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User talk:John R. Brews

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Welcome Page

Welcome to Citizendium as a new author! We're very glad you've joined us. We hope you will contribute boldly and well. Here are pointers for a quick start. You'll probably also want to know how to get started as an author. Just look at Getting Started for other helpful "startup" pages, and at CZ:Home for a complete listing of help and other community pages. If you wish, just ask me to create a "personal sandbox" for you where you can test out editing and writing articles. If you need help to get going, it is a good idea to join our discussion forums. That's where we discuss policy, proposals or technical problems. You can ask any constable for help, too. Just put a note on their "talk" page. Again, welcome and thank you! We appreciate your willingness to share your expertise, and we hope to see you begin actively editing and contributing to Citizendium. Milton Beychok 19:37, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Welcome aboard!

I just want to give you a warm personal welcome, wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, and extend my hope that you enjoy yourself here at Citizendium. Click on any of these workgroups to see what articles already exist in them:

Of the five Workgroups listed above, the Earth Sciences and Astronomy Workgroups have the least number of existing articles. Any articles you could contribute to those two Workgroups would be much appreciated ... as well as expanding and/or improving any of the exiting articles in those Workgroups.

Please call upon me if you have any questions or need any help. Milton Beychok 19:58, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Just wanted to add my welcome. You've been very productive already. We always appreciate enthusiasm!. --Joe Quick 21:30, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

About help with Free space

John, this is in regard to your request for help with Free space. Most of our physics articles were written by Paul Wormer, a retired university professor in the Netherlands. Paul has left Citizendium for reasons I won't go into ... but he was very knowledgeable and very helpful. If you were to email him and ask for help as a fellow retired professor, he may be willing to help. I will email you his email address as he may not wish to have it openly public.

You might also ask for help from these users: Daniel Mietchen ( a physics editor), Anthony Sebastian (a physics author) and Johan A. Förberg (a physics author). Milton Beychok 17:55, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

Article renamed

The article has been renamed as you requested. Happy Thanksgiving! Milton Beychok 18:30, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

Comment by Boris Tsirelson

John, I assume that you have Free space (electromagnetism) on your watchlist. If not, there is a comment by BorisTsirelson on the article's Talk page. Regards, Milton Beychok 17:05, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

About Magnetization

It is really nice to see a newcomer contributing as well as you have been since joining us. Keep it up!

Just a few formatting comments about the Magnetization article:

  • I added the {{subpages}} template to the top of the Main article edit page (as well as each of the subpages), which is always required when creating a new article in the namespace.
  • I added missing info to the Metadata template. In particular, I added Physics as a category (i.e., cat1) because the Metadata template must always have at least one category specified. I also filled in the abc= "Magnetization" as the choice for alphabetization in the Physics workgoup listing and upgraded the status from 3 to 2 because your article is more than just a stub.
  • I added some links to the Related Articles subpage and used the {{r|Article name}} template on the links you added as well as on my links because use of that template is required to automatically display the definitions as well.

I hope that I am not overwhelming you with these formatting tidbits ... but they will become second nature for you in a few weeks. Once again, keep it up! Milton Beychok 00:27, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Hi Milton: Thanks for these notes. I can refer to them to help learn the ropes. John R. Brews 05:40, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Some questions

Hi, John: Was my response (on my Talk page) to your quest about importing WP articles clear ? If not, please let me know.

Also, did you create that drawing that you placed in the Magnetic field article? Please let me know. If you did create it, then I will create the required credit line for you. If you did not create it, then you must document your permission or your rationale for uploading ii with the license that you selected. Regards, Milton Beychok 06:43, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Same question about the drawing you placed in the Magnetization article ... because it also need either a credit line. Milton Beychok 06:51, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Hi Milton: Yes, both these figures are original with myself. When I uploaded them, I thought I had made that clear. John R. Brews 13:14, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Personal sandbox

Many of us use a personal sandbox in which to create new articles or make major changes to an existing article. That way we can work on the articles until we have polished and re-polished them to our hearts content before uploading our work into the namespace as a new article or into an existing article. For example, I have multiple personal sandboxes. Using a personal sandbox has 3 advantages:

  • No one bothers you or makes edits while you are still working on an article.
  • You can invite selected people to review and critique your work (if you wish to have that done) before you upload it into the namespace.
  • It avoids the new article having a lengthy History page that includes the very many changes/rewordings made during the development of the article.

Once you have uploaded your work into the namespace, then you simply delete everything from your sandbox and it is ready for use again on another article.

If you would like a sandbox, I can easily create one for you. Just let me know. Milton Beychok 07:14, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

If a sandbox is a preferable way to set up an article, so be it. Please make one for me.
Thanks, John R. Brews 13:16, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
John, there is now a link at the upper left of your user page labeled My sandbox. Just click on it and you will be taken to your sandbox. Enjoy! Milton Beychok 17:25, 15 December 2010 (UTC)


Just to say how clear and elegant I find your work. My first degree was in Maths, a long time back, and I've a son now studying physics and maths before going to University next year, so I've been trying to do some catch-up on the physics I've forgotten so he won't embarrass me too much. Gareth Leng 21:10, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the kind remarks, especially appreciated following my recent departure from WP. Hope you find some of the discussion and the references here good for catch up. I find it wearying to try to find good discussions using Google books; some good sources are just not available on line. John R. Brews 05:33, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

The MOSFET article

John, I agree that the MOSFET article fits into the Engineering workgroup ... but I don't see how it fits into the Chemistry workgroup. Could you please explain why it fits into the Chemistry group? Should it also be in the Computers workgroup perhaps?


Hi Milt: Well, its a stretch unless you want to go off into the actual fabrication of the device. I don't think I'm responsible for making the choice of Chemistry. John R. Brews 05:30, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Okay. I went ahead and deleted the Chemistry workgroup from the metadata template and added the Computers workgroup. Milton Beychok 05:51, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Specifying of cat1, cat2 or cat3 in the Metadata template

John, the categories specified in the Metadata template (i.e., cat1, cat2 or cat3) must be one of the workgroups such as Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, .... etc. There is no Electromagnetism workgroup so it cannot be specified as a category on the Metadata template. Therefore, I deleted it from that template.

If you click on the Citizendium logo at the upper left of this or any other page, it will take you to the Citizendium "Welcome" page ("our Home page"). The top of that page includes the titles and icons for the 6 major groups of workgroups, namely, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, Arts, Applied Arts and Sciences, and Recreation. Click on any one of them, and that will take you to a complete listing of all our current workgroups within those 6 major groups.

For example, Natural Sciences includes these 6 workgroups: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Mathematics and Physics.

As another example, Applied Arts and Sciences includes 13 workgroups, one of which is the Engineering workgroup.

We know that the workgroups are too broad in some cases and that something needs to be done to correct that situation. Our newly elected Editorial Council will probably be tackling that subject in the near future. Be that as it may, at the moment we must live with our current workgroups.

I hope that this is helpful. Regards, Milton Beychok 05:11, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

If you wanted, John, we could create CZ: Electromagnetism Subgroup as a specialized/interdisciplinary supplement to the main workgroups. Howard C. Berkowitz 08:22, 13 May 2011 (CDT)

Your forum account

Hi John. Milt mentioned that you had applied for a forum account and were waiting. Just wanted to make sure that you knew it was approved yesterday. If you have trouble signing in, let me know. D. Matt Innis 01:51, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Now you can help me, please

John, please look at the recent postings at Talk:National Institute of Standards and Technology‎ concerning perhaps the need to update the National Institute of Standards and Technology‎ article, and then update the article as may be needed. It appears that the section about the NIST Laboratories and the section about their budget needs updating. Thanks in advance, Milton Beychok 23:38, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Milt: I've updated the lab and program descriptions and done some reorganization. I haven't looked at the budget issues. John R. Brews 16:38, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
I think I'm done here. John R. Brews 16:54, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

What drawing program do you use?

John, I very much like the looks of your images. What drawing program do you use, and how long did it take to learn how to use it? Milton Beychok 21:39, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Milt: I use a kludge approach: I draw the diagrams in Excel 2007 and then copy them and paste them as .png files in Microsoft Paint. Excel 2007 provides a lot more control over the line widths and colors than earlier versions. At this point I find this method very easy, but I've been doing it for a while so I just don't remember my learning curve. John R. Brews 22:09, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
For circuit diagrams, I use Klunky paste the circuit in Excel and label it there. John R. Brews 22:19, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

About the 6 articles you have written as subpages to your user page. I think they are all ready to be created as CZ articles.

John you have links on your user page to a number of articles that you've written as subpages of your user page:

John, if you want other people to collaborate on any of the above, then you should move them into the article namespace rather than keeping them in your user namespace. From a brief scan, they all look at least like good status 2 articles (i.e., what we call "developing articles"). As long as they stay in your user namespace, they will not draw any edits or additions or much notice from other Citizens.

If you need help getting those articles into the article namespace along with their associated cluster of six subpages (i.e., the "Talk" subpage, the "definition" subpage, the "Related articles"subpage, the "Bibliography" subpage, the "External links" subpage and the "Metadata" subpage), just let me know and I will help you over the next few days. I really think that they are all ready to be turned into articles. Milton Beychok 08:44, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Hi Milt: Thanks for the offer. I have made Centrifugal force, Centripetal force, and Schottky diode into articles. The others need more work, maybe a lot more.
I have drawn upon my contributions to WP for diagrams, and have noted that in their notes. I'd take it that is not a problem. The articles Centrifugal force, Centripetal force also draw from scattered contributions on WP, as indicated on their Talk pages, along with some added text and rearrangement. I hope that will pass muster as well. John R. Brews 14:59, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I think that the articles Centrifugal force and Centripetal force will pass muster. You should read the recently passed motion by our Editprial Council about importation from WP ... see [1]. Milton Beychok 18:02, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Physics editorship

John, we really need another Physics Editor. Have you decided whether you wish to become an Editor? Please let me know. Milton Beychok 18:02, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Hi Milt: Thanks for the offer. At the moment I'd rather exert myself in writing articles. As the number of editors increases and controversy builds, I may regret a lower position in the hierarchy, so I'm not altogether happy about this decision. But for the moment I'll decline. John R. Brews 19:53, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Deletion requests

John, I saw your post on the forum concerning deletion of pages. Please see this page. It should explain what to do, but if you have any probelms, do let me know so we can make it clearer if necessary. Also, be sure to put your reason in the appropriate place so that it saves us time when we are evaluating the request. Thanks for all your hard work! D. Matt Innis 21:52, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the help; I've implemented these directions as I understand them. John R. Brews 22:05, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Got it! Good job. D. Matt Innis 02:43, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Your images are amazingly good!

John, I have been on the verge of advising you to create an images subpage of your user page for some time. Now, you have done it yourself ... and I just want to say how amazingly good your images are!

I also noticed your recent request for information on how to re-name or move an article. If you still need help, just let me know. Milton Beychok 19:06, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Hi Milt: Thanks for the encouragement. I'm sure I'll need your help from time to time.
Although I have used your suggestion to make a sandbox draft of articles, I seem to have an irresistable urge to post these things too early: if I really want to post a finished article, I'd have to let them incubate for a month first, and I seemingly cannot resist doing it sooner.
Thanks for your interest. John R. Brews 19:28, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
John, what tools do you use to create your images? Howard C. Berkowitz 17:15, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Howard: I've got an idiosyncratic approach, probably shared by no-one. I use Excel 2007 to draw the pictures and save them as PNG files using Microsoft paint. For circuit diagrams I draw the circuit using Klunky and pasting the result into Excel for labeling. Using Excel has a learning curve, and it's not as good as Matlab for fancy shading and 3-D effects. However, I've got Excel, and Matlab I don't. John R. Brews 17:23, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Idiosyncratic is right! Nevertheless, Klunky looks very useful. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:35, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Financial Report as of March 15, 2011

Please read our Financial Report as of March 15, 2001 for complete details on our financial history and our current financial situation. If you have any questions, please ask them on CZ Talk:Donate. Milton Beychok 00:20, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Semiconductor applications

Would you be willing to guide (e.g., structuring the articles) where semiconductor applications should go? At the moment, I'm having to do some simple circuit design, but I haven't done it in years. As long as I have to look up how to configure a zener diode and resistor to protect an analog to digital converter from overvoltage, I could write that up. Obviously basic things.

I am also open to discussions of appropriate burnt offerings to the little people inside the semiconductor. If I can get my circuit to work, I'll suffer through selenium rectifier smoke. (yecch). Howard C. Berkowitz 17:11, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Howard: It sounds like you have some very practical matters in mind, which I can admire. However, as you might have guessed, I am an engineer by accident only, and my heart is really in the clouds (not the selenium smoke type!). John R. Brews 17:26, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
No, you aren't in the cloud. You are in the solid state of consciousness, rather like the shamanistic state of consciousness, as opposed to ordinary reality. Perhaps, some day, I will become enlightened, but I still am of the opinion that describing that which happens in a tunnel diode is a matter for theologians and philosophers.
Now, I do participate in the culture wars, at times, with electronic warfare (seriously, I think that's a pretty decent article and comment is welcome). As I remember, connecting a 1.5 volt battery across a 1N921 noise diode gives a little white noise generator that, placed upon a TV set, makes it inoperable. This led to quiet in the dorm.
I'm not sure I am ready to write articles for applications of the components, although I might try. Perhaps, since we do occasionally have subpages with software code, perhaps circuits might be appropriate. I might well write something on how to monitor contact closures, but I'm not quite sure where to put it. Using a number of COTS A-to-D converters to monitor closed loop voltage (or absence thereof), one typically wants some way of voltage limiting. My application is monitoring sensors on the 12 volt (and sometimes up to 32) volt systems of fishing vessels, but a voltage greater than 5.0 will fry the sensor. Hence, a zener seemed a good idea. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:43, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Good figure that you added to Chemical reaction

John, that is a very nice figure that you added to the lede of Chemical reaction ... thanks. However, it contains the terms ΔG* and ΔG which are not explicitly defined or explained anywhere. An encyclopedia article really should not assume that all readers are going to know what those terms are. Would it be possible to define them in the image caption ... or to revise the figure to include a definition? I think that would be helpful. - Milton Beychok 19:16, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

Hi Milt:
As you know, G refers to the Gibbs free energy for which there is no article at the moment. I could link to Entropy_(thermodynamics)#Relation_to_Gibbs_free_energy_and_enthalpy but there little more than a definition there. Perhaps you have some advice here? I could try to summarize this or this. John R. Brews 23:04, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
I took a shot at this; please improve upon it. John R. Brews 02:20, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
John, not all readers of encyclopedia's are knowledgeable about thermodynamics and Gibbs free energy ... and this article was intended to be an encyclopedic article rather than a thermodynamics textbook. What I would like to see is some way to make your drawing coincide better with the drawing in the next section about exothermic and endothermic reactions.
In that drawing of mine, I purposely used the phrases "Activation energy" instead of ΔG* in order to avoid using thermodynamic terminology. I also purposely used "Energy absorbed" and "Energy released" rather than ΔG for the same reason. In other words, the not-so-knowledgeable reader is more likely to understand "activation energy", "energy absorbed" and "energy released" than than the symbols ΔG* or ΔG ... and yet those three phases retain the technical integrity of the article.
As matters stand now, the not-so-knowledgeable reader will be all the more confused by having two images, fairly close to each other, using different ways of expressing essentially the same thing. If you would simply change ΔG* in your drawing to "activation energy" and ΔG to "energy released", the two drawings would then coincide and eliminate any confusion. It would also eliminate the need for much of the explanation of Gibbs free energy that you added to the lede. In order to make those simple changes in your drawing, you may have to increase the drawing size a bit and perhaps reduce the text font size a bit ... but that should be fairly easy to do. After all, I suspect that your primary reason for adding your drawing was simply to emphasize the fact that chemical reaction paths may include intermediates rather than to purposely introduce the thermodynamic term of Gibbs free energy.
I apologize for being so long-winded. Milton Beychok 03:48, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Hi Milt: Of course I can change the labels on the figure to ΔE. I don't think that is necessarily the best approach for a few reasons.

One is that virtually every textbook on the subject uses the Gibbs energy, so there is a good chance that a reader interested in this article has seen this diagram using the Gibbs energy. A second reason is that the Gibbs energy involves a good deal more than the usual physicists view of energy as potential energy and its release. As I gather (and I am open to correction on this point) the idea of using the Gibbs energy is to treat not just a single molecular event, but an ensemble of molecules in a chemical soup. That context is dropped if the Gibbs energy is not mentioned.

So I don't think we have the final answer on this one. We need to make some noises about this discussion being a bit wider than watching two balls of putty smack into each other and stick together. John R. Brews 06:09, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Milt: I have changed the figure and modified the text to describe a bit more about what the figure shows without invoking the Gibbs energy. See what you think. John R. Brews 15:04, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, very much John ... you have solved our problem very well indeed, and I do appreciate it. Regards, Milt.

Did you see my response about Metre (unit) on my talk page?

John, I hope that you've seen my response about those edits regarding GPS, LORAN and LIDAR. Please see my Talk page. I haven't the faintest idea how those edits occurred. I certainly had no intention to make such edits. Milton Beychok 23:30, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Hi Milt: I can only guess that we were both editing at the same time, and some mix-up occurred. In any case, I have modified things and perhaps you could look and see that what you wanted to change has in fact been changed.? Thanks for your help. John R. Brews 00:45, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
What I changed is still okay. You are probably right in that it may have been an edit conflict. In any event, all seems okay now. Milton Beychok 01:15, 10 April 2011 (UTC)


John I hope you will accept my public apology for being rather short with you concerning the Mother's Day article. I probably should have been a bit kinder and was not. Thank you for letting me know that I accidentally removed a couple words while editing. The article was a WIP but it's nice to know some words went missing. Thanks again for your help.Mary Ash 18:49, 11 May 2011 (CDT)

Sure, Mary. No problem. Circumstances at the moment are not conducive to receptivity. John R. Brews 19:02, 11 May 2011 (CDT)

About references again

Hi, John: I am back in the saddle again. I think a bit more explanation is required on the discussion we had about multiple references using the same source:

  • CZ has two different articles on in-line references, namely Help:Index/Formatting/References which was written in August of 2010 and CZ:List-defined references which was written just 4-5 days ago because the list-defined references methodology just became available to us when CZ updated our system software a few weeks ago.
  • When you brought up the subject of using multiple references to the same source, you did so on the Talk page of the older article ( Help: Index/Formatting/References) ... and I then pointed out to you that there was a later and better (in my opinion) way of handling references in general as well as multiple references to the same same source in the newer article (CZ:List-defined references).
  • I have just gone back and re-read all of our discussion on the Talk page of the older article and found that I referred you to the newer CZ:List-defined references article 4 times ... but you never clearly mentioned whether or not you had read that newer article. That is why I finally said "John, I simply do not understand why you avoid telling me if you have or have not read CZ:List-defined references.".

I agree with you that it is not a matter of great importance and I am quite willing to forget it altogether as you suggested. But I just want to be sure that you were not offended by my saying "John, I simply do not understand why you avoid telling me if you have or have not read CZ:List-defined references.". Milton Beychok 22:42, 12 May 2011 (CDT)

Hi Milt: Yes, I got confused between the two Talk pages. No harm done, I hope. I wasn't concerned with what interested you, and vice versa. In the example:
Here is first occasion[1] and here is second occasion[2]


  1. Morris Kline (1990). “Chapter 51: §2: The paradoxes of set theory”, Mathematical thought from ancient to modern times, Volume 3, Paperback reprint of 1972 ed. Oxford University Press, pp. 1183 ff. ISBN 0195061373. 
  2. Morris Kline (1990). “Chapter 50: §5: Combinatorial invariants”, Mathematical thought from ancient to modern times, Volume 3, Paperback reprint of 1972 ed. Oxford University Press, pp. 1176 ff. ISBN 0195061373. 
to my eye this looks like two different references, especially if they are widely separated by other sources in the listing. I'd prefer to abbreviate repeated occurrences, like this:
Here is first occasion[1] and here is second occasion[2]


  1. Morris Kline (1990). “Chapter 51: §2: The paradoxes of set theory”, Mathematical thought from ancient to modern times, Volume 3, Paperback reprint of 1972 ed. Oxford University Press, pp. 1183 ff. ISBN 0195061373. 
  2. Morris Kline. “Chapter 50: §5: Combinatorial invariants”, Cited work, pp. 1176 ff. ISBN 0195061373. 

with the objective of making it clearer at a glance that the same reference has been used multiple times. John R. Brews 03:17, 13 May 2011 (CDT)

As you say, John ... no harm done. As for your examples just above, I prefer the first one and you prefer the second one. That's okay by me ... there is no mandate to do it either way. My reason for writing the article was to let everyone know that there was a new referencing method available for them to use. - Milton Beychok 10:27, 13 May 2011 (CDT)

Adding a Google search box specifically for searching the entire CZ system.

John, about 2-3 years ago, I added a Google search box which is located just below the CZ search box. The Google search box specifically searches only the CZ system. It does a better job than the CZ search box and it would have found that CZ article on citation templates whether or not you used the CZ prefix.

The instructions on how to install it are available as the last item (item 24) in my User:Milton Beychok/Storage box. You may want to consider installing it. - Milton Beychok 14:20, 13 May 2011 (CDT)

Hi Milt: I copied an pasted the script on this page, I dumped the cache and rebooted, but I'm not seeing anything new. Is there a switch I have to flip to get it to execute, or something? I am less of a computer geek than you are. John R. Brews 18:59, 13 May 2011 (CDT)
All I can say is that it worked for me. Contact User:Daniel Mietchen, he is the one who presented those instructions on the forums some years ago and he is a more knowledgeable computer person. The Google search box should show up just below the CZ search box. Milton Beychok 19:34, 13 May 2011 (CDT)
Sorry, but I am our cook and I had to prepare dinner ... and then we ate it. Here is a link to my .js file and you can compare yours to mine, item by item. That might be helpful. I hope so. If not, then perhaps you haven't cleared your cache correctly. I am not sure that the cache should have been "dumped" rather than "cleared" but maybe they are one and the same thing. Milton Beychok 20:41, 13 May 2011 (CDT)
John, did you manage to get the Google search box installed as yet? - Milton Beychok 10:06, 14 May 2011 (CDT)

Hi Milt: No, I haven't managed it. I tried changing my security settings, thinking I had disabled Java somehow, I tried Explorer and Firefox, I emptied the caches using their directions, I rebooted -- all to no effect. I haven't tried to contact Daniel yet. John R. Brews 10:12, 14 May 2011 (CDT)

Peter Schmitt seems to have solved that problem with quotes in one of the citation templates

Hi, John: I note on Chris Key's talk page that Peter Schmitt has solved the problem. I knew that one of them would know how to do that. Milton Beychok 23:33, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Need help using 'reflist' method (LDR)

John, tried unsuccessfully to use the method with Paleolithic diet. Will you take a peek and tell me what I have done wrong. Thanks. Anthony.Sebastian 01:29, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

John and Anthony, this is a copy of a post I just made on Peter Schmitt's talk page regarding Anthony's problem in using list-defined references:
Peter, you were right .... another problem has been found. Anthony Sebastian reported error messages in the Paleolithic diet article which uses the referencing method described in CZ:List-defined references. That method uses a template that involves {{reflist|refs= which was working perfectly until you revised {{reflist|2}}. Now the examples given in CZ:List-defined references are also exhibiting the same error messages as in Paleolithic diet.
Could you please revert the changes you made in {{reflist|2}} and then see if that removes the error messages from Paleolithic diet and CZ:List-defined references? If it does remove the error messages, then we will know that there is a conflict to be resolved. - Milton Beychok 02:18, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
In the article CZ: List-defined references I set up Set (mathematics) as the poster child. At the moment the references there all show Cite error: Invalid..., and they were working fine earlier. John R. Brews 03:28, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

The LDR method can also be used to produce Notes as well as References

John, take a look at the Wikipedia write-up for an example of how the LDR method can be used to produces both Notes and References in the same article.

Of course, the immediate concern is for Peter to fix the LDR template ... but I thought you would be interested in the WP write-up. - Milton Beychok 16:52, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Hi Milt:
Thanks for the link. It seems to be set out clearly there. I implemented it a little differently, and tested it on WP. But of course, who knows if CZ will get it working. John R. Brews 17:51, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm glad you found the WP article useful. The best place to try something out is our CZ test wiki ... if it works there, it will work here on the live wiki. The link to the test wiki is Test wiki and you will have to log in. You can use the same login name and password as you do for the CZ live wiki. - Milton Beychok 19:16, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Hi Milt: I was not aware of test Wiki. I'll keep it in mind. You will see my implementation at CZ:List-defined references#Putting it together using the text insertion <ref name=template group=Notes/> and using the References list-definition:

{{Reflist|group=Notes|refs= ::<ref name=template group=Notes> For details and other templates, see [[CZ:Citation templates]]</ref> ::}}

It is working, so it appears that the liberal use of quotation marks made in the WP article is not needed. John R. Brews 20:04, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Google search box again

John, you might want to look at the message that Hayford Peirce just posted on my Talk page. He has succeeded in installing the Google search box as per the same instructions that I gave you. Perhaps, you may wish to try again. Or have you already asked Daniel Mietchen for help? - Milton Beychok 21:18, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Hi Milt: I looked at Hayford's minor changes and copied his file with his changes. However, no results. At some point I'll ask Daniel for help. John R. Brews 20:26, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
I am sorry to hear of the trouble you are having with installing the Google search box. If and when you contact Daniel and he manages to help you get it installed, please let me know where my instructions need to be improved or revised. Milton Beychok 02:06, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

New physics author Terry Richard Linter Cole

Hi, John: We have a new physics author, Terry Richard Linter Cole. You may wish to post a welcome note on his Talk page. He is a retiree like you and I. Milton Beychok 17:09, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Diacritics are not accepted in reference names for list-defined references

John, I just found out that diacritics (such as ö) are not accepted within a reference name for list-defined references ... in fact, they generate error messages. You might want to add a comment about that into List-defined references. Milton Beychok 16:41, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

That is, if you have not already mentioned it somewhere in the article. Milton Beychok 16:51, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Hi Milt: The example of à was there already; I added your example of ö. John R. Brews 15:24, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

New Physics author Jim Earl

Hi, John: We have a new Physics author named Jim Earl. Please visit his Talk page and leave him a welcome message. It would also be nice if you offered to mentor him should he need help ... since you recently went through the Citizendium learning curve.

Like yourself, Jim is a retired Physics professor ... so you probably have much in common. Regards, Milton Beychok 08:00, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Thanks John!

For this.. Good to have some backup  :) D. Matt Innis 14:06, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Hi, John

Since you're at the wiki...

Please see Talk:Welcome to Citizendium and fix if you know how. Thanks! Ro Thorpe 14:23, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Charter referendum

Thanks for adding your support to the proposal for a referendum on the voting threshold to amend the Charter. John Stephenson 08:45, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Free will: preliminary comments

Hi John,

I spent two pleasant evenings studying Free will and found myself impressed with your unique way of presenting it in a sophisticated, scholarly, and coherent way. You tell an interesting story, but seem somewhat dissatisfied with the way it ends. Do never-ending stories about free will ever have an end? See the answer in the question.

A few preliminary comments:

Lede sentence: "Free will is the notion that human beings are able to choose between different courses of action in any given circumstance...

That wording might bias the reader into thinking, however non-consciously, that "free will is a notion...", synonymous with 'belief', conviction', 'concept', 'idea', 'thought', wording that might give different readers different notions as to which of those synonyms she resonates with.

In a sense, using "is" to equate "free will" and "notion", the wording identifies "free will" with "notion", with 'notion's' non-explicit sense. Thereby, have you not already revealed that you believe that "free will" is only a concept or belief, or if you think not, haven't you opened yourself to that interpretation.

It seems to me that free will considered as a notion reflects the consideration of philosophers and scientists, and not specifically the average non-philosopher or non-scientist reader, who already has the sense of free will as, not a notion or concept, but as a 'feeling' she has that she can freely choose among alternatives, or as an 'experience' she has when she decides upon a her choice.

An alternative wording might more strongly engage the reader, by describing free will with stronger subjective or personal associations, such as;

"Free will refers to that feeling, or experience, one has that one can have complete control to choose among alternative courses of action despite psychological influences to choose one specific course, and despite conflicting such influences regarding the course of action to choose." That would firmly put "free will" in the domain of conscious experience.

On another note: I like the quote by Timothy O'Connor distinguishing freedom of will and freedom of action. Of course, one might feel that one has made a free will choice of a course of action but has not the freedom to execute. But I wonder:

  • Does pre-knowledge of one's lack of freedom to carry out an act 'encourage'/'influence' one to feel one has complete control to choose that course of action? I consciously choose to personally kill my business partner who betrayed me, but I cannot leave these prison walls.
  • Does that consideration and example render the distinction (freedom of action and freedom of will) a false dichotomy?

Still studying. —Anthony.Sebastian 21:57, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

Hi Anthony:
Thanks for the interest. I changed the word "notion", but if you'd like to change the lead further, please go for it.
As to one's convictions about free will influencing one's actions - ah, there's a conundrum within a conundrum. Here is an article about this. Here's a follow-up.
As for the false dichotomy between freedom of action and freedom of will, maybe, as suggested in the article, addiction is a case where one wills to quit, but cannot execute. (I hope that this use of "will" is not some semantic trap.) I've had that experience with smoking. Over the long haul ability to execute the will to stop prevailed, and some find that is easier with a patch. So maybe one has to ask the question of free will not just over the short term but also the long term, and in various circumstances. John R. Brews 15:16, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

Henry's law

John, would you like to look at "Talk:Henry's law/Draft#A_mistake?" and maybe voice your opinion? --Boris Tsirelson 19:21, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Nominations for Management and Editorial Councils

You have been nominated for seats on both the Management and Editorial Councils in the July-August Special Election. The nominator was myself. To accept or decline these nominations, please visit the Nominations page here (for the Management Council seat) and here (for the Editorial Council Author seat) by midnight UTC on July 27th. You may write an election statement for each if you wish (linked from the Nominations page).

The Management Council seat runs until June 30th, 2014 or June 30th, 2015 (the successful candidate with the fewest votes receiving the shorter term) and the Editorial Council seat expires on December 31st, 2013. In the event that Referendum 1 is passed, all seats will expire on June 30th, 2014. Thanks! John Stephenson 17:08, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for accepting my nomination; I realise you did so reluctantly, but the post should not take up huge amounts of time. John Stephenson 17:40, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Adding my thanks that you accepted the nomination. I'm as "reluctant" as the rest; I'm terrible at keeping track of all the CZ charter rules. And yet, I'd still like to see it find a way to keep going and revive itself. If a few of us hang on, maybe a miracle will happen.Pat Palmer 13:43, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Searching Google for text in Google Books previews

John, I went to a Google book preview and did an image capture of a sentence. Then I ran the sentence image through an optical character reader program. I copy/pasted the sentence into Google search, bracketed in double quotes. It immediately found the book and the text where it was in.

I did this with three different Google books, and it worked perfectly each time.

If I had a sentence from another source and a Google searched it, it should be found in a Google book if it exists there. I don't know if it would only find it if the book had a preview that contained it. Anthony.Sebastian 22:53, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

Anthony: I have the experience of having a google book page open in one window, copied a sentence into the 'exact word or phrase' box, and found google didn't find it. I have then cut the sentence into fragments and sometimes found it, sometimes not. This occurs even when all the words are standard English; if some of the quote involves symbols, you are out of luck.
If the book has been completely scanned you have a chance of finding a phrase or sentence, even if only a snippet view is available.
If the book has not been scanned you have no chance. A related issue is that google changes the portion of a book that is accessible from time to time. I don't know if the same portions of a book are accessible to everyone, or if there is some reader history built into this censorship. In any event, one cannot count on a link to specific text working indefinitely.
Even if the book is well known it also can happen that google cannot find the book, especially if it has not been scanned.
Google isbn numbers quite often cannot be found on Amazon and vice versa.
In short, google is useful when it is useful and never reliable. John R. Brews 04:54, 25 August 2014 (UTC)