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Comment Re:Public Speaking is Hard (Score 1) 77

Yeah, I don't think this is valid. As a former academic, I did a ton of public speaking. From the hardest of hardcore at very specialized conferences, to teaching graduate and undergraduate students, as well as some public outreach at a journalism conference, and in University promotional videos. There may be certain fields where the antisocial can get by, but the truly successful scientists have to be ruthlessly good communicators.

The barrier to more direct public outreach is that there's absolutely no clear reward for it. Your funding is decided by your scientific peers. MAYBE you can make the argument that a well-educated public would advocate for more research funding that could benefit you someday, but then you may as well be talking to the politicians who more-than-not ignore what the public wants anyway. To get tenure, you have to work 80+ hours a week as it is writing grants and papers, teaching, doing "service" to your University, all on top of doing quality research. And if you do get tenure, well, you've built up this big infrastructure that now requires more funding to sustain itself, so you keep on writing those grants and papers, and you do your teaching, and now you're probably heading that University committee you've been on, and you're mentoring a few post-docs and a few more grad students, and there a few more undergrads who want to do some research over the summer....

Comment Re:Best idea is not to hide. (Score 1) 247

You live in a world where you know what a zombie is. In every fictional zombie universe, nobody knows about zombies. They don't know the rules. For the first few days, the infection is like a flu or rabies, and nobody is mercilessly going to put down their wife and kids after getting bit by a stranger. Try to imagine a zombie infection where nobody knew the rules. We'd catch on quick, but would we get there before mass communication could get every up to speed? That would be the trick to model.

Comment Re:is it 4/1 already (Score 2) 631

I just don't understand that logical leap. How is the FCC controlling "every bit that flows across the country"? They're saying ISPs can't exert control over which bits. How does that mean the government de facto gets that control? Seriously. I don't get it at all.

Comment Re:Get ready for metered service (Score 1) 631

Because gas and water are matter that gets consumed. Physical things that need to be transported. Electricity has to be generated and the charge differential is consumed. Transmitting a lot or a little data uses nothing, except maybe minuscule amounts of extra electricity once the infrastructure exists. Metering data usage is a transparent cash grab.

Comment Re:Comic book? (Score 1) 148

Not sure if you want a real response, or just want to be smug... but that's just willful ignorance.

Up until CG got good, superhero comic books were pretty much the only feasible way to enjoy action/adventure/scifi visual storytelling with an unlimited budget. Even now, comic stories are consistently more experimental and creative than they can be when millions (or even billions) of movie and TV dollars are at stake.

I don't think anybody is pretending that superhero stories are high art, or anything much more than a fun time. But nowadays, with web publishing really leveling the playing field, if you can't find a comic story of nearly any genre that you consider "good" or "high art" you're just not trying and/or have some prejudice against combining pictures and words.

Comment Re:I am by no means a fan of Comcast... (Score 1) 291

Indeed. I don't love Comcast - they are robbers who have tried to screw me so many gd times during a recent move across country, and if any other broadband in our area was any better we'd have dumped them. But, that said, this is an awfully nice perk of being their customer. Currently I'm working on Boston while my family lives in CA. We have xfinity at the house in CA (I bought my own modem for $60 and had a really good router. Renting a modem is just dumb), and I get Wifi in Boston off of my neighbors. It's a bit wonky in that for some reason my desktop can't log in, but if I USB-tether my phone or tablet to the desktop it works. (Any ideas on why that would be?). I can walk through any residential neighborhood in the city and I've got wifi.

You can get all worked up about vague security issues or extremely minor power usage, but really, this is a pretty nice and useful feature if you're their customer.

Comment Re:Not good for one's career (Score 1) 136

While I don't blog, anything that gets an academic writing and shaping their thoughts can be a good thing. And in the modern grant-writing process, it's absolutely better to get your ideas out there - it helps you to plant your flag, and it gets people thinking about your ideas. If your blog has followers, you get immediate feedback and critical analysis. And suddenly, you're recognized as the expert in that area.

Like it or not, at least in the US system, your grant application is not reviewed solely on its merits. The surest way to get a grant rejected is to have a really good idea that is completely unproven, and which a reviewer (who's probably reading 30 other applications that afternoon) will immediately be overly skeptical about. An application from a "recognized" expert will be far better received than someone who is just getting started. While most academics aren't going to know what a blog or twitter is, all it takes is for one reviewer in the room who does know to speak up and say "You know, this young guy with very few pubs has actually been deep into this for a while..."

But, yeah, there's a balance. If you should be in the lab, it's best to be in the lab, and you should absolutely not be live-blogging experimental results, no matter what.

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