Thursday, March 11, 2021

Brave New World

Back to a 'day job' related post... I'm happy to say that I'll be a keynote speaker at this year's Brave New World (virtual) conference.


Long-time readers with exceptionally good memories may recall that I presented a paper there as a graduate student, back in 2006. That abstract can be found here, and my report on events here. This has actually proved to be a useful aide memoire, because I was trying to remember who the two keynotes that year were just the other day. For the record, I was right, but wasn't certain of one of them.

I can't see a website for this year's conference - the MANCEPT page still links to their 2019 programme (I assume 2020 got cancelled) - but a call for submissions has gone out via Philos-L. Here are details, though I've not included the email here to avoid spam.

This year’s Brave New World is the twenty-fifth annual postgraduate conference organised by the Manchester Centre for Political Theory (MANCEPT). The conference will take place on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th July 2021, held online using Zoom


We are pleased to announce that this year's keynote speakers will be:

The Brave New World conference series is a leading international forum dedicated to the discussion of postgraduate research in political theory. This year will be the conference's 25th anniversary. Participants will have the chance to meet and talk about their work with eminent academics, including members of the faculty from the University of Manchester, as well as the guest speakers who will deliver plenary addresses.


Submission guidelines:

The deadline for submissions is May 7th, 2021. If you would like to present a paper, please send an abstract of approximately 400-500 words in PDF format and prepared for blind review.


It's a shame that I won't actually get to visit Manchester and see people in person, but I'm looking forward to presenting there again.

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Tau pirates

Most of the photos that I post here are of outdoor nature, but I thought I'd share one of some wargaming models that I've just finished painting. This is partly because they're the first models I've painted all year - not a very productive start - but also because I used a new (to me) technique, which I'll say more about after the picture.

 My normal approach to painting is a simple basecoat then a wash (usually Reikland Fleshshade) all over to provide shading. On these guys, I was inspired by a 'greyscale' technique that I'd seen in a couple of wargaming groups.

 The models started black with a grey drybrush all over. This is still what remains on the legs, arms, guns, and backpacks. After that, it's just a case of picking out a few coloured details. I have seen some that keep this really minimalistic, for a Sin City-style look.

 I didn't go quite that far myself, but used a blue/green on the larger armour plates and then yellow, orange, and red as spot colours. The one second from left has a touch of green on the thing in his hand (some kind of scanner I guess), but - aside from the brown bases - that's it. 

The models are Tau fire warriors, from Games Workshop. I haven't played 40k in many years, but still had these lying around and thought I might find use for them in Stargrave (Amazon affiliate link), where I think they'll make good pirate shock troopers.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by the results of this quick and easy painting method.

Monday, March 01, 2021

Predatory behaviour

I recently discussed a case in favour of (so-called) predatory publishers, but there are concerns that such journals published a lot of rubbish. Here is a nice example, setting out to expose such problems.


It's published in the American Journal of Biomedical Science & Research, which I'd never previously heard of. They claim to use "thorough peer review and rigorous check[s]". And yet, somehow, they published an article on whether Covid-19 could be transmitted by consuming Zubat (a type of Pokemon).

I particularly appreciated the article's reference list, which includes a number of articles raising concerns around predatory publishing, along with some clearly joke references like:

10. Wayne B (2016) Phobia of Bats and Its Applications in Criminal Justice. Gotham Forensics Quarterly 26(8): 807-814.

22. Potter H, Weasley R, Granger H (2013) Novel rhinovirus responsible for newt eye infection. Magical Creatures 6: 31-36.

25. Winnfield J, Vega V (1994) What do they call a predatory journal in France? Pulp Nonfiction 521: 154.

29. Pooh W, Milne AA (2019) Similarities between politicians and fictional bears, part xi. Hong Kong Journal of Democracy 5: 50-55.

33. da Vinci L, Simoni MdLB, da Urbino MS, Bardi DdNdB (2014) Effects of exposure to sewage on martial arts skills in turtles. Journal of Cowabungan Zoology 479(2): 149-155.

34. Orwell G (1984) Why arresting doctors for discovering a new virus is a terrible idea. Annals of the Zhēnxiàngbù 112(2): 748-759.


This article will be useful for two purposes. First, I may discuss it with graduate students, when discussing publication (and warning them about publishing in such journals). Second, I may discuss it with undergraduates, when warning them to be selective about what they read.