Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!



NASA Gets 2% Boost To Science Budget

TMB all science funding increases (121 comments)

Most importantly, it's not just NASA -- the NSF and NIH also have above-inflation budget increases, after several years of stark cuts. I was worried that this was going to be cannibalizing one science for another, but that doesn't appear to be the case!


about a month and a half ago

Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

TMB Re:PR works well? Where? (413 comments)

Canada has FPTP and has had at least 3 major parties every election for decades (at times up to 5). It's more the case that when you have 2-party FPTP, it is very hard to break out of it... but if you start off with more viable parties, it can remain that way.

Which is not to say that I endorse FPTP in any way, shape or form. We all know that Arrow's Theorem says that no voting system satisfies all the axioms you would like a voting system to adhere to, but some violate the axioms more often and in more egregious ways than others. FPTP is more egregious at the individual level than almost any alternative.

The problem with Arrow's Theorem is that it is really about what happens for a choice amongst a few individuals (like a presidential election), while the majority of countries have parliamentary systems in which it is the aggregate of all of the individual choices that determines the government. If you ask what government you get as a result of all of those individual FPTP elections, its faults vis-a-vis Arrow's Theorem are usually not too bad. Which is probably why FPTP persists despite the fact that it does badly at the individual level -- people tend to agree that the government it produces at the national level usually reflects the will of the people.

about 2 months ago

Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

TMB Re:Storage is not same as GUI Design (370 comments)

The one that drives me crazy is removing the ethernet port on MacBooks. Which wouldn't be too bad if Apple's USB or Thunderbird ethernet adapters lasted more than 6 months before breaking, but I'm on my 5th in slightly over 2 years now... finally bought a third party one in the hopes that it will be less frail.

about 3 months ago

Let Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders Work In US, Says White House

TMB Re:End H-1B (566 comments)

Do you really think that most "highly skilled" jobs are exportable? All H1Bs I know (including myself) are academics - I am a university professor. I'm pretty confident that this job won't be outsourced.

about 9 months ago

NASA-Funded Study Investigates Collapse of Industrial Civilization

TMB Re:BS, as usual. (401 comments)

Aha, you have conclusively proven that no civilization has ever collapsed!

Oh, wait....


about 10 months ago

New Class of "Hypervelocity Stars" Discovered Escaping the Galaxy

TMB Re:Assuming ... (150 comments)

Except that if the star was captured by the Milky Way, that already tells you that it was moving at less than the escape velocity, while these are moving faster than the escape velocity.

Still, it would be interesting to see if they share orbital elements with known satellites or streams...


1 year,20 days

Physicist Peter Higgs: No University Would Employ Me Today

TMB Re:Can We Compete Against Them? (308 comments)

I disagree - being an academic takes all your time, and being an administrator also takes all your time. I'd like my administrators to have enough time to be good administrators!

Now, I think that all administrators ought to have once been academics, otherwise they don't actually understand the problems that they need to deal with, but not that they still are active researchers.

about a year ago

Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You

TMB Re:At what speed? (722 comments)

That's valid if you're driving for 30 minutes. Several times a month, I do an 11.5 hour drive in one day. There the extra 10mph saves me 1.5 hours, which is well worth it!

about a year ago

Slashdot Asks: How Does the US Gov't Budget Crunch Affect You?

TMB Re:NSF not writing checks (1144 comments)

Yes, indeed. Impacts on me:
    - My wife works for an organization that operates a federal facility on behalf of the NSF. She is on furlough. (actually, even worse - she has to work on a project that's deemed essential, but she's not going to get paid this month if the money from the NSF doesn't flow before payday. Yes, she will probably get back-pay, but that doesn't help when this month's bills are due!).
    - ...and lives in housing that is owned and operated by the agency. So there is no trash collection, and if anything goes wrong she's SOL.
    - Oh, and our daughter's daycare is also on-site. It is being run privately out of someone's house during the shutdown.
    - Processing of my green card application is on pause until after the department of labor is up and running again.
    - I am hiring a researcher with funds that are partly coming from NASA. Some of the money is in my account, but the next payment is expected in a week. Fortunately, some of the money for that position is coming from another source, so I can pay him for about 6 months before I need the NASA money, but if that weren't true it would be about 1 month.
    - I have grant proposals under review from both the NSF and NASA. The review process is on pause and no one knows how long it'll take before we know whether we can do research next year...
    - When I teach, I regularly make use of things on NASA websites, which are not running so my students have to listen to me instead of seeing examples.

So, yes, this is hitting my very directly in a lot of ways.


about a year ago

Slashdot Asks: How Does the US Gov't Budget Crunch Affect You?

TMB Re:Speaking as a non-American... (1144 comments)

Partisan gerrymandering has been explicitly approved by the Supreme Court. What's not allowed is racial gerrymandering.

about a year ago

Two Years In Prison For Using Infrared Contact Lenses To Cheat At Poker

TMB Re:They were greedy (320 comments)

Casinos sell a product - entertainment. In particular, the thrill that you might win some (a lot) of money. People go and pay to experience that thrill. If you want to be entertained by something different, that's fine, but it's not stupid to like a little thrill and be willing to pay a little for it.

about a year ago

My favorite season:

TMB Re:Pepper (346 comments)

Cayenne pepper for me.

about a year ago

Physicists Discover Geometry Underlying Particle Physics

TMB Re:Hold up. (600 comments)

Ha! Nice one... wish I had mod points for you! :)

about a year ago

Study Shows Professors With Tenure Are Worse Teachers

TMB Re:Moo (273 comments)

That's certainly true, but some fraction of them will be good teachers innately or from additional training. Given the current job market, where there are far more highly qualified candidates than you can even short-list for any tenure-track faculty position at even non-prestigious research universities, departments can afford to be picky when they hire. In other words, don't expect to get hired today if you're only a good researcher but not a good teacher, because someone else who applied for the job will both be a good researcher *and* a good teacher.

As a consequence, the past 5 years of tenure-track hires at pretty much any university are, on average, much better teachers than average hires have been before.

about a year ago

Study Questions H-1B Policies

TMB Re:Simple solution? (361 comments)

This would be horrible - the need the organization has for the employee and the rate they pay are only loosely connected depending on what the employee does and what other organizations pay someone equivalent.

For example, I am on H1B status. I am a professor of astrophysics at a state university. If I were a early-career software developer, I would make more than I currently do, and therefore would be more eligible to be here under your plan. But the university needs me as a professor with my particular skills more than it needs a random early-career software developer - but the prevailing wage for software developers is higher because they are also hired by companies who can afford to pay higher salaries.

(of course, I wouldn't object to the "pay professors more" solution, but because a significant fraction of the university's budget comes from the state, it is more limited and is much less sensitive to market pressures than the companies who hire software developers. Not that I think that's necessarily a good thing, but it's also not going to change any time soon)

about a year and a half ago



New Jersey e-vote experiment after Sandy declared a disaster

TMB TMB writes  |  about 3 months ago

TMB (70166) writes "Al Jazeera reports on a Rutgers study about e-voting in New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy, and it is damning. It concludes that the middle of a natural disaster is the last time to try switching to a new voting method, especially one rife with such problems as e-voting. The table of contents includes such section headings as "Internet voting is not safe, should not be made legal, and should never be incorporated into emergency measures"."

Freelance programming websites

TMB TMB writes  |  more than 6 years ago

TMB (70166) writes "I am gainfully employed in a non-programming job, but am interested in doing some freelance programming on the side. I've come across several websites for hooking up freelance programmers with employers who have specific problems (elance, guru, rentacoder,...) but I would like to know people's experiences with them. Have you done freelance programming through one of these (or others)? What's been your experience?"


TMB has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?