Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: That was in 2011 (Score 1) 126

This was in 2011, if you look at NSF's award page. And just to put things in perspective.. This sort of money is enough to pay for four graduate students (50% effort), some very limited summer time of two professors over the course of four years, and a modest amount of travel to conferences. It's a very good grant from a great source that allows you to get some good work done, but it doesn't go as far as the uninitiated might think.

Comment: Lunch with a Terrafugia guy (Score 2) 66

by davids-world.com (#47673971) Attached to: Where are the Flying Cars? (Video; Part Two of Two)
OK, so at Oshkosh a couple weeks ago, I had lunch (by chance) with a guy from Terrafugia. The food was poor, but the stories were good.

They flew in their prototype at last year's AirVenture. The video looks good. What you're going to get is a roadster/plane with foldable wings. I'm saying roadster, because it's going to have two seats - not because it's going to drive like a sports car. This will make it qualify as a Light Sports Aircraft, which means that pilots won't need a medical (important for many). Licensing is a little simpler, too, although everyone I know goes for their full PPL.

As an airplane, it's not particularly fast (93kts cruise - slower than your typical Cessna 172 Skyhawk), and it maxes out at 460lbs payload (full fuel, I guess), if the specs I have are correct. It drinks 100LL or premium motor gas (which is cheaper), and goes some 400+nm, though I'm not sure if that is with reserves (you need 30min day VFR, 45 at night, and typically you want more).

The person working on this at Terrafugia advertised it as a plane that's great for a business trip, because it will get you home most of the time: if the weather is bad, you just land and drive around the weather. That's a neat concept.

The price? At Oshkosh, they were saying around $270k. I asked about insurance, and it sounds like there will be separate insurance policies for road/air use, and it seems that the road policy more expensive than a car insurance (they said 3% of hull value), because of the added utility (more miles driven/flown). I'm not sure if I follow that reasoning.

For comparison, you can buy a used Bonanza for much much less, and you'll get a lot more airplane for your money. You will also get a new Cirrus SR20 around that price point (but that's a plane, and as such not as practical). In the long run, as prices come down, I get see how this is going to be practical for a lot of people that need to travel for work (or can afford to go places for fun).

Comment: Where cats go (Score 1) 110

by davids-world.com (#47648527) Attached to: Connected Collar Lets Your Cat Do the War-Driving
I'd be much more interested in what my cat does all day out there. Where does she go? Are there any GPS collars out there? Thought about using a Spot, but their recording intervals are too long (because they signal straight to a satellite). It's too big as well. There are some studies on this. Most (pet) cats don't seem to wander off too far from their reliable source of food. An eagle might be a better vehicle for a war-flying device!

Comment: Netgear R6300 (Score 1) 427

by davids-world.com (#47633681) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?
I've been running the R6300 for a year, initially with OpenWRT, and now I'm back to stock firmware. It works, but I wouldn't say it's living up to expectations given its high price. It could not use a Mac OS Extended formatted harddrive for NAS and share via AFP. OpenWRT installation was a mess, and I had to unbrick it by hooking up a USB/serial interface to its internal ports. OpenWRT support is limited to the builds created by some individuals, and I was unable to upgrade it to the latest version. The stock firmware works, but doesn't give me features like VPN. So far I'm just living out my sunk-cost bias, because it works OK as a router. Do I get more out of it than you do with your old Linksys? No, indeed not. (and I keep that sort of Linksys around for emergencies.)

Comment: Re:Maybe the FAA should inform the stewardesses (Score 1) 128

What airline is that? There are Standard Operating Procedures. They make their own rule.

As far as I know, the FAR's basically say that it is up to the operator (the airline) to decide which devices are OK to use [1491.21, and, for typical airline operations: 121.306].

Comment: Re:zotero (Score 1) 91

by davids-world.com (#47373243) Attached to: WebODF: JavaScript Open Document Format Editor Deemed Stable
Generally, something like Dropbox and LaTeX work fine - unless you have two people editing the same file at the same time. Then, any VCS or something like Dropbox fail miserably. I have tried https://www.writelatex.com/, but of course I'd like to keep using my local Aquamacs instead of a web-based solution. Maybe I'll write a synchronization tool for Emacs. The issue is then that we need to integrate people who don't use Emacs...

Comment: Wow! (Score 2) 91

by davids-world.com (#47368443) Attached to: WebODF: JavaScript Open Document Format Editor Deemed Stable
This is fast and responsive. Does it avoid long-standing Word problems, such as figures that jump away from captions, paragraphs that adopt the adjacent style just because you're moving them around, and the like? For professional writing, I'll stick to LaTeX for now. For collaborative writing, something like this could be nice (and improve on half-baked solutions like the editor in OneDrive (very slow) or Google Doc (not word-compatible). So, I think this would have to be able to export / import Word docs seamlessly, due to business pressure everywhere...

Comment: Assistant Professor in Tech: Having' a good time! (Score 0) 538

by davids-world.com (#47292753) Attached to:
Sorry to spoil the party, but I'm having a good time.

Yes, I spent my late 20's and early 30's doing a PhD and a longish poorly-paid post-doc at one of the top US institutions. But I enjoyed it. I did not have to do my professor's work. I develop a research agenda instead.

I'm tenure-track faculty at a very large, research-intensive state school now. My salary is where I'd start out at Google as an engineer with a PhD, because the university has recognized the need to compete with the private sector. I chose not to take the Google job at the time because I wanted to run my own lab, but the decision was close. I now have a few PhD students, some very limited grant money coming in. I do have to teach: some of it is fun, and I'm trying to give something back to my "customers" without spending valuable time on it (which I need to spend on research).

I do see some people that work crazy hours. They tend to either be very good at what they do, or they go for every grant opportunity they see (and still have a poor success rate). With the low chances of getting a proposal funded at certain important institutions (like NSF, NIH), I feel I need to economize and only send in core work.

Yes, a lot of teaching is offloaded on teaching faculty with year-to-year jobs. Science is not in their career goals, but they are much more dedicated educators. Given the poor preparation and an attitude among our undergrads to "pick up a degree" in lieu of "learning something profound", I think this is the right choice. We do not work with adjuncts all that much, but it's widely agreed that working as an adjunct for more than a year is labor of love, not a career.

I'm happy with my job for it offers plenty of intellectual and practical freedom. The downside is having to live in a college town rather than in NYC or SFO, or in a much more interesting European city. I'll live with this trade-off.

Comment: Administration: regulation and legal exposure (Score 1) 538

by davids-world.com (#47292701) Attached to: Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job
It is true that many universities world-wide are run more my administrators and their helpers, sucking up resources that are not spent on the universities core mission. In the U.S., anyway, a good bit of that has to do with two things: (a) regulation forces universities to check and double-check compliance with a complex set of rules imposed by federal and state governments and other sponsors. (b) Exposure. A larger university is much more likely to lose large sums of money (and public credibility) as a result of litigation when things go wrong. The system over-reacts because the stakes are high. In science, empiricism means that we do not conclude anything from anecdotal evidence (sample size: one). "Learning from experience" in policy-making means that when one person messes up one thing, everybody else will have to fill out more forms for rest of their lives.

Comment: evaluation? (Score 1) 231

I wonder how this is evaluated, if at all. As others have been pointed out, the fact that Carl Linnaeus means that they define "influence" in a fairly poor, counter-intuitive way. Many mentions might make someone famous, but not influential in a deep sense. Deep influence, to me, affects the answer to a simple question. If the contributions of person A hadn't been made, would our world be a fundamentally different place? This will work for largely fictional figures (such as Jesus), as for evil people (Hitler). It will, IMHO correctly state that Mary (as in mother of Jesus) or Queen Elizabeth weren't all that influential.

E Pluribus Unix

Working...