Home

Contact:

I'm LinkedIn and Google-Plussed.

Mail and packages, use maildrop:
Norman Sperling
2625 Alcatraz Avenue #235
Berkeley, CA 94705-2702

cellphone 650 - 200 - 9211
eMail normsperling [at] gmail.com

Norm Sperling’s Great Science Trek: 2014

San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara
Palm Springs
Death Valley
Tucson
El Paso
Corpus Christi
Baton Rouge
Tampa
Everglades
Key West
Winter Star Party, Scout Key
Miami

MARCH 2014:
up the Eastern seaboard
mid-South

APRIL 2014:
near I-40, I-30, and I-20 westbound

MAY 2014:
near US-101 northbound
May 17-18: Maker Faire, San Mateo
May 23-26: BayCon, Santa Clara

California till midJune

JUNE 2014:
Pacific Northwest

JULY 2014:
Western Canada, eastbound

AUGUST 2014:
near the US/Can border, westbound
August 22-on: UC Berkeley

Speaking engagements welcome!
2014 and 2015 itineraries will probably cross several times.

The Issues of the Issue: JIR v52 #6

© Norman Sperling, Editor, June 11, 2017

I apologize for the extreme delay. JIR has just broken out of an unwanted hiatus occasioned by my committing too much time to too many projects. The logjam is loosening. Every subscriber will receive every issue they’ve paid for, but it will take a while. I'm not taking on any new projects until I satisfy JIR and other projects already underway.

Over the years, JIR has used many different printers, large and small. The most recent, Yokto Subroto, has retired. I appreciated his attention to detail (which prevented many mistakes), his high quality (which kept the magazine looking substantial), and his realistic communication (which brought my flights of fancy down to Earth). With Yokto printing JIR, there were no Big Surprises or Catastrophic Emergencies. This issue was printed on the same press, by the company that bought it.

A previous owner of JIR, George H. Scherr, passed away in 2016.

Yet again, Wikipedia and Wikimedia have been most helpful. JIR submissions cover more different sciences than any one editor understands, so having an instant-lookup to learn what terms mean, and where puzzle-pieces fit, helps a whole lot. Derided in its beginning years, Wikipedia has made great efforts to get its act together. Nowadays, scientific articles are quite clean, though hardly perfect. If you have the expertise to correct and perfect their articles, supply technical references, and fill holes in their coverage, please do so. They post standards for contributing and editing, and priority requests. This is a major community service that anyone can perform in any amount at any time.

The associated Wikimedia Commons is a free repository for illustrations and other media. You probably took pictures that illustrate points particularly well. Clinging to their copyright may earn you less in money than freeing them will earn you in reputation and satisfaction. Wikimedia standards are posted too. You can select how you want to handle the “some rights reserved” alternatives.

When you get used to doing this, recommend it to experts you know in other fields, too.

For this issue’s articles about time, Robbert van der Steeg’s masterful “Eternal Clock” gives pause. He is a Dutchman living in Kenya, posting photos and manipulations to Flickr under Creative Commons. His creativity is, however, uncommon. It takes wing using the software “MathMap” and “Gimp”.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders offers JIR many opportunities for lampoons over many decades. In this issue we offer DSM-style descriptions of 2 exaggerated personality types, separated by the vast chasm of the gender divide.

I recall hearing that an apparently-serious scholar recommended that
• meticulous attention to detail, and
• determination to get technicalities “right”,
flag disorders common to nerds. What a disordered mind that numbskull must have! How much could Silicon Valley accomplish without those qualities? Or any science or engineering? Heeding details and getting things right is not a disorder. Thinking they are, is.

The article on selenium demonstrates the ongoing need to keep a sense of proportion in science. Legalisms have strayed vastly out of whack, reminiscent of the bad old days of the Delaney Clause. More such abuses lurk in classifying substances as “generally recognized as safe” though textbook science and plain English do not generally recognize them that way at all. JIR welcomes shout-outs and spoofs about exemplars.

While nosing around for pictures to illustrate our “big nose” article, I didn’t remember Jimmy Durante in time. The Wikimedia search engine brought up a lot of portraits from areas surrounding the Caspian Sea. Is this characteristic supported by research? How else has it been applied?

Most commercial companies are too sober-sided and too sales-focused to be any fun. Congratulations to O’Reilly Auto Parts for advertising their flux-capacitor. We’d love to learn about other science-fun items.

We have a new minimalist leader in adhering to our length-standard of “write it for what it’s worth. Include everything you ought to, then stop.” Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Dr. Paul K. Dayton, a rare wit, has whittled his main contents to 2 letters: “No.” He doesn’t leave much opportunity to reduce contents further.

A passing mention in Daniel Galef’s “Academic Bestiary” invites elucidation. Those “brightly coloured Salad Trees” are planted outside of his article’s animal kingdom. Are they related to “fruit salad trees”? Could an imaginative botanist please elaborate?

Chipmunk butter, lauded in Robert Haas’s article, is surely not the only imaginable rare gem of a food. Please recommend what else ought to be.

The Journal of Irreproducible Results
This Book Warps Space and Time
What Your Astronomy Textbook Won't Tell You

Your Cart

View your shopping cart.