Also this week: Robert Boyle’s head, approximately no one will buy your academic book, two sentence math paper, and more
#overlyhonestauthorcontributions by Arjun Raj, including: “Nobody’s quite sure why ___ is an author, but it seems weird to take them off now.”
Stephen Heard on the larger lessons of Robert Boyle’s monstrous head.
Nice interactive web tool to teach least-squares linear regression. You can drag individual observations and watch the OLS line change as you do. In a second simulation, you get to dial the intercept and slope up and down and see how the residual sum of squares changes. (ht @noahpinion)
The inspiring story of a late-blooming mathematician. Fake it ’til you make it, as the saying goes. (ht @noahpinion)
I knew about this but some of you probably don’t, so: a contender for the title of shortest math paper. All two sentences of it. My understanding is that it was an important result, too. As the subsequent Twitter thread reveals, however, it is not the shortest serious math paper ever. This one might be, though your mileage may vary on whether including a figure is cheating. So, what’s the shortest ecology paper ever? The shortest important ecology paper? May (1972) is maybe a contender for title of shortest important ecology paper. In evolution, David Sloan Wilson surely has the shortest great dissertation ever. But IIRC the resulting papers (e.g. Wilson 1975) were short but not extremely so. I guess Price (1970) has to be a contender for the title for shortest great evolution paper, right? Helps that it has the shortest possible reference section. I suspect the record for “shortest important paper” in any given field will never be broken. Sadly.
The decline of academic book sales. Speaking as someone writing a book, I sure hope these data don’t apply to my book!
Sadly, the paper you link as possibly the shortest math paper ever is not the published version. The published version, while still very short, was over 7 times longer. The authors were annoyed. Full story here: https://scientistseessquirrel.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/can-a-scientific-paper-be-too-short-part-ii/
Thanks for this, and apologies for having forgotten that old post of yours.
No worries at all! It was a pretty trivial post 🙂