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Comment: Re:Engineering. Solve Problems (Score 1) 420

by gatzke (#49657175) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Moving To an Offshore-Proof Career?

This. Some people are problem solvers, and some people can be taught problem solving skill / strategies but never are really good at dealing with complex problems.

As a parent, I worry for my children. If they are not problem solvers, what else can they do that will not be totally automated? Nursing? Physical therapy? Fire/ Police? Stuff where you should need a physical presence and it will be difficult to robustly automate to deal with uncertain situations...

Comment: Re:But why? (Score 1) 634

by gatzke (#49569271) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

"more societally meaningful" ?! And I don't get it either. My job does not get more societally meaningful; if I don't do my job (Software Engineer, Industrial Automation), you don't get any power to your home, don't drive a car, don't get air condition in the mall and many more things. Sure I am only a small cog in that bigger scheme of things, but without engineers modern society would not exist.

Exactly. Maybe they don't see the bigger picture? Maybe we don't properly motivate with these examples?

If engineers fail at their job, people die. Chemical plants explode, medical devices fail, airplanes crash and burn. How much more impact on society can you have?

I think the problem is the job is too far removed from the feels. You don't have personal direct impact.

And sometimes the conditions are not conducive to family life. I have students starting with a four year degree making over $100k. But they spend lots of time in the gulf on oil rigs. Sometimes people make different life choices.

Comment: Diaspora? Open standards! (Score 1) 359

by gatzke (#49559127) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

I know it will never work, but open-standards for stuff is what we really should shoot for.

Email and web were successful because anyone could run servers on the protocol.

Chat was starting to move that way, but nobody seems to use chat anymore. Text or FB message or instagram or twitter.

Social media is all privately controlled and that is bad for us all.

Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 1) 700

by gatzke (#49483803) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

A huge all-glass cathedral, $ multi-million salaries for the charismatic preacher begging for more donations, and toys like private jets and limos: False

I would assume the "church" is still doing good charity works of some sort, even if the optics are bad.

And the "toys" can somewhat be justified. Everyone needs to get around, so a preacher needs a car. A preacher in a giant church has more resources (and obligations) to get around, so maybe a big car (and a driver?) could be justified if they are actually going around ministering.

And a jet seems crazy, but these groups become large national (multinational?) organizations that have members and locations and ministries all over the country. Again, if they have resources, why not let them have a jet if they are doing good works? Now if they only use it to jet to the Bahamas every weekend...

As in many things, the real answer is "it depends."

Comment: Re:What guarantees of longevity? (Score 1) 48

by gatzke (#49343093) Attached to: Facebook Makes Messenger a Platform

BTW, what would you guys suggest to wean non-technical friends off FB chat, given that IRC might be a little too much hassle with all the servers and keeping their computer on all the time?

Google Hangouts does chat and video chat and snapchat image type stuff.

It is multiplatform, unlike Factime or SMS messaging. Not sure if Whatsapp has a PC/Mac client.

I have had messaged delayed for some unknown reason on occasion. But overall, it is very solid.

Comment: Re:Define "read" (Score 1) 164

by gatzke (#49099933) Attached to: How is your book reading divided between fiction and non-fiction?

Yeah, I know. They are a much better experience.

Sometimes they offer audio files for just a few dollars more. They are way better, but I am usually too cheap for it. And I don't want any hassle from questionable downloads. So I will stick with my robot voice reading to me for now.

Comment: Re:That's because engineers are not smart (Score 1) 580

by docmordin (#49044301) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

I spoke about engineers in general. And as you know, as someone who apparently lives at the end of a bell curve, when speaking in general there are always edge-cases that can seemingly contradict the general statement being made, but that doesn't stop that statement from being true.

Your generalization would be true if I was just one of a handful of students who worked up to general engineering principles from rudimentary physics knowledge. However, I can point to hundreds of my peers at MIT who did the same thing, many of whom likely have a much deeper understanding than I do. Given my exposure to the curriculum at CalTech and Stanford, I feel rather confident in stating that engineering students at those schools weren't just given equations and told to memorize them. Instead, they slogged through a series of derivations of those principles and had to build up their own understanding of the meaning behind those derivations. I'm sure that others can chime in about their experiences at other top-tier institutions, such as Berkeley, CMU, and the Ivies.

As an aside, undergraduate research assistantships are becoming more commonplace at some institutions. I agree that most undergraduates will probably not come out publishing papers in prestigious journals or conferences. However, that does not mean that they don't enhance their knowledge and understanding of various concepts.

In short, there are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of engineers out there with educational experiences that either partly or fully mirror my own. Consequently, you really need to be cautious when you make sweeping generalizations like engineers only spend their time memorizing formulas without reflecting on how those formulas came to be.

Comment: Re:That's because engineers are not smart (Score 1) 580

by docmordin (#49043387) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

That's because engineers are not smart, they're dogmatic. They spend their entire university career learning formulas and recipes (excuse me, algorithms) without questioning them the way physicists or philosophers do. They spend the time, and they know their science, but they don't know why what they know is right, they just know that what they know IS right. [...] And because they only learn the results, not the history and argumentation that led up to the result, they're not as well prepared to deal with the barrage of idiocy that is spewed by people like anti-vaxxers.

There are plenty of incorrect assertions and generalizations made in this post. It honestly reads like a dogmatic diatribe.

As EE/CS undergraduate students, my classmates and I learned the fundamental physics behind various phenomena, not just the high-level equations. That is, we learned why, for example, transistors function they way that they do and why we can rely on simplified equations to characterize their behavior. Most of what we were taught is still covered in the MIT undergraduate curriculum (see courses 6.002, 6.012, 8.012, 8.04, and 8.044).

As EE/CS graduate students, my lab partners and I were responsible for furthering the state of the art. During these years, we had to understand why, for example, our experimental results diverged from our model predictions and how to revise those models accordingly. In some cases, we invalided long-standing, widely taught models and proposed new ones. If we didn't understand the fundamental physics behind these models, we wouldn't have made the contributions that we did. We also wouldn't have had our work published in Science, Nature, and PNAS.

I don't even need to lengthily address your comment that engineers aren't smart. There are plenty of people on Slashdot that can thoroughly invalidate that claim.

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