Happy arXiv Fool's Day!

When scientists the world over turn their attention to the floofy objects on their keyboards and Taylor Swift’s emotional state, that means only one thing: time to make an update to the list of arXiv joke papers! That’s right, it’s April Fool’s Day 2021, academia style. Here’s my wrapup.

This time, with some help from Twitter, I found eleven submissions covering a wide range of fields. Representing the stalwart astro-ph, we have the aforementioned floofy object rotation paper and an infectious model of dark matter. From high energy theory, we have a prediction of when publication of conjectures is going to bring on the heat death of the universe. In the category of popular physics, there’s an investigation of curious behavior involving a laster pointer — with one of the best paper titles of all time — and a very practical study of how certain tasks always take longer than we think (and why I never finish writing blog posts). There are also two excellent artificial intelligence studies that definitively settle whether Jaffa cakes are cakes and tell you which Taylor Swift song you should be listening to. Taking an interesting “meta” perspective on arXiv Fool …

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Most of the site looks pretty similar to how it did before, but there are some significant changes under the hood.

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Lessons from my first half-week

Things that don’t exist in China:

  • Ubiquitous wireless internet. Not so surprising, really, because Americans do have a rather unhealthy obsession with their wireless, but one would think I’d get wifi in the hotel room. Surprise, nope! Naturally this makes it rather less convenient to put up blog …