Wednesday, December 29, 2004

 

Credentials of the Cat-People

I have to blog this, if only for the last line of the next-to-last paragraph.
Friday Cat Blogging ("That's Doctor Fuzzy Kitty, Ph. D., to You" Issue of Science Geek Edition)

If your cat has a few hundred dollars and at least one life's worth of experience, it too can obtain a Ph.D from one of the many fine institutions of American higher learning like this one.

First query: Has a cat ever been named as a co-author on a scholarly paper? (I'm sure that there have been cats which have contributed more to the work than many lab bosses who have been listed as authors.) I am aware of a number where they are in the acknowledgments, and presumably would show up if someone were using, say, Google Scholar to build an acknowledgment network.

Second query: What fraction of Americans hold degrees from diploma mills? Do they make more money than comparable people without any degree, real or fake (at least on average)? If so, does gap increase after they acquire the fake degree?

(Thanks to Rob Haslinger; thanks also to John Wayne Airport in Irvine, Calif. for providing an environment so blessedly free of Internet connectivity, and so abundantly provided with flight delays.)

Update, Saturday morning: Cris Moore points me to this page, which alleges that physicist Jack Hetherington named his cat as a co-author on this 1975 paper for Physical Review Letters, as "F. D. C. Willard", the "F. D." standing for Felis domesticus. "The Hetherington-Willard article was duly published and Mrs. Hetherington went on sleeping with both authors. Eventually the cat had to be let out of the bag when a visitor came to campus to see Professor Hetherington, found him unavailable, and then asked to speak to Willard." If this is not true, it should be.

Update, 16 December: Via Michael Nielsen, I learn that Doron Zeilberger has listed his computer, Shalosh B. Ekhad, as a co-author of a number of his papers. (Some of Ekhad's solo publications can be found here.) And, via Bill Tozier, a news piece in Nature on using CiteSeer to map acknowledgment networks.
As long as they don't try to give my cat an M.D....
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