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Comment: Re:Sounds like liberal arts grad students (Score 1) 332

by Sheafification (#35734554) Attached to: Which Grad Students Are the Most Miserable?

What you describe is not unsimiliar for sciences (my experience is with math). For any given position there are several hundred applicants, and most tenure-track positions with research as one of your responsiblities are very hard to get without a post-doc. There's some talk that the field is moving towards having two post-docs as a requirement to getting your foot in the door. That's three to six years of work after your PhD, with no guarantee that there will actually be any positions for you afterwards. Depending on your specialization in math, your knowledge may be non-transferrable to outside of academia (your general skills of abstraction, problem-solving, etc are useful of course, but you're pretty well versed in those by the end of grad school). That's not the most exciting path to undertake.

I know some graduating PhDs that have applied to about 150 schools this year with one or two phone interviews, no follow-up, as the response. Grad students that are only prepared for academia (even just teaching) are setup for a high chance of misery.

Comment: Re:Dogs made man. Was Re:Maybe, but... (Score 1) 716

by Sheafification (#34321064) Attached to: Oxford Scientists Say Dogs Are Smarter Than Cats

The Yamamono, the Fore, the Andamanese, the Koi-san all fight all the time and they fight to kill. With ambush imminent at any time and raids being very common, they could not develop sedentism, living in one place. They have to be constantly on the move.

Do you mean the Yanomamo? (there's no such group as the "Yamamono")

As someone who has been taught by an anthropologist who has spent considerable time living with the Yanomamo, your characterization is incorrect. The Yanomamo do, in fact, live in one place for extended periods of time (2 years-ish). The reason they move is because their staple food is bananas, which take some time to grow and produce exactly one bunch per tree. Staggered planting helps, but the soil is quickly exhausted. They live in one area until they start to exhaust the resources, and then move on to a new area. One particular thing to note is that they prepare a new area ahead of time by planting bananas there. In fact, they have several areas prepared in various stages of readiness so that when they need to move, they can move to an area that has bananas ready for consumption. They have reasonably sophisticated agricultural techniques, but their environment and the types of crops available force them to relocate, regardless of whether they have a domesticated guard-animal.

Comment: Re:Apple stuff is good (Score 1) 178

by Sheafification (#33794288) Attached to: Best Mobile Computing Options For People With RSI?

Without more information it's hard to figure out what was going on, but several people have had problems like this because the wiring in their house is not properly grounded. Obviously this isn't the sole cause if you got shocks while running on battery power (you didn't say), but getting shocks while touching a MBP may have nothing at all to do with the MBP.

Health-wise, the shocks probably have a neutral impact but they are symptomatic of the potential for dangerous situations to occur later.

Comment: Re:5 C? Seriously? You have a tent with stairs? (Score 1) 557

by Sheafification (#33713238) Attached to: Selling Incandescent Light Bulbs As Heating Devices
This is a little unusual perhaps, but not so rare. Around where I live we have significant periods of time with temperatures around 0F. Unless you heat your house up significantly in the day or run the heater overnight, you'll wind up with roughly 5C come morning. Especially for the large number of people living in a rural home, where there are fewer heat sources nearby and there is less to block the wind.

Comment: Re:If you can't handle calculus, science isnt for (Score 1) 467

by Sheafification (#31729308) Attached to: Help Me Get My Math Back?

Sorry, I just re-read my post and I sounded like a bit of a jerk compared to your completely reasonable post. I had just scrolled through enough posts like "calculus is useless! statistics 4ever!" to be somewhat irritated.

You're quite right that direct computation of derivatives or integrals is rarely done by people nowadays (and it should really be this way in calculus classes as well, but I digress). My poorly phrased point is that the knowledge of what an integral is and how it behaves is of great value when thinking statistically, even if you don't do any integration.

I think many people undervalue the conceptual understanding to their detriment, but I'm going to cut myself off before I start ranting again.

Comment: Re:If you can't handle calculus, science isnt for (Score 3, Informative) 467

by Sheafification (#31724358) Attached to: Help Me Get My Math Back?

As a mathematician with a statistician wife, I'm surprised by the number of responses like yours. Many people here are asserting that they never use calculus but constantly use statistics. Do they never work with a continuous distribution? No z-tests, f-tests, t-test, chi^2-tests? No exponential, gamma, beta, gaussian, log-normal, logistic distributions?

Or maybe they just don't know that probability theory is based on integration, and every time they compute an expected value, correlation, variance, co-variance, skewness, kurtosis, regression, etc. they are using calculus-based techniques and results. That would go a long way to explaining why my wife is consistently busy consulting with scientists who have worked themselves into a corner with their data. They designed their experiment to produce sub-optimal data and can't do the analyses to extract the meager conclusions their design entails.

Sorry, I don't mean to pick on you in particular, but to say that one uses statistics all the time and never uses calculus is preposterous.

Comment: Re:Emi (Score 1) 601

by Sheafification (#31445558) Attached to: EMI Cannot Unbundle Pink Floyd Songs

Has the River gotten any better? I used to listen to it all the time as my preferred station, but I eventually got to the point that I couldn't stand listening to the constant advertisements, and for those that don't know: it's a "commercial-free" station!

Despite the fact that the station was supported mainly by donations, they still had interruptions every 10-15 minutes plugging various of their programs, or upcoming concerts, or thanks to sponsoring organizations, etc. I'm done with radio in general because of this. I listened to certain podcasts for a while, but even then I've had to drop some of those due to constant advertisements. Bandana blues is just about the only one with consistently good quality that I still enjoy.

Comment: Re:Another reason not to fly via Heathrow (Score 1) 821

by Sheafification (#30998704) Attached to: "No Scan, No Fly" At Heathrow and Manchester

Interestingly, strong profiling by overly targeting a group, Muslims for example, actually makes searching LESS effective than random selection. People who seem to be Muslim but are not terrorists, like the grand-parent poster, get searched almost every time. Searches become very ineffective because we search the same innocent people over and over and over again.

The optimal method is a form of weak profiling, where a Muslim would be targeted for searches with a probability slightly higher than a non-Muslim. This way searches get spread out among people we haven't already checked. You can read technical details here [PDF].

Comment: Re:It says: 256MB RAM... (Score 1) 744

by Sheafification (#29910367) Attached to: Ubuntu 9.10 Officially Released
I think you're just illustrating the GP's point. You had a laptop with 256 MB running Windows Home that was super slow. In order to get more acceptable performance you had to quadruple the RAM. Hence the GP's assertion that Microsoft will miss out on all the smaller devices that don't have huge chunks of RAM.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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