Thursday, May 25, 2017

More spam from NorCal Open Access

He's at it again, and by "he" I mean, "Pete Summers", the name used by the fake publisher NorCal in its spam invitations to join an editorial board of a fake academic journal. The first spam invitation came two weeks ago, and this one popped up in my inbox this morning. 

This is a follow up mail from the editorial office of Advances in Environment and Pollution Research.
We would like to remind you regarding our invitation to join the editorial board of Advances in Environment and Pollution Research and support us to drive the journal in the right direction.
Few editorial board benefits and responsibilities include:
-If an active editorial board member of NorCal Open Access Publications publishes any manuscript he/she can enjoy life time 50% waiver on the publication fee.
-He/she can play an active role in the progress of the journal.
-To review the policies and scope of the journal, and he/she can edit/change them accordingly, if necessary.
-He/she should give opinion on the manuscripts, if assigned.
-To review the manuscripts received for the journal and should look after the manuscript publication process.
-He/she will be assigned not more than 4 manuscripts to review annually, if required.
-He/she can assist managing editor of the journal in inviting manuscripts and coining special issues, if required.
If you would like to join the editorial board, please submit your details (updated CV, list of publications, short biography (120-150 words), keywords of research interests, photograph).
I will be happy to assist you for any further queries.
Thank you in advance,
Pete Summers
NorCal Open Access Publications
4701 Patrick Henry Drive Bldg. 16
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Telephone: +1-408-609-3061
Thank you, "Pete", for this followup invitation to join your scam outfit, but at this time (which extends from the present into the year 2567) I have no interest in reviewing "the policies and scope of the journal" in order to "edit/change them accordingly, if necessary", nor would I like to be involved in "coining special issues".

Friday, May 19, 2017

More spam from scam journals: Medcrave edition

I was just contacted by a fake academic enterprise I hadn't heard of before: the "Medcrave Group", though it did make Beall's list before it was taken down. The stated address (which lacks a street number) is in Edmond,Oklahoma, which isn't at all suspicious.

I was contacted on behalf of the Sociology International Journal; the subject heading of the email was "Honorable Editor" (yes, really). The email is worth reprinting.
Hope this mail finds you well!

It is our immense pleasure to invite you as an Editorial Board member for Sociology International Journal.

MedCrave in its bag having 2000+ Open Access quality articles and more than 5000 EB has come about  in the short period by providing DOI to articles from Cross Ref and indexing in repositories like ICMJE & Pubs Hub, that adds value to the quality work published and helps in easy access throughout the globe.

Based upon your eminence and expertise, we would like to have your profile in our Journal Editorial board. In fact presence of renowned people like you will add visibility towards our Journal and certainly many researchers will cite your profile.

Kindly send us your CV, Biography, Research Interest & Recent portrait photograph.

Do not hesitate to contact us for any queries.

We await your positive response.

Best Regards,
Levi Martin
Editorial Office-MedCrave Group
Sociology International Journal
It is nice to have my "eminence" recognized, particularly by a publishing group which has 2000+ articles "in its bag". Interestingly, the name "Levi Martin" is close to the name of a prolific sociologist at the University of Chicago, who I am quite sure is not involved in this enterprise.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

More notes from the kakocracy

I have a feeling that this won't end well--all conceivable outcomes, short of rescue by benign alien intelligence, range from grim to smoking pile of nuclear rubble.

In the event of Trump's vacating his office (either through impeachment, resignation, the 25th amendment, or even death) Ayatollah Mike Pence officially takes control, though if you have been paying attention, he has been lurking everywhere there has been yet another Trump disaster. Pence, a misogynist, self-righteous, right wing ideologue responsible for imprisoning women for abortions and increasing the incidence of HIV infection in his state, has never met a woman he can dine with, a rich person (who isn't a liberal) he won't suck up to, or a poor person who he thinks is entitled to medical treatment. This unctuous creep, with the smooth mien of a christian talk show host will continue to carry out the devastating war-on-Americans-who-aren't-millionaires policies he has quietly pushed while Trump sits in the Oval Office.

If Pence seems vulnerable to the same impeachable charges that Trump does (and as I said, his fingerprints are everywhere) then waiting in the wings is smarmy liar Paul Ryan, someone whose opinion of his own acumen is as great as his actual knowledge deficits. If you think he would step aside to make room for next in line, President Pro Tempore of the Senate Orrin Hatch, you haven't been paying attention. But if somehow the office passes to the next in line, we get the bumbling Rex Tillerson. In any event, the demolition of the American republic to make more room from the growing class of kakocrats will continue apace.

And this scenario (Trump gone) is on the positive end of the spectrum of horrible likely outcomes. On the extreme negative side? A smoking pile of nuclear rubble. And if you think that Trump isn't considering a preemptive strike on North Korea to distract from his current troubles,  I'd like to have some of what you are smoking.

Monday, May 15, 2017

More invitations from fake academic operations

How thoughtful of them, and by them, I mean Pete Summers, (or "Pete Summers"?) on behalf of NorCal Open Access Publications, who generously invited me onto the editorial board of NorCal's new journal Advances in Environment and Pollution Research
We came across your biography and your contribution towards scientific community is immense. We would like to invite you to join our prestigious editorial board of Advances in Environment and Pollution Research and support us to drive the journal in the right direction.
That's odd, because my biography and CV clearly indicate that I am a philosopher, not an environmental scientist. But, on the other hand, I do teach courses in Environmental Philosophy and I have had first hand experience with generating and disposing of garbage.

Why would I want to join this board? I quote verbatim from the invitation:
Few editorial board benefits and responsibilities include:
-If an active editorial board member of NorCal Open Access Publications publishes any manuscript he/she can enjoy life time 50% waiver on the publication fee.
-He/she can play an active role in the progress of the journal.
-To review the policies and scope of the journal, and he/she can edit/change them accordingly, if necessary.
-He/she should give opinion on the manuscripts, if assigned.
-To review the manuscripts received for the journal and should look after the manuscript publication process.
-He/she will be assigned not more than 4 manuscripts to review annually, if required.
-He/she can assist managing editor of the journal in inviting manuscripts and coining special issues, if required.
 "Coining special issues"? Did he mean "conning?"

The listed address of the probable fake academic publisher NorCal Open Access matches the address of Executive Suite 100, which provides virtual offices.

NorCal Open Access is too new an operation to have shown up on Beall's list, which was taken down several months ago, but it displays all the hallmarks of a fake academic publisher.

But wait---there's more: I also got an invitation to contribute to a special issue of Environmental Pollution and Protection:
he "Environmental Pollution and Protection" (EPP, ISSN: 2519-1063) is planning to publish a Special Issue on "Monitoring and environmental remediation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)" ( We cordially invite you to submit or recommend articles to this special issue through our Manuscript Tracking System or by email to For better promotion, 60% discount on the article processing fee will be granted to all the papers submitted to this special issue.

About this special issue:
  • • Submission Deadline: July 31, 2017
  • • Publication Date:  September 2017
  • • Article Processing Fee:  USD 99.00
In case you were wondering, this journal is a product of probable fake academic publisher Isaac Scientific Publishing, around long enough to have made Beall's list.

My sudden popularity with fake academic enterprises doesn't end with Isaac. Today's email also brought me an invitation to one of the fall 2017 International Organization of Social Sciences and Behavioral Research's apparently fake academic conferences, one in Las Vegas and the other in Atlantic City. Smell fake to you? Does to me. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Nasty, brutish and short: life expectancy gap in US widens

Welcome to our current and future America---"No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." (Hobbes, Leviathan)

Granted, life in the US isn't Hobbesean state of nature bad (yet) but it is certainly shorter than it should be for many Americans:
Your average life expectancy now varies by more than 20 years depending on where you live in the United States, according to an in-depth study by the University of Washington.
America’s “life expectancy gap” is also predicted to grow even wider in future, with 11.5% of US counties having experienced an increase in the risk of death for residents aged 25–45 over the period studied (1980-2014). No previous study has put the disparity at even close to 20 years.
“This is way worse than any of us had assumed,” said Ali Mokdad, professor of global health at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and one of the authors of the study, published by the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
The researchers found that while residents of certain affluent counties in central Colorado had the highest life expectancy at 87 years, people in several counties of North and South Dakota, typically those with Native American reservations, could expect to die far younger, at only 66.
“The magnitude of these disparities demands action, all the more urgently because inequalities will only increase further if recent trends are allowed to continue uncontested,” the report states.
Overall, the study puts average life expectancy in the US at 79.1 years, an increase of 5.3 years from 1980 – the start of a 35-year period for which the university team compared death records, census returns, the human mortality database and figures from the National Center for Health Statistics on a county-by-county basis. But it concludes that this 5.3-year increase “masks massive variation at the county level”.
“Counties in central Colorado, Alaska and along both coasts experienced much larger increases, while some southern counties in states stretching from Oklahoma to West Virginia saw little, if any, improvement over this same period,” the report says.
“Similarly, there was considerable variation among counties in the percent decline in the mortality risk within each age group. While all counties experienced declines in mortality risk for children 0 to five years, and nearly all experienced declines in the mortality risk for adolescents and older adults 45 to 85, 11.5% [of counties] experienced increases in the risk of death between ages 25 and 45 years.”

Thursday, May 4, 2017

How to steal an exam: human fly edition

Students hard at work at the University of Kentucky:
According to UK Police, UK statistics instructor John Cain had been working late in his third floor office in the Multidisciplinary Science Building on Rose Street on Tuesday night. About midnight, he left to get something to eat. When he returned about 1:30 a.m., he tried to unlock the door, but it was blocked by something.
“He yelled out that he was calling the police and then the door swung open and two young men ran down the hallway,” recounted UK spokesman Jay Blanton.
Shortly after police arrived, one of the students returned and confessed. Henry Lynch II, a 21-year-old junior majoring in biosystems engineering, gave police an earful, including that he’d climbed through the building’s air ducts to the ceiling above Cain’s office and dropped down into the room, then unlocked the door and let in his friend, sophomore Troy Kiphuth, 21, who was not in Cain’s class.
Lynch also told them he had already tried to steal the exam earlier that evening around 6 p.m., but couldn’t find it. And, he said, it wasn’t the first time: Earlier in the semester, he’d successfully stolen another exam from Cain’s office, but he assured officers that he had not shared the answers with other students.
Lynch apparently gained access to Cain’s office all three times by climbing through the building’s ducts, and dropping down through the ceiling. How he got into the core of the building remains under investigation.
UK Police cited both students with third degree burglary, which will get referred to Fayette Circuit Court.
Blanton said the matter has also been referred to UK’s Office of Student Conduct, which will now conduct a formal investigation and review.
“The Office of Student Conduct takes this matter very seriously and it will be reviewed extensively to make a determination and we will act accordingly,” Blanton said.
Studying for the stat exam would be easier than this, but probably less fun. Perhaps before UK takes action to expel Lynch, it could consider granting him extra credit in PE.

Read more here:

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Still more spam from fake academic publisher IOSR

I am unhappy to report more spam from fake academic publisher IOSR, this time touting its Google Scholar citation rankings (like those can't be gamed). It invites me and hundreds of thousands of others with academic email addresses to submit papers for the April 2017 (timely!) in
... all field of Engineering, Management, Medical & Dental Science, Pharmacy, Applied Sciences, Nursing, Humanities and Social Science etc.
etc. indeed.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

More thoughts on the Stubblefield case

I've been delaying writing about the Stubblefield appeal, in part because I am still processing my enraged incredulity at the Singer-McMahan op-ed, (something I would have dealt with in the past by smoking half a pack of cigarettes, but alas, I gave them up). Others have already expressed their own outrage, as well as detailing-- shall we say 'flaws'?-- in their account of the case.

My habit is to keep an open mind about matters, and to consider new information as it is available. But as Dewey once said (I think it was Dewey): keeping an open mind is having a welcome mat at your front door; it is not leaving the door open with the sign, "come on in". Reading the Singer- McMahan op ed, and the legal claims it put forward, has not changed the substance of my view, though since I am not a lawyer, I can't evaluate the legal basis for the appeal, or whether the court committed a legal error in disallowing the video or other matters. However, the science is clear: facilitated communication is neither reliable or effective in giving voice to the mute.

But as I wrote some time ago, suppose facilitated communication in fact did allow DJ to express himself.

But suppose counterfactually that DJ really was communicating and did in fact express his desire and willingness to become sexually intimate with Stubblefield. This supposition would not erase significant moral concerns, which I turn to next.

On our counterfactual scenario, DJ, while an adult in years, has been socially isolated through his inability to speak or interact with others in a variety of venues. He has lived with his family his whole life, and  has had limited contact with life outside his very limited circle of household, school, day program, church. He has never been able to choose where to go, whether to go, what to read or watch on tv, with whom to interact. He has things to say but no one to say them to. Now, on our counterfactual scenario, suddenly he can communicate, with the facilitation of Stubblefield. Of course, he would fall madly in love with her. She is his liberator. This would be a predictable form of transference. Stubblefield, but not DJ, would be in a position to recognize this. She, not DJ, would be in the position to see that there is a gross power imbalance between them, that she has the power conferred by her experience, knowledge of the world, and her role in DJ's life; DJ, however, is like a person newly liberated from a locked room, only now beginning to navigate the world, and just as vulnerable. To commence a sexual relationship at this time, even if DJ expressed his desire to, is to exploit his vulnerability, his lack of perspective and patience gained from experience to assess his own desires and choose which to act on. Stubblefield, a philosopher and disability rights activist, should have been hyper-acutely aware of how their relative positions would make an equal sexual relationship between them impossible.

Worse, as his primary facilitator, Stubblefield should have been aware of the responsibilities of that position. The relationship between facilitator and communicator is of necessity quite intimate, and for that reason, it is even more important to avoid sexualizing it, especially when the voice of the communicator is just emerging. Eroticizing the relationship makes it more emotionally labile and unstable, endangering this hard-won voice.

 Stubblefield also should have recognized that valid consent requires the possibility of its withdrawal. With his sexual partner as his 'voice', it is less likely that DJ would have been able to 'voice' an end to the relationship.

So, in my view, Stubblefield crossed moral boundaries as well as legal ones. I believe that she didn't think through the former, but she should have. About the latter, she probably honestly believed that she and DJ had a mutual, loving relationship, and so was stunned when accused and convicted of sex assault. But her belief was delusive, and she, as well as DJ, was its victim.
All that said, I continue to believe that the lengthy prison sentence imposed on Stubblefield is not in the interest of justice, but I maintain that not because of special pleading for Stubblefield, but because there are strong and persuasive reasons to oppose lengthy prison sentences on the grounds of justice  and individual and social well-being.

In a somewhat related matter, an article published under the authorship of DJ in Disability Studies Quarterly has been retracted by that journal, but not because of suspicions about the genuine author, but because it substantially overlapped with another article published elsewhere under his name.