306 years ago today, the great mathematician Euler was born. Google had this great composite image displayed on its main search page in celebration. Cool!
Have a look at Euler ‘s entry on Wikipedia!
[Note added: it seems that many blogs and other sites have pick-up Google front-page today. This article by The Guardian is a good example]
Discovered through Twitter (thanks @Psbasran), a very interesting read combining numerous topics of interest to me: cancer research, computer algorithms, …: Google PageRank algorithm, Markov chains, and cancer..
This got to be the most twisted line of thought in all of this smartphone patent war I have seen up to now in order to get to use some else inventions for free:
Who gets to define what is “great” or when something is too “popular”? This is not like a 100m race with precise time measurements. History teaches us that once you set one of these “soft” standard, the standard tends to be lowered with time until it becomes meaningless.
OK, enough of Google and Apple. Every one, researchers and graduate students alike have the potential to come by a worthwhile invention. Protecting it is supposed to provide incentive to the inventors to benefit from their work and the time spawn is usually limited (contrary to the copyright which can now, in certain countries, last for decades even for works that heavily borrow from the public domain – another debate).
Invention protection through patents can be a good approach in certain situations e.g. you’ve developed something new, useful, that can be actually implemented or made, has a market large enough to potentially make money, … I also strongly believe that graduate students should get expose to intellectual property themes early during their graduate studies.
What do you think?
Your a physicist and sitting at a conference for which the speaker is a talking about a specialize biology topic. This person is going on and on using words that are clearly no part of a standard dictionary and mostly ending by “ase”. Suddenly two new words: “flippase” and “floppase” (no kidding!). This is where the combination iPhone and Wikipedia is useful. 30 seconds later your up to speed and following again…Sometimes you’ve got to love technology. Wikipedia is great for a first look at a subject. It provides basic definition, secondary links and most of the time numerous references.
But, because there is one, Wikipedia does not replace a proper literature search. Google and Wikipedia are taking a lot of place among the high school students, my children included. Internet is replacing the standard, printed encyclopedia. The point is, sometimes ago I was a judge at a high school scientific competition and we first had to review the written documents related to projects we will have presentations on in the following step. To my complete surprise, the majority of those documents had references only to Wikipedia entries!
At that point, I did not know if this is a wide spread habit since I was reviewing only a limited sample of all the projects involved. Talking with a few colleagues, it seems that I was not the only one noticing. While some kids are doing these kinds of projects for the first time, the diversity of sources should be part of the standard teaching in science classes. One certainly cannot fault Wikipedia, who provide further references…if you scroll down to the end. Furthermore, high school libraries have more than enough materials to cover most basic topics for that level.
Wikipedia should not be the only source of scientific literatures for high school kids. It is in large part the responsibility of the teachers to bring this message home. Not all parents have a scientific background.