In 2008, I traveled to the world's largest scientific data-centers for a @Nature story. No matter whether the labs were devoted to internet archiving, the human genome, or the Higgs boson, they had two things in common: vast server farms, and @xkcd.…

1/ One frame from XKCD's 'Types of Scientific Papers' strip; th
Randall Munroe's webcomic is so unabashedly geeky, so unafraid to be obscure or format-breaking, so affectionate and knowing about the triumphs and pitfalls of science that it is absolute catnip for scientists.

Last week, Munroe published strip #2456, "Types of scientific paper," a 3x4 grid of thumbnails of journal articles with titles like, "We put a camera somewhere new" and "My colleague is wrong and I can finally prove it."

3/ XKCD 2456, Types of Scientific Papers.
Even by XKCD standards, this is heavy scientist-bait. The research community has risen to the challenge, flooding the net with remixes that are, if anything, even better than the original: works of microfictional genius to rival Hemingway's "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Many of these have been collected on @bruces' Tumblr blogs, and, taken as a body, they constitute an act of wry, insightful auto-ethnography - self-criticism wrapped in humor that tells a story.

"Types of Paper in Epidemiology and Public Health"

* We counted how many people have a disease, here are maps with poor countries in red

* We found that if you call your research 'genetic epidemiology,' then people are surprisingly OK with eugenics…

6/ "Types of Paper in Epidemiology and Public Health"
"Types of History Paper"

* Stuff happened: a chronology 1910-1974

* They missed so much stuff, it's honestly embarrassing 1910-1974

* I am so tired of stuff scholarship

* Wokeness is killing stuff scholarship! A senior scholar weighs in…

7/ "Types of History Paper"
"Types of Glaciology Paper"

* The ocean is doing a bunch of weird stuff to this glacier

* Why is it doing that: the wild physics

* Why is it doing that: now with machine learning

* We found a glacier that's doing fine! Oh, wait, nevermind…

"Types of Entomology Paper"

* This pesticide is completely safe, says one very restricted metric

* This pesticide will kill us all: extrapolation from irrelevant data

* 39,000 new parasitic wasps…

9/ "Types of Entomology Paper"
"Types of Climate Science Paper."

* Here's a bad thing about climate change you hadn't even thought about

* Did any of you guys take a statistics course?

* Things are definitely worse than we thought

* Things are definitely better than we thought…

10/ "Types of Climate Science Paper."
"Types of Quantum Computing Paper"

* Simulating our system with our system

* We've solved QC with our new scripting language…

11/ "Types of Quantum Computing Paper"
"Types of Remote Sensing Papers"

* We saw stuff on the ground from space

* We saw stuff on the ground better from space

* What's that? Let me see if I can see it from space

* Have you tried neural networks though?…

12/ "Types of Remote Sensing Papers"
"Types of Building Energy Papers"

* Expensive material improves building efficiency

* Stop climate change by rebuilding all buildings this way

* Insulate all things…

13/ "Types of Building Energy Papers"
"Types of Housing Papers"

* Why tech workers deserve condos with better walk scores

* Design students' yurts will end poverty

* Supportive housing costs less than boiling poor people in oil and it's more efficient…

14/ "Types of Housing Papers"
* Elders have rebuilt enough equity for a new round of predatory lending

* Neighborhood gained wealth when rich people moved in

* This city ended homelessness (for left-handed veterans with cats)

I saved my favorite for last: "How a reporter sees types of science papers"

* This journal puts the full paper online

* Quantum

* I know this person responds to emails

* GIF-able video in the supporting information…

16/ "How a reporter sees types of science papers"
* Fig 1 seems like it basically sums the whole thing up

* Scientist beef!

* I covered their last paper

ETA - If you'd like an unrolled version of this thread to read or share, here's a link to it on, my surveillance-free, ad-free, tracker-free blog:…

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More from @doctorow

2 May
Apple is a true business innovator: For more than a decade, they have been steadily perfecting an obscure anticompetitive tactic, turning a petty grift invented by console games companies into a global, cross-industry mechanism for extracting rents and centralizing control.

1/ The product-shot for a Bob ...
I'm speaking of App Stores, of course, and not just any app store, but one that's illegal to compete with or switch away from. This started with console companies, who used technical tricks to ensure that they could skim a rake from every program you bought for your system.

Consoles used proprietary hardware or media formats to ensure that software vendors couldn't sell directly to you, that every sale would be forced through their storefronts or licensing systems.

Read 40 tweets
2 May
Today's Twitter threads (a Twitter thread).

Inside: XKCD's scientific microfiction meme; Attack Surface is a Locus Awards finalist; and more!

Archived at:…


On May 7, the @GburgBookFest is featuring me in an interview conducted by John @Scalzi; we pre-recorded the event but I'll be in the live chat for the premiere.

XKCD's scientific microfiction meme: "Types of scientific paper."

Read 18 tweets
2 May
Just because the whole thing is crazy doesn’t mean it won’t make it on Broadway!

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) dir. Frank Oz…
Just because the whole thing is crazy doesn’t mean it won’t make it on Broadway!

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) dir. Frank Oz…
Just because the whole thing is crazy doesn’t mean it won’t make it on Broadway!

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) dir. Frank Oz…
Read 6 tweets
2 May
@About_Medicine Think of a loan. You ask me for a $10,000 loan to buy a car, and you offer the car as collateral. You pay some upfront processing fees, a downpayment, and a monthly fee. If you default, I can repo the car. That's a normal loan.
@About_Medicine But now I turn around and sell someone else the right to collect your payments from the loan. Say you're paying $200/month, and with interest, you will spend 8 years paying it back. If you miss a payment, you'll get hit with penalties.
@About_Medicine If you default on the loan - miss three payments in a row, say - the car gets repoed. The repo man wants paying, and the car has depreciated, so there's a chance that whoever buys that loan won't see the full amount.
Read 29 tweets
1 May
The annual Locus Awards finalists have been announced and I am thrilled to pieces to see my novel ATTACK SURFACE, a standalone book in the Little Brother universe for adults, in the final ten for Best SF Novel!…

Even more exciting than making the top ten is the company it puts me in: the other finalists are:

* Machine by @matociquala
* Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott
* Agency by @GreatDismal
* The Relentless Moon by @MaryRobinette
* War of the Maps by @UnlikelyWorlds

* The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
* The Last Emperox by @scalzi
* Network Effect by @MarthaWells1
* Interlibrary Loan by Gene Wolfe

(also excited to see @torbooks, my publisher, next to so many of those names!)

Read 5 tweets

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