Thursday, June 25, 2009

Integrity & Responsibility In Scientific Research: What Are The Basic Rules?

Are phrases such as “a code for integrity and responsibility in research” and “the basic rules of good scientific practice” mere platitudes? Even at the start of this millenium, scientific organizations were trying hard to correct the situation[1]. Fabricating data (fantastical and low-level) is definitely a heinous scientific sin.

To prevent fraud, preservation of data and records of the investigations are especially relevant for large-scale (experimental or computational) projects since the verification of results require resources and time beyond the scope of the majority. Such projects are properly done when the supervisors and subordinates (usually students and post-docs present for a short term) are equally responsible and if both parties have hands-on experience with the work. It might help if each publication has a footnote stating the role of each author in the publication. This is still anathema to most researchers.

Unfortunately, fraud is not the only sin committed in both experimental (presumably more relevant) and theoretical work. It should be noted that there is ambiguity in the rules of the game and that it is a tough task to decide when or whether the rules are broken. Consider papers in which a theory is “cooked-up” (recipe including simple analyses, a set of assumptions and convenient free parameters) to “fit” experimental results. The difficulty to disprove some of these “theories” could be comparable to the difficulty to explain the experiment. Doubt and criticism remain within an old-boys network and does not become knowledge in the public domain. It is not uncommon that even if a work is erroneous by way of calculation and concept, the paper still gets cited by those who are unaware of the deficiencies and take the peer-reviewed results for granted. By the time the errors are known in public, the publication would have ceased to matter even though it proved to be useful for promotions and new positions. It is usually a lucky day for Science when these errors are mentioned as inadvertent errors in footnotes. Next, consider papers submitted for peer-review. Even if errors are suspected (and probably because brilliant results are as rare as geniuses), a paper could be accepted due to complicity in the network or with the unwritten comment “it does not matter since it is going into that journal”. Meanwhile, the reviewer could start simulations/experiments of their own on the same topic during the review process. Are these low-level sins?

Scientists are definitely as human as everyone else. The job of a scientist is just like any other job in a close community with ethically correct individuals being the minority and rules broken by the majority – if not closely watched.

[1]For example, please refer to “Rules for Integrity” (in MaxPlanckResearch 2/2001, p. 90).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Can you see the eyes (1999-2001)

Can you see the eyes-

of the mother, raped, refugee her identity,
head covered, baby suckling at bare breast, titled “Tragödie”;
of the newly-wed widow, confused, victim of a cause’s kill,
shielding the warm carcass, mumbling “kal”;
of the soldier, booted, scared, confined with loneliness,
wondering if he is, labeled a hero in papers’ excesses;
of youths gazing nowhere, clinging to love long lost,
of women with empty cases, flowers for a ghost,
of the crazed, laughing, snoring, the pillow held tight,
of the sane, full of reason and purpose, lofty and might;

if you cannot-

enter the train leading nowhere, stacked neatly,
as in a slaughterhouse, cackle merrily,
the guillotine is not for you, suppose,
waited upon, sipping wine, a sight for windows,
gather the friends, for sex or serious talk,
ask not why the neighbour is of silent stock,
read the Book, be wise, learn the truth,
pray to God, pay and confess at the booth,
seek serene sleep, the race continues,
to be noticed, tagged, love, shackles to be cut loose,

do not see the eyes-

I would like to chase the sun (1999-2001)

I would like to chase the sun.
But each step on the icy ground
gets shorter and slower.
Till there’s a still longing.

There’s the company of trees.
Shorn of leaves, with green mossy sides,
age-old wisdom, helpless fate.
Call it, maybe, His ways.

It is tougher still, not to let winter in.
Within where there’s no cover
but faith which reason shuns.
Nor assures another summer.

Is that all? To survive?
Darwin says it’s easy: one to the other,
a smile, a laugh and in bed together.
Possibly not when life is a routine.

He had a choice – to let them live or love.
There’s no reason actually, in either;
a whim, like the seasons that please or not.
He did not know about the faith.

Trust these words no more (1999-2001)

Trust these words no more,
my dear. Without you,
merely to kill time,
strangely I decay.
with sense of reflections
that is marred by breath,
wishing it were not so
but then, there is nothing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

To Eros : II (1993)

The fair back, tense and straining,
The brown blouse bravely exposed
Was it so in front
An enticing décolletage?
Sheer flimsy bodice
Or straining jeans about her hips
Swaying maybe in artificial effect.
Is it an effort to be smart
Or to create an itch in the crotch?

Brave couples in open embrace
Rather smothering
As if the senses fail to reason
With just a touch.
How frail or encouraging or caring
Does she look at the theatre steps
A hand firmly gripping
Her partner’s arm “Touch me so”.

That middle-aged woman
And her translucent sari
Encapturing the glance
At her bulging bosom
Straining and above
Her fair blouse upon fairer skin
And how dark would it be
At the mount, flaccid or tense,
Does she seek pleasure
In such curiosity,
And the chapter closes
With hereditary proof,
Her daughter too,
Promises such beautiful holds,
With purchase of clips or bags,
I purchase them too.

To Eros : III – Of Her (1993)

She stood so close,
With fear
So far.
A lover turns a stranger
With new future
And stranger thoughts.
Why has she never been so,
Was it chastity’s masquerade
Or restraint by the unsure
And a life’s misconceptions?
And now she stood so close,
At desperate fingers’ length,
With her thighs near my knees,
Was I in an eternal crouch
Stooping to passions anew?
She laughs, seeming ignorant,
She talks, as nothing’s occurred
While I contemplate.

Maybe, that be the whole truth.
She, in nature’s stride,
Me adrift in thoughtful meander.
Is this the beginning,
Or the end,
None seems clear,
The fact:
She shall no more be that of the past.

To Eros : I (1993)

Memory tarnished
by time’s

The lady piously sheltered
Beneath her sari’s hood,
So young, yet with child
And for that matter, a bald grey husband.
Does she not wish to glance
With timidity, or adolescent curiosity,
Does she not wish me to stare
And let my fingers stray
Beyond the bus-seat’s bar
Onto her sheltered slender neck
And below, I guess, to caress her heart?

O look at that pregnant woman
In straining kameez
And bulging protuberances, so inviting,
Yet with a child (never there be none)
And a bucket, straining above a water tap.
She knows not I exist
But the reaching hand
In silent prayer
For the tap to transform into a helping hand,
To hold the bucket and the child,
And another still clasped at her waist
(to the many-handed One),
Sharing the ten months’ weight (or is it wait?)
And togetherness, as at ecstasy
Or was it mere release
Of a disinterested mortal?

Alone upon the hotel’s white sheets,
Wishing they were rumpled, stained and wet,
Is there such reality across the flimsy wall
Or another soul probably pounded
Wishing for another’s company,
“O why don’t you see how we are,
The tremors and the surge restrained,
And in realization of its cause, use me?”

Does she not cry so?

Anonymous (1993)

Amidst the smile seeking scared,
Anonymous lingers bewildered;
Singed by the fires of uncertainty,
Shying from defining self an entity.

Fiscal pressures or moment’s interest,
Plagued by activity none too sure of,
Psychological integrity seeks the best,
And the world, so strange, to dorn or doff.

Anon’s biography lies undedicated
To parents, their tears. Or abandoned life,
To Eros who caresses, yet aloof instead,
To self who alone cares, or to life, this strife.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

4 points in the library

Each time, it is a different route in the library. Along with the familiar, I try out random selections. I usually start and stop near the beginning. Wish I knew what takes me further at times.

Match the following lists:

(1) Introduction:

…(devotion) is defined as ‘absolute love’…to distinguish devotion from the several shades of relativistic love, such as in the cases of conditional appreciations, sentimental affectations and blind infatuations or various kinds of obligatory relationships that are cultivated between people of the same family, tribe, clan or other closed groups.

(2) Epigraph on the title-page from A Tale of Two Cities:

‘You had abandoned all hope of being dug out?’
‘Long ago.’
‘You know that you are recalled to life?’
‘They tell me so.’
‘I hope you care to live?’
‘I can’t say.’

(3) Introduction:

…philosophy of enlightened laissez-faire…liberty which was based on self-knowledge and responsibility.

(4) Introduction:

No index has been prepared for this book…as treated here is so entirely a matter of combination that no index which would be of value could be compiled. It is for this reason that it is omitted.

(A) Letters to Penthouse
(B) The Laws Of Scientific Hand Reading by William G. Benham
(C) Love and Devotion by Nitya Chaitanya Yati
(D) Recalled To Life by Reginald Hill

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Slow and silent rape

30 years back, I could take bath at the steps where I stood to take this photo. On the left side, you can see a boat which is being loaded with sand.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Reference: Fraud in Science: Liar! Liar! (from The Economist)

Remember following the Schon case with great interest. In the last 5 years, the topic hit my blind spot or it was not in the media spotlight.

Refer "The Economist " June 4th, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Proposal 3 (2001)

The winter’s been long and harsh.
The fields like awakened graveyard
With lines of trees mere skeletons.
Escaping from palaces-or gaols?-
Across empty parks with long shadows
With the blue sky along promising hope.

I followed a lone cloud,
To a world of reflections;
I see a face in those waters,
Once shy, once sly, teasing.
Scared to reach and touch and disturb.
With a smile, she continues the chase.

It’s a journey through shades.
Ground rug-worn, grass crushed,
And couples in the distance.
In the light or in the shadows?
Under trees, behind bushes or in the open?
Choices. For then or now?

There are messages etched on trees,
And the velvet ground beckons.
Let’s rest for a while.
And listen to birds, our breath,
Echoes of the sounds of past lovers.
Let’s leave our mark. Shall we?

My lady, forgive this simple mind
For conjuring often used sights.
Is old love bad love? I wish I knew.
Material truths can be unkind.
Let fantasies make paupers knights.
Fantasies or love? I wish I knew.

Away, away from princely tales.
What does a man need?
From the edge of our land,
Over wild flowers and a silent vale,
Spying fog-laden mountains,
Whispering secrets, hand in hand.
Step out onto the balcony, my love.
Beyond those mountains, there’s a tribe
Racing for money, buying selling company.
Here, in little rooms in little plots
With prayers from lips to lips, lovers stand bare,
Watching this same serene sight.

Come back within and make me whole.
Should we step lightly on these floorboards?
And rest gently upon these sheets?
Feel the air pregnant with passion.
No more a captive. No more restraints.
Let’s follow His will – to live and to love.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Proposal 2 (2001)

Can you guess who she is?
Is she praying or…?
Can you guess where I am?
Am I kneeling or…?
How do I mould her blush and my breath?
You know the answers.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Proposal 1 (2001)

Skeletons in the closet. Are there?
From the Neanderthal in animal skins
To cosmopolitan Mr. Anonymous.
Buried deep or loosely scattered,
I gather the fragments hoping
To capture the heart and the mind. Fool!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

When will I … (2004)

When will I write the line-
When my fingers tremble-
When feelings shall pour
Over parched land,
The drought’s been long;
When the mind is awake-
When the chains are broken-
When the long labour’s done
And I can rest, then I will write.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

To pen … (2003)

To pen a new line.
To edit by the rules.
To erase the spirit.
To succumb to readers.
To forget senses dead.
To pen the last line.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My pal Dodo (1999-2001)

My pal Dodo is a weirdo.
Own boast. Used as epitaph.
Two n’ half `ll be the crowd
at my grave, he used to say:
Him, his buddy the beggar,
the half the worms won’t touch.

Looking at trees, leaves, thrown fags,
smiling at the sun and blue skies;
glassy eyes searching among shadows;
trying to be a gent with clown’s rags;
till the day he was on the blind spot.
Did we put him in the coffin, my pal Dodo ?