Dear NASA, Your Mom thought I was big enough. Love, Pluto
April 4, 2011 6:50 PM   Subscribe

It was the IAU, not NASA, that demoted Pluto.
posted by DU at 6:57 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

*adds to list of journals that it is now a life goal to be published in, along with Annals of Improbable Research*

So what if I'm a historian... I'll find SOMETHING worthy of them.
posted by strixus at 7:33 PM on April 4, 2011

(As I understand it, Rejecta is a serious journal— just one with an odd focus. But maybe I'm missing some elaborate math joke.)
posted by hattifattener at 7:52 PM on April 4, 2011

Laugh riot from hattifattner's link:

Is this some kind of joke?
No, Rejecta Mathematica is real.

But weren't those papers rejected for a reason?
Quite probably, yes.

posted by spitbull at 8:02 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Possibly a stupid question, but I'm genuinely interested: what counts as a controversial issue in mathematics? Isn't the whole point that if a proof holds, everyone is supposed to agree?
posted by nasreddin at 8:15 PM on April 4, 2011

The axiom of choice was controversial.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 8:28 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

The Annals of Improbable Research led me to Grammar Can Be Fun, which led me to Curious Pages, which led me all the way through Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book, which is why I'm up after midnight watching Shel Silverstein and Johnny Cash sing "A Boy Named Sue" on a short-lived variety show. And that's *one* of my open tabs. This is like Wikipedia on crack.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:30 PM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Isn't the whole point that if a proof holds, everyone is supposed to agree?

If it's a valid proof, then sorta, but proofs are far from the whole point. There are experimental results in math too, there are conjectures, there are different ways to computationally approximate things, etc. Granted, I'm an applied math guy where things can get pretty fuzzy. But in general, math has a lot more rounded edges, passionate intuition, and leaps of faith than you might think.

Also there's the trip reports!
posted by freebird at 11:03 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Fantastic. JAYFK is like a more readily updated version of Ben Goldcare's Bad Science column over at The Guardian.

Which I guess I can link to here, for those who've yet to stumble upon it.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:53 PM on April 4, 2011

strixus: Back in the 1990s there was a publication called the Journal of Unconventional History, which seems to have been legit (peer-reviewed, etc.). Look it up on Historical Abstracts. It seems to be long-dead.
posted by dhens at 1:57 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Isn't the whole point that if a proof holds, everyone is supposed to agree?

Not everyone even agrees on what a proof is. Can it have an infinite number of steps? Can it be the result of a computer search that no human could fully grok? Are existence proofs good enough or must they be constructive? Etc.
posted by DU at 2:49 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

from hattifattner's link:

"What role do the open letters play?

We actually view the open letters as being at least as important as the technical content in a research article. The open letter is where the author can not only tell the back story of the paper (e.g., where was it submitted, why was it rejected, etc.) but also convey a lesson learned so that others can benefit from the rejection. That lesson might be as general as "double check your work to make sure you aren't proving the opposite of your stated result"

hahahaha perfect.
posted by marienbad at 9:17 AM on April 5, 2011

JAYFK is also a great acronym! Sounds angry and like you're cursing by default. Kind of like UNFCCC!
posted by davidng at 1:10 PM on April 5, 2011

Why are so many people upset about Pluto? It's Uranus that gets no respect!
posted by Twang at 2:25 PM on April 5, 2011

JAYFK = awesome. thanks.
posted by theora55 at 3:54 PM on April 5, 2011

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