Nature and Fox News (not necessarily a complete list) inform us about a story that is both amusing and troubling but one that sheds some new light on the term "peer review".
If you haven't seen that it really works, you should have a look. Go to the website of David Simmons-Duffin of IAS (but he was at Harvard a few years ago; I sold him some furniture when I was fleeing Cambridge) and find the link pointing to the website sNarXiv.ORG (TRF 2010). It looks like just another arXiv.org competitor or a clone but David's website has one huge advantage.
The advantage is that it doesn't need any real humans to operate. The server produces the papers automatically. And they look pretty convincing. David's code generates rather nice titles and abstracts because it was programmed as an accurate enough model of Lee Smolin's brain. Garbage in, garbage out. But it is grammatically kosher garbage that comes out!
There are apparently similar programs that generate whole papers. With such programs, it becomes possible to produce an unlimited number of papers. But 120 such papers have actually made it to printed journals in recent years, we are learning. A short time ago, all these papers were officially retracted by the publishers. Here is
the complete list of wiped articles (Nature)See one of the abstracts.
Like titles and abstracts of Lee Smolin's papers, the titles are grammatically kosher yet random combinations of buzzwords that have usually nothing to do with each other (or sometimes the relationship is tautological, and therefore vacuous).
As far as I can see, all of them are conference proceedings and most of them are about some kind of computer science but some of those should have been peer-reviewed; see Nature and Fox for more details. Peer review is clearly useless (and sometimes counterproductive) if the "peers" are sloppy, corrupt, assholes, cowards, or some combination of these labels.
The news outlets blame the publication of this gibberish on dwindling standards in sciences and I guess that they are right. This would arguably not happen some decades ago. (Well, but maybe, the reason is that no one had good enough programs to write automatic papers at that time.)
In some fields, the percentage of papers that are gibberish reaches very high numbers. For example, it's been evaluated that 97% of published papers on "climate science" are gibberish. Due to the high percentage, such a failure of a discipline is called the "consensus".
Apple pushes climate skeptic investors to sell the stock
Tidbits, Gizmodo, and CNET inform that after a group of climate skeptical investors asked Cook to unmask the financial figures behind Apple's environmental programs and promise that he would care about the profit while doing these things, Apple boss Tim Cook angrily replied that "those who own the Apple stocks exclusively because of the return on investment and those who consider the environmental or ideological dedication of the company ill-advised should get out of the stock".
He's just talking the talk but no one will walk the walk, of course. It is a silly proclamation. If all climate skeptics actually sold the stock, the stock price would quickly drop to something like 1/2 of its value or deeper. Of course that most of the stockholders hold the company regardless of the environmentalism or other ideologies – indeed, they think that it will produce a profit – and the percentage of the climate skeptics among these majority investors mimics the percentage in the general society, so it is of order 50%.
There is no legal way for Cook to "force them out" (they really co-own Tim Cook himself and they have the right to do so) and most of them will keep the stock because they believe that others will do the same thing and the company will be making profits despite similar ideological outbursts of Tim Cook. But will it? Of course that in principle, Tim Cook could change Apple to another First Solar. Apple promises to run 100% on renewable energy which isn't necessarily lethal for such a company for which (lots of) energy plays a relatively small role. But it doesn't have to be the end of the activities.