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Indiana University Researchers Get $1 Million Grant To Study Memes

davids-world.com That was in 2011 (125 comments)

This was in 2011, if you look at NSF's award page. And just to put things in perspective.. This sort of money is enough to pay for four graduate students (50% effort), some very limited summer time of two professors over the course of four years, and a modest amount of travel to conferences. It's a very good grant from a great source that allows you to get some good work done, but it doesn't go as far as the uninitiated might think.

2 days ago
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New EU Rules Will Limit Vacuum Cleaners To 1600W

davids-world.com Re:Do the math (336 comments)

Same here. My Miele is awesome (as far as vacuum cleaners go anyway)

about a week ago
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Where are the Flying Cars? (Video; Part Two of Two)

davids-world.com Lunch with a Terrafugia guy (66 comments)

OK, so at Oshkosh a couple weeks ago, I had lunch (by chance) with a guy from Terrafugia. The food was poor, but the stories were good.

They flew in their prototype at last year's AirVenture. The video looks good. What you're going to get is a roadster/plane with foldable wings. I'm saying roadster, because it's going to have two seats - not because it's going to drive like a sports car. This will make it qualify as a Light Sports Aircraft, which means that pilots won't need a medical (important for many). Licensing is a little simpler, too, although everyone I know goes for their full PPL.

As an airplane, it's not particularly fast (93kts cruise - slower than your typical Cessna 172 Skyhawk), and it maxes out at 460lbs payload (full fuel, I guess), if the specs I have are correct. It drinks 100LL or premium motor gas (which is cheaper), and goes some 400+nm, though I'm not sure if that is with reserves (you need 30min day VFR, 45 at night, and typically you want more).

The person working on this at Terrafugia advertised it as a plane that's great for a business trip, because it will get you home most of the time: if the weather is bad, you just land and drive around the weather. That's a neat concept.

The price? At Oshkosh, they were saying around $270k. I asked about insurance, and it sounds like there will be separate insurance policies for road/air use, and it seems that the road policy more expensive than a car insurance (they said 3% of hull value), because of the added utility (more miles driven/flown). I'm not sure if I follow that reasoning.

For comparison, you can buy a used Bonanza for much much less, and you'll get a lot more airplane for your money. You will also get a new Cirrus SR20 around that price point (but that's a plane, and as such not as practical). In the long run, as prices come down, I get see how this is going to be practical for a lot of people that need to travel for work (or can afford to go places for fun).

about two weeks ago
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Connected Collar Lets Your Cat Do the War-Driving

davids-world.com Re:Cats should be left indoors (110 comments)

Mine mostly kills chipmunks when she can be bothered. And we have enough of those for sure. (And I got an easter bunny, right on easter.)

about three weeks ago
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Connected Collar Lets Your Cat Do the War-Driving

davids-world.com Where cats go (110 comments)

I'd be much more interested in what my cat does all day out there. Where does she go? Are there any GPS collars out there? Thought about using a Spot, but their recording intervals are too long (because they signal straight to a satellite). It's too big as well. There are some studies on this. Most (pet) cats don't seem to wander off too far from their reliable source of food. An eagle might be a better vehicle for a war-flying device!

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

davids-world.com Netgear R6300 (427 comments)

I've been running the R6300 for a year, initially with OpenWRT, and now I'm back to stock firmware. It works, but I wouldn't say it's living up to expectations given its high price. It could not use a Mac OS Extended formatted harddrive for NAS and share via AFP. OpenWRT installation was a mess, and I had to unbrick it by hooking up a USB/serial interface to its internal ports. OpenWRT support is limited to the builds created by some individuals, and I was unable to upgrade it to the latest version. The stock firmware works, but doesn't give me features like VPN. So far I'm just living out my sunk-cost bias, because it works OK as a router. Do I get more out of it than you do with your old Linksys? No, indeed not. (and I keep that sort of Linksys around for emergencies.)

about three weeks ago
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The Least They Could Do: Amazon Charges 1 Cent To Meet French Free Shipping Ban

davids-world.com Re:Not France vs US (309 comments)

Funny that it was France that pioneered huge supermarkets outside of the cities a long time ago. Hell, they invented the "hypermarché" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypermarket )! Of course that's killing the small retailers in the inner cities.

about a month and a half ago
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FAA's Ruling On Smartphones During Takeoff Has Had Little Impact

davids-world.com Re:Maybe the FAA should inform the stewardesses (128 comments)

What airline is that? There are Standard Operating Procedures. They make their own rule.

As far as I know, the FAR's basically say that it is up to the operator (the airline) to decide which devices are OK to use [1491.21, and, for typical airline operations: 121.306].

about 2 months ago
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WebODF: JavaScript Open Document Format Editor Deemed Stable

davids-world.com Re:zotero (91 comments)

Generally, something like Dropbox and LaTeX work fine - unless you have two people editing the same file at the same time. Then, any VCS or something like Dropbox fail miserably. I have tried https://www.writelatex.com/, but of course I'd like to keep using my local Aquamacs instead of a web-based solution. Maybe I'll write a synchronization tool for Emacs. The issue is then that we need to integrate people who don't use Emacs...

about 2 months ago
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WebODF: JavaScript Open Document Format Editor Deemed Stable

davids-world.com Re:Wow! (91 comments)

No "track changes", as it seems. :-(

about 2 months ago
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WebODF: JavaScript Open Document Format Editor Deemed Stable

davids-world.com Wow! (91 comments)

This is fast and responsive. Does it avoid long-standing Word problems, such as figures that jump away from captions, paragraphs that adopt the adjacent style just because you're moving them around, and the like? For professional writing, I'll stick to LaTeX for now. For collaborative writing, something like this could be nice (and improve on half-baked solutions like the editor in OneDrive (very slow) or Google Doc (not word-compatible). So, I think this would have to be able to export / import Word docs seamlessly, due to business pressure everywhere...

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Wants You To Trade Your MacBook Air In For a Surface Pro 3

davids-world.com Air hardware falling behind... (365 comments)

If it wasn't for the operating system, the Air would be losing quickly this year against its competitors. It's about time that Apple released a Retina version, or an "Air" style version of the MBP.

about 2 months ago
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Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

davids-world.com Assistant Professor in Tech: Having' a good time! (538 comments)

Sorry to spoil the party, but I'm having a good time.

Yes, I spent my late 20's and early 30's doing a PhD and a longish poorly-paid post-doc at one of the top US institutions. But I enjoyed it. I did not have to do my professor's work. I develop a research agenda instead.

I'm tenure-track faculty at a very large, research-intensive state school now. My salary is where I'd start out at Google as an engineer with a PhD, because the university has recognized the need to compete with the private sector. I chose not to take the Google job at the time because I wanted to run my own lab, but the decision was close. I now have a few PhD students, some very limited grant money coming in. I do have to teach: some of it is fun, and I'm trying to give something back to my "customers" without spending valuable time on it (which I need to spend on research).

I do see some people that work crazy hours. They tend to either be very good at what they do, or they go for every grant opportunity they see (and still have a poor success rate). With the low chances of getting a proposal funded at certain important institutions (like NSF, NIH), I feel I need to economize and only send in core work.

Yes, a lot of teaching is offloaded on teaching faculty with year-to-year jobs. Science is not in their career goals, but they are much more dedicated educators. Given the poor preparation and an attitude among our undergrads to "pick up a degree" in lieu of "learning something profound", I think this is the right choice. We do not work with adjuncts all that much, but it's widely agreed that working as an adjunct for more than a year is labor of love, not a career.

I'm happy with my job for it offers plenty of intellectual and practical freedom. The downside is having to live in a college town rather than in NYC or SFO, or in a much more interesting European city. I'll live with this trade-off.

about 2 months ago
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Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

davids-world.com Administration: regulation and legal exposure (538 comments)

It is true that many universities world-wide are run more my administrators and their helpers, sucking up resources that are not spent on the universities core mission. In the U.S., anyway, a good bit of that has to do with two things: (a) regulation forces universities to check and double-check compliance with a complex set of rules imposed by federal and state governments and other sponsors. (b) Exposure. A larger university is much more likely to lose large sums of money (and public credibility) as a result of litigation when things go wrong. The system over-reacts because the stakes are high. In science, empiricism means that we do not conclude anything from anecdotal evidence (sample size: one). "Learning from experience" in policy-making means that when one person messes up one thing, everybody else will have to fill out more forms for rest of their lives.

about 2 months ago
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Wikipedia Mining Algorithm Reveals the Most Influential People In History

davids-world.com evaluation? (231 comments)

I wonder how this is evaluated, if at all. As others have been pointed out, the fact that Carl Linnaeus means that they define "influence" in a fairly poor, counter-intuitive way. Many mentions might make someone famous, but not influential in a deep sense. Deep influence, to me, affects the answer to a simple question. If the contributions of person A hadn't been made, would our world be a fundamentally different place? This will work for largely fictional figures (such as Jesus), as for evil people (Hitler). It will, IMHO correctly state that Mary (as in mother of Jesus) or Queen Elizabeth weren't all that influential.

about 3 months ago
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Building an Open Source Nest

davids-world.com Re:The hard part (195 comments)

If you think of a thermostat as a device that closes a switch when the temperature is below or above a set point, you're certainly right. But if you had some vision, you would see a new generation of devices, "smart homes", real-life ubiquitous computing, energy sustainability, and opportunities for data-mining or even networked intelligence. That's why I have two Nests - right now it's just good-looking and convenient (remote control!), but I'm adopting technology that, in a few years, may change the way I live.

about 7 months ago
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Lawsuit: Oracle Called $50K 'Good Money For an Indian'

davids-world.com Someone disagrees - and gets fired? (409 comments)

Is this what corporate America is, these days? Someone disagrees in an e-mail with the head office and gets dismissed for that? Oracle would be unethical, but also downright stupid if they fired everyone who didn't share the views of their superiors. I can't believe that...

about 7 months ago
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Lawsuit: Oracle Called $50K 'Good Money For an Indian'

davids-world.com Visa requirements - above-average salary? (409 comments)

That guy from India presumably needed a visa, such as an H1B. In order to get this, a company needs to demonstrate to the Dept of Labor that the person in question can command an above-average salary. How do they do this if they undercut people in comparable jobs?

about 7 months ago

Submissions

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davids-world.com davids-world.com writes  |  more than 7 years ago

davids-world.com writes "Craig's List's CEO Jim Buckmaster runs the largest ad site in the world, and he does pretty much everything differently from global e-commerce power-houses like eBay. In a recent Q&A session, Buckmaster recently revealed a few details about the world's largest publisher of ads, online or offline. With it's chain of centrally run, but locally-themed Craig's List sites, the company has success like only streamlined and tightly managed commercial operations — yet their methods are completely different. Putting up private ads is free, and the site relies on personal meets and the local social network to establish trusts rather than getting users to assign each other virtual brownie points. While the company operates globally, Buckmaster's mantra is still to stick to local affairs: a global search across all local Craig's Lists is not available. Surprisingly, one trick to keep costs down is to not seek maximum revenue and save on the sales people. They still have only a small team and listen to users, not marketers, to drive website development."
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davids-world.com davids-world.com writes  |  more than 7 years ago

davids-world.com writes "Richard Stallman is planning to step down as head maintainer of the GNU Emacs project. In an e-mail to fellow Emacs developers, he today asked for candidates to succeed him. RMS wrote the first extensible Emacs text editor in 1975 at MIT's AI Lab. Seen by many as the founder and chief advocate of the free software movement, Stallman has also been actively involved in Emacs' development. GNU Emacs 22, due soon, will be the first major release of the editor since 2001."

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