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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2555 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

DON’T add me to your social network, I have NO IDEA who you are

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Couldn't resist adding "Improbable Research" to my list of skills. Well, I do have 3 papers in Annals of Improbable Research to my "credit"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Swirling JDs??

Jack Daniels? Was there no whisky available? (sorry, couldnae resist!!)

Of course, after a couple few people appreciate the difference, but mine's a single malt whisky any time (Islay or Speyside, depending on my mood), but that may be my Scottish forebears whispering in my ears (or just random voices in my head, of course)

Fancy connecting over drinks, anyone? Loads more fun than LinkedIn

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LOHAN in FIGHT to DEATH with brace of cantankerous canards

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Phew!

Which might still happen on the last leg of the descent

Mission control to LOHAN: DUCK!!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Teflon is just wonderful stuff

I have used it so often in building telescope mounts, and it just gives a thrill to see things suddenly move smoothly, without wobble or stiction. Not surprised it got the canards sorted. Smoke from servos and sticky canards don't mix, unlike smoke from apple wood and marinated magret de canard.

\

Darn, hunrgy now

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Facebook goes TITSUP across WORLD! Who will look at your cousin's baby NOW?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Who will look at your cousin's baby NOW?

Your cousin?

Sorry, couldn't resist

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Elon Musk: Just watch me – I'll put HUMAN BOOTS on Mars by 2026

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

But

Has he got a white Persian cat?

Kudos to Elon, though, he has the balls, and business mind to do stuff I dreamed of as a kid watching the Apollo programme unfold. I got my kids very excited when I pointed to Mars in the sky, and told them two robot cars made on earth were trundling around there. I do hope at some point I can point there and say there are people on that red dot in the sky.

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YouTube will nuke indie music videos in DAYS, says Google exec

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Sounds like

"That's a nice independent label you've got there, it would be such a shame if something happened to it"

Monopolies are OK according to the law in most places provided you do not abuse that position. I would say the indie labels have a case

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Missiles-on-rooftops Brit spy Farr: UK gov can slurp your Facebook, Twitter ... What of it?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Black Helicopters

Re: Where are the Register's servers located?

Can GCHQ spy on Register posts? Well, I can see them, so at a wild guess, they can.

I therefore do not see any reason for them not to have a look see

Corollary: Do not mention "plans for the revolution" on the Register

Oops

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Microsoft 'Catapults' geriatric Moore's Law from CERTAIN DEATH

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Interesting stuff

Maybe SIMD is not the best turn of phrase. As I see it, FPGAs could work well if the processing steps are fairly predetermined. I do not see FPGAs working on the data-driven processing order required for my kind of image and volume filtering work, but then I haven't got much experience with FPGAs, so maybe I am wrong

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Here's a Lesson Learned (from SDR) for anyone going down this road...

Absolutely true. Reprogramming FPGAs is a bottleneck to many. A software platform which could ease that pain would help, but I trust that might be as difficult as compilers which "automatically" recognize how to parallellise code. I have seen examples of the latter which handled quite a few situations admirably, but feed them e.g. a queue based algorithm and they are stuck. Many challenging problem require real originality.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting stuff

FPGAs do offer interesting ways to extend the power of computers, especially for SIMD type situations (and there are loads of these). I will see if our library has that paper available.

I thought Moore's law was not so much an assertion as an observation. I gather he observed a trend in the data so far, and suggested the exponential growth might go on for a while yet. I do not think he envisaged it to last as long as it has.

I do tire of people who still suggest Moore's Law will come to the rescue of their pathetically slow algorithms. I always like to point out that even if Moore's Law continues unabated, the amount of data their quadratic, cubic, or even exponential complexity algorithms algorithms can handle will not grow in the same way. Instead, the amount of data will grow by the square or cube root of two for each doubling, and in the exponential case you can add one data item per doubling of speed.

The end of Moore's Law might put an end to this form of sloppy thinking

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Han Solo headed for lengthy stay in bacta tank after Bay Door Control cockup

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Lego re-enactment?

No playmobil available?

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BOFH: On the contrary, we LOVE rebranding here at the IT dept

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Nut allergy

I must use that. The rest was brilliant too

Our IT department (originally computer centre) was rebranded CIT (Communication add Information Technology). Some people bacronymed that to Communication Is Taboo.

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MIGHTY SOLAR FLARES fail to DESTROY CIVILISATION. Yes!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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These weren't pointing at us

I spotted one of the two through my solar scope, and caught the aftermath of one on camera (it is the bright spot on the left on the linked image). The active region shown here has produced quite a bit of fireworks, lately.

As can clearly be seen, these were not pointing anywhere nearly in our direction (even accounting for the rotation of the sun. Even an X20+ would be highly unlikely to harm us in that case. The headline is therefore the equivalent of "Bullet aimed elsewhere fails to kill man"

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'CAPTAIN CYBORG': The wild-eyed prof behind 'machines have become human' claims

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: BAFTA.

An Ig Nobel prize might be on the cards, however

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DAMN you El Reg, CALL ME A BOFFIN, demands enraged boffin

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Weren't the Boffins related to the Bagginses?

Or was that the Bulgers?

Sorry, I'll get me coat

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Shock!

Boffins really, really need a sense of humour. If you cannot poke fun at life, the universe, and everything, you might end up starting to take yourself and (worse) your ideas way to seriously. You might even end up believing in them, which totally scuppers your critical attitude. A good capacity for self-deprecation or even self mockery is important in science.

This is why I like writing the odd paper for Annals of Improbable Research. Must get that paper on pasta-antipasta collision experiments finished.

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Texan parks quadcopter atop Dallas Cowboys stadium

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Dallas, we have a problem

Sorry, couldn't resist

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Plucky Playmonaut bails out of smoking Vulture 2

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Luckily the story is supported by evidence

otherwise it would be seen as a canard about a canard

OK, OK, I'm off!

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Boffins publish SciFi story to announce exoplanet find

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I wonder

if they will be raising a glass at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute here in Groningen.

I sure will (as if I need such an excuse)

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AMD tops processor evolution with new mobile Kaveri chippery

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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hUMA is very interesting

For many problems, getting things to work efficiently on a GPU is limited by the small working memory of the stream processors, and the costs of transferring data to and from this working memory. Besides, certain tasks have parts best performed on the CPU, and other parts better suited to the GPU, be removing the need to pump data from one memory partition to another, speeds could increase dramatically.

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Balls to the World Cup: Brazuca wins in the wind

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: I remember the old leather footballs

Concrete AND nails?! That's, posh, that is

We would have just LOVED to have concrete. We had a ball of depleted uranium (IF we were lucky), and died of radiation poisoning after EVERY game, and our dad would come and dance on our grave and sing "Hallelujah!"

And if you tell kids they never believe a word of what you are saying

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Spammer sprung to run Russian national payment system

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Going Postal ...

springs to mind. As does "Making Money"

Although in this case one wonders if the "angel" was bought. After all, I would hesitate to equate Havelock Vetinari to Vladimir Putin. Someone might raise an eyebrow at that

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How to grill an EMC division chief

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

If you grill an EMC division chief

does it smell like bacon?

Sorry, cross-talk with other thread. All that talk of bacon has made me hungry

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Watch: Sun BELCHES PLASMA large enough to ENGULF 35 EARTHS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Great video at stunning resolution

The sun has been very active over the weekend too, some massive prominences visible. I imaged one which was still active this morning. Hugely fascinating object, that sun of ours

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ASUS launches 5-in-1 Android Windows Phone laptop tablet (breathe)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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That device is perfect ...

to freak out my missus. While she is working in windows mode, and slips out to make a cup of coffee, slip in the phone (which is behind the screen and therefore not visible), tap the screen, and sit back to observe the ensuing panic. As my wife panics whenever a button or menu is shifted in software she demanded me to install, I cannot imagine the degree of panic caused by an "inexplicable" change in OS.

Tempting, very tempting

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Readers' choice: What every small-business sysadmin needs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Like

the mention of the cattleprod

but then I love the sound of KZZZEEERT in the morning

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Fat-fingered admin downs entire Joyent data center

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Fat fingers or ...

BOFH keyboard, or BOFH control centre

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What can The Simpsons teach us about stats algorithms? Glad you asked...

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Or you plot the data or residuals at check out if the linear trend you are assuming is evident.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Not just government officials, but many others in big data. Too often they assume that arbitrary aggregation will result in better statistics (e.g., because the standard error in the mean is reduced), whereas all too often piling up data from different sources in fact obscures certain effects.

Well-written article again.

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Did NASA probe detect a KILLER GAMMA-RAY burst in Andromeda?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Off-axis in this context means outside the centre of the field of view of the instrument. Raw brightness data from many instruments need correction for contamination from nearby bright sources.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: NASA have changed their mind

Pity

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: That could mean a VERY bright supernova in visible light

I do not doubt that (in the words of sir Patrick Moore) this will have "all the crackpots crawling out of the woodwork". A type 1a in M31 would be about magnitude 5, but that would not cause a GRB-like event. I would expect this to be brighter (although much depends on extinction by dust)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

That could mean a VERY bright supernova in visible light

Naked eye most likely. I'll be getting out the bins the moment the clouds clear (not likely at the moment), but supernovae last quite a while, so we should get to see it.

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Watch: Kids slam Apple as 'BORING, the whole thing is BORING'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: When I were a lad

LUXURY!

We would have LOVED to have a hoop, people with hoops were posh.

All WE had was a broken twig, but we were happy!

</Yorkshire accent>

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Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Slood?

sorry, I'll get me coat

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Print dialogs

Or printers that do not refuse to print a black and white document just because the yellow ink has run out (again!). Funnily enough, some Linux printer drivers will allow B&W printing, whereas the windows version won't

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Beautiful balloon burst caught on camera

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Wonderful footage and images

One to show my kids for sure

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CERN: Build terabit networks or the Higgs gets it!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Alternatively

You need to realise that 1 PB/s is 0.02% of what is detected. 99.8 or so % is discarded on detectors "boards" already, before it hits the first cable.

Very true.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Alternatively

True, as a scientist you do not like throwing away anything, but with projects like LOFAR, SKA, and the like there is little other option. One trick in the case of LHC-like is to store the detected tracks in a parametric way rather than storing every point that made up the track. That makes a big difference. Might we miss things? Certainly, can we store all the data for later reuse? Not at the moment.

You really want to be able to do both. Processing faster to get the information from the data and store every bit quickly.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Alternatively

They need faster data reduction methods. We are actually working on much faster processing methods to extract the information from the raw data, so the raw data need not all be stored before processing. They do use preprocessing methods for reducing storage now, but existing methods do not scale well, so for ever faster data rates better, lower complexity algorithms are needed.

Not that I would mind kit with the specs they want. I want that too. And not to run Crysis!

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Facebook wants to LISTEN IN on the songs and vids playing in YOUR living room

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I would let them listen to an endless tape with Marvin's autobiography

That should do it.

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Boffin fights fire with EXPLOSIVES instead of water

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: It's not going to scale up to wildfire size

NUKE THE FIRE FROM ORBIT

It's the only way to be sure

Sorry, couldn't resist. Mine is the one with the Aliens DVD in the pocket

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Scientists capture DEATH STAR in VIOLENT EXPLOSION

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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First-rate boffinry!

Really interesting stuff.

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Fuel for jets DOES grow on trees

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Fetch us a ..... SHRUBBERY!!!!!

I nice one.

And not to expensive!

NI!

sorry, couldn't resist, mine is the one with the Holy Grail DVD in the pocket

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Microsoft Surface 3 Pro: Flip me over, fondle me up

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Screen too small?

I actually rather like my 13" laptop (16:10 ratio, rather than 16:9). I am looking to replace it by a 13-14", no bigger. I am also very happy with my 10" ASUS transformer pad. That seems to be a MUCH better format for a tablet/laptoplet(or notebooklet) than this offering from MS, and gives me 15-16 hours of use (with less grunt, but I get that from my laptop. I do not mind having two or three devices, but maybe I am weird (i.e. not the category the marketeers are interested in)

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Achtung! Use maths to smash the German tank problem – and your rival

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice one again

Had not heard of this one. Very interesting read. Looking forward to the rest of the series

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FINGERS CROSSED: Apple and Samsung said to be hammering out settlement

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Or...

Maybe a beancounter worked out that the cost in lawyers' fees was outstripping the amount of cash to be gained from a victory

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Uncivil engineering: US society skewers self-published science

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: What happens-

ArXiv is an example. Some journals do not allow you to publish with them if it has been released previously (even some bone-headed reviewers have difficulty with it), but many just see it as an "author accepted" form that is OK.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Copyright transfer forms come in different forms

When you publish with any scientific publisher you almost always have to sign a copyright transfer agreement. Many publishers simply use this as a means to clear themselves of copyright infringement charges, because you have to declare that the material is your own, and you have the right to sign over the copyright to them. Any extraneous material must be covered with a separate permission from the holders (which is never a problem, because the holders are only too happy that their material is being used, and that therefore they are cited).

Some publishers also want exclusive rights to publication, although all I know allow you to use your own work freely in non-commercial publications like e.g. a PhD thesis. Springer in its Lecture Notes in Computer Science requests you not to put your material on-line until one year after publication. It is not a prohibition, but since they ask nicely I tend to comply. IEEE allows you to post your material provided you show a clear copyright statement and state that the material is only provided for quick dissemination of scientific results for research and educational purposes, but not for any commercial use. This is entirely reasonable.

What the ASCE is doing seems a bit harsh, but the authors must read what they are signing. A colleague of mine crosses out any condition he does not like, initials the changes, signs the forms, and sends it in. He has never been challenged on these changes. I suggest all authors in ASCE publications follow that example.

Alternatively, you can publish in open access journals (or use the open access scheme of some journals with hybrid publishing format). Somewhat more expensive, but compared to the cost of doing the research itself it is nothing. You then simply link to the version on the journal's website and everybody can access it.

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