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Comment: Take a long, unstructured vacation. (Score 1) 228

by Qeyser (#43099595) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Advice For Summer Before Ph.D. Program?

Now is your chance.

In between my Ph.D. and first post-doctoral stint, I took three months off. Bicycle touring, surfing lessons, and visiting friends across the country. It was one of the best things I've ever done (even considering the credit card debt).

So whatever counts as an adventure for you, go and do it now. Unstructured time off is hard to come by in the sciences, except for the very few elite scientists and engineers who can manage their career on a 40 hour work week. I'm now in year 5 of my post-doctoral work, and I don't see another vacation like that any time soon.

Comment: Re:Necessary? (Score 1) 199

by Qeyser (#30310024) Attached to: Brain of Patient H.M. Being Sliced, Streamed Live

Definitely necessary. MRI has a visual/spatial resolution of about 10^-3 meters; microscopy has a resolution of about 10^-6. Its like the difference peering through the window of a bookstore vs being able to go inside and read.

In addition, depending on how you prepare the tissue, you can investigate the protein or genomic content of the neurons and learn about their functional properties (as well as their structure). Along with functional MRI, this technique is the bread-and-butter for learning about normal and abnormal brain function in humans.

Comment: Re:Purple prose... (Score 1) 648

by Qeyser (#28261889) Attached to: 11-Year-Old Graduates With Degree In Astrophysics

I'd go farther and say that clear writing is especially desirable in academic papers. When you're trying to communicate complex, abstract ideas, why make the prose any more complex and abstract than it needs to be?

BrokenHalo makes a good point about Improving Our Word Power, but I think writers benefit less from a good vocabulary than they do from good editing skills -- and the willingness to rewrite, revise, and edit until their prose is crisp, clean, direct, and clear.

Real programmers don't write in BASIC. Actually, no programmers write in BASIC after reaching puberty.

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