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Comment: Re:How ghey (Score 1) 42

by MillionthMonkey (#48667375) Attached to: NuSTAR Takes Beautiful X-ray Image of Sol

If we start doing major exploration of deep space we're gonna need to use less ambiguous names for the sun and moon, as other planets may have a sun and moon.

We will never do major exploration of deep space where we get closer to another star than to this one. If we do, humanity can define two constants in file headers.

Comment: Re:from the what-until-they-get-a-load-of-this dep (Score 1) 291

by MillionthMonkey (#48655023) Attached to: Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens
My "Brainfuck for Dummies" book will have a lot of buggy sample code now that Amazon has decided I can only make 1 decrement per 10000 instructions. So I have to implement Brainfuck unit tests... and I just finished the chapter on how to write the code delinter and the JIT compiler!

Comment: Ph.D. is NOT a career move (Score 1) 280

by aussersterne (#48614685) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

An English major is NOT getting into a STEM Ph.D. program, no matter what.

Even if they were, job prospects are worse for STEM Ph.D. holders than for MS/BS holders—there are far fewer jobs that require Ph.D. level qualifications outside of the professoriate and academics, and for Ph.D. holders in particular, employers are absolutely loathe to hire overqualified people.

Inside the professoriate and academics, the job market is historically bad right now. It's not "get a Ph.D., then become a lab head or professor," it's "get a Ph.D., then do a postdoc, then do another postdoc, then do another postdoc, then do another postdoc, really do at least 6-7 postdocs, moving around the world every year the entire time, and at the end of all of that if you've managed to stay employed at poverty wages using highly competitive postdocs that you may not even get, while not flying apart at the emotional seams, you may finally be competitive enough to be amongst the minority of 40-year-old Ph.D. holders that gets a lab or a tenure-track position, at which point the fun REALLY begins as you are forced onto the grantwriting treadmill and feel little job security, since universities increasingly require junior faculty to 'pay their own way' with external grants or be budgeted out."

And that's INSIDE STEM, which this person is almost certainly likely to be uncompetitive for as a B.A. holder trying to get into graduate programs.

Much more likely is that with great grades and GRE scores they'll be admitted to a humanities or social sciences Ph.D. program, with many of the same problems but with CATASTROPHICALLY worse job prospects due to the accelerating collapse of humanities budgets and support on most campuses.

Ph.D. is absolutely not the way to go unless you are independently wealthy and are looking for a way to "contribute to the world" since you don't actually have to draw a salary.

For anyone with student loans, it's a disastrous decision right now, and I wouldn't recommend it.

I say this as someone with a Ph.D. who is on a faculty and routinely is approached by starry-eyed top students looking to "make the world a better place" and "do research." Given the competition out there right now, only the superstars should even attempt it, and then only if they're not strapped for cash. Hint: If you don't know whether or not you're a superstar, you're not.

I think in a decade I've strongly recommended that someone enter a Ph.D. program once, and greeted the suggestion favorably maybe three times total, out of thousands of students, many of them with the classic "4.0 GPA" and tons of "books smarts."

In short, I disagree strongly with the suggestion. Unless you absolutely know that you're competitive already on the academic market, DO NOT GO. Don't listen to the marketing from the schools; it's designed to drive (a) your enrollment and tuition, and/or (b) your cheap labor as a teaching assistant/research assistant forever once you're in the program. It's a win for the institution, not for you.

The easiest sanity checks: Do you know exactly what your dissertation will be about and what you'll need to do, in broad strokes to conduct your research, as well as what resources you'll need? Do you already have personal contact with faculty on a well-matched campus in a well-matched department that are championing you and that want to bring you in as one of their own students/assistants?

If you answers to either one of these questions is "no," then while you may be offered a position somewhere, you will be on the losing end of the deal and would be naive to take it.

Comment: Re:Interesting, but ... (Score 1) 150

by JanneM (#48607289) Attached to: Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

Great idea! Now we all only need to agree on which language to standardize on. I'm sure that worldwide discussion will be calm, focused and productive. Please post the results here in the thread once it's been decided.

I suggest Swedish. It's just about equally well known by almost everybody in the world, so nobody is starting out with an unfair advantage. I get a lifetime gig teaching Swedish to everybody. And you get umlauts! Win-win.

Oh, and by "suggest" I of course mean "absolutely demand or I will refuse any part of this scheme".

+ - Personal Drones Coming to Dominate the Hobbyist Radio Control Market->

Submitted by aussersterne
aussersterne (212916) writes "Drones continue to be in the news, with more and more "personal drone" incidents making headlines. It's easy to think of such stories as aberrations, but a well-known market research company has studied the radio control hobbyist market on eBay and found that sales of radio control helicopters and, more importantly, "quadcopters" (which are most often understood to be the "personal drone" category of items) are now—when taken together—the dominant form of radio control items sold on eBay. Radio control quadcopters in particular are growing much more quickly than the rest. Are we poised to see personal drones become much bigger influences on news and popular culture? Is it time for regulation?"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:macro assembler (Score 1) 641

by danaris (#48584523) Attached to: How Relevant is C in 2014?

When I was in college, one of my CS professors had a weekly quiz that he called "Iron Code." It required you to write a (relatively simple) program, and submit it, using a custom utility (I forget the details; this was 15+ years ago now)...but you only got one shot. Your grade was based upon the degree to which your program's output in response to various inputs met the specifications. If it didn't even compile, you got a zero.

I was so-so at this activity, but there were a fair number of students in the class who consistently got high marks.

Humans can be taught not to make errors. It just requires more time and more careful attention to detail. It's not sexy, and it's usually not fun, but it's totally possible, and if it's your job, then you can damn well do it.

I'm just glad it's not mine, because patience and attention to detail are not my strong suits. :-)

Dan Aris

It is much harder to find a job than to keep one.

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