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Ask Slashdot: Scientific Research Positions For Programmers?

pigwiggle Not true. (237 comments)

PhD in physical chemistry, theory. All my research experience was computation. A full time coder is a huge asset in a computation research group. They quickly become versed in the sorts of things they need to know - science wise - and contribute in that way. Really, how can you write code to solve a problem you don't understand? They are part of the group, actively participate in research, and are acknowledged with authorship. And since their tenure isn't limited by graduation, the next postdoc, or a professorship, they quickly become the most senior members of the group. If they have a PhD, they will become an assistant professor. However, these positions are very rare. As it's been pointed out, very few groups are large enough to support a full time programmer.

about a year ago
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How Open Source Could Benefit Academic Research

pigwiggle The small fish do share. (84 comments)

"Sharing can’t hurt the small fish. Almost nobody sets out to beat Daniel Lemire at some conference next year. I have no pursuer. And guess what? You probably don’t. But if you do, you are probably doing quite well already, so stop worrying. Yes, yes, they will give you a grant even if you don’t actively sabotage your competitors. Relax already!"

The big fish (and I've worked for them) don't, and it's likely they got that way by protecting their turf. Science is cut throat.

about 2 years ago
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Man Orders TV On Amazon, Gets Shipped Assault Rifle

pigwiggle Re:Not an assault rifle (666 comments)

No one is killing deer with an AR-15. Like the parent said, SIG716's calibre is more suited for deer. The AR-15 isn't, as it is much smaller and less powerful. You like Twain? No doubt you've heard this attributed to him "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt". Good advice.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Teaching Chemistry To Home-Schooled Kids?

pigwiggle I am a PhD Physical Chemist (701 comments)

(I do theory - started my schooling with a BS in Chemistry and BS in Mathematics with a Physics concentration) and I failed out of my high school mathematics, physics, and chemistry classes. Why? I loved science as a kid, and obviously have a strong aptitude for it. Somehow the "qualified educators" in my school were completely unable to get traction with a student who should have been the easiest to reach. I would have been just as well off watching Dukes of Hazard reruns at home.

more than 2 years ago
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DEA Wants To Install License Plate Scanners and Retain Data for Two Years

pigwiggle Bullshit (295 comments)

The US military couldn't put down a popular revolt *in the US*. The US military has a difficult time with insurgencies. Take a read about Operation Vigilant Resolve in retaking Fallujah. Now, do you really think the military could convince it's rank and file to fight with that kind of violent enthusiasm in the towns and cities they've lived and worked? It takes a lot more than weapons.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Most Dangerous Lines of Scientific Inquiry?

pigwiggle race and iq (456 comments)

Maybe not. First thing to pop into my head.

more than 2 years ago
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Study Suggests the Number-Line Concept Is Not Intuitive

pigwiggle Re:I have Spatial Sequence Synesthesia (404 comments)

Decades, months, and days of the week all have specific shapes, locations, and colors. They have always been the same as far as I can remember. Numbers you would use in calculating things have color, albeit past 10 they group in 10s. That is all the 20s are a yellow orange color, 30s purple blue, and so on. The personality of numbers is entirely about if they are prime or have prime factors or are odd. It's a simple good and bad type thing. 3 and 7 are sinister, 9 more so, 21 also. All are odd and are prime or have prime factors.

more than 2 years ago
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Study Suggests the Number-Line Concept Is Not Intuitive

pigwiggle Re:I have Spatial Sequence Synesthesia (404 comments)

Well, I stand corrected then. I didn't realize AC was the final arbiter on what is or is not synesthesia. I'm sure the medical community was pleased to have been rid one more burden.

more than 2 years ago
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Study Suggests the Number-Line Concept Is Not Intuitive

pigwiggle I have Spatial Sequence Synesthesia (404 comments)

as well as number form and personification. Numbers - depending on if they are simply numbers or dates - have a specific "geography", color, and personality.

more than 2 years ago
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Whistleblower: NSA Has All of Your Email

pigwiggle Simply an excuse. (478 comments)

The president has the power to veto any law congress has passed to limit his ability to deal with prisoners in Guantanamo. And he doesn't need congress' approval to move the 150+ detainees from Guantanamo to another facility - say Bagram, something he has already done to circumvent habeas - or give them due process or just *let them go*. The excuse, apparently, is that congress wont authorise special funds to deal with the prison and prisoners in the exact manner the president would like. But that is a far ways from keeping him from closing the camp. He could do so today.

more than 2 years ago
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Studies Suggest Massive Increase In Scientific Fraud

pigwiggle how does that work? (229 comments)

I don't see how that works. When I publish some work, it's a collection of things I've done. Now maybe I discuss other peoples work in that context, and maybe draw some bad conclusions because of that, but that doesn't merit a retraction. Not at all. That is what eratta are for. Now, if a separate study is based predominantly on another's fraudulent work, wouldn't the researchers necessarily discover the original work was fraudulent as a mater of course? I just don't see how one fraudulent work would result in any other retractions - let alone one hundred. Maybe your field or the way you publish is different than mine. Clue me in.

more than 2 years ago
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Zimmerman Charged With 2nd-Degree Murder

pigwiggle Re:Good luck with that fair trial thing (995 comments)

I don't know exactly what Dooley's arrest tells us. It might tell us that black people will be arrested more quickly under similar circumstances in Florida. Or, it just may tell us that Trevor Dooley was arrested more quickly under similar circumstances. We don't - well I don't anyway - know how long it typically takes Florida law enforcement to arrest someone under these kinds of circumstances, relative to the race of the killer and killed. As far as I know no one has gone to the trouble of compiling and publishing that information. It may not even be that meaningful if they did. There have been around 40 justified killing each year in Florida for the past 4 years. The number where circumstances match the Zimmerman/Martin case and those that mirror it with race swapped can't be large.

But none of that it to say it wouldn't be informative to do the comparison, or that the comparison can't be done, or that *you* can't do it. Here is a good starting point - the dates, ages, and races for justified civilian homicides in Florida.

http://databases.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/ftlaudjustified/ftlaudjustifiable_list.php

Two final thoughts. When I first started looking at this data I had the expectation that there would be a disproportionate number of blacks killed by whites. That doesn't really seem to be the case, for civilians anyway. And finally, the biggest difference between the two cases you compare is the amount of attention the Zimmerman/Martin case has had from the media and otherwise.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Open Source Tax Software?

pigwiggle The phone based help (387 comments)

isn't really that good - in my experience anyway. I had some questions about carrying over a loss from a passive activity that I was no longer doing. I called the IRS and was put in touch with the guy who, by his account, was "in charge" of that form. After I asked my question , he read the instructions to me. I outlined the part of the instructions I thought was ambiguous, and asked for clarification. He reread the paragraph, and then suggested I call a professional. The price of professional help would be on the order of the money saved by taking the carry over. So I dropped it.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Advice For Budding Scientist?

pigwiggle Re:Accepted norms (279 comments)

All the things you are worried about are fairly common. Too common for your tastes? Maybe. They were for mine. I was in a very good position to get a tenure track position at a good university - I have a great publication record, very good references, good network, loads of collaboration, and so on. The politics was just too much, so I left. That, and I didn't want to live in the places there were jobs.

But in any event, you are going to find out if it is for you. And if it isn't, you'll still be in a great position to earn a living outside academia. So my advice is to work toward the academic position until you find it isn't for you. That being said, here is the single most important thing you can do for your would be career. It may seem trite, but try to get on with an advisor that has political clout. They will have reliable funding for interesting work. They will be able to afford to send you to meetings to present that work. They will have collaborators with clout (and promising post-docs) that you can add to your network. They will have contacts for good post-doctoral positions. They will have pull in getting you interviews for tenure track positions. And ultimately, they will sit or know people who sit on the grant committees where you go begging for your livelihood.

more than 2 years ago
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Scientists Discover Link Between Trees and Electricity

pigwiggle Some interesting numbers (173 comments)

http://www.fia.fs.fed.us/library/briefings-summaries-overviews/docs/ForestFacts.pdf

"It is estimated that—at the beginning of European settlement—
in 1630 the area of forest land that would become
the United States was 1,045 million acres or about 46
percent of the total land area. By 1907, the area of forest
land had declined to an estimated 759 million acres or
34 percent of the total land area. Forest area has been relatively
stable since 1907. In 1997, 747 million acres—or
33 percent of the total land area of the United States—
was in forest land. Today’s forest land area amounts to
about 70 percent of the area that was forested in 1630.
Since 1630, about 297 million acres of forest land have
been converted to other uses—mainly agricultural. More
than 75 percent of the net conversion to other uses
occurred in the 19th century."

And it does go on to describe the kinds of differences - one of which you mention - between historical and contemporary forest composition.

more than 2 years ago
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Aspirin Helps Prevent Cancer, New Studies Show

pigwiggle the wee weeing (132 comments)

is where you implied the research was suspect because of the funding citation - your suspicion apparently confirmed by the outlet carrying the news. If your beef was really with the reporting on the research, then you would have drawn distinctions between the research and the article. But you didn't. You clearly did have a problem with the original research being legit. Until it was pointed out it was, in fact, legit. Now your problem is just the bad reporting. Fine then.

more than 2 years ago

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