecological problem  vole species.

From: "Dennis Davis" <dennov#NoSpam.worldnet.att.net>
"A definite trend is evident"...     These data are practically meaningless.

"These results will be in a subsequent report"...  I might get around to
this sometime, if pushed/funded.

"In my experience"...  Once!

"In case after case"...  Twice!

"In a series of cases"...  Thrice!

"It is believed that"...  I think...
etc. (see above)

"A highly significant area for exploratory study"...  A totally useless
topic selected by my committee.

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From: sjreeves#NoSpam.eedsp.gatech.edu (Stan Reeves)

[My office-mate, Robert Bamberger, and I wrote this abstract after
attending a particularly LPI-ish conference. :-) ]



This paper presents an analytic study of the least publishable increment
(LPI). The LPI is defined as the smallest acceptable difference between two
publishable papers. Two metrics for the LPI are derived. The first metric
is based on a generalized distance measure derived from the Hausdorff
metric and is used to differentiate between papers on similar topics by
different authors. The second metric describes a distance measure for
papers from the same author.

Further studies using cross-journal and conference proceedings relations
are also discussed. We outline a simple strategy for maximal publication
based on these distance measures. An illustrative example of the maximal
publication scheme is shown and its correlation to actual publications is
also given.

We present a proof that maximal publication based on the LPI is an optimal
approach for junior faculty members attempting to get tenure.

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What I don't understand I despise, what I despise I reject.

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The game of refereeing:
The author's goal: Publish a worthless paper.
The referee's goal: Prevent publishing of a major contribution to field.

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No matter what degree of rigor the author uses, the referee replies by saying
it is not the correct one.

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                     A NOTE ON THE GAME OF REFEREEING

                                      Applied Statistics XVII No. 3 (1968)

J M Chambers (*) and Agnes M. Herzberg (**)
*  Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey
** Imperial College, London

The game of refereeing is described.  Some tactics are outlined and
examples are given.  The present state of the game is assessed.


  This paper defines the game of refereeing.  While not a new game by any
means, it is now played more widely than ever before, as the volume of
current journals demonstrates.  Here we outline the game and suggest some
of the more effective tactics.  The examples are drawn from the field of
statistics, but the reader may easily supply examples from many other

  The version of the game outlined here represents a reasonable high
standard of rigour.  While it would be foolish to assert that the game is
not frequently played under less restrictive conditions, we are convinced
that it can only lose in subtlety, intellectual interest and artistic scope
by such relaxations.

  The game is played between two teams, here called author and referee.
The former consists of one or more co-operating players.  We treat these as
a single player.  In the simple or univariate game there is a single
referee who plays against the author.  This is the case treated in this
paper.  Discussion of the p-referee case for p>=2 involves no basic
alteration in the model or rules

  The definition of the objective for the players and the optimum being
sought have been the subject of considerable discussion.  It is agreed that
the author's objective is to have his paper published, and that extra
points accrue for the publication of a particularly worthless submission.
Likewise the referee's minimal objective is to have the paper refused and
extra credit is obtained if the paper was a major contribution to the
field.  Some consider that the referee may attain a higher optimum if, in
addition to having the paper refused, he reduces the author to a 'nervous
pulp' (a term introduced in connection with another game,
Conferencemanship).  Still greater succes can be claimed if the author
gives up serious work altogether, say by joining an operations research
firm.  Similar higher-level goals might be devised for the author; for
example, taking up all the time the referee would normally spend on his own

  Play opens with the _submission_ of the paper by the author.  At this
point the editor of the journal intervenes to select the opposing
player(s).  (We consider the editor as a neutral umpire, deferring the
question of the play of editor versus author and/or referee to a subsequent
paper now in progress by these authors.)  The next move is by the referee.
Without loss of generality we call this move the _refusal_.  This may be
followed by a further submission, a further refusal and so on, until one of
the players concedes defeat.

  These are the basic rules of play.  In Section 2  we give some of the
more usefull tactics which may be employed by the players


Note: The tactics given below are not intended to be exhaustive.  They are
given as examples to help the novice player.  Obviously the tactics may be
used even more effectivily in combination.

2.1 Tactics for the Author.

A1. Obscure reference tactic.
  Here the author refers to a paper in an obscure journal; for example
_Journal of Indian Statistical Association_, _Scientia Sinica_ or _Applied
 Statistics_.  The paper has, preferably, a rather general title and,
therefore, might possibly include the point which the author is trying to
make, for instance, 'A result on limit theorems', 'A note on the analysis
of variance', 'On statistical estimation', or more simple, 'An aspect of
statistical theory'.  It should be noted that, whether or not the paper is
by the person who refers to it, a previous game of refereeing has taken
place to get it published.  Another way to employ this tactic is for the
author to refer to a private communication from possibly a well-known
statistician or to his own or others' unpublished work.  Unfortunately,
this version of the tactic is not allowed by some journals.

A2. Wrong-reference tactic.
  The author refers to a paper which is not given or is incorrectly given
in the list of references.  This will infuriate a conscentious referee who
insists on checking all references in an effort to show that the author has
not read the literature properly.  (The author must be carefull in
employing this tactic for some referees think that even a misprint in the
references is reason enough for rejecting an otherwise worthy paper.)

A3. Prestige tactic.
  The author uses at least one reference to a well-known person to show
that he is working in a 'good' field.  It is usually possible to find such
papers with general titles to cover a large variety of sins.

A4. Barrage tactic.
  The author sens in such a large number of papers to the same journal that
the editor cannot cope with them and will therefore, have to let some be
published withouth proper refereeing.  This prevents the referee from
entering the game at all and thus the author is essentially playing a game
of solitaire.  The author could also send the same paper to various
journals with a slight change in title, thereby playing more than one
opponent at the same time.  There is, of course, the possibility that the
same referee may be chosen by more than one journal.

A5. Flattery-may-get-you-somewhere tactic
  In the revision of the paper the author thanks the referee for his
'helpfull comments' etc.  This is very often employed against tactic R5 by
saying something to the effect that he (the author) 'agrees that he was not
clear in the earlier version of the paper'.

A6. Anticipation tactic.
  Here the author attempts to disarm criticism either:

  (a) by inserting flattering references to the work of all the more likely
potential referees;


  (b) by writing papers jointly with all the experts in the field, thus
making it impossible to find a referee.

  (In (a) the author of a bibliography is at an advantage.  In (b) the game
becomes a game of solitaire.)

A7. Precedent tactic.
  Reference is made to a paper which although of very low quality was
recently published in the same journal.  The author implies that his work
cannot be of lower quality than the previous paper.  The danger, however,
is that the editor may be only too aware that he should have rejected that
paper and will act accordingly.

A8. Deliberate-mistake tactic.
  A deliberate, obvious and unimportant mistake can be inserted near the
beginning of the paper.  An inexperienced referee will use it to suggest
rejecting the paper and then will be overruled by the editor.  The author
must be carefull in employing this tactic since an experienced referee will
use the mistake merely to suggest (withouth actually saying) that the whole
paper is full of such mistakes.

2.2 Tactics for the Referee

R1. Obscure-reference tactic.
  The tactic A1 may also be employed by the referee: for example, by
suggesting with a reference to an obscure paper that the author's work is
not original.

R2. Wrong-level tactic.
  No matter what degree of rigour the author uses, the referee replies by
saying that it is not the correct one.  For example, 'The author has
stressed rigour to the detriment of clarity',  'The author's colloquial
style is insufficiently rigorous', 'The author unfortunately tries to
combine rigour with a colloquial style to the detriment of both'.

R3.  Unsuitable-for-publication-in-this-journal tactic.
  This tactic is also known as the 'shirking-of-duty tactic'.  As a last
resort the referee says that the paper is unsuitable for publication in the
journal in question, and makes a suggestion that it be submitted to another
journal which is suitably insulting to the author.  This then ends the game
between two particular opponents.  The referee then hopes that the suitably
insulting jouranal does not ask him to referee the paper.

R4. Shorten-paper tactic.
  In spite of the fact that more and more journals are publishing more and
more times a year and that each issue must be of a respectable size,
editors seem to prefer short papers.  Therefore, the referee can always
request that the paper be shortened.  This usually gives the author a
difficult task and will tend to prolong the game.

  As a counter to tactic A6(a), the referee may suggest publication of only
the sections containing flattering references to his own work.

R5. Deliberate-misunderstanding tactic.
  The referee deliberately questions something in the paper which he knows
to be correct.  This is a delaying tactic.

R6. Personal-knowledge tactic.
  The referee, knowing who the author is, questions points in the paper on
which he knows that the author knows nothing.  This makes the author
nervous about what he has written.  This tactic cannot be used in those
journals (for example _Psychometrika_) where both players remain unknown to
each other.

R7. Standard-vs.-unstandardized-notation tactic.
  Whatever notation the author uses the referee replies that this should be
changed to the standard notation; for example, Author: Let x and y
represent the variables.  Referee:  Change x and y to a and b (or

R8. Scare tactic.
  In commenting on the author's paper the referee refers to a paper of his
own 'in press' (the paper may or may not have been started).  The title of
the paper suggests it may include the author's work.  With a nervous or
inexperienced opponent this may terminate the game.

R9. Frustation tactic.

  Perhaps the most important of the referee's tactics is to do nothing and
to ignore all correspondence about the paper; this is of course
particularly effective with handwritten manuscripts.  The experienced
referee will not trust his colleagues and will deposit the manuscript at
the bank.


  We have described the game as currently played.  There are however, many
possible improvements.  The range of strategies would be greatly extended
if collusion among referees were allowed.  Carefull use of mutually
contradictionary requirements by different referees will help greatly to
demoralize the author.  Authors, on the other hand, would have a number of
interesting new tactics if the name of the referee were given to them.

  It must be acknowledged that the entire practice of refereemanship has
declined in recent years.  With the publication of more and more journals,
and the issuing of present journals more frequently, the pressure for
papers to fill them restricts the referee from rejecting as many acceptible
papers as hitherto.  Further, there are now so many papers which deserve
rejection on their own merit that true skill in refereemanship is no longer
in demand.  Improvements in communication and in the work of librarians
have made some of the tactics (e.g. A1 and R1) more difficult to apply.

  However, the most insidious cause of this decline is the loss of the true
savage refereeing spirit among the modern generation of players.  We fear
that too many participants have taken to heart the old adage, 'Referee as
you would others referee when you are writing'.

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November 21
May 30
"It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established
authorities are wrong." - Voltaire

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Referee's report: This paper contains much that is new and much that is
true. Unfortunately, that which is true is not new and that which is new is
not true.

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From: rconroy#NoSpam.rcsi.ie (Ronan Conroy)

Footnotes that Somehow Got Left out of Published Manuscripts

Edwin A. Locke, Ronan M Conroy and others

These footnotes were found behind the editor's desk. They seem to have
fallen off manuscripts which were being processed, but unfortunately it
is not possible to identify the specific manuscripts.

(Note: These footnotes were originally published by Edwin Locke, of the
Society of Organizational and Industrial Psychologists. I managed to
contact Dr Locke after many years and he doesn't recognise half of them.
I am guilty of a certain amount of input, but so too are an unknown
number of anonymous hands.)

1. The second author designed the study.  The research assistant
(credited in the very small print at the end) carried it out and wrote it
up.  The first author is a Very Important Professor who has generously
donated the weight of his prestige.

2.  Previous reviews by associate editors of 3 other journals, all of
whom rejected the manuscript, totalled 27 single-spaced pages of
comments, all of which we ignored as they were clearly motivated by
professional jealosy.

3.  Many of the references in this paper are totally unrelated to the
topic of the study, but we added them to make the paper look scholarly.
3a. The remaining references were chosen for the quality of their
contribution to the field, hence the preponderance of citations of
previous papers by the present authors.

4. The hypotheses were invented after-the-fact to explain the totally
unpredicted and seemingly nonsensical results we obtained.

5. Two subjects were omitted for noncompliance with the protocol and a
further 67 subjects were discarded for non-compliance with the hypotheses.

6.  The original questionnaire included 100 predictor scales. This study
reports the results for the 5 that were picked out by a stepwise
regression package that the research assistant got from her flatmate.

7. We tried 37 different analytic techniques, some invented in ancient
China,  including  Optician's c-test, Hate's d-test, the Lastwill n-test,
Pretty's q-test, the Van Gough r-test, Washes' y-test, followed by the
Wineman post-hock test. The one reported here (The Kawasaki
Inverted-Listerine Analysis) was the only one that got significant

8. We ran 12 pilot studies and finally got the design to work after
threatening the subjects with bodily harm.

9. A copy of the data is available from the authors.  This is in the form
of a binary dataset on an Atari disk which can be read by any COBOL
compiler earlier than 1972. As we are at present upgrading out copy of
SAS, we will be unable to handle any requests for data for the next five
years, at which time we hope to have carried all the manuals upstairs
into the office (if they haven't collapsed inwards under their own mass
and formed a neutron star). Please write to us then. ("Thank you for your
belated inquiry about our data.  Unfortunately they have been discarded
because they are more than 5 years old"  The Authors).

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From: "donald haarmann \ Eminence gris" <donald-haarmann#NoSpam.worldnet.att.net>

                    The turbo-encabulator in industry.

For more then 50 years the Arthur D. Little Industrial Bulletin has
endeavored to interpret scientific information in terms that he lay person
could understand. "The turbo-encabulator in industry" is the contribution
of J.H. Quick, graduate member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers
in London, England, and was, first published in the Institution's Students'
Quarterly Journal in December 1944, It is here reprinted without the kind
permission of that publication and of the author in a further salute to

For a number of years now, work has been proceeding to bring perfection to
the crudely conceived idea of a machine that would not only supply inverse
reactive current for use in unilateral phase detractors, but would also be
capable of automatically synchronizing cardinal grammeters.

Such a machine is the "turbo-encabulator." Basically, the only new
principle involved is that instead of power being generated by the relative
motion of conductors and fluxes, it is produced by the medial interaction
of magneto-reluctance and capacitive directance.

The original machine had a base plate of prefabulated amulite, surmounted
by a malleable logarithmic casing in such a way that the two spurving
bearings were in direct line with the pentametric fan. The latter consisted
simply of six hydrocoptic marzelvanes, so fitted to the ambifacient lunar
waneshaft that side fumbline was effectively prevented. The main winding
was of the normal lotus-0-delta type placed in panendermic semiboiloid
slots in the stator, every seventh conductor being connected by a
nonreversible tremie pipe to the differential gridlespring on the "up" end
of the grammeters.

Forty-one manestically spaced grouting brushes were arranged to feed into
the rotor slipstream a mixture of high S-value phenylhydrobenzamine and 5%
remanative tetryliodohexamine. Both of these liquids have specific
pericosities given by P=2.5C.n(exponent)6.7 where n is the diathetical
evolute of retrograde temperature phase disposition and C is Chlomondeley's
annular grillage coefficient. Initially, n was measured with the aid of
metaploar refractive pilfrometer (for a description of this ingenious
instrument, see Reference 1), but up to the present, nothing has been found
to equal the transcendental hopper dadoscope (2).

Electrical engineers will appreciate the difficulty of nubing together a
regurgitative purwell and a supramitive wennelsprock. Indeed, this proved
to be a stumbling block to further development until, in 1942, it was found
that the use of anhydrous nangling pins enabled a kryptonastic boiling shim
to the tankered.

The early attempts to construct a sufficiently robust spiral decommutator
failed largely because of a lack of appreciation of the large quasipiestic
stresses in the gremlin studs; the latter were specifically designed to
hold the roffit bars to the spamshaft. When, however, it was discovered
that spending could be prevented by a simple addition to the living
sockets, almost perfect running was secured.

The operating point is maintained as near as possible to the h.f. rem peak
by constantly fromaging the bitumogenous spandrels. This is a distinct
advance on the standard nivel-sheave in that no dramcock oil is required
after the phase detractors have remissed.

Undoubtedly, the turbo-encabulator has not reached a very high level of
technical development, It has been successfully used for operating nofer
trunnions. In addition, whenever a barescent skor motion is required, it
may be employed in conjunction with a drawn reciprocating dingle arm to
reduce sinusoidal depleneration.


(1) Rumpelvestein, L.E., Z. Elektro-technistatisch-Donnerblitz vii.
(2) Oriceddubg if the Peruvian Academy of Skatological Sciences, June 1914.

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From an unknown but astute source:
Every new scientist must learn early that it is never good taste to
designate the sum of two quantities in the form:

                1 + 1 = 2                                               (1)

Anyone who has made a study of advanced mathematics is aware that:
        1 = ln e
        1 = sin^2 x + cos^2 x

        2 = sum     1/2^n

Therefore eq. (1) can be expressed more scientifically as:

ln e + sin^2 x + cos^2 x =   sum     1/2^n                              (2)

This may be further simplified by use of the relations:

        1 = cosh y sqrt(1 - tanh^2 y)

        e = lim     (1+1/z)^z
            z-> inf

Equation (2) may therefore be rewritten as:

                                            inf  cosh y sqrt(1 - tanh^2 y)
ln[ lim (1+1/z)^z ] + sin^2 x + cos^2 x =  SUM ____________________________
    z-> inf                                n=             2^n


At this point it should be obvious that eq. (3) is much clearer and more
easily onderstood than eq. (1). Other methods of a similar nature could be
used to clarify eq. (1), but these are easily divined once the reader
grasps the underlying principles.

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Since figures and pictures strike the imagination of the reader much better,
all articles and dissertations should be published in cartoon form to
reach a larger publicum.

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From: Aliquotes iv.vii (journal) (rogerb#NoSpam.microsoft.com)

A letter wich was dictated to read....

                       from the desk of: ELAINE ROBINSON

                       Anyday, February 31, 1996
Dear Jerry,

  We regret to inform you that we have reanalyzed the current fiscal
situation in the company and have come to the decision that the position
which you currently hold will be phased out in the next few months.  As you
have been a loyal employee for the past twenty years, we will be offering
you an early retirement package wich will hopefully fulfill all of your
requirements.  We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours and
hope that you will stay in touch.


                                         Elaine Robinson, CEO

would instead read....

Analysis of Fiscal Responsibilities in the Company Superstructure
  Robinson, Elaine (CEO), et al.

  The following treatise describes the results of the most recent findings
of the study of monetary fluctuarions in the area of resource management,
especially with regard to the placement and distribution of human
resources.  There is an indication from the data wich has been presented
(see Figure 1a) that the future fiscal situation  will indicate
deficiencies.  While this is counter to the previous results (Company
profile, 1994 and 1995), we feel strongly that the data suggests a
realignment of personnel placements, although we do not discount other
avenues of readjustment (for a review, see Memo #17, 1996).  While the
analysis is not complete, the projection of the curve (Figure 2) indicates
that the changes which we propose should occur within a time frame amenable
to stabilizing the situation.
  Previous results (Employee Profile, 1976-1995) have suggested other
possible scenarios but the present situation (Figure 3) causes our group to
re-evaluate.  Owing to the enormity of our proposal, certain allowances
have been established (Table 1) to deal with the current findings and we
will soon present more findings regarding the extended time vector (data
not shown, in preparation).

Note added in proof:  Further analysis has indicated a strong preference
for the sacrifice of specific variables, with particular reference to Jerry.

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From: Jennifer M. <jmorales#NoSpam.cybergrrlz.comx>
The following is a small excerpt from an article published in *laffs*, the
jokes/humor page in my e-zine.


1. A research team proceeded toward the apex of a natural geologic
protuberance, the purpose of their expedition being the procurement of a
sample of fluid hydride of oxygen in a large vessel, the exact size of which
was unspecified. One member of the team precipitately descended, sustaining
severe fractural damage to the upper cranial portion of his anatomical
structure. Subsequently, the second member of the team performed a
self-rotational translation oriented in the direction taken by the first

< Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.>

From: Bob K. <afetrmath2#NoSpam.aol.com>

7. A male human of undetermined age and designated by an alliterative name
offered osculatory attentions to an undesignated number of young females,
resulting in the lachrymatory responses by said females. Subsequent
emergence of the males from the indoor confinement with the intent of
recreational activity was then accompanied by a highly precipitant
conveyence of the male subject from the vicinity.

8. A young human female, not yet in a state of wedlock, occupied a small
supportive structure, simultaneously undertaking the consumption of
nutriments comprising (a) the coagulated portion of lactic fuild and (2)
the aqueous residue of coagulated lactic fluid. The approach of an arachnid
followed by establishment of said arachnid upon the supportive structure in
close proximity to the subject, caused severe trauma in said subject,
resulting in rapid self- translation of the subject from the environs.

9. A geriatose human female proceeded to a storage compartment for the
purpose of procuring a fragment of osseous tissue from an unidentified
deceased specimen to transfer to an indigent carnivorous domesticated
mammal, 'Canis familiars', family 'Canidae'. Upon arrival at her intended
destination, the human female discovered the storage compartment in a
denuded condition, with the consequence that the indigent carnivore was
deprived of the intended donation.

10. A ritual chant concerning both (a) a small British coin and (b) a small
pouch incorporated as as integral part of an item of clothing, said pouch
being charged with its full capacity with a hardy cereal grain, preceded
the preparation of a baked crusted nutritive composition comprising of
24.00 creatures of the species 'Turdus merula'. Upon terminating of the
closed state of said crusted composition, the avain creatures commenced a
melodic performance, resulting in the composition being considered of a
choice nature befitting presentation to a personage of royal lineage.

11. A human female of anile disposition established occupancy in a form of
structure orginally designated for the encasement of the end part of a
human leg. The plurality of descendents of the subject was of a nature to
cause continual perplexity and misjudgement on the part of said
subject. Amelioration of the prevailing conditions was effected by
furnishing the descendents with a repast comprising of a light gruel
unaccompanied by solid wheaten material, followed by adminstration of
severe flagellation prior to nocturrnal repose.


7. Georgy Porgy (I note that "pudding and pie" was not mentioned in the scientific version. Too bad - it could have added another paragraph!) 
    Georgy Porgy, pudding and pie,
    Kissed the girls and made them cry.
    When the boys came out to play,
    Georgy Porgy ran away.  
8. Little Miss Muffet 
    Little Miss Muffet
    Sat on a tuffet,
    Eating of curds and whey;
    Along came a spider,
    And sat down beside her,
    And frightened Miss Muffet away.
9. Old Mother Hubbard 
    Old Mother Hubbard;
    Went to the cupboard,
    To give her poor dog a bone;
    But when she got there
    The cupboard was bare,
    And so the poor dog had none.

10. Sing a song of sixpence 
    Sing a song of sixpence,
    A pocket full of rye;
    Four-and-twenty blackbirds
    Baked in a pie!

    When the pie was opened
    The birds began to sing;
    Was not that a dainty dish
    To set before the king?

11. There was an old woman who lived in a shoe 
    There was an old woman,
    Who lived in a shoe;
    She had so many children,
    She didn't know what to do.
    She gave them some broth,
    Without any bread;
    She whipped them all soundly,
    And sent them to bed.

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From: Rodney Wines (R_WINES@TRZCL1)
 "Doctor Fraud" (sorry, I didn't keep the header)
Two skewed nursery rhymes:

Scintillate, scintillate, globule aurific;
Fain would I fathom thy nature specific.
Loftily poised in the ether capacious,
Strongly resembling a gem carbonaceous.
Scintillate, scintillate, globule aurific;
Fain would I fathom thy nature specific.

Three myopic rodents,
Three myopic rodents;
Observe how they perambulate,
Observe how they perambulate.
They all circumnavigated the agriculturalist's spouse,
Who excised their extremities with a carving utensil;
Did you ever observe such an occurrence in your existence
As three myopic rodents?

Also, _Games_ magazine once reprinted some puzzles called "Prolix Pro- 
verbs," where simple saws were given in more difficult verse, namely:

A lithoid form, whose onward course
Is shaped by gravitational force,
Can scarce enjoy the consolation
Of bryophytic aggregation.

Conducting to the watering place
A quadruped of equine race
Is simple; but he may not care
To practice imbibition there.

To carry haulm of cereal growth
The tylopod is nothing loath;
But just one haulm too many means
That dorsal fracture intervenes.

When, nimbus-free, Sol marches by
Across the circumambient sky,
To graminiferous meads repair--
Your instant task awaits you there!

That unit of the avian tribe
Whose movements one can circumscribe
"In manu," as a pair will rate
Subarborially situate.

The coroner observed: Perpend--
The death of this, our feline friend,
Reflects preoccupation shown
With business other than his own.

For none who claims to represent
The "homo" species sapient
Will loiter Einstein's fourth dimension
Or sea's quotidian declension.

Of little value his compunctions
Who arrogates clavigerous functions
When once from circumambient pen,
Is snatched its equine denizen.

Faced with material esculent
As source of liquid nourishment,
Avoid excess--`twill but displease--
Of culinary expertise.

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From: "Paul R. Mays" <simatar1#NoSpam.hotmail.Com>
(This is the reaction of Paul Mays to a non-physics joke posted by "|-|erc"
to news:alt.sci.physics.new-theories )

Since this is a physics group we would of course require
a vast amount more data of the observation of the event
being described....

Lets try it with a theoretical physicist as the objective


This happened in Mexico, and even though it sounds like an Alfred
Hitchcock tale, it's absolutely true!

Physical Translator Applied:

(This happened at 22.45:25.43 6/18/1978 (17.45:25.43 GMT) at
   19 26 N 99 7 W  (near the northeast quadrant of Mexico ,City
Mexico) and while the concepts seems to be in agreement with
the Hitchcock Theorem ( General postulates in several variations
 on the theme in several peer reviewed publications submitted
circa 1926 ~ 1980 http://www.mysterynet.com/hitchcock/bio.shtml
They are factual in nature unlike Hitchcock's mental constructs...)


One night, this guy was on the side of the road,  hitch-hiking on a very
dark night, in the middle of a terrible storm.

Physical Translator Applied:

(A specific time span after the earths rotation places Sol below the
visible horizon from the observer at 19 26 N 99 7 W, a individual
observer was attempting to transfer his mass via imparted energy
conversion by combustion powered source while having a local
increase in relative mass due to Dehydrate Oxide saturation of
the observers textile coverings)


The storm was so strong he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him.

Physical Translator Applied:

(The atmospheric condition were unstable with a massive condensation
due to vapor being cooled by uplifting low level thermally warmed
dense fluid / gaseous flows of  saturated gas mixture with Dehydrate
Oxide in vapor form. once the warm gas/vapor mixture contacts
the cooler upper atmospheric levels the DO (H2O) condensed out
in quantities approaching 2 inches per minute limiting visual
observation at greater than 2 but less than 5 feet....)


Suddenly, he saw a car coming towards him and stopping alongside
him in the rain.

Physical Translator Applied:

(In an observed instant of time , the aforementioned observer observed
a combustion power vehicle approaching at an undetermined velocity
in relation to the observer, as the vehicle was within a unspecified
distance of the observer it converted the internal system inertia into
thermal energy by frictional conversion until its forward momentum
was reduced to 0 while Dehydrate Oxide continued at previously
stated rates....)


The guy got in the car and closed the door, and only then realized that
nobody was behind the wheel!

Physical Translator Applied:

(The observer opened the vehicle and entered the vehicle sealing
the enter access panel behind him,  Only at that point specific time
did the observer detect that he was the only participant in the


The car starts up again, very, very slowly.

Physical Translator Applied:

The vehicle for no apparent observable, detectable
causation gains at a slow rate forward momentum following
the curvature of the frictional surface it is in contact with....)


The guy looks at the road and sees a curve coming his way.

Physical Translator Applied:

(The Observer detects a curvature forward of his relative
position which he could observe no method for the vehicle
to maintain the same path as the frictional surface...)


Terrified, he starts to pray, begging for his life.

Physical Translator Applied:

( this cause great concern to the observer in that he had
also gained considerable momentum he considered an
AlterNet theory, while no evidence had been presented
of this opposing theory at that period he considered its
intrinsic value....)


He is almost in a complete state of shock when, just before the
car goes into the curve, a hand appears thru the window and
moves the steering wheel.

Physical Translator Applied:

(The observer noted a increase of adrenalin levels with a
sense of narrowed vision and release of a mixture of urine,
Dehydrate Oxide further saturating his textile coverings when
he observed a humanoid hand appear from the limited vision
situation imposed by the dehydrate oxide flow rate, moving
the control mechanism of the vehicle allowing the following
of the contacted frictional surface....)


The hitch-hiker, paralyzed in terror, saw out of the corner of his eyes
how the hand appears every time they approach a curve.

Physical Translator Applied:

(The observer continued the saturation of the vehicles seating area
while in a trance like state as he observed that repeatable and
verifiably the aforementioned hand appeared each time the frictional
surface curved , controlling its direction in relation the
contacted frictional surface.....)


The guy, gathering strength, finally jumps out of the slowly
moving car and runs all the way to the nearest town.

Physical Translator Applied:

(The observer made the experimental variance in his forward
velocity alter by lateral force application, exiting the
vehicle and transferring his forward momentum into frictional
thermal conversion to the observers tissue around the face and
eyes.  At that point the observer uses bipedal transport at
his highest rate of conversion too gain a secondary frame
of reference at some location that maintained a storage
of  CH3CH2OH ...)


Wet and in shock,  he goes into a bar, asks for two
shots of tequila, and sobbing,  starts telling everybody
about the horrible experience he just went through.

Physical Translator Applied:

(Saturated from both internal and external sources he
enters the closest storage center and requests 2 X 2oz of
a mixture of  CH3CH2OH produced from extractions and
biological conversion of the  C12H22O11 to CH3CH2OH
along with small amounts of residual compounds from
the biomass of the Agave tequilana plant, and had a noted
tear production from the previous described observations.
At his point he made a verbal presentation of the observed
elements of the stated time frame to a group of his peers to
gain feedback on his postulate of the events....)


A silence enveloped everybody when they realize the
guy was crying and wasn't drunk.

Physical Translator Applied:

( In a minimum time frame the background noise level
reduced to a minimum level when his peers considered
his dissertation of the observed events and were thoughtfully
considering his position while formulating a formal


A few minutes  later,  two guys walked into the same bar.
They saw the man weeping at the bar, and one guy said
to the other, "Look,  there at the bar, that's the idiot that got
in the car while we were pushing it!"

Physical Translator Applied:

( In a short period while the gathering of the observers peers
considered the postulate two other observers arrived to give
an opposing postulate as applied to the observed events from
a different frame of reference,  Stating to the gathering that the
first observer was devoid of intellectual content and nothing
more than a pompous asshole who would not know science from
directed on topic posting of constructs to internet based news groups.
And that if the first observer had bothered to understand the rules
of physics or even biological concepts he would have ignored the
observations as errors in perceptions as they would have been in
direct conflict with existing rules that have been verified many
times,  so the general observation is that the first observer was
in error but failed to recognize the error and continued the error
as he formed his postulate.....)

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From: aroy#NoSpam.cs.uoregon.edu (amitabha roy)

                           New Latex commands

   We propose the following extensions to the current version of Latex.
We anticipate that it will help many struggling scientists who agonize
over the correct formatting of their scientific papers.


The generic \wave command : this is used to simulate waving various
objects in your documents.

 For example, a difficult proof for a theorem can be effectively
finished with a \wave{\hand} command.

 A criticism of someone who caught errors in your previous papers can be
made scathing with the \wave{\finger} command.

 We also recommend that all papers finish with a friendly \wave{\bye}


 This powerful extension allows the scientist to justify research of
dubious value with a set of names chosen from an extensive database. The
database consists of names such as Don Knuth, Alan Turing, Andrew Wiles
, Einstein.  The database also contains a list of all the papers that
these illustrious scientists have written. \namedrop chooses a random
paper corresponding to the name chosen.

 We realize that \namedrop has a severe limitation. After all, an
unproven and outrageous claim cannot always be attributed to the name of
a living (or recently dead) person. There are people who actually cross
check all references - no, really !  To obviate this difficulty, we
propose the all powerful \namedrop{God} command.

 The citation at the end of the paper becomes

[5] God, personal communication.

 There are options on choosing Gods from a variety of religions.
{\namedrop{God{Vishnu}}} The only drawback in using this option is that
one can only cite Gods from one religion in a paper.  For some
inexplicable reason, Latex does not work if we allow the multiple
religion option.

Verbose commands:

 Following Seinfeld, we also have a \yada-yada command which substitutes
randomly chosen text (from a database) to fill up several pages.  We do
not recommend that this option is used to fill up the whole paper as
that may look suspicious.  If one needs to do that, we strongly
recommend that the \namedrop{God} option and the powerful \wave{\knife}
option be used liberally at the beginning of the paper.  Currently, we
only have Kitty Kelly's masterpiece "Jackie Oh!"  in our database.


 This option allows the user to include graphs that simulate actual
statistical experiments into the paper.  The graph usually have the
following characteristic: there is one best case line and one worst case
line. There are options to refer to others' experiments for the worst
case.  This is a powerful tool to criticize your colleagues work with
scientific proof and not just words.

We are excited about bringing these tools in front of the scientific
community. Please send us your responses (aroy#NoSpam.cs.uoregon.edu) about
further additions to the list.

(joint work with Chris)

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From: "Vadim Zelenkov" <zelenkov#NoSpam.gray.isir.minsk.by>

[This is not really science, but it *was* published in Physical Review

It is said that back in the 1940's, the following message was prominently
displayed at the front of the main chemistry lecture hall at a major

     The English language is your most versatile
     scientific instrument. Learn to use it with

In the intervening years, the teaching of proper grammar in the public
elementary and high schools fell into disfavor. The inevitable result is
that manuscripts submitted to us are often full of grammatical errors,
which their authors probably do not even recognize (and often would not
care about if they did).

We regard this state of affairs as deplorable, and we want to do something
about it. For many years we have tried to correct the grammar of papers
that we publish. This is toilsome at best, and sometimes entails rather
substantial rephrasing. It would obviously be preferable to have authors
use correct grammar in the first place. The problem is how to get them to
do it.

One fairly effective way is to provide examples of what not to do; it is
particularly helpful if the examples are humorous. We have recently seen
several lists of grammatical examples of this type. A few weeks ago we
found taped to a colleague's office door the most complete one we have
seen. (He tells us it was passed out in a class of Darthmouth - not in
English - at the time a term paper was assigned). We reproduce it here in
the hope that it will have some effect.

 1 Make sure each pronoun agrees with their antecedent.
 2 Just between you and I, the case of pronoun is important.
 3 Watch out for irregular verbs which have crope into English.
 4 Verbs has to agree in number with their subjects.
 5 Don't use no double negatives.
 6 Being bad grammar, a writer should not use dangling modifiers.
 7 Join clauses good like a conjunction should.
 8 A writer must be not shift your point of view.
 9 About sentence fragments.
10 Don't use run-on sentences you got to punctuate them.
11 In letters essays and reports use commas to separate items in series.
12 Don't use commas, which are not necessary.
13 Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
14 Its important to use apostrophes right in everybodys writing.
15 Don't abbrev.
16 Check to see if you any words out.
17 In the case of a report, check to see that jargonwise, it's A-OK.
18 As far as incomplete constructions, they are wrong.
19 About repetition, the repetition of a word might be real effective
   repetition - take, for instance the repetition of Abraham Lincoln.
20 In my opinion, I think that an author when he is writing should
    definitely not get into the habit of making use of too many unnecessary
    words that he does not really need in order to put his message across.
21 Use parallel construction not only to be concise but also clarify.
22 It behooves us all to avoid archaic expressions.
23 Mixed metaphors are a pain in the neck and ought to be weeded out.
24 Consult the dictionery to avoid mispelings.
25 To ignorantly split an infinitive is a practice to religiously avoid.
26 Last but not least, lay of cliches.

George L. Trigg
Phys.Rev.Lett., 42, 12, 748 (1979).

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Articles are warped by "unexplained acronyms, cryptic symbols, endless
sentences, and monstrous graphs".  Analyzing the psychology of why this
exists, Phillip Schewe (American Institute of Physics, US) says:

"You lose all your readers, but at least you can't be accused of being an
idiot.  Instead, the readers are made to feel like they're idiots."
 (Science, 15 Aug 97)

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From: S.D.Appleton#NoSpam.newcastle.ac.uk (Shaun Appleton)

As seen in Physics World Feb. '93 (the Institute of Physics monthly mag.)

"Last month saw the issue of a preprint from CERN's theory division by
D Hajdukovic and H Satz:- 'Does the one-dimensional Ising model show
intermittency?' asks the title.  For those who understand the question
but are uninterested in the details, the abstract is commendably and
may be unprecendently succint... 'NO.'

I wish all academics would write like this.

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From: Ian Davis <davis#NoSpam.licre.ludwig.edu.au>
Clearly no-one in this group has read my thesis.  This would have fit
right in.  I can write an outline of his dissertation for him now if you

Dedication page:
Thank the Academy.  Suck up to supervisor.
Include cool quotes.  Suggest:
"Still just a potatoe" - B Simpson
"A mouse is an animal that if killed in sufficiently many and creative
ways will generate a PhD."
"I refrain from publishing for fear that disputes and controversies may
be raised against me by ignoramuses." - Sir Isaac Newton, correspondence
to Liebniz

Publications resulting from this work:
Cite UseNet posts
Article for college newsletter
The Nature paper

Chapter 1 - Literature review
Listing of my bookshelf

Chapter 2 - Materials and methods
Not quite a billion but let's call it a billion cos it's a cool acronym
array linking 20 486 processors on the number 13 bus to the station.
Cheap porno movies.

Chapter 3 - Results
Nothing yet.

Chapter 4 - Method modification 1
Nothing yet.

Chapter 5 - Method modification 2
Turn on power.
Nothing yet.

Chapter 6 - Method modification 3
Remove Minesweeper from array.
Definite signal originating from Epsilon 3.  Clear indication of
intelligent life.
Further studies indicate that signal may also be due to fridge light
coming on during ancillary SECB (Search for Extra Can of Beer) project.
Discounted.  Paper accepted by Nature.

Chapter 7 - Discussion and conclusions
More studies are required.

Nature paper.
600 distantly related papers picked up on computer literature search but
not actually read.
Consciously omit reference to Cassidy FJ and Whitford A: Unusual "love
waves" recorded above the Cascadia Subduction Zone.  Seismologial
Research Letters 67(6):49-51, 1991, describing seismic event induced by
a young couple unaware that they were on the surface of a seismic vault
in a quiet wood.

Hope this helps.  No need to acknowledge me in the thesis.

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Fiction tends to become fact simply by serial passage via the printed page.

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From Jack Roberts referee's report on Herbert Brown and Rachel Kornblum's
paper on the role of steric strain in carbonium ion reactions

As usual, the author in his thorough unobjective fashion has marshalled up
all the good, indifferent and bad arguments ...  I offer the following
detailed comments ... though I realize that many of them will arouse him to
a vigorous, if not violent rebuttal.  In order to preserve  the pH of
Dr. Brown's digestive system I would not require a rebuttal as a condition
of publication.
With heartiest greetings of the season to you and yours!  Jack Roberts
PS  The above comments could (help) to reduce your winter heating bill!

(Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations, ed by W.F. Byrnum & Roy Porter)

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