Another round in the stars

What makes scientists tick? The blog Sceptical Chymist has started a new feature called "Reactions" in which chemists will answer such questions. First up is David Leigh.

For any budding entrepreneurs out there, Mark Fletcher, founder of Bloglines, has started a new website called Startupping that will, you guessed it, "take the mystery out of starting and running an Internet company and sharing the experience". Via Geeking with Greg.

The saga of the absconding Mr WordPress gets more bizarre. While his wife is out looking for him, he’s now claiming to have been home all along. "Don’t worry, we’ll get through this. Remember all the Betas?" he bravely opines.

The "same old handful of blogs, more or less" have been nominated for the 7th annual weblog awards, is the complaint on The Millions blog. Why are litbloggers left out? I imagine the answer is that they are a minority interest compared with the likes of Boing Boing, Daily Kos et al. And that’s OK by me.

While on the topic of litblogs, a couple of interesting reviews: A Corpse in the Koryo on International Noir Fiction; and news of Giulio Leoni’s Dante trilogy at Eurocrime.

Nature’s X-files

Link: news @ – Nature’s X-files – Not all the correspondence to a top science journal contains top science. Some of it is very odd indeed..

Yes, science journals receive all kinds of letters, whose authors claim to have solved Fremat’s last theorem (before it was actually solved), that the theory of relativity is wrong, or that a perpetual motion machine has been invented, to name but three perennial favourites. Jim Giles investigated a strange case that we received the other week:

"The fax looks like a copy of a letter from Nature telling a scientist that their paper has been accepted for publication. But several things were odd. The letterhead looked like a forgery. The sender’s name was mis-spelled. And the editor named does not work at the office from which it was supposed to have been sent.

The letter came to Nature‘s attention when a company called to check on the publication date. But Nature had no record of the paper. Our manuscript editors did not recognize its title. The correspondence and enquiries desk passed it down to the newsdesk to see if we could make any sense of it.

After a little digging, I discovered that the letter had been forged by a scientist who had got himself in a hole. Contracted to run tests for health-drink company, the researcher said he had some exciting results: the drink contained a molecule with anti-ageing properties.

But the scientist had got ahead of himself. As pressure mounted to publish his results, he tried to stall his employer by claiming his paper had been accepted at Nature. When the paper never appeared, the company got suspicious and contacted us. By the time I got in contact, the researcher had already confessed."

See the rest of Jim’s article on the Nature newsblog at the link above.

New series on It’s a Crime!

Crimeficreader of "Its a crime! (or a mystery…)  is starting a new series called "Authors from previous years: where are they now?" What a great idea.  I’ve often wondered "what happened" to an author of a book I’ve read ages ago and enjoyed. Did they ever write any more books? Well, now we can find out. Please leave suggestions of your own favourite but forgotten authors  in the comments of Crimeficreader’s post to which I’ve linked here.

(By the way, Typepad spell check’s suggestion for "Crimeficreader" is "Triumvirate".)

Don’t try to comment on Monday night

From "Everything Typepad" blog:

"TypePad Maintenance Monday night, 2/26. TypePad continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and it’s time for some upgrades. On Monday night February 26th starting at 10:00 pm PST we’ll be taking the TypePad application offline for approximately two hours to perform routine maintenance and add some bright, shiny new hardware. During this time blogs will be available for reading, but you won’t be able to log in to TypePad to manage or post to your blog, and readers won’t be able to leave comments or send TrackBacks. We’ll be posting updates to, so tune in if you’re interested. Thanks for your patience as we continue to grow TypePad! "