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BetterTouchTool to set up Keyboard Shortcuts (Switch PC->MAC)

Maybe one of the worst penitences when switching from PC to Mac is about Keyboard shortcuts, especially when you are using a PC keyboard to avoid to avoid that cheesymagic keyboard. Here they are my favs:

  • You will find millions of times you would have used command Key instead of Control. For instance, Control-V and nothing get pasted… mmm mmm… Yay! Again.
  • Start-End keys are a real nightmare. When you intensively used it and you found now send you to the end of the document instead of moving in a single line. Yes, you can use Command-→  y Command-← but is it really someone finding more interesting navigating the extremes of a document than going to the both sides of a line?
  • Screencaptures are really powerful. Screen capture rocks. But I had just a key to do that (That marvelous SCR CAP) and now I need to do finger gymnastics (Control-Command-Shift-3 instead of a single keystroke? Are you kidding! No. :/)
  • Clean the screen aka show your Desktop.
  • And the very best of any of them. Where has gone that friendly Alt-Tab to jump from one to another open Window? Now it is Commend-Tab, but it doesn’t work between 2 opened windows of the same app. In this case, you’ll need… the deeply intuitive Command-` . Great!

This last run out my patience, so I started trying to find something -an App- to make my life easier. And I found it: BetterTouchTool. It’s great. I’ve programmed function keys, cloned Command shorcuts for those friendly Control Key combinations and… I started playing again.

Here it is my setup  -F7’ed- screencapture:

captura-de-pantalla-2016-11-26-01-16-11

 

Awesome en ReactionGifs

Awesome en ReactionGifs

Raúl Antón Cuadrado

   

   

Scientific journals and Robin Hood ethics.

CC BY flickr.com/photos/holmesjr

CC BY flickr.com/photos/holmesjr

Setting aside the probably unethical basis of scientific publication structure, which is sometimes more interested in protecting the status quo than improving mankind’s living conditions — an old-fashioned legitimation of science — let’s focus on the inequality it promotes. A clear research divide is created between those with access to these journals and those without, between those paying abusive subscription fees and those who are not able. Or, in some other cases, even between those who are able to pay to have their work published in predatory journals and those with no money enough.

So.

What if a researcher in Russia makes 48 million journal articles freely available online?

“For those of you who aren’t already using it, the site in question is Sci-Hub, and it’s sort of like a Pirate Bay of the science world. It was established in 2011 by neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan, who was frustrated that she couldn’t afford to access the articles needed for her research, and it’s since gone viral, with hundreds of thousands of papers being downloaded daily..” [sciencealert]

Is this is a pirate act, or a Robin Hood action?

At the end of last year, the site was ordered closed by a judge in New York, so it seems the verdict is it’s piracy.

But this triggered a debate about science. Or, more exactly, about scientific journals. Let me copy here some parts of the open letter the Sci-hub.org operator addressed to the New York court [You can take a look at it here]:

“When I was a student in Kazakhstan university, I did not have access to any research papers. These papers I needed for my research project. Payment of 32 dollars is just insane when you need to skim or read tens or hundreds of these papers to do research.”

“Authors of these papers do not receive money. Why would they send their work to Elsevier then? They feel pressured to do this, because Elsevier is an owner of so-called “high-impact” journals. If a researcher wants to be recognized, make a career – he or she needs to have publications in such journals.”

“we never received any complaints from authors or researchers, only Elsevier [the editor] is complaining about free distribution of knowledge”

So, again the question. Is Sci-hub.org created by an evil stealer-hacker, or by a RobinHoodsonian prominent philanthropist?

Raúl Antón Cuadrado

       

Impact measures, anti-science and ethics.

CCBY flickr.com/photos/phantomleap/5055245466

CCBY flickr.com/photos/phantomleap/5055245466

I remember something about saying impact measures and citation indexes have anti-scientific structures… at least if you think about science as a weapon against the status quo to improve mankind’s living conditions.
The idea of having shamans checking any research article against their standards to validate their inclusion in one of the Mount Olympus research journals could be stomach-churning from the epistemology of science point of view, but at least it smells old. This reminds me of the brilliant point of view of Andrew Spittle about the stupid constraint of printing PhD theses, especially when they are not inherently printable, for instance, those having to do with the Internet, like his, and mine, just to support an authority argument structure born in Middle Ages universities.
But there is a more powerful concern. Pardis Sabeti clarified for me any single doubt I could have in her amazing and inspiring Ted Talk ‘How we’ll fight the next deadly virus’. Let me cite several lines of this brilliant and inspiring talk (remember, she speaks about epidemic disease DNA medical research):

“But the way that science works, the position I was in at that point is, I had the data, and I could have worked in a silo for many, many months, analyzed the data carefully, slowly, submitted the paper for publication, gone through a few back-and-forths, and then finally when the paper came out, might release that data. That’s the way the status quo works.
Well, that was not going to work at this point, right? We had friends on the front lines and to us it was just obvious that what we needed is help, lots of help. So the first thing we did is, as soon as the sequences came off the machines, we published it to the web. We just released it to the whole world and said, “Help us.” And help came.
Before we knew it, we were being contacted from people all over, surprised to see the data out there and released. Some of the greatest viral trackers in the world were suddenly part of our community. We were working together in this virtual way, sharing, regular calls, communications, trying to follow the virus minute by minute, to see ways that we could stop it.”

Pardis Sabeti in How we’ll fight the next deadly virus’ Ted Talk.

Awe inspiring. Isn’t it?

Raúl Antón Cuadrado

       

Science to perpetuate statu quo

Lyotard warned several decades ago in his seminal work, The Postmodern Condition, about noun_225280science’s lack of legitimation. At least, about the lack of a “beautiful” legitimation, as he noticed that instead of searching for the truth or trying to improve mankind’s living conditions, science is nowadays ruled by what he called the performativity principle. In brief, science must be lucrative, returning money to investments in the same way other businesses do. Or returning more, if you want to assure a regular money flow to research. For those to whom “performativity” sounds like cryptic philosophy, Feyerabend provided (why not Plato?) a straightforward explanation:

20th century science has resigned to have any philosophic pretension to become a big business. It is no more a threat to the society, but one of the firmer pillars.

Yep, a threat to society sounds bad … except if you think about society as an ideological system with the function to reproduce inequality by supporting and transmitting the scheme that maintains few people in the zenith of the social pyramid: those who own resources and retains power relationships.
There are lots of examples of how science is no longer mankind’s progress weapon but a way to perpetuate the status quo. Here is one of my favorite examples: citation indexes.

Citation Indexes? What’s that?

Citation indexes (CI) are essentially lists in which scientific journals are ranked according to their impact factor, or the measure of how important their articles are for the scientific community. Sounds nice and helpful as this shows

‘a journal’s true place in the scholarly research world’ and ‘Measure research influence and impact at the journal and category levels’ (Thomson Reuters, the editor of the JCR ranking, dixit).

Perhaps it sounds nice, but it isn’t. In the same way JCR qualifies journals, these journals transitively pinpoint good researches –whose works are published in these journals – and exclude the others.

C.I. Rankings promote inequality

noun_97178.pngFirst, top-list journals are expensive, so there is not global access to these, and this becomes a powerful source of inequality. “There are countless researchers without access to most impacting articles because journals abusive price: each paper costs about $30 and you should read lots of papers. If these articles are, arguably, the best scientific works, those people without access to them would have more difficulties in developing brilliant, innovative results, thinking science as an accumulative process.
Additionally, citation indexes make countless researchers all over the world systematically invisible as they are misrepresented. Their works are excluded from mainstream research not even because of their quality but because of where they are published and, indirectly but not less important, because of the language (the vast majority of journals in the first quartile are in English) or researchers’ relationships.
Of course, those researchers are not explicitly excluded. But the symbolic violence of this segregation is brutal, first because it is explained and legitimated in terms of quality of the research work, and second, due to the relative invisibility of this segregation.

An alternative to citation indexes?

Criticism has been dethroned by pseudo-democracy or pseudo-intersubjectivity mechanisms to focus literature or entertainment contents consumption. Habermas complains about the intellectuals’ lack of authority to direct public discussions. Science, a change engine by definition, seems to be one of the few places resisting this democratizing wave by maintaining authority argument in the form not only of peer review committees with shamanic powers to interact with Knowledge deities to decide what’s good or not.

That’s even worse when you know that sometimes those peer reviews can be fabricated or just hilariously stupid, made only to justify picking money from young researchers’ pockets.

I’m overtly not in love with mass pseudo-democratic mechanisms, easily influenced and cooked by advertising constructions or filter bubbles. But it is clear that we need to give voice to horizontal and open peer-review systems where anyone can be a peer. And national research certification systems could also take into account more open and modern impact measures, more aligned with what science and research should mean.
Is there anything like that? There is.

What do you think about Academia.edu, for instance?

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Academia.edu is a platform for academics to share research papers. The company’s mission is to accelerate the world’s research.

Academics use Academia.edu to share their research, monitor deep analytics around the impact of their research, and track the research of academics they follow. 32,590,050 academics have signed up to Academia.edu, adding 9,815,878 papers and 1,817,127 research interests. Academia.edu attracts over 36 million unique visitors a month.

[https://www.academia.edu/about]

Raúl Antón Cuadrado