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Mathematicians Uncomfortable With Ties To NSA, But Not Pulling Back

Vyse of Arcadia Re:It's called self-interest (160 comments)

I will soon be graduating with my PhD in mathematics, and my experience thus far as a graduate student in the US is that it's really hard to get a position in academia where your research is more important than your teaching, and it's almost impossible to get an industry job where you can research what interests you instead of what's immediately applicable to your company.

I won't have any trouble getting a job. I won't even have trouble getting a very well-paying job. But getting a job that lets me pursue my research interests as I see fit? Not without 2 - 5 more years of postdoc positions and some really great papers. And then 5 more years of writing papers like a maniac to get tenure. A lot of pressure to go after low-hanging fruit, even if it's stuff that doesn't interest you. That's a lot of years of 80 hour weeks just for the privilege of studying what you want.

7 hours ago
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Mathematicians Uncomfortable With Ties To NSA, But Not Pulling Back

Vyse of Arcadia Re:Shame on them (160 comments)

You seem to be completely unaware how patronizing and presumptuous your analysis was, even while getting particularly sensitive of your own feelings simply from somebody defending the ability of mathematicians to exercise free will successfully.

I am a mathematician, and quite frankly I don't want you defending me.

7 hours ago
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Mathematicians Uncomfortable With Ties To NSA, But Not Pulling Back

Vyse of Arcadia Re:Shame on them (160 comments)

Since the NSA just hands money to the AMS to be distributed as grants, I'm pretty sure it's all publicly available research.

12 hours ago
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Mathematicians Uncomfortable With Ties To NSA, But Not Pulling Back

Vyse of Arcadia Re:Shame on them (160 comments)

You just assume you're so much more intelligent and worldly and wise than these leading mathematicians, but that isn't obvious to me at all.

Wait, are you addressing me specifically? If you are, that's decently insulting. If not, you sound like you're a bit off your rocker. Like a guy ranting on a streetcorner.

12 hours ago
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Mathematicians Uncomfortable With Ties To NSA, But Not Pulling Back

Vyse of Arcadia Re:It's called self-interest (160 comments)

That's not the argument. Mathematicians aren't going to starve, but they're also not going to find many opportunities in industry to do mathematical research without direct, obvious application. Research that we have no way of measuring the value of, because applications haven't been found.

yesterday
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Mathematicians Uncomfortable With Ties To NSA, But Not Pulling Back

Vyse of Arcadia Re:Shame on them (160 comments)

I agree that the mathematicians in the direct employ of NSA should take a long hard, look at their own ethical code, but the fact of the matter is, the NSA provides lots of funding for university mathematics departments. For research that is open to public scrutiny. From TFA, $4 million goes to a grant program administrated by the AMS and things like undergraduate research programs and number theory conferences. The NSA is just throwing money at mathematicians on the off chance that they discover something useful to national security.

If the AMS were to sever ties with the NSA, there goes $4 million of funding for public mathematical research in a puff of impotent outrage.

I'm all with you when it comes to not working for fascists, but we're talking about public research here, for the enrichment of all humanity. Not shady spying stuff.

yesterday
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Mathematicians Uncomfortable With Ties To NSA, But Not Pulling Back

Vyse of Arcadia Re:Shame on them (160 comments)

Speaking as a PhD candidate in mathematics, while I personally won't have anything to do with the NSA (other than being on their watchlists, natch. I guess I shouldn't have dared to ever glance at Linux Journal,) I can't bring myself to hate on mathematicians who do. For all I know, my fellow grad students and I are only studying math because the NSA gave the university money to cover some of our stipends. In fact, that's probably the case.

Like it or not, if mathematicians cut ties with the NSA, there would be fewer mathematicians. Not just fewer mathematicians directly employed by the NSA, but also fewer mathematicians doing research at all and fewer mathematicians in training. American mathematical research would suffer a setback. I can see why the American Mathematical Society doesn't want that to happen.

yesterday
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Fluxbox 1.3.6 Released

Vyse of Arcadia Re:Congrats (63 comments)

I've seen a lot of love for i3wm, so riddle me this: what user-visible advantages does it have over other tiling window managers? I just keep finding stuff about how nice the code is.

about three weeks ago
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65% of Cancers Caused by Bad Luck, Not Genetics or Environment

Vyse of Arcadia Re:Environmental Factors? (180 comments)

I would take his claim as a hypothesis that requires further experimentation, not as bad science.

This is how science works. A scientist says, "I have a model that explains these phenomena in a way that agree with real-world data. It makes these predictions. Bring it." Then people collect data and do experiments to verify that the model and its predictions hold. Or, they discover discrepancies and refine that model.

The author has a model. He feels pretty confident about it. Now the science begins.

about a month ago
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Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

Vyse of Arcadia My favorite thing about Stewart's Calculus (170 comments)

I teach out of Stewart's Calculus, and here's my "favorite" thing about the text. He has an extensive sidebar detailing the correct spelling of L'Hospital, and why we should honor the man by spelling his name the way he did instead of with the modern French spelling. And then he consistently refers to Johann Bernoulli as John.

about a month ago
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The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

Vyse of Arcadia Re:Don't (567 comments)

You have citations for this? I find that really surprising, and I'd like to read up on it. Almost everything I read that isn't on my computer monitor is in portrait mode. Narrow columns with lots of linebreaks. Books, magazines, comics, my e-ink kindle, you name it. The one exception is highway billboards.

Also, what exactly is meant by longer and shorter lines? It seems to me like there would be a range of line lengths that make for efficient reading, and going outside of that range in either direction, too short or too long, would result in decreased efficiency.

about a month and a half ago
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NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

Vyse of Arcadia Re:Can we stop trying to come up with a reason? (786 comments)

I've seen the same sorts of complaints come up on /. again and again, but it's never those. It's always, "well if they don't want to, they don't want to."

about 3 months ago
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NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

Vyse of Arcadia Re:All the movies had women in business (786 comments)

Pair programming is a very social task. I'd hardly call that a tiny bit of edge dialogue. Citation needed on the bit about continued socialization all day in typical office jobs. Every office I've seen is full of people quietly doing their own work.

about 3 months ago
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What's Been the Best Linux Distro of 2014?

Vyse of Arcadia Re:Slackware (303 comments)

When was the last time you tried it? I'm hardly a guru, and I find Slackware to be perfectly usable.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

Vyse of Arcadia Multitasking (504 comments)

Tangentially related, but does IOS have real multitasking yet? Wikipedia says no, but I don't know if that reflects IOS 8.

about 4 months ago
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2D To 3D Object Manipulation Software Lends Depth to Photographs

Vyse of Arcadia Not as impressive as the video makes it look (76 comments)

I've done a little bit of work in a related area, so I skimmed the paper (at the bottom of the first link,) and it's nowhere near as impressive and automagical as the video makes it seem. The user has to provide a mask distinguishing the object they are manipulating from the rest of the image, and then the user also has to provide the 3D model for the object! The model is then smoothed to better fit the original using the mask and the inferred illumination, textured using the image, and then popped out to be manipulated in 3D. Not to detract from how cool this all is, but the user is still doing a lot of the heavy lifting.

I bet a combination of the techniques in this paper and the techniques of multiple view geometry (which is where I've actually done a bit of work) would be considerably more impressive and automagical.

about 6 months ago
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The Man Who Invented the 26th Dimension

Vyse of Arcadia Urg, terrible headline (259 comments)

No one "invented" 26-dimensional spaces. Might as write a headline about the man who invented the number 26. Weird that the article is pretty decent.

about 6 months ago
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PlayStation Now, Sony's 'Netflix For Games' -- Pros and Cons

Vyse of Arcadia Re:sega channel (75 comments)

God, I wanted Sega Channel so much as a kid. All my friends at school had it, but I lived out in the sticks, where there wasn't cable.

Anyone else remember sega channel for sega genesis? i think 11.99 got me unlimited games on it for the month (granted i only recall 5-8 games on it at a time, and they would rotate every month) Seems like a much better price structure to me. 9.99 a month to play whatever limited rotating catalog is there

You pretty much just described Playstation+. Except it's $49.99 a year (or the $9.99 a month option if you're silly,) and although games are rotated out monthly, once they've been added to your account you can still download and play them as long as you're a member. If I were so inclined, I could go download and play a game that they rotated out of the service two years ago.

about 6 months ago
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Nintendo Posts Yet Another Loss, Despite Mario Kart 8

Vyse of Arcadia App stores compete with the 3DS (203 comments)

Nintendo must also contend with mobile games available on Apple and Google's app stores, which cost but a fraction of a Nintendo game.

Very few console gamers are buying cell phone games in favor of console games. Where Nintendo is competing with app stores is with its 3DS handheld, not really with the Wii U. I'm sure that's still contributing to the big N posting losses, but the summary makes it sound like Mario Kart 8 is losing out to Crappy Mobile Minecraft Clone no. 873.

about 6 months ago
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ChickTech Brings Hundreds of Young Women To Open Source

Vyse of Arcadia Peer pressure? (158 comments)

My completely anecdotal non-scientific evidence is that girls interested in math, science, and tech were mostly discouraged by their peers. Communities to support girls and women pursuing tech are great and all, but I feel like for a lot of girls it's going to come down to one very simple question: do I get new hobbies, or do I get new friends? It wouldn't surprise me if a majority of girls choose the latter.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe things have changed since the decade or so since I was a high school student. Maybe it really was just my high school. But my suspicion is that this is still common, and ChickTech is going to have to find a way to solve the peer pressure problem.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Handley Gets to 6 Months for 'Obscene' Manga

Vyse of Arcadia Vyse of Arcadia writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) writes "Christopher Handley, the Iowa man on trial for possessing manga "drawings of children being sexually abused," was sentenced on Thursday to six months in prison. Following this sentence, Handley must serve three years of supervised release and five years of probation. Both of these terms will start upon his release from prison and will run concurrently. Handley also agreed to forfeit all seized materials, including his computer. During Handley's supervised release and probation, Handley must also "participate in a treatment program, to include psychological testing and a polygraph examination, as directed by the U. S. Probation Officer." According to earlier court documents, this last provision is "intended to provide [Handley] with diagnosis and treatment for sexually and/or gender identity or other mental health issues.""
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