As Phillip Davis writes (reprinted in the IMS Bulletin), scholarly authors are driven to publish in journals because that is the way to have their work noticed and readers read journals because these provide some measure of quality assurance. Davis is wrong, however, on multiple counts, when he concludes: “This system is not intended to be fair and democratic, but it saves the time of the reader and functions to help consensus building in science. For those who feel that this perpetuates hegemony, let them eat cake.”

The academic publishing system is intended to be fair; the current system (though better than nothing) performs poorly as a time saving tool for the reader; “consensus forming” (i.e., suppressing non-conventional thought) is not a legitimate function of a scientific communication channel; and, finally, there is no reason to dismiss people who are unhappy with the current system with “let them eat cake”: there is a better way to run the scholarly publishing system.

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The following chart was generated using B’Tselem data. The data does not cover December 2008. The number of Israeli deaths was higher than the number of Palestinian death on the same month once during 99 months covered (June, 2001).

The totals for the years and for the entire period are:

Period Israeli Palestinian
2000 (Sept. – Dec.) 41 279
2001 191 469
2002 420 1032
2003 185 588
2004 108 828
2005 50 197
2006 23 662
2007 13 390
2008 (Jan. – Nov.) 31 452
Total 1062 4897

The graph below shows a histogram of the household income distribution in the US in 2007. It was constructed using data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), Table HINC-06. I smoothed the table by merging pairs of $2,500-wide intervals into $5,000-wide intervals, since the narrow intervals showed marked oscillation, as people apparently tend to report their income in multiples of $5,000.

The three vertical dashed lines indicate the 25th, 50th and 75th percentiles. The corresponding values are $25,100, $50,300 and $88,400, respectively.

The following table gives the deciles of the distribution:

Percentile 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Income, $1000’s 12.3 20.8 29.8 39.4 50.3 62.7 78.6 100.8 141.9

All percentile points were calculated by interpolating linearly within the income bins.