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Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

Diss Champ Graduate School (279 comments)

If you find a professor that you like and likes you, you can get a graduate degree without new debt, and folks won't care what your undergraduate degree is in once you have an appropriate graduate degree.

The choice of professor is critical for you for several reasons:
1. You need someone in the department to help get you accepted despite your out of area undergrad degree
2. You will be doing what your professor wants with most of your time- so choose wisely
3. You are going to need good advice on which classes are critical to actually take to fill in your knowledge gaps vs which ones you can pick up relevant material quickly on your own.
4. A good professor will have research or teaching funding to pay you while you're spending your time doing what they tell you to.
5. A good professor has connections that will help you find a job after your degree.

3 days ago

Fusion Reactor Concept Could Be Cheaper Than Coal

Diss Champ Re:Patents? (315 comments)

US patents only last 20 years. If they actually get an economically viable reactor up & working within 20 years (and even the bit more it takes the patent to work its way through to issuance), I'm OK with them having a patent for the rest of the 20, despite the fact they got govt help at this stage. The improved externalities are sufficient public good in my opinion.

about 2 months ago

FCC Chairman: Americans Shouldn't Subsidize Internet Service Under 10Mbps

Diss Champ Re:10Mbps is still slow (353 comments)

Actually, given that the Fed's main purpose these days seems to be to inflate bubbles, I'd be happier if they chose a fiber rollout to everyone as their target bubble instead of current targets of banks & house values. At least at the end of the day my quality of life might improve in a small way, and our infrastructure would get a boost.

Similarly, I would have been happier if the Fed has decided to funnel all that money into our physical transport infrastructure.

The devil is in the details though. The big players have proven that they are perfectly willing to pocket money to build out infrastructure and then not do it. The money should have appropriate strings attached.

about 3 months ago

Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

Diss Champ Re:Something worth reading in CACM? (213 comments)

The "research highlights" section contains selections from the journals that are sometimes pretty good. I also like the pieces they pulled from Queue like Kode Vicious with is usually entertaining (granted, that's free through Queue). Armour's column is often excellent and occasionally when passed to a manager will lead to an improvement in scheduling sanity. The column Legally Speaking does a good job of digesting things to my non-expert level of comprehension on what's going with how the law affects computing, IP, etc.

I'll grant however that the signal to noise ratio for the headliner articles is often not so great. That's why I say one or two things an article rather than reading the whole thing through:). Then again, that's better than Spectrum, which I sometimes flip through without reading anything all the way through.

The trick with mags like Spectrum and CACM is that the deep stuff does tend to go to the more specific journals. That's probably why most of the things I noted as often useful to me aren't actually deep technical but more how technical intersects with other areas.

about 5 months ago

Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

Diss Champ Member of IEEE & ACM (213 comments)

I'm a member of IEEE (Computer Society) & ACM. My employer pays for the first, I pay for the second (although being in each gives a small discount to being in the other). I'm not an academic, but I usually find an article or two worth reading each month in both Computer & in Communications of the ACM.

Of course, since I primarily design hardware rather than software, this might not count as a programmer joining the ACM:).

The prices for each don't seem out of range for the quality of the publications, and for a working professional they are certainly not hard to afford even if your employer doesn't cover them. IIRC those not working can get student or hardship discounts as appropriate.

Of course, I'm not buying a bunch of Journals in each. In the past knowing people who get each of the Journals I might need worked OK. Now the corporate library serves that need with subscriptions to the digital libraries.

about 5 months ago

Japanese and Swiss Watchmakers Scoff At Smartwatches

Diss Champ Re:Missing the point (399 comments)

It seems to me that the "high-end, hand-made jewellery market that don't actually function all that well as watches" is the one that has the most to fear from "smart" watches- "smart" devices are being treated more and more like fashion accessories.

about 8 months ago

Titanium-Headed Golf Clubs Create Brush Fire Hazard In California

Diss Champ Re:So does this mean... (169 comments)


The summary says that the fairways are still irrigated. It is when the ball lands off the irrigated fairway that the problem is being reported. According to the summary, golfers are being asked to bring the ball back to the fairway to avoid starting fires if they hit the ball into the rough.

about 9 months ago

Austin Has Highest Salaries For Tech Workers, After Factoring In Cost of Living

Diss Champ New York is NOT where I want to be (285 comments)

Being able to avoid California's brand of crazy and New York's brand of crazy is a bonus to living in Austin, not a problem. Granted, we have our own issues, but they pale in comparison to the aforementioned places. If we didn't have so many Californians fleeing here and pushing up costs it would be even better- after all, most of the issues we do have are related to outgrowing our infrastructure.

about 9 months ago

Oklahoma Schools Required To Teach Students Personal Finance

Diss Champ Re:How about BO care.. (304 comments)

This would create another perverse incentive to dumb down education- as much as the complexity of current law is bad, the inability to pass laws preventing any bad behavior that requires some knowledge (i.e. limits on pollution levels) would allow tragedy of the commons abuses by the powerful to be much worse.

Another approach that might achieve the benefits you seek would be to require that every piece of legislation must be read allowed in its entirety before being voted on- and that any congress-critter who is at any point outside the room during the reading is considered to have voted "no".

One could still write something that was confusing- but at least it would be short enough enough to be read between bathroom breaks.

about 10 months ago

Majority of Young American Adults Think Astrology Is a Science

Diss Champ Re:More also want a job as a vegetarion (625 comments)

Personally, I'd much prefer a job as a veterinarian to one as a vegetarian.

I can imagine the signs held by those who want a job as a vegetarian though:

"Will work for no food!"

about 10 months ago

Hacker Says He Could Access 70,000 Healthcare.Gov Records In 4 Minutes

Diss Champ Re:Then Why No Hack Job? (351 comments)

You are making an rather huge assumption when you state it hasn't been cracked by a Black Hat. You expect press releases from someone who has taken all the information for their own uses?
You are also assuming that anyone incompetent enough to create that abomination is competent enough to notice if they have been hacked.

about a year ago

The Whole Story Behind Low AP CS Exam Stats

Diss Champ Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (325 comments)

I didn't take the HS classes for all the AP exams I took, but since I went to high school inside the beltway, I certainly agree that I was not an example of a rural student. Living in a densely populated area certainly helped to be close to where they gave the exams.

As to BWM count, I have no idea- it's not something I cared about. I got my 70s toyota for $50 and fixed it up (little things like being to see the road through the floor were disconcerting and I fixed- overall appearance not so much). It was reliable and that's what mattered.

about a year ago

The Whole Story Behind Low AP CS Exam Stats

Diss Champ Re:Do all schools even offer CS classes? (325 comments)

I was an undergrad in the 90s. I got almost a year worth of college credit from AP exams, including 10 hours of engineering calculus, and the full freshman year of CS classes (I just did CS as a minor, so that got me almost half way there). Things may have changed since then. At the time, it was true that being able to pass the exam required somewhat different skills than passing the classes, but neither was a great measure of ones ability to write quality code, much less step back and put together a quality project.

about a year ago

4K Is For Programmers

Diss Champ 47" at home (520 comments)

I currently use a 47" TV as primary monitor at home. Would be nice to replace with higher resolution, but I'm waiting for prices to come down.

I'd much rather sit back in an easy chair and relax than worry about ergonomics.

about a year ago

FBI Edits Mission Statement: Removes Law Enforcement As 'Primary' Purpose

Diss Champ Re:Put a fork in it, it's done. (539 comments)

You are missing the fatboy's point- at least as I understand it.

The REASON that a simple doctor visit is a major expense is because of how we have things structured. If doctors were paid by their patients, there would be plenty of doctors with reasonable advertised costs for a simple doctors visit. A large portion of the decrease in price would come from not having to pay as many middle-men.

The inability of so many people to budget for occasional $100 surprises is a different (and very real) problem. Not that the current approach to "insurance" doesn't leave less money in the consumer's pockets, but consumers are happy to overspend in a variety of arenas.

about a year ago

'Approximate Computing' Saves Energy

Diss Champ Re:Finally some better 'Ai' (154 comments)

It's just another example of the 'Approximate Spelling' technique. The parent poster is illustrating significant savings in mental energy.

1 year,1 day

Most Drivers Would Hand Keys Over To Computer If It Meant Lower Insurance Rates

Diss Champ Re:TFA's math is silly (449 comments)

Tesla's main problem right now is getting enough batteries to meet demand for the current lineup. They have no incentive to move to a lower profit per car model until they can supply the demand.

about a year ago

Knight Capital Fined $12M For a Software Bug That Cost $460M

Diss Champ Re:It's their money (192 comments)

But this wasn't Knight mugging someone, this was Knight giving up the money by their own choice.

The people who were hurt were Knight's owners, which is an incentive for them to do a better job of oversight in the future.

I refer to the trading losses, not the fine.

about a year ago

White House Official Tracked Down and Fired Over Insulting Tweets

Diss Champ Re:Secret Emails and they fire a tweeter? (208 comments)

To be fair, any corporation would have done the same thing. If Pepsi (say) discovered a Twitter account that repeatedly says that Pepsi tastes horrible, and it turned out that the owner of the account was one of their employees, it wouldn't matter if that employee never used his or her real name--he or she would be canned faster than, well...

I think one difference might be that Pepsi can't use all the power of government to reveal who the tweeter was.


They can, however, use all the powers of Pepsi to reveal who the tweeter was.

Actually, that may mean they can use all the powers of government.

about a year ago

New York Subpoenaed AirBnb For All NYC User Data

Diss Champ Re:Look past the article's version of the cast ... (181 comments)

the current scheme of regulation which lets *them* profit

You are spinning it the other way. Regulation are also costing them. I'm sure lot of hotel would be fine just not having those pesky regulation getting in the way (like you know fire protection, hygiene, using legit employees, insurances, ...)

On the contrary, as long as the regulations exist and are enforced, the hotels are perfectly happy to include the costs of satisfying the city that they are in compliance (whether by complying or otherwise) by increasing what they charge people to stay. The more regulations, the harder it is for someone to enter the market and compete with them. They (probably correctly) see AirBnb as a form of competition, and are happy to use the regulations as a club to pound on the competition with.

about a year ago



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