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Is a Postdoc Worth it?

tmark Why scientists do postdocs (233 comments)

Most of the ones I've known (from when I was in grad school and then from when I worked at a major biotech) do postdocs in order to build their research portfolio. If you want to a faculty research (not teaching) position in science, you need publications. These require research. Research requires time and money and in this day and age, the time typically spent in grad school is not enough to do a lot of top-quality research. And, grad school time is often spent teach undergrads, doing coursework, etc - whereas postdocs can usually afford to spend all their working hours on research.

So yes, postdocs aren't paid well, but most of that is because the position itself typically funds work that the postdoc needs and *wants* to do. It's a symbiotic relationship between PI and postdoc.

There are always, of course, the stars who are good enough to get research positions straight out of grad school. I've known a few.

about 9 months ago
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More Evidence That Piracy Can Increase Sales

tmark Where's the evidence ? (196 comments)

I didn't see any evidence presented that "piracy can increase sales". All I saw were claims that box-office, gaming, and music revenues are increasing. But these increases are due to acknowledged growth areas (e.g. streaming, in-game buying, etc) and improved distribution methods (e.g., iTunes) and these claims say nothing about what revenues would have been in the absence of piracy. In other words, there is nothing to support the causality implied in the Slashdot story title

Frankly, I don't see how it is at all arguable that piracy can increase revenues. If I can download a band's entire catalog, which I have done, once I have done so the likelihood that I am going to go and pay for the band's music is drastically - in my case, completely - reduced. Same goes for downloading movies. It is, as one poster commented, just bits now. The visceral pleasure of owning a record with its cover art, sliding open the sleeves and smelling that wonderful vinyl smell is gone. A legally purchased copy of music or a movie is no better than a pirated download of same.

about a year ago
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Do Comments On Web Pages Ruin Science?

tmark The Internet can be bad for science (281 comments)

"blog and web commentary never, or only rarely, influences the process of scientific inquiry itself"

If so, then what does it matter whether or not commentary is allowed ?

What almost certainly happens is a bunch of pseudo- or anti-science gets posted. People then read this stuff and see it as legitimized by being on Popular Science, when they forget - or fail to see the distinction - that the dubious claims are on in a comments section.

Honestly, I believe that the Internet is modern science's biggest boon, and it's biggest threat. When know-nothings have a voice that can be as heard by as many people as experts, we're in trouble, and the Internet has brought that to us in spades.

about 10 months ago
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How BlackBerry Blew It

tmark Not the problem (278 comments)

"The problem wasn't that we stopped listening to customers, We believed we knew better what customers needed long term than they did".

Believing you know what customers wanted or needed is not necessarily the problem. Customers don't always know what they want. Apple (or, it appears, perhaps just Jobs) made hay giving what customers evidently wanted instead of listening to industry pundits and market research to figure that out. The problem here was that Blackberry just didn't know what their customers wanted, and moreover, couldn't deliver in a timely fashion.

about a year ago
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GNU Hurd 0.5, GNU Mach 1.4, GNU MIG 1.4 Released

tmark Understatement of the year (206 comments)

"Development of the Hurd has proceeded slowly." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Hurd)

As per http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/hurd/status.html: " It may not be ready for production use, as there are still some bugs and missing features".

Exactly how long has it been like this ? I tracked this project for about a decade until I concluded it would never be ready for production - over a decade ago.

about a year ago
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Big Jump For Tablet Storage: Seagate Intros 5mm Hard Disk For Tablets

tmark What's the big deal ? (201 comments)

There are already at least 480GB (close enough to 500, in books) **mSATA** SSD drives (Mushkin made the first I know of), which makes the drive in this post positively gargantuan.

about a year ago
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Playing StarCraft Could Boost Your Cognitive Flexibility

tmark I'm going to bet (124 comments)

that the author is a Starcraft gamer. Look Mom, I'm not playing a stupid game, I'm improving myself.

1 year,20 days
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Hands On With the Nokia Lumia 1020

tmark Meh (227 comments)

With a camera phone, I'd say that the time it takes "to lock focus and save images" is arguably far more important than the number of megapixels.

Even with DSLRS, we've long ago reached the point where the average person needs more MP than are available, and none of *them* are at the 41 MP count. They also have far better optics than what is almost certainly in this (Zeiss nametag or not), and it is well understood in that domain that the importance of glass far outweighs the importance of whatever body you happen to be using.

If the point was just to get better low-light performance by packing on more pixels and then binning them, I wonder why they didn't just design sensors with bigger photosites - at least then, reasonable save times and storage consumption would be a possibility. I know that camera novices get sucked into the MP marketing hype, but does anyone buy a phone for the MP in the camera ?

about a year ago
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Confessions of a Cyber Warrior

tmark BS (213 comments)

Like so many others, I call BS.

- he says he's middle aged - let's say 50. He also said at 16 or 17 he joined "one of the distros". The earliest "distros" as such, started appearing around 1992, IIRC - around 21 years ago. So at most he's now 37 or 38 - not middle aged.

Now if he just defines "middle aged" differently, then he would have been hanging at 15 around the Radio Shacks (a hacker cliche) around 1990 - well past the eras of the TRS-80s and Color Computers that the cliche says hackers would be working on - unless he's claiming that was on PCs. Did Radio Shack sell PCs ?

Then he just snuck out the back door when the men-in-black showed up. He got away because he never went back - even though surely the MIB knew who he was and that he was, apparently, still living with his mother and step-dad.

He doesn't want to be emailed in the months leading up to the conversation, ostensibly to maintain secrecy, which opens up another bunch of inconsistencies. First, if I'm able to read the author's emails, all I need to do is look for friends who stopped emailing him for a few months around the conversation. Secondly, who is he hiding from if he's already working for the government ?

Finally, the notion that a super-secret, middle-aged white guy ho walso plays in a hardcore rap band - and IDENTIFIES HIMSELF AS SUCH - exposes this pack of lies completely. That's a pretty shitty cloak of anonymity a middle aged white guy that came from another country and plays a lot of instruments in a hard-core rap band north of DC is hiding under.

about a year ago
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Will PCIe Flash Become Common In Laptops, Desktops?

tmark Re:Will it be a repeat? (372 comments)

And how long were Apple users using Firewire drives before USB 3 - heck, even USB 2.0 if you want to pretend that's anywhere close to Firewire ? Even now Firewire is a viable interface.

about a year ago
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Apple Shows Off New iOS 7, Mac OS X At WWDC

tmark Re:25 foot surf ... (607 comments)

Ah, yes, Mavericks. A place where when things crash, people die.

I shudder to think how every other big wave spot's name will be co-opted by Apple.

about a year ago
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Sony Touts 25 Hour Battery Life For Haswell-Equipped Vaio Pro

tmark Re:Battery Life (154 comments)

There`s no misinformation on the part of Sony here. The article makes it clear how much battery life they are claiming with - and without - the extra battery.

And frankly, if the 11`` gets anything close to 11-h, I count that as pretty good. And depending on how much the extra battery weighs and how big it is, being able to work for 25-h - heck, even 15-h - gets all the way to awesome for me.

about a year ago
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Mac OS X 10.6.6 Introduces App Store

tmark Re:Can't run it. (408 comments)

...
4) DVD Drive

There is no Intel mac that's been released since 2006 that doesn't have at least those specs, unless you ripped hardware out of it, or put together a Hackintosh of your own, and did it badly, and cheaply.

Or are you complaining because *you decided* not to upgrade to Snow Leopard, and now can't upgrade to the latest Snow Leopard patch, which includes the App Store?

Uh, what about the Macbook Airs ? Do *they* have a DVD drive ?

more than 3 years ago
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1 In 3 Sysadmins Snoop On Colleagues

tmark Re:Sysadmins mostly honest (392 comments)

That's like being happy to find out that only one third of policemen are not crooked, or only one third of people are child molesters. Would we be happy if the article read that "only" one third of *companies* snoop on our emails ?

more than 6 years ago

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