The Corner

Everything Is Broken

I have written on the politics and ethics of stem cell research for years, and indeed wrote a book about the issue called Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World.

But that certainly doesn’t make me a stem cell scientist. Yet, regularly, I receive emails inviting me to submit a scientific paper about my current research at various stem cell symposia.

That is why I found this story so hilarious. A non nuclear physicist was invited to present a paper at a nuclear physics conference. He submitted a gibberish response and was accepted to present! From the Guardian story:

A nonsensical academic paper on nuclear physics written only by iOS autocomplete has been accepted for a scientific conference.

Christoph Bartneck, an associate professor at the Human Interface Technology laboratory at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, received an email inviting him to submit a paper to the International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics in the US in November.

“Since I have practically no knowledge of nuclear physics I resorted to iOS autocomplete function to help me writing the paper,” he wrote in a blog post on Thursday. “I started a sentence with ‘atomic’ or ‘nuclear’ and then randomly hit the autocomplete suggestions.

The text he submitted was total gibberish:

“The atoms of a better universe will have the right for the same as you are the way we shall have to be a great place for a great time to enjoy the day you are a wonderful person to your great time to take the fun and take a great time and enjoy the great day you will be a wonderful time for your parents and kids,” is a sample sentence from the abstract.

It concludes: “Power is not a great place for a good time.”

SCIENCE! I wish I had thought of doing that.

There’s a serious side to this story: As Nobel Laureate in Literature Bob Dylan warned us years ago, ”Everything is broken.”


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