Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment Same in High Energy Physics, IMHO (Score 4, Informative) 135

Interestingly, the same things can be said about High Energy Physics - in the last half century, physicists have figured out the standard model of particle physics. Meanwhile, the cost of pushing back the energy frontier (cf LHC) is at the level where it funding is required from a large portion of the Western world to make a major discovery. Research is driven by grad students and post docs, most of whom can never get a permanent position, while funding is diminishing in real terms.

For me, the current academic system needs updating from the 19th century. It is bad for science not to make the change, because we see the good staff leaving to find a proper job.

Comment Re:the name (Score 4, Interesting) 358

Interestingly, the word KitKat originally derives from pies made in London. The KitKat club, deriving its name from originally meeting in a certain London pie shop, was a social centrepiece of the whig oligarchy that managed the UK government in the early part of the 18th century, and also one of the first institutions to introduce the concept of copyright, thanks to support from Tonson, a publisher and lobbyist for the publishing industry. It is not clear whether there is any relation between KitKat confectionery and KitKat pies, however.

Comment Re:If you need it you are doing it wrong. (Score 1) 211

The problem with excel is that it is hard to document against and test. In the software world we have lovely tools like doxygen and all sorts of testing suites. We have nice things like functions, classes. One can do analogous things in spreadsheets, but they just aren't as well set up for that sort of stuff. It makes it hard to define what is going on into logical blocks, hard to break that down into blocks that can be tested against. I'm not someone who cares about this language or that language, but I do care that a developer goes through some development process that includes testing and documentation, and I don't see how that can be done in excel.

Comment Re:Just a thought along the side-line (Score 1) 67

CERN has invested in about 5 million lines of C++ code (google GEANT4 and ROOT) - there is no backing out of C++ now. Python is nice because it can sit on top of the C++ backend and provide less buggy UI. It is also becoming the de facto standard for scientific computing (not just in HEP).

Comment Re:In Japan?! (Score 1) 71

Who said Japan is paying for half the fees? Physicists hope that Japan will stump up, but this has not been stated by anyone in authority to make such a decision. $5 bn is not small change. Nb: asking for money may be awkward at the moment following an uncontrolled release of a tiny amount of radioactive material at JPARC a couple of weeks ago in somewhat uncomfortable circumstances...

Comment Re:Would have loved this... (Score 4, Informative) 164

Agreed. There is a lego clone called megabloks - that uses the same interface as lego but much cheaper. If you mix lego with megabloks, it is clear that the megabloks build quality is far inferior, leading to crap buildings that fall over. lego is actually decent stuff.

"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." -- Bakunin [ed. note - I would say: The urge to destroy may sometimes be a creative urge.]