La lune

Manicore

About this site

manicore.com and jancovici (not dot com), reader's manual

August 2005

website of the author : www.manicore.com - contact the author : jean-marc@manicore.com

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Even though man is sometimes able to be suprisingly creative, a non negligible proportion of the messages I receive ask in various forms recurrent questions concerning this site, my mailing list, or the possibility to reproduce one of my pages on another web site. It also happens that I get "angry" reactions because I haven't yet replied to a message I received. The following information aims at - at least that's the idea ! - avoiding misunderstandings for all that concerns mail and phone exchanges. I already have enough occasions to get some ennemies !

The "answers to most frequently asked questions" of this page are grouped in 5 sub-sections :

where does it come from that I have the time to write all this and that on climate or energy, whether I am paid by the nuclear industry to write nice things on it, can I really be considered as a serious person since I do not work in a research lab, etc (that's the first sub-section of the page),

some elements on the mailing list

why didn't I reply before, or more thoroughly, to a question I received

whether it is possible to get me on the phone

whether it is possible to reproduce texts published on this site

 

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A couple of elements on this website

Who is hiding behind manicore.com ?

Though it bears the name of my modest consulting company (necessarily modest since I am the only employee !), this is a personnal website (if you absolutely want to see what I look like and a couple of basic elements on my curriculum, it's here). It therefore obeys exactely the same rules than the website of someone who is mad of butterflies, last century warplanes, chinese recipes, 12st century theater actresses, or moutain bike : it is done during my "free time", presenting in a personnal way information I got from my readings or discussions, calculations I have done for my clients but that I am allowed to use for public information, calculations that I have done by mere curiosity, without anyone asking for anything (which is the case for most my webpages, actually, and the question of why on Earth do I consider valuable to spend time to calculate this or that, rather than trying to convince the lady next door that I am the most desirable man, remains unanswered), and more or less stupid thoughts that all these figures can inspire me.

 

Am I paid to write this site ?

The answer is no. I have always made my living by doing something else than the apprentice-webmaster. Since I operate in the climate change sector, what allows me to eat mostly consists in calculation on greenhouse gases emissions, and in the development of tools and methodologies that allow to do so, such as the carbon inventory.

Of course, some of these calculations might be used in pages I put online (for example those I have done on the "greenhouse gas content of food"),but the decision to add a page on my website and its content are under my exclusive control (ah, it's good to be the king, even if my kingdom is a small portion of a hard disk somewhere in a computer of my ISP !).

The clients that I mention on the "references" page refer only to my professionnal activity, and are in no way - and have never been - the sponsors of this site, or requested a specific page. I suppose I could not keep clients if all of them were profoundly irritated by the philosophico-documentary reflexions I put online (and actually, as long as I do correctly the job they ask me to do, it's not al all certain !), but I never had the least inteference of one of my clients with the content of one of my webpages, even on potentially "polemistic" subjects such as taxes or democraty.

What's more :

I am not - and have never been on the payroll of whatsoever company working in the energy sector, and as a consultant I have had only minor collaborations with this sector (a couple % of my revenues over the last 5 years, and nothing before). My opinions on various forms of energy, be it oil, wind power or nuclear energy, are in no way the result of explicit demands or personal initiatives I would have taken to "defend" my clients.

more generally, no page of this site has ever been ordered by anyone, with the exception of some articles published in papers or journals that might have followed an invitation to write them (list here for those published or translated in English).

I therefore do not know whether I am "independant", because I remain perfectly dependant of my bank, my clients, the fact that I am French, engineer, already an old-timer according to Pagnol (that is over 40 !), and that I own less hats - and most certainly less dollars - than Elton John, but at least I can boast an absence of direct and total dependancy regarding this website.

 

How did this website was born ?

"Because it happened" would probably be the best of answers. For God knows what reason, I began trying to understand the various aspects of the climate change file at the end of the nineties, at a time when my job was pretty far from greenhouse gases emissions (I was then in telecommunications !). I then realized that there was nothing - book or website - that offered a global view on climate change related issues for the interested profane, not too allergic to figures, that is "something" associating the scientific data, the magnitude of the possible elements of solution, and the social implications of the setting up of a "solution".

I then began to attend lectures, then organize some for some colleagues that did not know anything more than I did but wanted to know as much as I did, and I went forward by publishing some "lecture notes" in my alumni paper, that received a suprisingly warm welcome from my first readers. I then decided to listen to my sole inconsciousness, and out of these first writings I made a small "documentary" section on the website I already had (all independant consultants have a bit of website somewhere where they explain how they are more handsome, smarter, more efficient, and considerably cheaper than the idiot next door that pretends to be a competitor).

These first writings have had another major consequence for the future feeding of this site : they enabled me to establish a direct link with a growing number of researchers, without whose patience (because boy, I can be a pain when I want to know...) and kindness this site would never have become what it is.

 

When do I take care of this site ?

Whenever I can ! Since all the feeding of this website and the answering of the messages I get remains benevolous, it explains that updates are done very irregularly, depending on my spare time, that gets particularly hard to find when I have a professionnal or personal "boom".

However, I feel only moderatly bound by the "news" : my wish is rather to offer a little documentary background, available whenever the occasion to investigate climate change passes by for others. I sometimes "stick to the news" (for example I wrote a small speech for the release in France of a movie based on a climate catastropha), but most of the updates I put online could as well have been written 6 months before or 6 months later.

 

Am I a scientist ?

The answer is no : I do not work in a research lab, I do not have any title given by an academic or scientific institution (such as "associate professor", "researcher", etc), I did not complete a thesis (and actually never started one !), and I do not publish articles in peer-reviewed scientific papers. My job is "engineer".

As nothing is simple, however, I share a couple of characteristics with the scientific population, that I appreciate meeting with pleasure : I received a scientific training, I usually manage to get the general idea of scientific papers I read and scientific lectures I attend, and my works - that are "technical" for the most part - are read and checked by people that are normally able to understand what's going on, and most of all able to veto the publication if they spot something "wrong", that is assertions unproven or that contradicts known facts.

Another common characteristic that I share with scientists is that I use primary data that often come out of the scientific litterature, or technical publications that followed a "scientific-alike" validation process (peer review), and that I very often have to design a bit of excel formula.

Part of my activity therefore "looks like" that of a scientist if seen from the outside, what explains that many journalists willingly put this label on my forehead, though it is not appropriate. It is also worth noting that I seldom use physical, chemical or biological formulas in the course of my work. Many researchers from labs dealing with climate change study could easily switch to my job, when the opposite is far from being true.

 

Is this site validated by scientists ?

Here again, the formal answer is no : this site has no "scientific committee", aimed at backing up the information that are online, and I do not ask anyone a formal authorization before adding up a new page. I am sole responsible for what is published here, and no scientist should be considered as bound by what is written here for the sole motive that (s)he is quoted.

This being said, as I have a very moderate envy to become ridiculous, a minimum amount of credibility being not without use for my job, I try as much as I can the informative part of my future pages with competent people before putting things online. But this cannot, in no way, be considered as equivalent to a peer-review validation process, similar to what is done for any scientific journal. Even the fact that a number of scientists belong to my mailing list cannot be considered as a guarantee : I am never sure that hey will have the time to give a look at what I wrote, much less to send me a word if I have written something stupid.

Now it is obvious that whenever I receive a word from a competent person that mentions a possible mistake, I hurry up to take it into account. If I summarize, what I can say is that I put all chances on my side so that my modest pages remain compatible with the start of the art scientific knowledge, and everyoone will appreciate what level of confidence it might confer to my writings and to the information enclosed here.

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Mailing list of manicore.com

You appreciate feeling a delicious chill in the back ? You want to organize your 2098 summer holidays right now ? You want to make your neighbor desperate and think I can help ? For all those that dream of only one thing : knowing more on energy and climate change, I send once in a while a little word to inform of the recent updates, any interested person being welcome to get on the mailing list.

Of course, the idea of giving one's email to a perfect stranger might seem a little annoying to some individuals (and do I understand you !), so here are a couple of questions you will probably ask yourself before doing anything (or rather let's say that I would ask myself these questions if I were you !) and what I can try to answer to them.

 

Will the messages fill up my mailbox in less than a eye blink ?

The periodicity of my "newsletter" heavily depends on the spare time that I have, and the divine inspiration that gets to me or not. Initially supposed to be a monthly letter, it is presently rather shifting to twice per year... What triggers a new message is the writing of 4 to 5 "true" new pages, so let's say I will bother you 4 times in a year at most. I still believe that I am a minor menace compared to Viagra sellers.

 

What is there in the message ?

Apart from the traditional starting joke, you will find a short description of the content of the new pages, with a direct link. My messages never have any attachment. They do not include, either, the complete list of what has changed since the last mail, for the following are generally excluded :

minor modifications of an existing page, that are sometimes indicated on the "what's new" page

a new reference (anyway you don't care, do you ?)

a new link....

 

How many people already receive the news ?

My mailing list for the french part of my website includes a little over 2,500 people in late july 2005, but at the same date the mailing list for the english part includes a ridiculous number of entries : 140 names only ! (Obviously it does not reflect the respective proportions of french and english speaking people on the planet). Of course, I personnally know only a small fraction of my readers. I gladly put on the list anyone that asks for it, regardless of age, sex, profession, political opinions, planet inhabited, or amount owned to the income revenue service.

I sometimes also take the initiative to register people that write to me to "discuss" my favourite topics, when I assume that receiving 3 to 4 messages per year is something that they will tolerate (but I make some mistakes, of course, like everybody else...).

 

Can I suggest people I know for suscription ?

Yes of course, but depending on the case I might add him(her) or not. The "suscription" will be automatic for some categories, for which I consider that receiving information - including all kind of scrap - is part of their job : if (s)he is a journalist, a political advisor, etc, there is no chance to escape, and spamming (4 times a year, still, Viagra sellers are kind of more active....) is guaranteed. Otherwise I respect privacy, and will not include anyone that doesn't ask directely, but I will of course strongly encourage you to contact him (her) directely - at your own risk ! - and suggest to register.

 

I know that times are hard for consultants : won't my adress be sold to every spammer in the world ?

My adress book is for my eyes only and is not given (let alone sold) to anyone. Besides, I have never sollicitated a person on my list to try to sell him (or her) whatever kind of work. This risk is even diminished by the fact that I ask no-one to tell me who he(she) is and what he(she) does when he(she) asks to be kept informed of the updates.

 

Won't I receive a full load of virus ?

I work on an Apple computer (you can check that in the header of the messages you receive from me). I am therefore insensible to viruses that are designed to execute on Windows operating systems. If I receive a virus, I just see an attachment that won't open, and that's all. No chance it self executes, and sends insults to my whole adress book. Of course, maybe I will be infected some day by some virus specifically designed for Apple computers, but with a few % of the total number of PCs in the world this brand has not interested the skillfull programmers so far, and it does not seem likely that it will be the case in the future.

The thing I can say for sure is that I never infected any other computer.

 

Can I stop receiving messages ?

Of course : it is not necessary to send a message with "remove" (or is it "unsuscribe" ?), while checking that the email adress you use is the one at which you received the message ; I am just a humble human and any (preferably nice !) word explaining that you want to unsuscribe will do the job.

 

More questions ?

I can't think of anything else... Just send me your question !

 

Reassured ?

All you have to do is write me to suscribe !

Subscription

To subscribe, just give me your mail

Unsubscription

If you don't want to receive email any more, said it here

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Other mail exchanges

The messages that I receive from people I do not know (or even that I know !) are not limited, of course, to requests for being put on my mailing list. Here is a little "generic" information on what happens to the other sweet words that I get :

nobody else than me reads my mail : I do not have any secretary, assistant, R2D2, or colleague whatsoever doing the job for me. I therefore read directly all the messages I get, and, except if there is a technical problem or I cannot get to the end of the hallucinated logorrhea you sent me, I will eventually read everything I receive. I never discard a message before reading it, except for junk mail, of course.

I personnally reply, sooner or later, to all messages I get (except junk mail, of course !). Again, I have neither a secretary nor an assistant that will reply for me, so any answer you receive is mine,

If I do not reply whithin 5 minutes, it is not necessarily because I hate you. Here are several other options :

my antispam thought your message was an irresistible offer for Viagra or the lastest software to win billions at the roulette, and shot it down in flames without even warning me. To avoid such a possible outcome, be careful not to choose a too generic title for your message (like "hello", "your website", "urgent"...), and also avoid writing 25 times the word "free" in the message,

I never received your message for whatsoever other technical reason, without you being informed (it's not frequent, but it already happened),

I am so absorbed by some intense thinking that I forget to answer to all the marvelous creatures that send me some kilobytes (and, honestly, I am not in a hurry to answer that they mixed me up with the Brad Pitt fan club),

I left for a little walk, with no portable computer (and not even a cellular phone, would you believe it !)

I came back from my little walk, and am drowned under the pile of 372 messages I received, all of them requesting an urgent answer, of course,

I am not really interested by learning more on the manufacturing of cooking pots in ancient Mesopotamia ....

You sent me 15 pages to read for advice, and I have an article to write, a report to finish, a calculation to complete, and I am about to leave for a business trip in two days...

More seriously, I have some urgent work to do for a client (believe it or not, I do have clients sometimes !). Be patient, the answer will come, eventually...

In short, don't feel offended if I do not reply in the next minute : I will do it, eventually, you can be sure. For a first contact, the shorter your message and the more precise your question, and the faster the answer will come (how sadly ordinary, isn't it ?).

 

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Availability on the phone

As opposed to my mail management, that I can do "after hours", in the train, etc, any phone call uses part of the time I am physically present at my desk, when my presence time has had a strong tendancy to shrink more and more lately. The phone also requires that I write down "somewhere" any instruction or information useful for the follow-up. Phone calls (other than personal, of course !) are therefore devoted first of all :

to my clients,

to the media,

and to people with which I already have something "in the pipe".

For a first contact in any other case, I will always prefer the mail, unless phoning is really justified. The (very) small FAQ belows gives a little additional information.

 

I am a student, may I call to ask a question ?

Honestly, I had rather not, except if the question is so original, and so hard to put in writing that I will definitely not regret to pick up the phone to talk to you. Send me your question by mail instead, what will allow me to have it at hand (my portable computer follows me about everywhere), and I will answer you as soon as I can, depending on my own constraints. Do not forget to search my site first to see if what you are looking for is not "somewhere" in the jungle of my pages. If yes, you will get the answer much faster ! And please avoid sending a message that, read between the lines, means (it does happen, yes !) : would you have, by any chance, something I could paste and copy instead of doing my homework ?" !! (do not forget that teachers and professors also have Internet access...)

 

May I call for a proposal to give a lecture ?

Here also, for a first contact, I have a strong preference for the mail : everything is already written "somewhere", and I can be more efficient in my agenda management by grouping all that is related to conference offers during a restricted time slot (do not forget that I do not have any secretary managing my agenda for me !).

 

I left a message on the answering machine a week ago and never got called back, is it normal ?

Except during holidays, the answer is no. I call back anyone leaving a message, even if the said message is irrelevant, or the delay to react has expired (in the latter case, the reason was that the time left to react was too short given my constraints !). It also happens - fortunately not too often - that I destroy unvoluntarily a message on my answering machine without having listened to it. If I do not call back within a couple days and that I am not notoriously "out of office" (which is mentionned on this other page when I leave for a week or more), do not hesitate to call again.

 

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Reproduction of pages

It's fame ! I receive at least once per century a message asking whether it is possible to reproduce "somewhere" one of my pages, what lead me to write a little something on what I wish and what I do not wish. I hope that the most frequently asked questions regarding this subject are below.

 

Is it possible to put a link pointing to a page of manicore.com ?

Of course, since that's the whole idea of the Internet ! As anything that is part of my website is public by nature, it is more than obvious that any webmaster (or webmistress) may put a link pointing to any page of my site, without asking, and even if it is to criticize the content. I insist on adding that you do not have any obligation to put a link to my site when I put one to yours.

 

May I ask that manicore.com includes a link to my website ?

Of course, you are free to ask ! But, as you will understand, I cannot say yes automatically : I must first find the time to read more or less thoroughly the suggested site (I never put a link without doing so), and the said time might be very hard to find before a number of weeks. Then the said page or website must include factual and trustworthy information (so it must relate to a field where I am able to judge whether it is trustworthy !) that seem perfectly suited to answer a question that many people have in mind.

And, of course, it seems to me that I keep the possibility not to include the requested link, if the suggested website isn't a relevant complement to what is enclosed on my own pages. In particular, I do not feel bound by the obligation to "reciprocate" for any website that points to mine, just to be polite (how prepoisterous, uh ! but what the reader is seeking on a site, mine or that of anybody else, isn't it precisely a given selection of the available information, on the basis of criteria that are associated to the author ?).

And anyway, if I had to "reciprocate" in a systematic way, I should permanently manage the new, existing, and dead links that point to my site : with several hundreds of such links (says Google), I would devote to this task my whole days, nights, and the rest of the time !

 

May I reproduce a page of manicore.com on a website I manage ?

I will of course not sue all those that will do so, but I wish not, and here are the reasons :

As opposed to printed articles published on paper, my pages are "never finished". They evolve, sometimes permanently, depending on the last available information, remarks I can get, etc (that's why a number of my pages have a "last modification date"). Reproducing elsewhere a page of my website is "freezing" elsewhere a version that might not be the one I wish to see circulating around a couple months later, because I will have spotted a mistake, because a conclusion will have to be modified or nuanced, because some extra information - that will then seem essential - will have been added, etc.

As the reader will easily notice, my pages generally include numerous links to other pages of my website, that will not be kept in case of transfer "elsewhere". Well, consultation statistics show that many people "land" on one of my pages after a search on an eponymous engine, then follow some links before leaving. Such a behaviour is of course impossible with a page that has lost its links to other pages.

my consultation statistics, precisely, are of good help to know what people are interested in. Full reproductions of my texts "elsewhere" deprive me of useful information to appreciate the degree of interest for this or that.

For all these reasons, I therefore do not wish a reproduction of my pages on another websites, links being precisely designed for doing almost the same thing. I hope everyone wil understand !

 

May I use a graph coming from manicore.com for a page of my website, or for a homework, or a conference, etc ?

Most of the graphs that are enclosed in my pages are coming from articles published in the scientific or technical press. In such a case I am not the one in position to grant whatsoever reproduction rights, but the general answer to the above question is "yes, provided you mention the source" (which is not me, of course), because that's the common rule for scientific litterature. Quoting a source must include the name of the author(s) (or the name of the lead author followed by "et al."), the name of the journal, and the date of publication (for figures published by an organism, such as the IEA, one might mention only the name of the organism and the year).

When no source is mentionned below one of my graphs (particularly for bar charts or pie charts), or when it is mentionned "calculation of the author", then the source is... me. Quoting still applies, either referring to the published article if the case arises, or to the web page on which the graph is otherwise.

 

May I reproduce the pages of this site on paper ?

You may freely copy on paper and distribute (but it is not very "sustainable" if you make 350 copies !) any page of this site for a non-commercial use (typically applies to people in education and research, NGOs, etc), and even if it is to criticize the content, but I will ask that you leave the mention of the website on the top of the page, and reproduce the whole page to avoid any distorsion of my opinions.

Otherwise it is obvious that I would moderately appreciate that you sell some of my work for your profit !

And at last, if you wish to reproduce one of my pages in a paper or journal (provided it has not been published already), something that I generally willingly accept, please contact me to discuss it.

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