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Comment Re: Who needs a startup? (Score 1) 25

Think about your own words: could this be the result of somebody trying to make us all more and more stupid? If that happens on a world class Univ, think about down the list ones.
I dont think this is an accident.

I said nothing of the sort.

As a matter of fact, I've consistently found the focus on actually teaching at (your) "down the list" schools to be much stronger for undergraduates. Smaller classes. Professors actually teach their classes. And they grade students' homework. They will run the labs. With less-expensive equipment, students will have to learn lab-work by "Doing it the hard way," which is more effective.

At a major Research University: More than 50% of classes are not taught by Professors, but by "Lecturers" – PhDs who take on that load so the tenure-track Profs. can bring in more grants – or post-docs who have not yet learned to speak clearly. Core classes can reach class-sizes well over 500 per section. An army of TAs ensures that students can't reach the Professor, who might schedule 'Office Hours' at a very inconvenient time. (I've done it – on advice.) (OK, but when I'm Advising grad students, I force them to "Do it the hard way," despite having software on my desk that could spit out an 'answer' in seconds.)

The above is a broad-brush generalization, but holds true often enough. It mostly depends on whether a College or University cares about more than just money and football. Or both. Variation among Departments and Schools is a factor, too.

So, students must research and also visit potential schools before committing. Caveat emptor!

Comment Re:Who needs a startup? (Score 1) 25

"It's humid today" isn't exactly a scientific measurement. I'd expect some kind of electronic measurement with barometer, thermometer and hygrometer. You can get an all in one wireless system with automatic logging for less than £40. If you want to splurge out on a bit more (£130), you can get a wireless weather station that connects via the internet to a smartphone. There are probably others with more features and functionality, but it was the first I found.

You prove my point. Thanks!

It's facile to record either qualitative info, or to auto-record quantitative data from your humidity-loggers. Either way, when confusing experimental results appear, neither of these resources is likely to be used.

My point was to gripe about the lazy technique among many new grad students of late. It is a product of:
* Our undergraduate programs automating chemistry-lab experiments to be 'push-button' easy.
* Calculus homework consisting of typing a problem into a computer program, and printing the answer it gives.
* Statistical Process Control (SPC) apparently is not taught to undergrads

I don't have the time to teach them everything they should have learned as undergraduates. Grad school is supposed to be the next phase... Learning at any stage is hands-on and primary-sourced. Discussing how US Universities got here would be a long conversation. 20 years ago, Americans had a reputation overseas as being high-level technicians, and rightly so. The problem has gotten worse.

Comment A Clear & Simple Explanation for Everyone (Score 1) 455

FACT: Reading a thermometer is not 'theory". It is a Reading, producing a Fact (a piece of Data).

Scientists have made such temperature Readings millions of times, over many, many years (more like 10E5 years). Plot that data and it is still not a "theory" – just the display of a Collection of Facts.

Observing the Plots requires no "theory", either. Anyone can see that the surface of the Earth has been getting hotter, exponentially. We're still in the realm of Facts here.

THEORY: A set of well-Tested Predictive Models, based on Facts. This Results from extensive Testing and Refinement of Predictive Models. Test them enough times (like, kazillions), and a general consensus will eventually emerge that the Theory, despite its "being just a theory", has withstood vigorous Tests and Experiments intended to Challenge it, for a long time. Yes, there is Uncertainty, but by this stage, that Uncertainty (or "disagreement among scientists", as the Press like to call it), is generally around the 99.99999999999% Confidence Level. So certain that it's generally accepted as Fact. (But scientists never shut the door completely. Ever. To avoid re-repeating Tests with known outcomes – boring! – we accept strong Theories as Fact, and explore new things that build on the Known.)

QUESTION: Are humans Causing Global Warming?


I refer you to any book on Thermodynamics – the Collection of Theories concerning thermal phenomena (like closed-systems, steady-states, and so on). There have been many completely different approaches and/or starting points variously taken, and they've all ended up in extremely close agreement (see above). (To us, it's fact within any conditions we will ever encounter. Theoretical physicists dream-up exotic situations where things can vary, or we observe extreme conditions like black holes merging, but I'm not planning a trip to visit one.)

And what is this "disagreement" among Climate Scientists?

ANSWER: We cannot see into the future. Better models will help us deal with the issues of Climate Changes induced by the overall heating of the Earth's surface.

SIMPLER ANSWER: We don't know whether we're all doomed by 2050 AD, or by 2300 AD. :-)

PS — To anyone still on that "only a theory" hobby-horse, I have a brick and a ladder for you. Please use them to test the "only a theory" status of Gravity, and have your mortician get back to me.

Comment Re:What scientists do (Score 1) 455

So tell me, what do yuo consider science?

Taking data, analyzing data, making models, verifying models, refining models, taking more data, taking more data.

All the stuff that climate scientists actually do, and climate deniers don't.

Small correction. The scientific process runs basically like this:

01 -- Conjecture.
02 -- Develop into Hypothesis.
03 -- Test it (run an experiment —Probe and Measure to see if its Prediction is accurate or not).
04 -- If results do not conflict hypothesis, you probably go Test it in a different way.
05 -- Publish the Work, so others can Test it.
06 -- Over time, develop a Model based on Results of Tests (experiments – probing and measuring).
07 -- Extend or Refine the Model.
08 -- Test it again.
09 -- Repeat.
10 -- Once the Model has survived Testing of many types, it can now be considered a Theory.
11 -- Theories result from an array of verified predictions relating to a greater whole.
12 -- Publish it!!! Everyone continues to Test it.
13 -- Scientists in the discipline Refine the Model and its Theory over time.
14 -- One day, eventually, a Breakthrough Discovery will be Reported. This really excites scientists!
15 -- Apply the above steps to any Reported Breakthrough. In the end, Truth will win out.

The Australian government's decision is akin to someone saying, 150 years ago, "Everything has been discovered already. There is nothing new to be found."

Comment Re:The basic question is answered...but still... (Score 1) 455

The climate models developed thus far have generally been worthless in terms of prediction after more than a few years...

I know I'm feeding a troll, but here it goes anyway.

This is the nature pf predictive modeling. For example, models trying to

* Predict stock markets,
* Predict Superbowl winners three-years-out,
* Predict highway traffic patterns, or
* Predict who is going to commit a crime (AKA pre-crime)

are all worthless over more than short time-scales.

Without a continuous stream of good data (measurements), there will be nothing for any refined models to be tested against. The point is so fundamental as to be "obvious".

Comment Who needs a startup? (Score 1, Insightful) 25

I'm in the physical sciences, and even there am met with continuing reluctance of graduate students to take thorough lab notes in a lab book.

It is not that hard to write, "It's humid today," or whatever. No matter how mundane the variable is, and no matter how fucking smart you think you are –with your imagined ability of total recall even a few months after the lab-time, everything is worth writing down.

That way, when an anomalous result appears, they can search their notes for possible causes. Instead, they spend their time on FaceBook while the expensive instruments spit out Results – Results which all-too-often have inexplicable scatter in measurements of the variable-of-interest.

BTW, I teach at a Global top-10 Sci-Eng University. The grad students' 'arrogance issues' seem to increase the further up the chain of Universities one goes. These kids resist direction like mad, and as a result, will never become world-class engineers or scientists.

Comment Re:What are miles? (Score 1) 144

Technically the US doesn't have a system

Then what is the Office of Weights and Measures for?

I think you mean NIST (National Bureau for Standards and Technology), formerly known as the NBS (National Bureau of Standards). They're related, at the least. Both are under the US Department of Commerce (DOC).

Slashdotters should recall the a multi-national Mars-probe that crash-landed during a 'routine' orbit-adjustment. The contract was specified in Imperial (feet, pounds, etc.), but one subcontractor in the EU didn't get that memo (I don't blame them). The thing crashed into a smoking crater instead, thanks to this undergraduate-level units-conversion mistake.

We have rid ourselves of the ha'penny, six-pence, the mil (US), and all sorts of other non-Base-10 systems of counting units.

To answer: The cost of re-tooling is considered to be 'too expensive' for US manufacturers, so they do not make the shift. Machining and forming can be complicated enough without making the person think in base-12, base-16, and so on, depending upon what they are considering. How much did that Mars probe's crash cost us?

It's well-past time to go metric here in the US. Scientists did so long ago. It makes everything so much easier. But ah well, I will save my breath.

Comment Re:Nature Abhors a Vacuum (Score 1) 144

They have superb engineers who I guess would have thought about these and far more complex scenarios.
A possible solution is to have say - the whole tube is not low pressure - only subsections.
These subsections can be quite small, say 5-10 meters wide where they might pull the air out just as the pod reaches that area.
Sections covered with maybe small valves which allow the pods to go in - and not air to come in from the other side.

Yes, this! The entire length would not need to be a single, gigantically-long vacuum chamber. Segmentation and compartmentalization of sub-lengths could be more economical. Low pressure in front, and high in the back. Well, maybe. If the capsules' travel is near-supersonic, then there would be no benefit from a 'push' of air re-inflow behind.

Someone will do this study. Segments, periodic buffer tanks, and all the rest will be thought through. This is just solid engineering, which takes time, so I'll wait to hear from them.

Comment Re:Nature Abhors a Vacuum (Score 2) 144

I think this hyperloop is going to crash into the harsh realities of dealing with a vacuum.
a) It takes a huge amount of energy to pull a good vacuum. This thing needs to be at 0.02 psi. Vacuum pumps are really inefficient. They mostly take electricity and generate lots of heat.
b) Running the pumps is going to cost. Vacuum pumps burn out/need maintenance.

A Roots blower can handle a lot of airflow. Back those up with some giant scroll pumps. Maintenance in either case is just replacement of the dry vanes. Energy is mainly spent on the initial evacuation ('work' to nature).

c) 0.02 psi? That translates into a HUGE amount of force trying to crush the tube. 14 lbs/ square inch. It adds up QUICK. Better hope some 13 year old doesn't think it would be funny to put an M-80 on this thing. It might implode and kill anyone in the pod.

Be serious. Aside from a cylinder being the perfect shape to handle this compressive stress, one atmosphere is roughly 15 psi. We have space station modules, undersea modules, subways under rivers/ocean, and aircraft. Dealing with radial pressure in metals, either tensile or compressive, is an undergraduate-level exercise.

And your kid with an M-80? Has this same kid never heard of an oil pipeline? Or a train? Or, well, just about any piece of infrastructure that is routinely not brought down by a little M-80?

d) Ever to try keep a vacuum? Good luck finding all the little leaks in the seals over X miles of this tube. Getting it evacuated once will be difficult. Now try to keep it sealed for a year. You have the stress of the pods flying through this thing. You have heating and cooling cycles every 24 hours.

It will make a awesome science project for some students spending lots of other people's money.

All the time. Mine are usually 10E-13 to 10E-16 atmospheres, which can be a pain. 0.02 psi is 0.1% of an atmosphere. That is silicone-gasket territory –nothing exotic will be required.

Comment Old News (Score 3, Insightful) 104

This is really old news. Using deep-ocean installations to nominally negate the costs of cooling in data centers had been around forever.

And energy-harvesting by use of undersea currents, tidal motions, or hydrothermal vents has been around forever, too. (Geothermal energy, anyone?)

This article has nothing new, but its author's suggestion that co-locating the 'pod'-type data centers near undersea thermal-emission sites is flat-out stupid. An umbilicus to land, eventually to an internet trunk-line is required. We can pipe around photons and electrons with ease. So why, oh why, was the writer forced to fill column-space with this nit-witted statement?

There are plenty of reasons to emplace various things at-depth in our oceans, simply for the heat-removal aspect alone. Below 400 m it's all pretty much below -3C. Using service-life maintenance-free modules is a great idea —It is not new.

Comment Re:LEGO maybe should make custom pieces available? (Score 1) 165

How about LEGO gets a high-end 3D printer and customers can submit CAD files for custom pieces that then could be avail. in low quantities to everyone?

Great idea. Also, why can't anyone else do it? What IP Law protects LEGO-type bricks?

It can't be Patents — those only last 20 years. Utility, Design, all of them.
Copyright — how would that apply to a 3D object?
Trademark — Don't use their Trade Dress or Logo – anywhere. It is unclear how the functional part of LEGOs could be protected by Trademark.

In short (and keeping in mind that IANAL), just find a "3D Print to Order" company on the web.

Better yet, come to the realization that the entire point of LEGOs is that they are open-ended toys, enabling creativity by the re-use of blocks from various kits to make your own things. "Real" LEGOs abandoned that idea about three of decades ago, and now use special parts for each and every new kit that they sell. The LEGO bricks that my grand-kids play with are the ones from my own youth, saved by wise parents in a big bucket.

Comment Re:Lawsuits won't fix this (Score 1) 243

... It infuriates me when I've walked into projects where someone messed things up so badly they were fired, and they just clean up their resume and move on like nothing happened. That would be part of the bargain with employers -- they would get quality work or compensation in the case of incompetence.

THIS. And how.

A former employer instituted a new rule that no one was allowed to provide professional recommendations for former employees.

Yet, their HR policy of requiring recommendation letters for any potential new-hire applicants remained in-place.


Comment Re:And anyone wonders why Trump does well? (Score 1) 243

EXACTLY! People here can say what they want about Trump, but I think he is going to be the only candidate to put a stop to this kind of thing happening.

OK, I can't mod in this thread, so I'll reply to say, "Mark post up as Funny."

Trump made his billions the old-fashioned way. He inherited it.

All of Trump's wives have been immigrants. That just goes to show that immigrants are still coming to the US to do unpleasant jobs that no US citizen is willing to do.

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