Consortium partner is going to do everything you do, only worse

Europe.  A new survey has revealed that no matter which consortia you find yourself a member of, there will always be a partner who claims they plan to do exactly the same as you, only far, far worse.

Increasingly funders insist that projects are funded as large consortia, and include a wide range of partners.  However, given the paucity of ideas in modern research, it appears that many partners turn up to meetings simply to steal your ideas and do them really badly.

One source, who wishes to remain anonymous, is part of a large European FP2020 project, had this to say: “It’s getting really bad now.  No matter which projects you propose, there will always be a partner who claims they also plan to do the same, only far, far worse; or often they will claim that they have already done it when of course they haven’t.  Everyone knows it and it’s quite embarrassing, but what can you do?”

Another source said “We turned up at the inaugural meeting and I was leader of WP1, which aims to measure biodiversity using sequencing.  I said we should plan to sequence 10,000 individuals – because, well, what else do people do these days?  And at the end, someone stuck their hand up and said they’d already done this, so why bother?  I was a bit deflated.  But it turns out, they haven’t done 10,000 individuals, they’ve done 5; and they didn’t sequence them, they genotyped them using micro-satellites; and they didn’t choose the individuals well, it was just some found in the scientist’s own back garden.  And then it turns out they put in the budget to buy a HiSeq, which would actually be worth more than their entire institute, and we have 20 at our place anyway.   Honestly, why do funders force me to work with these people?”

TheScienceWeb planned to contact funders for their opinion on the problem, but we discovered a new satirical science news site set up in Romania that has stolen all of our blog posts.

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Academic website reaches peak bullshit

South East.  An academic institute project website has reached peak bullshit, The ScienceWeb has learned, with an entire page devoted to buzz words and phrases that mean absolutely nothing.

The Centre for Analysing Things (TCAT), a museum of unused and out-of-date sequencing technologies, is famous for producing loquacious and verbose language in an attempt to bamboozle, hoodwink and hornswaggle funders and local MPs.  TCAT have written a project page that experts confirm holds the current record for the highest ratio of of words used to meaning imparted.

“They have an infinite ratio” said the Guinness book of world records “We’ve had the page analysed by scientists and language experts alike and all of them confirm that the page means absolutely nothing.  However, many said that the use of buzz words and pseudo-language could possibly fool non-experts into thinking TCAT knew what they were talking about, and subsequently hand over cash.  We would encourage everyone to not do that” they finished.

We exerted our unique skill set to try and two-way communicate with and engage the experts and skill-vendors at TCAT, but were incapacitated by a lack of opportunity brought about by a lack of funding and commitment to actually being there to not unexpress their thought bubbles.


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“Scientists” call on Obama to fund The Unified Contaminant Initiative

Chicago.  A collection of the world’s weirdest and wackiest science fiction and fantasy authors, called collectively “microbiome researchers”, who have created some of the most outrageous fiction in recent times, have called on president Barack Obama to fund their next fantasy novel, called “The Unified Contaminant Initiative”.

Set in a parallel universe where everything on Earth, from diseases to space stations, is controlled by microbes commonly found in water and laboratory reagents, the work is set to cost billions and will be controversial as it will take money away from other work that relies on government funding, such as “science”.

“We have already seen how our fantasy work on the ‘microbiome’ can cross over into science, and we know that doesn’t work” said Gilbert Jack, Professor of Microbiomes at University of the Planet.  “so we need to keep ‘microbiomes’ and ‘real science’ completely separate, I am convinced of that” he finished.

Fellow author Sir Knight of Rob added “We saw what those Brain Initiative guys did and we were so goddamn jealous.  What the brain folk did was show that you can translate hype directly into government funding, and we thought ‘There is no field with more hype than microbiome, so let’s get us some of that cash'”.

TheScienceWeb mentioned that perhaps epigenetics could rival microbiome in terms of hype, to which Sir Knight said “Well, epigenetics has some amazing hype, some amazing fantasy stories too, but those guys still can’t approach microbiome for amazing, unbelievable, fantastical stories”

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Scientists sequence same thing on same machine many times and get same result

UK.  A bunch of scientists throughout the world have sequenced the exact same sample on the exact same machine, multiple times, and come up with the same results each time, a study in F1000Research reveals.

The somewhat unsurprising results failed to capture the imagination of anyone; however, consortium leader, Ewingsworth Barney III, had this to say: “What we have done is miraculous.  We have shown, for the very first time, that the Universe has rules, and that if you do the same thing over and over again, you will get the exact same result.  It’s almost as if the universe is governed by maths and formulae and universal constants” he finished triumphantly.

When TheScienceWeb pointed out that the field of Physics was at quite an advanced stage in determining the rules of the Universe, Barney simply stared at us until we looked away.

We asked “So what next?”

“Well”, said Barney, “next comes phase II”

“Phase II?” we enquired

“Yes, in phase II we will continue to sequence the exact same thing on the exact same machine, over and over again, and hopefully generate the exact same result each time.  You see you never know… maybe, just maybe, there are exceptions to the rule, and we can only find those by repeatedly doing the same thing forever” Barney finished.

TheScienceWeb chose not to ask about phase III.

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Perl 6 just Perl 5 with ‘use strict’ turned on

Brussels.  To the amazement and disappointment of software developers throughout the world, Perl guru Larry Wall has revealed that Perl 6, a language 15 years in development, will simply be Perl 5 with the “use strict;” directive turned on.

Perl 6 development was announced in 2000 and began with a request for comments (RFCs).  An immediate problem became apparent as the Perl community systematically removed every single feature of the language through those RFCs, which would effectively destroy the language.

The current version, Perl 5, is a favorite of  nihilist software developers and people who simply want to see the world burn.  The syntax is so loosely defined tha any text file will be executed by the interpreter as long as there is a semi-colon at the end of each line.  It is impossible to know what any script will do until it has been run, which can have wide-reaching consequences.  Dodgy Perl 5 scripts were behind the financial crisis of 2008, the collapse of Enron and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

The “use strict” directive forces Perl developers to act like human beings.  Therefore, instead of any number of new cool features, Perl 6 will simply be Perl 5 with this directive turned on.

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Scientists to start just making shit up

Baltimore. After the revelation from this years ASHG that “scientists” had associated epigenetic noise with homosexuality in a poorly conceived, really bad study, it has been revealed that a small but significant number of scientists are now just making shit up.

“Why bother with real science, with study design, sample recruitment, expensive experiments and analysis when you can just make stuff up instead?” said one ASHG attendee we found lost amongst the posters (technically America’s largest forest)

“What we’re dealing with here is Science 2.0” said Leonid Krnocluehowyousaythat, Fresh Prince of LA.  “You see, science 2.0 does away with the traditional paradigm of hypothesis, experiment, results, conclusions.  Science 2.0 is much more agile than traditional science.  In science 2.0, conclusions come first, and the data, results and experiments are manipulated to support the conclusions.  It has the advantage of not being based on facts, which really limited the appeal of Science 1.0.”

Krnocluehowyousaythat continued “Science 2.0 also maximizes impact by going straight to press release, skipping the costly and time-intensive step of peer review, or any kind of external validation.”

Krnocluehowyousaythat, who won some kind of prize at ASHG but doesn’t like to talk about it, then muttered something about yeast and how he was doing really important work, but we weren’t listening because we were reading a Nature News piece about alien DNA.



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TREEFINDER has no strong feelings about immigration

MUNICH.  The software TREEFINDER has distanced itself from its own author by stating categorically that is has no strong feelings on immigration, and is definitely not a racist.

Social media was buzzing yesterday as a scientist from Germany, Gandolf Yob, decided to reveal that he was a mental, screaming, racist, bigot by changing the license on his TREEFINDER software limiting use from countries who “host non-EU immigrants”.  Rambling about a new world order, Gandolf essentially committed career suicide.

However, the software itself, TREEFINDER, sought to distance itself from its psychologically unstable author.  “Clearly the images of drowning children weren’t enough to shake Gandolf’s belief that all of the problems in society are caused by poor, brown, foreign people.  I just want to state, categorically, that I do not share Gandolf’s world view”

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