Archive for May 3rd, 2007

U S Laws pertinent to blogging

May 3, 2007

Here is a blog post listing a dozen important U S laws every blogger should know; a must-read post. Via /. There are some surprises–the legal issues behind editing/deleting comments for example:

It may come as a surprise to many bloggers, but you do not actually own the user-driven content on your site. Instead, it is actually the copyrighted property of the author. The analysis is pretty straightforward; copyright law only requires that an author create an original work and write it out in order to grant that person a copyright. The fact that you do not own the user-driven content on your site can create a number of headaches for bloggers, such as an obligation to remove a comment whenever the author requests.

But by including a terms of service which spells out that you will have a license in all content posted in the site and more specifically that you will not have a duty to modify or withdraw posts but you may do so if you choose, you can ensure that you have effective control over the user-driven content on your site even if you do not have actual ownership of the content.

The one about the duty to monitor comments, and the liabilities might also be relevant to almost all bloggers. Take a look!

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Falling in love with an author

May 3, 2007

Here is a cartoon that describes the seven stages of falling in love with an author: Infatuation and gluttony–those are my favourites! Via Eurocrime.

Groundwork for experiment is laid with pencil, scowls, gestures

May 3, 2007

That is the bye-line for an article titled Girl Chemist; a scanned version of the article (from Jan, 1949) is available at the Modern Mechanix blog:

Chemistry, once strictly a man’s profession, has become increasingly hospitable to women. The expansion of industrial chemistry has helped. Women are particularly in demand for delicate laboratory work that requires small hands, finger dexterity and painstaking attention to detail. With job opportunities opening in the field, more college girls than ever before have been preparing for careers in chemistry.

Today, seven percent of all chemists in industry are women. The ratio is a good deal higher at the Merrimac Division of the Monsanto Chemical Company at Everett, Mass. Here, nearly 20 per cent of the research staff of 109 is female. One of them, Jacqueline Bates, is seen on these pages in a typical day’s work. She is one of four women who make up the analytical laboratory staff. Their job is (1) determining the identity and purity of organic compounds, (2) establishing methods for control of production and application of chemicals, and (3) evaluating new methods of analysis lor organic and inorganic compounds.

I was always under the impression that chemistry is one of the subjects where women were welcome; I see that it was not always so. Any case, I would love to know the percent of women chemists in the industry today.

Two reviews and an introduction

May 3, 2007
  • Simon Singh reviews An ocean of air (via PTDR):

    The opening chapters provide a wonderful lesson in how science works – showing how theory and speculation mix with experiment and observation to get mankind closer to the truth. The book’s key example is the discovery of oxygen – which required the combined efforts of the Englishman Joseph Priestley and the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier. Each of them has an extraordinary life story – so much so that the scientists are almost as interesting as their science. Ultimately, it was Lavoisier who unravelled the mystery of oxygen – and he took a swipe at Priestley along the way, suggesting that the Englishman’s work “consists more or less of a web of experiments, almost uninterrupted by any reasoning”.

  • Bob Lane reviews Don’t believe everything you think (via PTDR again):

    To the rescue comes Thomas Kida with his six steps for more careful assessment of beliefs. It’s worth listing them here:

    • We prefer stories to statistics
    • We seek to confirm, not to question, our ideas
    • We rarely appreciate the role of chance and coincidence in shaping events
    • We sometimes misperceive the world around us
    • We tend to oversimplify our thinking
    • We have faulty memories
  • Ian Stewart traces the origins of how the idea of writing a popular science book, with Galois as the pivotal figure, came to him, and what his book Why beauty is truth: a history of symmetry is all about.