Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

Paper Woes

Thursday, 28 March 2024
The journal from which I yanked my paper on Sraffa on 21 February has yet to remove the listing from Editorial Manager. Worse, on 28 March, I received a couple of notices that the paper was now assigned to an editor. What makes these notices doubly offensive is that the journal claims to attempt to reach a first decision within a month; I submitted the paper to them on 23 January. (Indeed, I began the process some days earlier, but Editorial Manager would not allow me to upload some of the files.) In any case, I responded to the notices:
You were informed on 20 February that this article was no longer available for your acceptance or rejection.

Stop this nonsense immediately.

(Yup, I had misremembered the date on which I yanked the paper.) I again sent a CC of my e.mail to the Editor in Chief, and as it happens one of the notices said that she would handle the paper. I've yet to receive a response; I never received a response to my message in which I withdrew the paper from consideration.

[Up-Date (2024:02/30): On 29 March, just before mid-night PDT, I received a reply from the publisher, apologizing for the inconvenience and thanking me for my patience as the editor considered my manuscript. I responded

Stop. As I have said twice previously, RiE is no longer entitled to accept or reject this paper. You lost those options on 21 February.

The Editor-in-Chief received CCs from the agent and from me.]

A few days ago, I received a desk-rejection of the brief paper on the modality of qualitative probability, which paper I had thought might be too trivial to warrant publication. The editor did not give me a clear understanding of why he rejected the paper, but he probably thought it too trivial to warrant publication.

Two More Transoms, and a Note Tost over Another

Thursday, 14 March 2024

The journal to which, on 21 February, I submitted my paper on Sraffa rejected it with the familiar suggestion that I submit it to a journal on the history of thought. An administrator at the next journal to which I submitted it — with a cover letter that, amongst other things, explained why the article did not belong in a journal of history of thought — asked that I shorten it by about 25%, and insisted that my cover letter, which had been written specifically for that journal, needed to be explicitly addressed to the editors. I deleted the submission altogether.

On 24 February, I submitted to another journal, again with a cover letter explaining why the article did not belong in a journal of history of thought. Although the submission form did not require that I specify an institutional affiliation, an administrator contacted me requiring that I provide one. I entered [NONE]; evidently that response was sufficient. For something like ten or eleven days though, the reported status of the paper was that it were undergoing an initial check. Then, for a few days, the reported status was Pending Editor Assignment. When I checked this morning, the status was Under Review.

I'd say that the greatest danger to the paper is that it will be regarded as too long for the journal in question. If their declared ceiling is firm, then indeed the paper is too long; but I know of at least one academic journal that baldly states a ceiling, only later to provide an opportunity to appeal on behalf of a paper that exceeds that ceiling.

The next journal in my queue explicitly does not set a maximum length for papers.

By the way, the journal from which I yanked my paper on 21 February still has the thing listed in their submission system, with seemingly frozen status.

Some time ago, I had the idea for a very short academic paper — called a note — on a potential pitfall in translating from generalized probability to modal logic. After I banged-out a draft of the note, I asked one friend if he thought the point too trivial to bother seeking publication; when he got back to me on Tuesday, he said that he didn't think the point too trivial. Another friend had suggested that I let the editors and referees decide that question. Meanwhile, I had thought that I ought to restructure the presentation a bit. I effected a restructuring early this morning, before going to sleep, and then submitted the note in the after-noon.

Reordering the Queue

Friday, 29 December 2023

Late last night, I finally got around to submitting to a journal a draft of my paper on Sraffa's Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities; Prelude to a Critique of Economic Theory [1960].

My attention was first directed to Production of Commodities in the mid-'80s. I did no more than to skim the work at the time, but I planned someday to critique it carefully, and developed an expectation that I would write my critique for academic publication. In the spring or summer of 2015, I finally took-up that task. I completed a working draft by 18 May 2016, then entitled The Begged Questions and Confusions in Mr. Sraffa's Theory of Price, and began providing copies to other economists.

I've made no profound changes to the paper in the time since, but I'd hoped to complete and have published my generalization of decision theory before publishing this paper on PoCbMoC. And editors and reviewers seem likely to treat my paper either as uninteresting or as anathematic; I've been unsure about to which journals I should submit it. But some dreadful lines of thought have been resurgent, and I have grown concerned that Sraffan thought — which epitomizes much left-wing thought about economics — may soon have accelerating popularity. So I've decided to seek now a respectable journal to publish my paper, with the title Mr. Sraffa's Theory of Price; A Thorough and Critical Examination.

I can expect that the article will be rejected by several journals before it finds acceptance. Editors who reject the article without sending it to peer-review may take a few weeks. Peer-review in each case is likely to take four or more months. So perhaps a couple of years will pass before the article is accepted, and then perhaps the better part of a year will follow before it is published.

Locked Down and Probably Out

Monday, 18 December 2023

Facebook has locked-down my account, claiming suspicious activity, and demanding that I send an image of identification (such as a driver license) in order to regain access.

The claim of suspicious activity may be genuine. Some days ago, my account was one of various to which an outside party got access. Some of the victims were using two-factor authentication, and I'd done nothing that would give others access to my password, so we may be sure that Facebook itself was cracked, again. Those who broke into our accounts did not move to take control away from us, and acted in a manner that would alert us to the cracking, so the effort seems to have been a demonstration of an ability to crack into the system. (When this 'blog was hosted by Midphase, the server itself was cracked, but the crackers did no worse to the users than to leave a non-executable file in our directories. By the way, Midphase sought to gaslight me when I discovered the cracking, claiming that every damn'd victim had been individually at fault.)

I simply won't provide Meta (qua Facebook or qua Instagram or otherwise) with an image of any identification document. Such an image would present data to them that I do not want them to possess. They have been both fools and knaves, about personal information and in other ways. (I was not using two-factor authentication with Facebook exactly because I didn't want them to possess my phone number or somesuch. Prompted by a suggestion from Ray Scott Percival, some days ago I ordered a YubiKey, which is due to arrive to-morrow. I will be using it for various other accounts, and would have been using it for Facebook.)

A few years ago, I found my account similarly locked-down, but the condition was cleared after several hours, without my providing the demanded information. However, I do not expect such a reversal in this case. So I will probably forfeit my account. I will not create another.

If you have found your way here from Facebook, and want to contact me, you can find an e.mail address at the bottom either of the sidebar (when viewing the desktop version of the site) or of the hamburger menu (when viewing the mobile version of the site). That e.mail address is presented as a graphic (to impede 'bots). The address is an alias of one with the user ID Mc_Kiernan, so if you use a white-list to screen your e.mail then you might want to effect a substitution.

Illusory Mites

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

In the past several years, I have had occasional episodes of a false sense-perception that tiny insects or insect-like creatures are crawling on me. The technical term for such experience is formication, loosely adapted from formicate, which means crawl like an ant (from the Latin formica, meaning ant), though in my case the sense-perception is that of being crawled upon by something such as fleas or mites.

I use the term sense-perception because, in my case, an underlying sensation is real; the falsity is in how that sensation is unconsciously interpretted. The sensation is actually produced by an allergic reaction. My skin is allergic to many things in my present environment. I don't know what all of these allergens are, but normally I can keep my discomfort and other symptoms at a low level by avoiding detergents and scented cleaning products. However, sometimes a threshold is exceeded, perhaps by something I recognize, perhaps not, and one consequence might be sensations so much like those of having tiny bugs crawling on me that my unconscious mind signals that just that is happening. None-the-less, when I can see some of the areas in question, no creatures (other than myself) are visible. Further, the inferred creatures don't make any progress; it is as if they are crawling-in-place. And, finally, wounds are not later discoverable on these sites. (As it happens, an episode can be triggered by an actual insect bite, but then further wounds are not found.)

Being rational in how I consciously interpret the sense-perception doesn't seem to cause it to change. That's probably because, for most of my life, when I felt as if creatures were crawling on me, it was because I had creatures crawling on me. Years of neural networking would have to be revised for my brain not first to think that bugs were crawling on me. And a practical adaptation would account for the possibility, when the sensation were felt, that bugs were crawling on me and warranted a swift response.

If I were less rational or didn't have other awareness of my allergies, it would be natural for me to conclude that, while I could not see tiny creatures, they must never-the-less be crawling on my skin or perhaps just below its surface. Let's add to such inclinations that most of those who would deny that these creatures were crawling on-or-under my skin would themselves get matters fundamentally wrong. In particular, failing to distinguish the raw sensation from the sense-perception, most people would deny the reality of the former, not only in their protestations but in their attempts to locate the dysfunction. It wouldn't be all in my head.

Suicide Mission

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

[I posted the following as an entry to Facebook six years ago.]

Every now and then, one of my Facebook Friends posts or comments to a posting about someone who has lost his battle with depression.

I recently saw one of those postings, and visited the page of the person who was said to have lost the battle. I saw his some of his final posts, and some of his pictures. And, yeah, he was battling with depression. If I'd know him, I would have told him to stop.

I don't mean that I would have told him to go somewhere and die. I mean that depression is not to be fought. I very much doubt that a depressive personality can ever be anything else; but I am absolutely certain that fighting it is not how to deal with it.

People who try to fight depression either are always fighting it or have lost to it. They compound the depression with a sense that there is something unacceptable about themselves, which can only be overcome by a fight. If they don't have that much fight in themselves, then they don't accept themselves; their lives hang on their belief in their ability to fight depression, to somehow refuse to be depressives.

It looks an awful lot like an unrecognized internalization of some of the things that the depressive was told as a child, by those who were failing that child, and who in many cases had taught and were teaching the perverted life-lessons that had made the child a depressive.

Depression is to be explained, to be understood, and to be put in context. There is no guarantee that life will then be livable, but at least one doesn't have to die upon losing a fight.

The Paradox of Shadows

Friday, 5 March 2021

For many years, one of the projects on a back-burner in my mind has been the writing of a novel, A Paradox of Shadows, in which the principal character is attempting to reconstruct or to otherwise recover an ancient work, the title of which might have been περὶ τοῦ ἀτόπου τοῦ τῶν σκιῶν, or De [Anomalia de] Obumbratio, or perhaps something else.

Everything about the work is a matter of doubt or of conjecture, including its author and the era and language in which it were originally composed; even that there ever were such a work is uncertain. Its existence is primarily inferred from how parts of it seem to be esoterically embedded in other works; sometimes these passages can be made to fit together like bits of a jigsaw, but different ways of fitting are possible, especially allowing for lacunæ, interpolations, and unintended errors in translation or in transcription. In ancient art and literature are found what may be other references to the work, but these apparent references are subject to alternate interpretation, especially as many of them would be quite oblique if indeed they refer to the work. The search is largely a matter of poring over old manuscripts and documents.

No rational person would look at any one piece of evidence known to the main character and conclude that the work must have existed or just probably existed. Few would take the evidence as jointly establishing such a probability. There is both too much and too little information, so that bold intellectual leaps must be made in chaos or in darkness. A searcher may encounter unscalable cliffs or unbridgable chasms; and, if forced to stop at any point, one is likely to look pathetic. But the evidence, taken jointly, associates a relative plausibility of recovery with each of various possibilities as to the nature of the work. In that context, the possible profundity is enough to drive the search by the principal character, even with likely failure.

Transcription Error

Monday, 23 November 2020

To my chagrin, I find that I made a transcription error for an axiom in Formal Qualitative Probability. More specifically, I placed a quantification in the wrong place. Axiom (A6) should read [image of formula] I've corrected this error in the working version.

Final Form

Thursday, 19 November 2020

I wasn't otherwise informed of the change, but when I checked this morning I found that a version of my probability paper had been posted to the First View list (and the listing amongst accepted manuscripts removed). So, except for pagination, the final form has been created. (I hope that the error to which I last directed attention of the productions office was corrected.)

Still in a Bottleneck

Monday, 9 November 2020

On 3 September, I received a galley proof of my probability paper. Setting aside issues of style,[1] there were various minor problems. Of a bit greater importance was that the paper was reported as received on 20 Februrary 2020, the date that the publisher received it from the editors, which was months after the editors had received it from me. But the most important matter was the replacement in a citation of 1843 with 1943.[2] I responded on the same day, noting most of these issues.[3] On 10 September, I was queried about which version of the MSC I'd used for the code that I'd provided, and as to whether there were truly a space in my surname. Again I responded on the same day.

On 6 October, I received a new galley proof. I found no new problems. All of the minor issues that I'd noted were fixed. However, the paper was still reported as received on 20 Februrary, and the citation still had the wrong year. I decided to ignore the first of these two issues, and simply to note the problem with the citation. Again, I responded on the same day.

I have not since received communication from the production office. My paper remains on the accepted manuscripts list, and has not appeared in the FirstView list.

[1] I think that I just have to accept things such as punctuation being moved within quotation marks even when it's not part of the quotation, spaces being removed from either side of em-dashes, and artefact being respelled artifact, though I use the former for a different notion from the latter.

[2] The first clear frequentist challenge to the classical approach to probability seems to have been made in a paper by Richard Leslie Ellis published in 1843.

[3] One thing that I decided not to note was my discomfort over the space between left-hand quotation marks and quoted formulæ.