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Comment Biased IQ tests (Score 1) 444

Talented & Gifted programs are specifically high-IQ (as they're based on the same rules that set up special education classes for low-IQ students).

IQ tests have been shown to be culturally biased (and thus indirectly racially biased), as there's an assumption that people will have certain cultural knowledge & norms.

Take for instance the question "What are the four seasons?". For someone in Alaska, when they hear 'seasons' they might not think about the winter/spring/summer/autumn cycle, but might instead respond with hunting/trapping periods (moose, fishing, etc.).

Questions about nature might be easy for someone who lives in a rural or suburban area, but more difficult for someone who lives in an inner-city.

Questions about place settings at a dinner table (eg, cup & saucer) might be easier for someone from a higher socio-economic group than for someone who is food-insecure.

These may not be direct racial bias, but they can negatively skew test scores for people of non-European descent.

Comment missing : requirements to be sold (Score 1) 203

The EPA (and some states like California) have requirements that must be met before cars can be sold. So it's not so much an issue that the buyers wouldn't have selected the vehicles because they were more polluting -- it's that the vehicles shouldn't have been available for sale *at* *all*.

And once they fix the problems, then the fuel efficiency will be lower, which is one of the factors that many buyers consider (and you mentioned yourself).

Another issue that I haven't heard discussed if the CAFE standards -- they're for whole fleets, not for individual cars. If VW was near the limit, then worse gas mileage could trigger a penalty based on the total number of cars sold.

Comment American vs. European 'safety' (Score 1) 181

My understanding is that the European safety standards also cover things like the car hitting a pedestrian -- do the American standards care about anything other than the occupants of the vehicles?

I guess the new requirements for backup cameras sort of cover pedestrian safety to some degree, but I suspect that the need for it has come from the shrinking of car windows to improve the vehicle crash performance.

Comment Re:Best coverage (Score 2) 142

My mom got screwed from a Verizon hotspot. I don't know if they've changed the policy, but it used to be that you had to have a contract with it -- so they got stuck with it for 2 years when they only needed it for a couple of months. (I have no idea if she asked about it specifically and was lied to, or if she didn't specifically ask and they glossed over it.)

AT&T has a good network, but if they require contracts, it might be better to go through someone like Net10, which resells on AT&T's network, but is specifically month-to-month.

Comment Another analogy ... (Score 1) 706

This is a bit like saying you're going to send someone to jail for getting rear-ended waiting at a traffic light.

If we're going to use a more accurate analogy :

This is like sending someone to jail for driving an unsafe vehicle that shouldn't have been on the road in the first place, as it was a hazard to others around them. Like when its brakes locked up (without the brake lights turning on), as they were approaching an intersection, and the driver behind them didn't have sufficient warning to stop.

But that'd apply to anyone with an unpatched server ... in this case, they were telling people how secure they were, and weren't. So also reckless driving for showing off to their passenger by weaving through traffic just before their brakes locked up.

Comment pennies doesn't include distribution costs. (Score 2) 179

If we assume that the part could be produced via injection molding (not always true for odd geometries), then we still have the issue of distribution --

How do you get those 10,000 parts to the people who need them? Do you mail them out individually to all of the doctors that need them? Do you ship cases of them to NGOs and then let them distribute them?

There's still going to need to be *some* distribution from the 3D printer to the doctor, but as the printers become more wide-spread, the odds of the doctor having access to one goes up. With the ability to print prosthetic parts, I would hope that hospitals would be some of the early adopters ... this just might help a new hospital that isn't already kitted out w/ stethoscopes to justify the purchase.

Comment Data citation (Re:author vs contributor) (Score 3, Informative) 122

There have been efforts underway to standardize acknowledgement of data that came from other scientists. Most of us in the field have been calling the concept 'data citation' for a while (but it also refers to the act of linking, plus the string of text in the paper ... so it's a bit of a polysemous term at this point).

The basic idea is that for each grouping of data (I won't get into trying to define what a 'data set' is) that's being released, the group that's doing the release puts out a web page of information describing the data.

It would have the DataCite fields to specify how the data should be listed in the reference section of your paper, plus the w3c DCATterms to explain how to obtain the data. The DataCite schema allows you to acknowledge many different roles for people, allowing you to more clearly describe what different people's contributions were ... instead of just a long list of people, you'd have something more like movie credits.

This would solve much of the super collider issues, as you'd separately acknowledge the people who obtained & processed the data, who might have had no hand in the specific research that the paper describes. In my opinion, the authors should be people who agree with the findings that are being presented -- the folks who made the data should be acknowledged, but if they've had no chance to review the research that's being published (or have no ability to understand the researcher), they should not be listed as an author.

If you're interested in the topic, here are a few links that might be of interest:

If you're interested in participating in these efforts, either find a group in your research area, or for wider efforts, the Research Data Alliance's Data Citation Work Group.

I should also mention that there are similar efforts going on with scientific software. I've participating in some workshops (eg, RENCI's on data & software), but I'm not as active in that field. Some RDA have discussed starting up a group on software issues, but I think they'll be focusing more on Software Carpentry issues; for software citation I'd suggest contacting the Software Sustainability Institute.

ps. I've been included as a 'co-author' on papers where I've never had a chance to review the paper first. I think that all journals should check with all listed authors if they approve of the paper. (I've also peer reviewed a paper that had so many grammar errors in it that I suspect that none of the co-authors (most were native english speakers) had reviewed it) ... and it didn't reference the co-authors' earlier related articles). PeerJ does this and it also requires you to specify how you contributed to the paper.

pps. I'm not aware of standard ontologies for researcher contributions to papers; there's CITO for describing why a paper was cited, though.

Comment It used to be worse. (Score 1) 190

About 10-15 years ago, the licensing model for enterprise was based on the hardware it was running on ... so if you had a 16 processor server, you had to pay for 16 licenses for that machine.

When the concept of 'cores' came around, you had to pay for each core per processor.

But the real kicker was if you had consolidated hardware to run VMs ... if you had a 32 processor machine w/ 2 cores per processor, running 8 VMs (and each one running an Oracle server, with 8 cores assigned to each VM) ... then the cost was *not* 64 (32 proc * 2 cores, or 8 cores * 8 VMs) ... it was 512 (8 OSes each running on a 64 core system).

If you had to pay per user per core per system ... well, you can see how the pricing really gets away from you. ... but when I worked for a university that was an Oracle shop about 15 years ago, $2M/year wouldn't have been that unreasonable. We were spending more than that and had managed to negotiate a site-license for $1.2M/year, but they couldn't get all of the departments to agree on how the site license was to be split up between them, so it never went through.

Comment "Ownership" of Data (Score 3, Informative) 120

I agree on the studies that are currently ongoing -- the grant was awarded to the PI, not to the institution.

But this whole question of who 'owns' the data from research has been coming to ahead for a while. Common arguments are for one of:

* The PI
* The PI's institution
* The funder

The problem is that for years, the disposition of the data was never spelled out clearly in the RFPs. Most people had never heard of a DMP (Data Management Plan) until NSF started requiring them a few years ago.

So ... we get into the problem that because each grant can come up with a different DMP, we have to look to those to see who is the gatekeeper of the data. In some cases, the data is handed off to an IR (Institutional Repository; typically something managed by the library), and if that's spelled out in the DMP, then I'd say that the institution keeps control of the data. In some cases, it all needs to be sent back to the funder (NASA instrument contracts are like this, where the 'final data' must be deposited back to an ARC (Archive Resource Center)). But there might be other ones where the PI is personally responsible for access to the data.

Personally, I prefer the IR or funder, just because most scientists have no clue what they're doing when it comes to archiving data. See Data Sharing and Management Snafu in 3 Short Acts. You also run into problems when PIs retire / die / move / whatever. ... but I don't deal with medical data where you need to have an active gatekeeper (IRB, Institutional Review Board, or similar) where you might need someone with better understanding of the data.

So anyway ... without there being something specifically in the grants, the institution likely can lay claim to keeping a copy of the data ... but I don't know if they can necessarily stop the PI from taking a copy with him, or even the server holding it (if the hardware was paid for through his current grants). They *might* be able to get the IRB involved, and insist that they need to review what's being done with the data that's being moved.

In this particular case, though ... it's not only an NIH grant (which are clearly to the institution), but the PI has only been there for 8 years -- so he's taking data that was collected by previous PIs before him. I'd say that his trying to take all data from the department, and not just that which he was PI for is a rather sleazy move.

(disclaimer : I'm one of the moderators on StackExchange's Open Data site )

Comment got a router to hang ... (Score 1) 377

I managed to flood it with enough data that it locked up, and required a manual reset. The second and third time that I did it, the network admins were getting much faster about fixing it, but my boss told me to stop doing it.

I have no idea how much it cost ... but it was the router that fed NASA Goddard's active missions, and I was told that the Hubble folks were getting upset when it kept happening.

I didn't get fired, as I was testing to ensure that we had sufficient bandwidth for SDO data transfers. (we didn't ... and I probably didn't need to run the additional tests to prove it). It did convince them to move us over to an isolated network when we moved offices, though.

Comment Re:So paying more in the long run is better? (Score 1) 53

You're assuming that they're not effectively leasing in the first place.

My town is small enough (300 homes) that most of the lights are managed by the local power company (PEPCO). We pay them a fixed amount per month, plus the energy cost. When something goes wrong with one of the lights, we report it to them, and they fix it. (citizens can also report them, but it's a royal PITA, as you have to give them both the pole number (which means you have to get out of your car, and walk up to the pole, and try to read it in the dark), and the type of fixture (which of course, we're all experts on, and why the hell don't they have a database of what fixture is on what pole?))

Back when I was a town commissioner, we were trying to get the lights replaced w/ LEDs, but PEPCO insisted that they didn't have enough data to figure out what the replacement lifetime would be, and so they couldn't determine their cost and thus couldn't offer them to us.

So instead, we had to pay to get all of the lamps replaced with high-pressure sodium, when they stopped offering whatever the lights were that we used to have. (oh ... and did I mention that we also paid the up-front cost for the fixtures, along with a monthly maintenance fee, and the energy usage?).

Comment News is only for non-blind people? (Score 1) 66

I tried reading the article, but either it's blocked, or the site's being overwhelmed right now. (I apologize, but I actually try to confirm things before I rant about them ... but I can't, so I'm going to instead take the normal slashdot approach).

If the proposal is what I think it is, it's no different than people passing around images filled with text to get past the twitter character limit.

People in the accessibility community realized the problem a year ago, but it wasn't until last week that I saw other coverage of the problem.

The solution for the blind is to come up with a way to encode the metadata into the image ... of course, you waste a lot of bandwidth in the process, but at least they can get the information. I don't see people wanting to do that with these images, as you could then more easily filter out the crap (like the ad portion of it).

Comment There are still a lot of Perl shops (Score 2) 271


A couple of years back, I was trying to hire someone ... although we were hoping for OO Perl skills. We ended up hiring someone with database skills to train up in Perl, instead.

The problem with age isn't so much that you have less portable skills, it's that you have a less portable life -- if you have a sponse & kids, you don't want to move the kids in the middle of a school year and away from their friends ... if you have a spouse, you have the problem of trying to find a place that's convenient for both your jobs.

If you're single with no kids ... is hiring in the Netherlands. It's effectively an English speaking country these days (although it's been 30 years since I've been there).

(I have no affiliation with, other than they were a sponsor for many years of the DC-Baltimore Perl Workshop, which I help to organize)

Dinosaurs aren't extinct. They've just learned to hide in the trees.