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Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science

wlj Re:What exactly do you mean by "Fraud"? (786 comments)

The point about communication is particularly important. Just "knowing" the situation is never enough. If you cannot explain it, you might as well not know it.

Take a look at Tufte's review of the graphics explaining the effect of temperature (cold) on shuttle o-rings at the run-up to the Challenger launch. The engineers "knew" what the problem was, but it was not communicated. The graphics actually hid the information (or at least obscured it). Richard Feynman's on-camera demo (not experiment - he knew what was going to happen) finally got it across. (Read his account of this in his autobiography, it shows how hard it is to communicate even the desire for a glass of cold water to some people.) Feynman at this point was the educator/communicator we needed.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

wlj Re:Outsource (176 comments)

This is the best high-level advice I have seen so far in this list: business infrastructure FIRST!

Don't forget, that includes a "business model" (basically, what do you plan to offer and how will you make money in the process of delivering it) plus "customers" (you know, the people that pay for what you plan to offer).

Good ideas are important, but a business really needs the model and customers. Otherwise, it is called a "hobby".

Good luck. :-)

about 2 months ago

How Do You Backup 20TB of Data?

wlj Thinking ahead. (983 comments)

From my own (painful) experience: if you don't plan for it up front, you are always fighting fires (playing catch-up). Organizing your data can help a LOT! If it is media, arrange it by genre (e.g. video animation or video classical or whatever) to keep a particular grouping small enough to backup easily. If it is data, arrange by some category that works for you (e.g. current financial projects or past analytic projects).

The most useful guide I have found for resources allocated to backup: how much is it worth to me to re-create this resource? ("Worth" can be money, time, sentiment, or any other measure(s) or combination you chose.)

My current feelings: disk is the most versatile and cost effective.

about a year ago

Using Laptop To Take Notes Lowers Grades

wlj Focus! (313 comments)

As a university instructor who encourages the use of laptops in class, I feel it is mostly a matter of focus. (I am teaching intro stat and operations research.) I tell the students to bring a laptop, but it is a tool and we will be looking at how to use that tool to solve problems. (I also tell them that if they want to watch youtube or hulu they should sit at the back of the class and use headphones to keep the distraction down for the other students.)

about a year and a half ago

Intel Launches Its Own Apache Hadoop Distribution

wlj Re:neat, but (18 comments)

The (stated) speed-up could be nice, but:

(1) how locked-in is it (just some tuning, serious modification, what?)
(2) have they actually released it?

about 2 years ago

How Does a Single Line of BASIC Make an Intricate Maze?

wlj Re:Book not so bad (438 comments)

Pretty quick read with some nice old pictures.

One thing I did not find: reference to the MAT statements in the old BASIC and how M$ dropped them. They were a very interesting feature at many levels.

more than 2 years ago

Lamar Smith, Future Chairman For the House Committee On Science, Space, and Technology

wlj Re:To Be Fair, He's Replacing Texan Ralph Hall (292 comments)

What do you mean "slowly warming up to the idea"? As opposed to "a cold day in ..."?

Reality checks bounce ALL to often down here.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Ambitious Yet Ethical Software Jobs?

wlj Re:A couple of thoughts (559 comments)

I would disagree w/ "Most academics are pretty clueless about statistics", but agree that there are opportunities there. Big Data is opening more possibilities for computer intensive statistics and the GPUs are a current tool to make these possible in a "reasonable" amount of time. For example, check out the book "Bootstrap Methods and their Application" by Davison and Hinkley - it is old at this point, but very worth reading. (Inter-library loan can come in VERY handy here. :-)

Working in Statistics generally can be interesting. I have gotten paid fairly well to have experts teach ME about their field and specialty so that I can then advise them on how to analyze their data. (If you don't know where it came from, you can't really interpret the data.) For me, it was like having a hobby I got paid for ... I even hung around long enough to get a PhD.

Finally, formal training and credentials are helpful (but not ALWAYS necessary) in Academia. Results are critical in or out of Academia. You can freelance or look for someplace that has an in-house consulting group. Getting a "client base" takes time but could be a path for you to start a freelance practice.

Good luck.

more than 2 years ago

Stock Market Manipulation By Millisecond Trading

wlj Re:Free Market working A-OK (624 comments)

My reading of the article brought out the point that, for a few extra bucks, you can actually go to the head of the line - giving the window of opportunity to perform the other actions described. Interesting definition of "free market" ...

more than 5 years ago

RAID Vs. JBOD Vs. Standard HDDs

wlj Re:Do some research first? (555 comments)

Look at the RAID 10 configuration (striped and mirrored). Disks are cheap now this gives good safety plus performance.

more than 7 years ago


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