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Comment: He's right but Mars isn't far enough (Score 1) 364

by HangingChad (#48035169) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

He's right that we need to get populations of humans off this rock if the species is going to survive. Mars might be a good first step, but we need to think about more distance, Mars is too close. The gamma ray burst that kills off life on earth would just as easily kill everyone on Mars. If the problem was a wandering neutron star it's going to savage everything in its path.

We need to think about sending generational ships into space. Maybe we can't do it right now, but we should be working toward that goal. Perhaps Musk is thinking that generational ships are too big of a step with current technology and that we need to get comfortable spending longer times in space before aiming higher.

Comment: Re:Should we? (Score 1) 262

by HangingChad (#48014995) Attached to: Could We Abort a Manned Mission To Mars?

I will never understand the quasi-religious fervor some people have about space.

If we, as a species, don't get off the earth, and fairly soon in terms of our evolutionary history, we're going to die. That's a fact. If it's not a gamma ray burst, a meteor or comet fragment the size of Texas, or a wandering neutron star, something is going to come along and kill everything on this planet, including us.

What I will never understand is short-sighted people who only care if the planet lasts long enough for them to get theirs and piss on future generations.

Comment: Re:Black holes are real, we observe them all the t (Score 4, Insightful) 356

by a whoabot (#47987989) Attached to: Physicist Claims Black Holes Mathematically Don't Exist

Sensationalist? What are you talking about?

Not peer-reviewed? Mersini-Houghton's results were published this month in Physics Letters B, Backreaction of Hawking radiation on a gravitationally collapsing star I: Black holes? I don't expect you to read the existing literature, but the least you can do is check the indices to see if it exists.

Comment: Re:That's not what she's saying (Score 4, Insightful) 356

by HangingChad (#47984565) Attached to: Physicist Claims Black Holes Mathematically Don't Exist

just that they never collapse further than the state that gravity can overcome the speed of light.

It sounds like a new term like "black star" rather than "black hole" might be in order. Because the stars at the center of our universe are orbiting around something really heavy that doesn't emit any visible light.

If I'm reading this right there's something really big and heavy there, we just can't see it.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 471

by metlin (#47979911) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

Yes, there are a fair number of social scientists in consulting firms. Usually, they tend to be econ or poli-sci/IR, but you certainly have a smattering of other subjects. I once worked with a partner who had a PhD in Philosophy (not social science per se, but representative of critical thinking ability nevertheless).

I would imagine that there is a preference towards the hard sciences, but I think that is more of a self-selection mechanism than anything else. Management consulting entails a lot of number crunching (financial analysis, demographic segmentation etc), so people with hard science backgrounds tend to gravitate towards these roles.

Most back office analytics and research functions at the big consulting firms have quite an armada of doctorates. In fact, a few months ago, I worked with someone who had a PhD in Geography, which came in handy because he knew how to run geospatial analyses for a distribution problem.

Comment: Re:That totally won't work. (Score 1) 471

by metlin (#47979887) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

This assumes getting hired into a lower level position in a larger consulting firm, rather than consulting on your own.

Did you not read my original comment at all? I mentioned that the major management consulting firms (i.e., MBB) hire PhDs and other Advanced Degree Candidates.

At which point they are back to exactly the same problem that they originally faced, which is getting hired for a job working for someone else. It doesn't matter whether that someone else hires them in order to farm them out to a third party, or hires them to do work in house, they are still facing the problem that they can't get hired in the first place because they are unable to sell themselves to a prospective employer.

Hiring in management consulting firms (at least at the junior levels) is less about selling yourself and more about your analytical skills. Such hiring is not predicated on your technical know-how per se but rather your critical thinking and problem solving abilities.

Comment: Re:That totally won't work. (Score 1) 471

by metlin (#47979303) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

Not all consulting entails selling. In fact, in any good consulting firm, you won't be doing any selling until you're near the top (e.g., Principal/Partner). You may not even get to present anything in front of the client until you have some experience under your belt -- as a new hire, the only client facing activity you'll do is take detailed notes.

Moreover, junior resources (e.g., Associates or Consultants) tend to do a lot more data crunching and slide building than presenting content. And you're put through some pretty rigorous training before you'll ever see a client (in some firms, they call it MBA-light).

No one in their right minds will put someone fresh out of school to do anything client facing without some degree of coaching and experience.

Secondly, not every role in a consulting firm is client facing. Almost all the big consulting firms have a rather large pool of back office and analytics experts who do research, collate materials, perform analysis and so on. These are not client facing at all, and you won't have to do any selling whatsoever.

In any event, there is the perception of consultants thanks to everybody and their brother calling themselves a "consultant" and there is the truth. The truth is that in any good firm, partners will really vet you and groom you before you get to participate actively in any meaningful way.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 4, Insightful) 471

by metlin (#47976447) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

Motivation notwithstanding, I would also suggest that you consider consulting.

I work in management consulting in one of the MBB firms, and we hire quite a few ADCs (Advanced Degree Candidates), particularly in the hard sciences.

The idea is that a PhD provides you with enough critical thinking and quantitative skills that would be extremely valuable in what you do. And you'd be surprised at the type of work that you'd get to do. As long as you have some semblance of social skills that can be cultivated and the ability to think quickly on your feet, you should be fine.

A good way to think about this is what happens when your senior client executive throws some numbers and asks you a question in the elevator -- can you quickly give an answer, and be professional and polite about it without becoming a nervous wreck?

Right now, I work with several PhDs and MDs in the healthcare payer/provider space, and their deep medical expertise is extremely valuable. We have similar profiles of folks with PhDs in mechanical/aeronautical/industrial engineering for industrial goods work, CS/EE PhDs in telecom/media/high-tech industry work and so on. You would be surprised at just how many PhDs, MDs, JDs, and the likes are hired by top tier consulting firms.

Despite what you may have heard of consulting on Slashdot and elsewhere, we do some pretty cool work. Yes, the hours aren't easy and you'll travel a lot, but consider it baptism by fire. In a span of two years, you would have worked on a wide array of projects and will have honed your hard and soft skills -- everything from building financial models to presenting to very senior executives.

And surprisingly, you will work with some very smart people. Yes, many of them may have MBAs, but just as many have other advanced degrees, and even the ones with MBAs also have pretty strong undergrad credentials (e.g., Harvard, MIT, Stanford), usually STEM.

So, whatever your motivations may have been, I will just say that consulting will teach you skills that are very hard to acquire elsewhere. It may be baptism by fire, but your value in the job market will grow by leaps and bounds.

Something to consider. :)

Comment: Re:Do the math (Score 1) 169

by metlin (#47965785) Attached to: My resting heart rate:

Yeah, good point on the protein levels. I have found that hydration plays a huge role in terms of how your protein workups show in your urine screens.

The creatine levels are usually high because I'm usually a vegetarian, so I tend to go through adding some creatine in my shakes (cycle through them). I think on that particular day, I was perhaps a little less hydrated than I should have been, resulting in higher levels than usual. In any event, I know I'm over-saturated with creatine and need hydration when I start having cramps.

And you're right about see-sawing on fitness. I don't necessarily see-saw per se, but I do go through bulk and cut periods (i.e., winter and summer). And so at the peak of a cut with lots of active workouts thrown in, my resting heart rate is lower. At the peak of my bulk with almost only weight exercises thrown in (usually around the winter holidays), my resting heart rate is higher. It's a good thing I can wear sweaters then to cover up my fatceps. :-)

Comment: Re:Science vs Faith (Score 1) 794

by a whoabot (#47965205) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

That is not a rigorous distinction. Why do humans have appendices? Science gives an answer to that "why" question: A common ancestor had an appendix and mutations in more recent common ancestors sufficient for its disappearance have not occurred since the time of that older common ancestor.

Same with the statement that there are no falsifiable statements concerning the "purpose of life, the universe, and everything".

Example 1: Let's say I have a religious belief that "purpose of life, the universe, and everything" is what Paul teaches in his writing of 2 Timothy. Let's say it's discovered that Paul did not write 2 Timothy (as indeed most researchers now agree, except for fundamentalists and extremely conservative evangelicals). Then my statement is falsified: Because it is shown false that the "purpose of life, the universe, and everything" is what Paul teaches in his writing of 2 Timothy, because Paul has no writing of 2 Timothy.

Example 2: Let's say I have a religious belief that the "purpose of life, the universe, and everything" is to gather the will and the means to rescue the humans that are trapped in a terrible prison of Hades in the Earth's crust (like a large-scale Orpheus operation). We do some seismology and drilling to locate this Hades, but after making a complete map of the crust we show that no such place exists. Which falsifies the belief, because there are no means to rescue those humans, because there aren't any such humans.

Just because some people have unfalsifiable beliefs about "purpose" does not mean that all beliefs about purpose are unfalsifiable. Indeed, many beliefs may just be so conceptually muddled that whether they are falsifiable or not is impossible to tell because they have no clear meaning.

Comment: Wrong (Score 4, Insightful) 794

by a whoabot (#47964751) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

The piece is mumbo-jumbo. Yes, Bacon eschewed the "Aristotelian" search for final causes. Does that mean that Baconian science doesn't try to determine the truth? Of course not.

The history of philosophy/history of science done in this piece is clap trap. He says that Galileo used experiment, whereas Aristotle did not. And that's why Aristotle thought that "heavier objects should fall faster than light ones". Supposedly. The problem: Aristotle didn't use "abstract reasoning" to come to that incorrect conclusion. He just didn't control his variables adequately. Not controlling variables adequately can happen to the very best of experimentalists.

"Science is not the pursuit of capital-T Truth. [...] Scientific knowledge is not "true" knowledge, since it is knowledge about only specific empirical propositions"

So how does this argument run? Scientific knowledge is knowledge about specific empirical propositions. Therefore, scientific knowledge is not "true" knowledge. Therefore, science is not the pursuit of capital-T Truth? That's a terrible argument. This seems like just a case of begging the question from the author where he has an unargued "definition" of what "Truth" is. Why anyone else is beholden to this definition, of course, is a mystery.

"Bacon, who had a career in politics and was an experienced manager, actually wrote that scientists would have to be misled into thinking science is a pursuit of the truth, so that they will be dedicated to their work, even though it is not."

I highly doubt Bacon ever said this. Of course, there is no citation to check. I think the author has confused Bacon's model of Bensalem, where he has the houses of specialists hide their operation from others, so that the others don't come to conclusions based on partial understandings, before the work of the specialists is completed.

"by definition, religion concerns the ultimate causes of things and, again, by definition, science cannot tell you about them"

Who made these "definitions"? No one in sight.

"This is how you get the phenomenon of philistines like Richard Dawkins"

Oh I see, Dawkins, a great evolutionary biologist, is a philistine. The evidence? I guess because the author disagrees with Dawkins about God. No argument is given.

Comment: Re:Do the math (Score 1) 169

by metlin (#47961045) Attached to: My resting heart rate:

I've usually been fairly fit (lots of rock climbing, rowing, and general working out), but a few years ago, I was in the best possible shape of my life.

I went to the doctor for a annual physical and my resting heart rate was ~52-55 bpm. The nurse freaked out, and called the doctor and rechecked, who basically said I must be in shape (I proceeded to lift my t-shirt to show my almost abs). My thyroid levels were also slightly low because it was summer and I was on a cut. They freaked out about a few other things (e.g., creating levels in my urine, my protein consumption etc), but overall, the workups came out quite positive.

These days, it's slightly higher (low 60s), but regular workouts usually help a lot. If I am generally in shape for ~6 months, they go down by ~10 bpm. If I let go for a while, they go right back up by ~20 bpm.

Comment: Re:Mark Zuckerberg is a liar. (Score 3, Informative) 260

by metlin (#47960953) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Throws Pal Joe Green Under the Tech Immigration Bus

H-1B visa: The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa

H1B is called a non-immigrant visa because you cannot use *that* visa to immigrate.

However, H1B is also recognized as a dual-intent visa.

That's why you can file for your green card while you're on an H1B, through your employer.

There are many visas that are non-immigrant visas that are dual intent because the visa in itself doesn't grant you the right to become an immigrant, but is used to file for a change of intent.

Comment: Re:A miracle of modern diplomacy (Score 3, Informative) 192

by metlin (#47942413) Attached to: On Independence for Scotland:

Hell, even India got its independence peacefully, though the peace ended moments after independence.

You have no idea what the hell you're talking about.

The west idolizes Gandhi and completely ignores historical truths in the process. Gandhi waged a political war of attrition on the British, and a weakened Britain from WW2 caved in. But the truth is, Gandhi's role was the proverbial straw -- violent protests against the British were underway long before he was even born.

The first Indian battle of independence was in 1857, and was violent. There have been many, many violent conflicts with the British, up until the point of independence. In 1919, the British massacred thousands of non-violent protestors in Jhalianwala Bagh.

And from the hanging of the likes of Bhagat Singh (who was a socialist revolutionary) in 1931 to Subhas Chandra Bose's alliance with the Japanese and the Germans to fight the British, there were many militant freedom fighters who caused tangible hardship on the British.

Only someone ignorant of history would call the Indian independence movement peaceful. There's a reason Gandhi was shot dead -- he may have been a martyr in his death, but he waged a political battle with bitter consequences whose effects continue to be felt to this day.

Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.