Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Used IT Equipment Can Be Worth a Fortune (Video)

students Also a big problem in science labs. (79 comments)

Suppose a university scientist wins a grant to buy a million dollar instrument. Thirty years later, the scientist dies. Nobody knows what the instrument is anymore, or what it is worth. University policy does not allow the sale of excess property. Nobody knows what restrictions were placed on the sale of the equipment in the grant award. Nobody wants to pay money to figure any of these things out. So, the equipment is either ignored or landfilled.

In my experience this happens often.

about three weeks ago

Anti-Polygraph Instructor Who Was Targeted By Feds Goes Public

students Re:Total Obedience is Required ! (197 comments)

Both China and Russia hold elections. They pretend to a degree.

about 3 months ago

Is a Postdoc Worth it?

students Re:Be a Gentleman Scientist (233 comments)

You will never be in a position to realize your dream of doing interesting research or becoming a professor.

Lots of people (myself included) did interesting research while still an undergraduate. In my experience, professors do not do research, they write grants and manage researchers.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Can You Trust Online Tax Software?

students Just use IRS.gov (237 comments)

figure out just how much they owe the country, without reading the tens of thousands of pages of IRS forms guidance.

I have never found it challenging to file my taxes using just the information from IRS.gov. IRS documents usually explain things very well.

about 5 months ago

What Developers Can Learn From Healthcare.gov

students Amazon can't do it either. (267 comments)

The solution so far has been to put people into a queue, something that would get a site like Amazon laughed out of the marketplace. "I'm sorry, we're a little busy right now, try shopping later?!!"

This was a strange comparison. Amazon often loads very slow for me, and pages fail to load completely on a regular basis.

irs.gov used to be a good example of a fast site. It is not as fast as it used to be, but still about 3x faster than Amazon, probably due to a static design with few images.

about 6 months ago

How One Programmer Is Coding Faster By Voice Than Keyboard

students This is awesome and will change peoples' lives. (214 comments)

I am seeing lots of negative and off topic comments, many of which show people only watched part of the video. I thought it was totally amazing. When I was a teenager I had to change the course of my career away from computational science towards experimental science because of RSI-like problems. If I had his tools when I was 14 and had known I needed to use them, my career would be totally different and possibly much better since my programming talents would actually have been used.

Today, I can't really afford to spend several months learning to replicate his work, but hopefully soon it will be easier to learn. This will never be for everyone - some people can't use modal programs - and maybe it will never work in every context (Can it talk to my 20 year old Tektronix oscilloscope over GPIB?) but the video showed it can work. I hope good documentation, native linux support, and support for latex will be forthcoming so it can help me do science.

about 8 months ago

What Keeps You On (or Off) Windows in 2013?

students Re:because desktop linux is a toy and novelty (1215 comments)

Yeah, in science, it's usually rare to have serious development done on Windows, except for the occasional data acquisition station or for some control computer attached to a commercial lab apparatus.

Unfortunately windows based data acquisition stations with proprietary software for commercial lab apparatus are far from rare.

Every lab apparatus I have used that had computer control was windows (or MS-DOS, on a really bad day) only, except the most expensive one. The $10 million JEOL electron beam lithography system ran a very old Solaris.

I just replaced my MS-DOS based instrument. It had a proprietary RISC co-processor that could not talk to any modern computer.

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Way To Work On Projects While Traveling?

students Re:depends where you are. (273 comments)

That works in many parts of American universities too (though usually not potentially hazardous locations such as machine shops).

In fact, I was recently needed a new faculty ID (not saying where). It turns out you can just walk in and get one of those too. They only asked for my name.

about a year ago

NSF Audit Finds Numerous Cases of Alleged Plagiarism

students Re:I'm just surprised it's that low (44 comments)

Republishing your old work or resubmitting old proposals is scientific misconduct because it wastes resources by forcing other scientists to perform duplicate reviews.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Advice For Summer Before Ph.D. Program?

students Re:Start working on your dissertation (228 comments)

Ideally, you should have 1, 3, and 4 picked out before you apply to graduate school. People who state 1, 3, and 4, with backup plans, will look better prepared to an admissions committee. Of course you can change your mind later.

Funding supplies is the advisor's job, at least in theory.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Advice For Summer Before Ph.D. Program?

students Start working on your dissertation (228 comments)

The sooner you start, the sooner you will finish and get a job that pays better or is more prestigious.

about a year ago

The Olympic Live Stream: Observations, Recommendations, Predictions

students Commentary (82 comments)

Streaming video needs a switch to turn off the vapid commentary.

about a year and a half ago

How long until the (first-world) classroom education model is obsolete?

students Always a niche (317 comments)

My view is that there will always be a niche for in-person classroom instruction. I think the product that higher education should be selling is the opportunity to develop a personalized relationship with an expert. That happens very effectively in the small classrooms of liberal arts colleges.

The non-interactive lectures provided by large universities with hundreds of students in the lecture hall at a time went obsolete when video was invented.

more than 2 years ago

Cambridge Scientists Create Huge Quantum Particles

students Re:This article says nothing. (52 comments)

Does anybody here understand what these scientists have supposedly achieved?

This is in my area of research, and I read and understood the abstract. It does not seem like something that should be posted on Slashdot.

In this case, quantum fluid means a fluid that is cold enough, dense enough, and made of low enough mass particles that it has some quantum mechanical properties (interference is an example in the abstract).

Making a bigger quantum fluid is not really a challenge - you just need a bigger refrigerator and a bigger tank of helium. In this case, they made a bigger quantum fluid of a very specialized type.

But isn't the whole point to quantum science that observation collapses a state into one thing or the other?

No. That is just one small part of quantum mechanics.

more than 2 years ago

Signs of Dark Matter From Minnesota Mine

students COGENT (158 comments)

This experiment is outside my field of expertise, but I know several people who worked on this experiment and have met Juan Collar several times. It seems like an excellent experiment, but there is a funny side to their results:- Juan Collar has been talking for a long time about how he has been very close to showing the DAMA claim of dark matter detection is incorrect, and now he has confirmed it. I often got the feeling that the COGENT team didn't really believe dark matter existed.

more than 2 years ago

CS Profs Debate Role of Math In CS Education

students Physics and CS (583 comments)

Physicists think computer science means numerical calculus, since most of theoretical physics is difficult calculus problems. Perhaps this is why there are so many physicists who write unreadable code.

more than 3 years ago

Why the World Is Running Out of Helium

students Re:A serious impact on science and medicine (475 comments)

You do not know how science funding works in America. My salary is partly paid by a wealthy private donor and partly paid by the government. My boss is paid by the university (he does not actually participate in the experiment). Since politicians want to provide skilled workers for their corporate sponsors, and politicians subscribe to the theory that having smarter workers will compensate for the fact that our workers expect to be paid more than those in China, they provide lots of money for people to have salaries to work in labs on the thinking that it prepares them to work in industry or to teach people to work in industry. However, nobody will give us money to buy equipment or liquid helium, so I am forced to spend vast sums of salary money to save only somewhat less vast sums on the cost of helium. My boss can't just lay of some of his staff and use the money to buy more helium; the government won't let him divert the money.

I hear in Europe it is the other way around; the government will buy equipment for labs but they have no staff to use it. This probably has something to do with why high energy physicists are always flying off to CERN.

I didn't even mention that sometimes we cannot get liquid helium at all when we want it.

As you said, energy used for liquefaction has little to do with the cost of helium. Liquefiers are expensive to buy. We are fortunate to have enough helium users that the capital expense of a liquefier has been overcome. I think we also indirectly pay the person who runs the liquefier's salary, since that is not the sort of thing the government will pay for. Some of what we return to the liquefier is lost before it can be resold.

more than 3 years ago

Why the World Is Running Out of Helium

students A serious impact on science and medicine (475 comments)

This topic is complex and much discussed among low temperature and high energy scientists, who need liquid helium to cool their experiments. Unfortunately a large portion of helium usage is waste, such as deliberate dumping by natural gas companies who do not think the helium market (tiny compared to the natural gas market) is worth their time, or welders who still use helium when argon is cheaper.

In my lab, the liquid helium is the primary cost of doing experiments. We spend around $100 for each four-hour experimental session. It is by far our biggest expense. We try to recover as much as possible, but we only get a small refund for returned gas. So, please don't use helium where it is not needed; you are limiting our science, and you may be limiting your own access to medical technologies such as MRI in the future.

more than 3 years ago

Opera 10.60 Released, With Faster JS, WebM Video Support

students Re:Error in article: 10.60, not 10.6 (301 comments)

Currently only the wealthiest students are paying the sticker price at good private colleges. So if you are not wealthy, it is best to apply first and decide where to go after getting your financial aid offer. Simon's Rock is unusual because it offers merit scholarships, so even wealthy students may get a discount. Many prestigious universities do not give out merit scholarships.

more than 3 years ago



Safecast Crowdsources Radiation Detection

students students writes  |  more than 2 years ago

students (763488) writes "Safecast is seeking donations and volunteer citizen scientists to link a network of home built open source and government radiation monitors to a Google map. They claim to meet "our collective need for trusted information." But unlike the National Weather Service or Tsunami Warning Centers, they do not provide any expert interpretation. Could radiation data misunderstood by the press or public cause an unnecessary panic? The public needs context, not raw data, censorship, or geiger counter bans."
Link to Original Source



How do you reach Slashdot staff?

students students writes  |  more than 9 years ago Apparently, CowboyNeal no longer reads his email. I wanted to request a new slashbox... no answer. If you have a ligitimate request (even one of major financial/legal importance) there seems to be no way to reach slashdot staff to let them know about it. Maybe they should hire a few secritaries? If you know how to reach slashdot staff, let me know!



students students writes  |  more than 9 years ago Interesting. No one else writes in their journal. I wish more people would look at mine and make comments, even though it is not very interesting. I'm going to programming camp in a few weeks! Wish me luck.


I'm starting to understand...

students students writes  |  more than 9 years ago How some people get irritated with this place. There's too much random content. Of course, people's irritation just makes them more random. I give up... for a random period.


New Account

students students writes  |  about 10 years ago Hi. I just created this account. I used to be Nicklaszlo. I created this account because now the link my user name points to when I write a story will promote my web site, cesdep.org.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account