Wednesday, January 17, 2024

All Science journals will now do an AI-powered check for image fraud


The Irish Bestselling Author Whose Anxiety Drove Her To The Library – And Then To Writing

Evie Woods's The Lost Bookshop is her fourth novel, and it's outselling nearly everyone else's novels at the moment. But don't ask her to talk about the next one. "A lot of writers are a bit secretive; if you tell other people they might ruin it." - Irish Times

The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon with “The Sensational Love Story That Should Win an Oscar.”

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All Science journals will now do an AI-powered check for image fraud

Ars Technica: “On Thursday [January 4, 2024], the research publisher Science announced that all of its journals will begin using commercial software that automates the process of detecting improperly manipulated images. 

The move comes many years into our awareness that the transition to digital data and publishing has made it comically easy to commit research fraud by altering images. While the move is a significant first step, it’s important to recognize the software’s limitations. While it will catch some of the most egregious cases of image manipulation, enterprising fraudsters can easily avoid being caught if they know how the software operates. 

Which, unfortunately, we feel compelled to describe (and, to be fair, the company that has developed the software does so on its website). Much of the image-based fraud we’ve seen arises from a dilemma faced by many scientists: It’s not a problem to run experiments, but the data they generate often isn’t the data you want. Maybe only the controls work, or maybe the experiments produce data that is indistinguishable from controls. For the unethical, this doesn’t pose a problem since nobody other than you knows what images come from which samples. It’s relatively simple to present images of real data as something they’re not…Science is turning to a service called Proofig to make it easier to spot problems…”

Report: Thomas May Also Be Dodging Tax Bill With Failure to Report Gifts

The Lever – “If billionaires’ largesse was designed to keep the justice on the high court, experts say the money could be considered a taxable payment… 

Much of the public outcry over Thomas’ long history of undisclosed gifts has centered on whether the activities violate federal ethics laws. Lawmakers have also zeroed in on one particular donation — a $267,000 loan Thomas used to purchase a RV — arguing that if part of that loan was forgiven, Thomas would have to pay taxes on that amount. Thomas has denied that the gifts were granted in exchange for favorable court rulings. 

Explaining that some of these donors were “among [his] dearest friends,” he declared in an  April 7 statement via the Supreme Court’s public information office that the cushy trips they bankrolled were just vacations: “As friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than quarter century we have known them.” 

But if these billionaires’ largesse were designed to retain the conservative judge on the country’s highest court, the donations might fall outside of the definition of tax-free gifts, which according to the Supreme Court must stem from “detached and disinterested generosity.” If the benefits showered on Thomas were designed to elicit court actions or job decisions, they could be considered taxable income, whether or not there is definitive proof of quid pro quo on Thomas’ part.

What Clarence Thomas has done would result in not only any judges in America being removed from the bench, but there is a good chance it would result in criminal prosecution for income tax fraud and for false filings in his mandatory financial ethics disclosure statements,” David Cay Johnston, a visiting lecturer at Syracuse University’s College of Law, told The Lever. Taxation of unreported income recently emerged as a political flashpoint and focus of federal prosecutors: In January, President Donald Trump’s longtime financial chief was sentenced to five monthsat the Rikers Island jail complex for failing to report or pay taxes on $1.7 million in off-the-books compensation…”


  1. “Nietzsche offered us a way of battling against fanaticism, showing us how we can combat its spread and prevent the emergence of new fanatics” — Paul Katsafanas (Boston) on Nietzsche, the anti-fanatic
  2. “Fan service”, that is, putting something into the story “just to please the fans”, is supposed to be a flaw — Brad Skow (MIT) has a bad feeling about this: what about “easter eggs”?
  3. “I seem to have been on the whole rather negative, sceptical, unfashionable, and contrarian” — a lengthy interview with Roger Crisp (Oxford) about his ideas and intellectual development, by Benjamin Mullins (Erasmus)
  4. When Sartre visited Gaza — Robert Zaretsky (Houston) on Sartre’s “Anti-Semite and Jew” and his views on Israel and Palestinian refugees
  5. “It is reasonable to think that the universe is infinite, and that there exist infinitely many galaxies broadly like ours, scattered throughout space and time, including in our future.” — Eric Schwitzgebel (UC Riverside) & Jacob Barandes (Harvard) explain why
  6. The philosophy q&a used to be brutal, but the brutality had a defense: “a practice of ruthless refutation… [is] an efficient way to improve the quality of arguments across the intellectual ecosystem” — It’s less hostile nowadays, notes Kieran Setiya (MIT), but as a result its function is less clear and its norms less certain
  7. Analyses of ‘analysis’ in Analysis — a collection of articles