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Comment: God ! Stay away from blade runner ! (Score 1) 217

by Voice of satan (#49157879) Attached to: Harrison Ford To Return In Blade Runner Sequel

That's what he said in the honest trailer of the incredibly dumb movie prometheus. Way to slaughter a good franchise.

Blade runner's story has been written by Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples. They were inspired by Philip K. Dick's novel do android dream of electric sheep but completely changed the meaning of it. In dick's book, replicants are not alive, in blade runner they are allive and struggling to be recognised as such. They are slaves who live in fear because they are considered as objects and live in fear. That's well rendered in Roy's expression when he discovers in horror the collection of live toys of J.K. Sebastian. You can see his little droids being consumed by fear.

Rutger Hauer got it and it's probably why he improvised the beautiful tears in rain monologue.

Ridley Scott ? I am not even sure he understands his own movie. After all he didn't write the scenario. I've seen an inetrview of him and all he seems to be interested about are the visual aesthetics. And gloating about how the movie defines us as human whil it does more or less the opposite.

One could surmise intersting theories about who the space jockey was in alien and why he was carrying his dangerous cargo. Why he tried to war others of the danger of what he was transporting. Were they weapons ? Were they at war with someone else ? All that was mercilessly butchered by the imbecile plot of prometheus who is worthy of a Michael Bay movie.

Go search on youtube the "honest trailer of prometheus". At least THAT is enjoyable. And like Screen Junkies say "god stay away from Blade Runner".

Comment: RTG (Score 1) 88

by Voice of satan (#48398919) Attached to: After Four Days, Philae Team Gets to Rest

ESA doesn't have its own RTGs yet. Access to plutonium is a problem and the use of americanium 241 for future EU RTGs is planned. Since US nuke regulations forbid to sell such technology unless it is installed at the last moment on US soil which would imply US acces to EU industrial secrets and a launch from US soil with a US rocket it is out of the question for ESA to buy a RTG on the shelf.

Plus ESA has a much lower budget than ESA and doesn't have as many deep space missions As the NASA. Yet.

Comment: Nothing beats a mathematician in critical thinking (Score 2) 392

by Voice of satan (#47921631) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

I can tell without angering my boss i work in an EU institute that does applied research and transfer of technology. I have a say in whoever we hire in the teams i supervise; I don't supervise alone. Nearly nobody does here. We have to read a lot of academic research and skim trough a lot of bullshit publications. I am looking at you China... So we need people with excellent critical thinking skills.

In my experience, the people most able to spot bullshit and fallacies were the mathematicians. Where i studied and where i work, a maths master degree is more than 7000 hours of demonstrating things and spotting errors. Nobody beats that. Physics graduates are good too. With engineers it depends of their strengths in maths. And yes, we ask candidates to show us their grades in the maths and core curriculum skills. Theses are those which matter. Usually we care less about the last year purely technical skills. We sometimes hire people with engineering degrees of a specialisation in a field different than ours because we think he or she has good intellectual skills.

That's our policy. Some companies where friends of mine work hire *only* engineers and most poeple there do not even know what the content or a "pure" science degree from a science faculty (physics, maths, chmistry...) looks like. It is unfair to pure sicentists but i have observed that in the industrial world (including the European Space Agency) engineers are more easily hired and -much- better paid.

I have a degree of engineering physics from a engineering faculty. It's some sort of hybrid between a machanical engineer and a physicist. When i did a "sciency " Ph.D. instead of a more "engineering" one my frieds told me it was pofessional suicide. They were wrong. If i had looked for a job in France, they would have been right.

I would -never- hire a lib arts graduate or the closest local equivalent (communication graduates). Anyway, the secretary has a list of degrees which get the automated polite "due to your skills we won't hire you" response. The list included degrees in communication and journalism, psychology, sociology, politcial "science" and -yes- someone included the US liberal arts degrees. The list is long. We have a few employees form the US too.

There are reasons we don't want to hire them -even as janitors-. One is in our opinion they have NOT the crtitical thinking skills we need. They have zero background in maths. Usually not even high school maths. They confuse being able to argue with critcial thinking. A five years old kid is able to argue. They are delusional people who spend all their academic life bullshitting people. Usually it gos back to high school. I have experience in dealing with these sort of people in my student life. Later i had the displeasure to teach statistics to psychology students. Not only were they unabe to do statistics, not only most of them were completely unable to do even junior high school maths but what worse is they were not even smart enough to recognise it and insisted in faking that abilityy !

Not to be able to reason is already a proof of lack of critical thinking. To not be aware you are not fooling anyone and trying to bullshit people anyway is an even worse proof of lack of critical thinking. It shows you are clueless. I have met quite alot of psych students trying to make me believe they studied quantum mechanics because they knew ho to pronunce "kantumakaniks, hurr durr". I sometimes meet people of their kind online. People form various countries. They all look frighteningly similar. Such people are crackpots.

Likewise, being able to "write essays" does not impress us. Lib arts graduates donot really have skills in the sense of what we expect from serious university graduates. They have culture. Superfical culture. It makes them pleasant dinner companions but not hardned professionals. I have some US online friends studying poli sci or lib arts and they are greatly delusional about their level of "skill". The deans of their faculties should be hanged for selling illusions to such gullibe people.

What's worse is since we are afraid of having to pay them university level wages for administrative reasons we won't even hire them even as clerks or janitors. So they are plagued by degrees which renders them unemployable.

I know i sound harsh but if you are interested in tech you have basically two choices: Content yourself with reading vulgarisation publications -which is fine, nobody should feel forced to prove something-. If you enjoy tech this way, good for you. Or you get a true STEM degree. Preferably an engineering one since too many companies underestimate pure science degrees.

But dont fool yourself. And beware of the mythomaniacs who post here. I have friends working in the US and none of them has told me of lib arts garduates being hired where they work.

Comment: Politics (Score 1) 439

by Voice of satan (#45737139) Attached to: US Spying Costs Boeing Military Jet Deal With Brazil

My comment was eaten by a black hole it seems...

Ths Swiss did a political choice. The Rafale and the Typhoon not only bested the Gripen but were also the only ones who passe the miltary criteria. The Gripen is considered insufficient by Armasuisse.

But The Typhoon is part German and the Rafale is French and bot Germany and France have pressured the Swiss to reform their beloved banking system.

This was the retaliation

Comment: The Swiss were political (Score 2) 439

by Voice of satan (#45736563) Attached to: US Spying Costs Boeing Military Jet Deal With Brazil

In the Case of the Swiss, they had indeed noted the Rafale and the Eurofighter favourably, stating the Gripen was not only weaker but also below their minimal requirements. It has flunked the exams.

Still, they chose the Gripen. Why ? Simple, Eurofigher is partially German, Rafale is French and both Germany and France have heavily pressured the Swiss to reform their beloved banking system so EU citizen can't elude their taxes with a Swiss account.

The Gripen choice was the retaliation.

Comment: Transfer of technology (Score 4, Interesting) 439

by Voice of satan (#45736455) Attached to: US Spying Costs Boeing Military Jet Deal With Brazil

SAAB has made many concessions over the transfer of technology. I wonder how it will work out. Plus they propose to "make" them in Brazil. I wonder how much it will cost them since embraer has to outsource the assembly of many of their planes in Europe to be cost efficient.

The Gripen has many parts which are originated from the USA. The volvo engine used by current Gripens is a modified general electrics one. No small part of their electronics is American too. Besides, the Gripen NG now exists only on paper. It has short range and carry little ordinance. Best contender wasn't the F18 but the Dassault Rafale. Except in the US press of course. The French were ready to make a technology tranfer the americans would have never accepted, with good reasons. The Brazilians and the French already cooperate closely on Brazil's future nuclear submarines and that was supposed to seal a military alliance between the two countries. Sarkozy had even agreed to buy some Brazilian tranports France doesn't need to sweeten the deal.

And everyone who is even slightly interested in defense matters know the everyone which has the means spy on everyone. The Brazilian military knew this like the others Snowden or no Snowden.

The ones who rage and are really surprised now are the French, no the US.

Comment: Re:"most detailed" too strong a claim (Score 2) 88


The US, the French and probably the Russians have their own classified gravity maps. Essential to improve inertial guidance of ICBMs so the ones launched by submarines match the precision of ground based ones. I had a colleague whose works on acoustics where classified by NATO. It means he was forbidden to publish his work. I Guess this hasn't changed a lot and that a too precise gravity map could not be released even today.

Comment: Good news (Score 1) 440

by Voice of satan (#44746997) Attached to: What Works In Education: Scientific Evidence Gets Ignored

It shows that the rambling of "education" specialists are widely ignored as they should be. Their methodoly to evaluate the efficency of teaching maths and science is usually disastrous because they have not the slightest idea on how maths and science work. But they believe the get it pretty well out of their own ignorance. My American colleages call their mental flatulences "ed-speak"

In my university they tried to "counsel" the engineering faculty (science faculty told them to f.. off) and the results were miserable. So now they are ignored by everyone relevant. The problem is their discourse has the abilty to make the suckers believe they were injustly treated by the institution. And there are more suckers than competent people. It give the "ed people" a big nuisance capacity.

Where i was raised, their influence is now limited to the public schools because the elites nearly never go there so nobody cares. Sad.

Comment: Arabs are scary (Score 0) 110

by Voice of satan (#44738795) Attached to: Egyptian Authorities Detain French "Spy" Bird Found With Tracker

I have lived in Brussels, an arab infested city where they will soon be the majority. Not only most of the arabs i talked with were immensely stupid but the were PROUD to be stupid. For them, being a simpleton is a proof of devotion to tradition. And tradition is a good thing. Period. The will not evolve by themselves with this mentality.

The arab world is lagging behind civilisation. I guess for a very long time.

Comment: Re:Wake up (Score 1) 835

Problem is overuse of "shock and awe" raids. Nothing wrong in having weapons and knowing how to use them. But the tragedies described in the article heppened because the raided people were taken by surprise and reacted as if they were being assaulted. Actually they were assaulted.

If you suspect someone is armed inside a building the last thing you want is to take him by surprise. Knock on the door or tell him to surrender trough megaphone if you think he is some kind of armed hothead.

The only case i can think of when you want to take people by surprise is when they could very quickly erase evidence in case of a very serious crime. Growing pot in a cave is not one of these case. Even storing heroine would not be.

Comment: Don't try to rationalize (Score 2) 514

by Voice of satan (#42335571) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: 2nd Spoken/Written Language For Software Developer?

English is already the lingua franca in the world of tech and science. Plus it is a very rich language with an excellent litterature. What you have is an inner curiosity for other languages which is a very good thing. Learn the language you are the most interested in. For example you could choose the one whose litterature interest you the most. It will be a good mental gymnastic and be enjoyable. A sepcial mention for latin because you are forced to learn it "grammatically".

I work in Germany in the advanced photonics field in a very international setting. The working language is English. We publish in English. My mother tongue is French but even with the French people i speak English there.

I still enjoy French litterature. And a little bit of Spanish one.

But don't expect a professionnal justification for it. You boss may be someone who is not intellectual at all and would not value the effort. Do it for yourself.

Comment: Re:Speaking from experience... (Score 1) 265

by Voice of satan (#40438281) Attached to: Teaching Natural Sciences To Social Science Students?

At first, i think slashdot is one of the worst places in the whole internet to ask for this. Too many wankers looking for social gratification. And obvious mythomaniacs. I have read a dozen comments then i stopped. You should ask in a maths forum. I am sure there you will find experienced and COMPETENT people.

I am an engineering physicist who did his Ph.D. in photonics and did some research in aerodynamics and plasma physics in a private NATO institution. Well enough to be published. Then i quitted because the salaries in research are too low. I sometimes regret the fun. I work in a bank now.

Firstly, in my county of birth, schools are divided up. You take an option as early as 3rd grade (13/14 years). The maths/science option is recommended to only the most promising students while the others are discouraged. Likewise, the worst students are sent to technical/professional (plumbing...) or social studies options. Also, there are entrance exams to enroll in engineering/military school (all options)/flight school etc... The prep courses for these exams are exclusively in maths/science options in elitist high schools. We are elitist. Elitism is not considered a problem here contrary to United States. Also there is no the typically U.S. stigma on nerds. Here nerds are considered winners.

So some of my experience may not be transposed to the U.S. Your mileage may vary but from what i heard from my American colleagues and my European ones teaching or doing a postdoc in the U.S. the situation appears similar or even worse.

When i was a Ph.D. student, i had to teach part time. Since tenured professors want to teach only in science/engineering they tend to foist the courses in non science faculties to young non tenured teachers or doctoral students. So i had to teach students in sociology, psychology and communication. There is no such things as a minor/major in my country. Before that i teached high school students as private professor. Some of my high school students or their parents say i have saved their life. I am immensely proud of that.

So i had experience in teaching non necessarily brilliant students. And recover bad situations.

Well, it went worse than with my high school students. They sucked. They all sucked. Some harder than others. Globally the problem is they have zero math and science education. They don't have a clue about how genuine science work. Worse, they believe they know it pretty well. So while they are ignorant they are also pretty closed-minded.

One of their main difficulties was their methodology. They didn't know how to solve problems. They rather clinged on learning per heart formulas. They were even more lost when asked questions in plain French. Even about basic problems. They didn't get the maths concepts. Many had problems with fractions. A primary school notion. Many had problems with asserting an equation and solve it. Funnily enough, asserting equations was harder for them than solving them. So before struggling in stats they were in fact struggling with basic maths and logic. Of course, they were all totally unable to integrate or differentiate, let alone understanding what an integration or differentation was. The sociology students were less worse because they had a "general maths" course in freshman which was nothing more than a revision of high school maths. But even them didn't do more than applying formulas. For them an integral was the area of a surface below a curve. I showed them examples of (simple) integrals calculating volumes, lengths and other things and fortunately they were happy about it. Not possible with the psycho and communication students though. Good luck making them understand what an infinitesimal is. They have a problem with abstract concepts in general. In stats, they did understand what a mean was but even the median was already harder. They were lost with the concept of dispertion parameter. None of them did understand well what was a probability density function or a cumulative distribution function. Again, some of them were able the recite per heart the definitions. But not use the concepts.

I spent more time teaching them basic high school maths than actual statistics but even there i had to be very slow and cautious. I never had had so slow students. When teaching concepts, i had to dig deep into their difficulties, step by step. For example solving a simple quadratic equation (something i learned at 12):

-4x+3x-5=0 ?

-(blank stare)

-Ok, then 3x-5=0 ?


-Hmm hmm, lets try 3x=5 ?

-uh, fifteen ?

-No, x=3 ?

-Ah, yes ! Three !

-Ok, then x+1= , with the same x ?

- Four !

And so on... But with a lot of patience i finally achieved to teach them a little high school maths.

I tried to rummage in Ph.D's to find examples they would like but i renounced after having read four of them. All crud. Rantings about "pedagogy" (i loved how one tried to explain how to teach chemistry while having no clue how chemistry worked: he was creating wrong equations) and marketing disguised as academic research (social psychology lol).

I was responsible for a group of around 25 students, a bit less in the begining, more than 30 near the end of the academic year. I was supposed to give them them exercises and give them a reminder of the theory. The actual course was given by a Ph.D. in maths from the science faculty. There was very little coordination between him and us, his assistants. He wanted to do an academic career in the university so he was afraid of pissing the other teachers. He asked us to be "cool" when grading the students. I was determined to quit after my Ph.D so i totally ignored his directives. I was supposed to grade one question for all the 200-300 students. Each assistant his own question. No one student got the half mark for the questions i graded. From all the non science/engineering students i had none of them deserved the half mark.

When i was student, i was told that psychology students were atrociously dumb. I dismissed that as typical banter between faculties. I was wrong. They are dumb. As are their little buddies from sociology and communication. Their teachers are unaware of this and outright arrogant. I tried to discuss a bit with some of their teachers but i was met with a lot of naivety. Not outright hostility. Just that their teachers don't realize what a true scientist is.

If i may hazard a few advices:

-Go to a maths forum, not slashdot.
-Be very patient
-Teach the basics, assure yourself they have understood a before doing b.
-Give them a lot of basic exercises, doing exercises teach more than exposing theory
-Exercises must exerct their problem solving abilities, not the formulas
-Don't assume they know much
-Deconstruct their reasoning and struggles to the very basic principle they don't understand
-Go slowly
-Be very rigorous, fill all the blanks, demonstrate all you expose and give tons of SIMPLE examples
-Don't let them believe they are mathematicians because they have solved an exercise. They tend to get arrogant.
-Try to negociate a lot of hours of exercises with a lot of personnel, each of your assistants will need a lot of time per student
-Don't put the emphasis on formulas, they are fascinated by them and tend to rote them without understanding them.
-Use as few figures as possible, they tend to be fascinated by stupid graphs too.
-Never use a maths software or a scientific calculator. That defeats the purpoise of understanding the concept in favour of button pushing
-Don't be afraid of abstraction. They'll struggle at first.
-Do not ask them to solve the hardest exercises in class leaving the easy ones for home. They would be blocked.
-Make them work a lot, interrogate them often and early in the year.

EDIT: Aaah, i had to post as plain ol text. Sorry for the precedent wall of text ladies and gentlemen !

There are new messages.