Posts tagged C
In Lovecraft, nothing is pure evil, and nothing is good either. The moral of every Lovecraft story is: the world is more complicated than you think, and sometimes in ways that will shorten your lifespan! That’s a hard thing to swallow. Science fiction readers have a better time swallowing it, I think, than some other groups (novelty is part of the reason people choose science fiction over some other genres), but nobody particularly likes to think that everything they know is wrong. That said, it’s a realistic worldview – and Lovecraft was prescient in the sense that it’s a worldview that is far more clearly realistic now, when communications technologies have made it very easy to come across dissenting opinions and well-documented facts that explode your umwelt, than it was during an era when a telephone was an expensive luxury and basic literacy was far less common.
The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense. Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. Sixteen appeared in publications by Springer, which is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), based in New York. Both publishers, which were privately informed by Labbé, say that they are now removing the papers. Among the works were, for example, a paper published as a proceeding from the 2013 International Conference on Quality, Reliability, Risk, Maintenance, and Safety Engineering, held in Chengdu, China. (The conference website says that all manuscripts are “reviewed for merits and contents”.) The authors of the paper, entitled ‘TIC: a methodology for the construction of e-commerce’, write in the abstract that they “concentrate our efforts on disproving that spreadsheets can be made knowledge-based, empathic, and compact”. (Nature News has attempted to contact the conference organizers and named authors of the paper but received no reply; however at least some of the names belong to real people. The IEEE has now removed the paper).