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Comment: Re:I'm 30 and I already want out. (Score 2) 360

by rhombic (#41632539) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Approach To Reenergize an Old Programmer?

Overall I totally agree, but management (in good companies) isn't a job for those who can't do anything else. I was a bench physical biochemist for 10 years, and I'm still the 2nd best analyst in my 50 person department (and occasionally drop back into the lab to prove it). Since I can also plan projects, handle a multi $MM budget, communicate efficiently with the business types, and recruit and retain good people, I get to run the department. Not to say there aren't giant tools in management everywhere, but technical management requires both tech skills and business skills, and (for me at least) is a hell of a lot of fun.

One thing people should think of in the biotech/chemistry area is that the pay sucks if you have a BS. The Ph.D.'s run the show, and breaking into the Scientist ranks (where the pay is pretty good) without one is very difficult.

Comment: Re:History (Score 4, Interesting) 738

by rhombic (#40971787) Attached to: Why Apple Is Suing Every Android Manufacturer In Sight

As a tech support manager for AT&T you recommend a full reboot to regain signal strength rather than just cycling the cell radio, which takes about four seconds? That explains a lot about the quality of support I seem to get from AT&T. Must be freakishly lucky,for the past two years I've only ever rebooted my iPhone for OS updates.

Comment: Re:The people will be the ones who suffer (Score 5, Informative) 667

by rhombic (#39376753) Attached to: Iran Deleted From the World's Banking Computers

The USA's relationship with Iran has been shitty since 1979 and Ayatollah Khomeini's return from exile. To claim otherwise is in flagrant denial of reality and you only oust yourself as some anti-Zionist nutcase.

1953 wasn't exactly a good year for the relationship between the US and the people of Iran. You know, when the US and Britain overthrew their democratically elected government and converted the Shah from a figurehead to a dictator. The population might have gotten a bit peeved at that.

Comment: Re:Two mostly similar choices (Score 1) 467

by rhombic (#39019189) Attached to: Dealing With an Overly-Restrictive Intellectual Property Policy?

If the person hasn't filed and been granted a patent, I'm not infringing anything, and there'd be no basis dor damages if I used that technology. Indeed, same as it is now. Infringement damages are tied to the issued patent claims that the infringing party violated. No issued claim, no damages. My point is, filing and prosecuting a patent is expensive. Most individuals lack the resources to do so. If you don't file and aren't granted a patent, you've got nothing to license.

Obviously for copyright the rules are different, but most technologies can be re-implemented.

Comment: Re:Two mostly similar choices (Score 1) 467

by rhombic (#39018325) Attached to: Dealing With an Overly-Restrictive Intellectual Property Policy?

So is the person I hire also going to spend the $50,000 to $150,000 to file, prosecute, and maintain a multinational patent family protecting those ideas? Otherwise, why would I be interested in a "generous (or free) license? I'd just use the technology for free, like everybody else would. For that matter, why would I hire the person to invent anything? I would just use the technology that others are paying to develop. Oh wait...

Comment: That game exists (Score 1) 122

by rhombic (#33013502) Attached to: BioWare's <em>Star Wars</em> MMO To Have Space Combat

There was a game, back in the dawn of time, that did almost everything you listed. Newtonian physics engine, tiny, invisible ships in the distance highlighted by the heads up display so you knew where they were at, lasers, missles, etc. Probably my favorite space sim of all time, it was called "XF 5700 Mantis Experimental Fighter" from Microplay, came out in 1992.

It was a bitch to get used to, if you wanted to kill a bad guy, you had to think about your velocity and direction, their velocity and direction, and aim for an intercept course rather than just point you ship at him and go. Take your finger off the thrust and you keep going in the same direction, extra fun for turning 90 degrees with your engines off and strafing a bad guy as you fly past.

Comment: Re:Spread the FUD (Score 1) 374

by rhombic (#29396717) Attached to: Swine Flu Outbreak At PAX

Like I said, I wouldn't take tamiflu for H1N1 regardless. Any halfway decent doc would pull you off if you're showing significant side effects. No clinical trial can ever claim to predict what a particular treatment will do to you as an individual, that's not how statistics work. Over a broad population, the trial data show a decrease in the severity of symptoms with tolerable side effects. If it doesn't work for you, no biggie. Just don't take it. But if you start saying, "based on one data point (me), my conclusion is this drug doesn't work and has intolerable side effects", be prepared for that opinion to be called out as unscientific. Because it is. Rule #1 of statistics-- the plural of anecdote is not data.

Comment: Re:Spread the FUD (Score 1) 374

by rhombic (#29396689) Attached to: Swine Flu Outbreak At PAX

As I said, "if a lethal pandemic flu that's sensitive to tamiflu comes around....". It's well known old news that H5N1 (the asian "bird flu") isn't sensitive to tamiflu.

The side effects are significant in a small portion of the population. Most people can take it with minimal side effects. All effective drugs have side effects, and most have drug-drug interactions. If I take erythromycin, I get seriously ill. That doesn't mean erythromycin should be taken off the market. It doesn't mean that nobody should take it. That just means I shouldn't take it.

If the clinical trial you were part of was a real properly designed trial, half of you were being given pills without vitamin C in it. The person who gave you the pills didn't know the difference, and the person who was monitoring you didn't know the difference. This is called a double-blind controlled study, and is universally recognized as the only way to actually tell whether or not a treatment is effective. Many treatments (especially those that supply "common wisdom" treatments like vitamins) produce a dramatic placebo effect-- people who think they're taking Vitamin C but who are taking just lactose pills will show reduced rates of infection and will report milder symptoms. You said yourself and the rest of your company either didn't get the flu or had reduced symptoms. If this was a decently designed, placebo controlled experiment, than your observation would indicate that the results were the same for both those who actually got the vitamin pill, and for those who got the placebo. If you had noticed that half of the company didn't get sick, but the other half did, then you might have something.

I certainly wouldn't suggest that the grandparent poster should take tamiflu-- they clearly do have side effects, and anyway the current version of swine flu running around isn't doing much damage. What I took (and take) exception to the the GP credulously taking one (or for that matter, many) doctor's anecdotal experience as being conclusive, and then credulously accepting an unproven folk remedy as a treatment.

Comment: Re:Spread the FUD (Score 1) 374

by rhombic (#29378339) Attached to: Swine Flu Outbreak At PAX

Ignoring a pile of clinical evidence showing oseltamivir efficacy because one doctor renders a contrary opinion, and then loading up on vitamin C (which as far as I can find has no peer-reviewed evidence to support reducing the severity or duration of influenza infection) to try to impact the course of infection?

 

If you ever had a science card, please hand it in.

 

(any effective medication has side effects. I personally wouldn't take tamiflu for H1N1 or regular seasonal flu. If a lethal pandemic flu that's sensitive to tamiflu starts around, please send your dose to me, I'll put it to good use)

 

Comment: Re:Who is really hurt by such services? (Score 2, Insightful) 208

by rhombic (#28926519) Attached to: Students Settle With TurnItIn In Copyright Case

Albert Einstein captured the essence of which I speak in a single sentence: "It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."

If you read up on the history of higher education, you'd understand that the systems referred to by Einstein in that quote (late 19th/early 20th century) essentially no longer exist. Today's system, at least in decent schools, lets you get out of it what you want. I'd say 70% of the student population in the school I went to was there to finish a BS in four-five years, while putting in as little effort and as much beer as possible. They'd plagiarize, cheat, or do anything else to get by. What they got back was a half-assed education, filled with exactly the sort of problems you descibe.

For a few of us it was a little bit different. By my junior year I was working 20+ hours a week as a paid assistant in a biochemistry lab, working closely with grad students, post-docs, & the profs (as well as a half-dozen other undergrad RAs). I rolled out of there with a fantastic science education, a strong network of professional connections that I continue to use today, 16 hours of transferrable gradute school coursework, and a level of comfort of how to work in a lab that made grad school actually fun.

The point is, the higher education system in which students can receive an individualized education delivering a high level of training in a technically challenging field does exist; actually it co-exists with the beer-swilling do-the-least-possible-work system. You just have to 1) be a little bit talented, 2) be willing to work your ass off, and 3) show some initiative.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A guinea pig is not from Guinea but a rodent from South America.

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