Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:My two cents (Score 1) 538

1. I'm not convinced on term limits. I'm willing to be convinced, mind you, but, I'm not sure that forcibly bringing in new blood makes the process less corrupt, rather than simply more dysfunctional. Certainly, it needs to be applied uniformly, as congress-critters tend to acumulate power over time, so any state that imposes their own term limits will be putting themselves as a disadvantage.
2. Can we say "compact" rather than square-like? Circles, hexagons and so on would be perfectly fine by me.
3. Yes.
4. The individuals, or the parties?
5. As in, no private funding? The money in campaigns is seriously out of hand.

Comment: Re:I do not understand (Score 1) 538

"...with their main difference being whether economy should be free or regulated."

And a freakish obsession over people's sex lives.* Which I realize might not seem super important if it's not your sex life on the block - I mean, really, it *shouldn't* be a big deal I get that - but holy fuck.

* I am including in this all the increasing weirdness about prosecuting women for having miscarriages and other crazy shit.

Comment: Re: I do not understand (Score 1) 538

When my father spent time in Hungary, Usa (Usan in its adjectival sense, at least around our house) was a pretty common term, and I've always liked it because of its specificity. Imagine how confusing it would be if citizens of German called themselves Europeans, and citizens of any other country in Europe winced and gave their country of origin if anyone called them European?

"American" for US residents may be common usage, but common usage is in this case stupid and confusing.

Comment: Re:Rationing takes money out of the equation (Score 1) 417

by tylikcat (#49318859) Attached to: How 'Virtual Water' Can Help Ease California's Drought

I can't speak to the Australian situation at all, but if the current models have anything going for them, then California generally is even under non drought conditions looking at a decrease in winter snow and more rapid melt off. In addition, with severe droughts likely to become common in the inland southwest, competition for water is most likely going to rise.

So there may well be a reasonable long term plan for desalination. (May, mind you - it tends to be a pretty godawful expensive solution.)

Comment: Re:hmmm (Score 1) 135

by tylikcat (#49255715) Attached to: Wikipedia Entries On NYPD Violence Get Some Edits From Headquarters

I would add that not only are they two different techniques, but even were it two names for the same technique, to someone without a martial arts background "arm bar" isn't going trigger any concern that choking is involved. Substituting in a less alarming sounding name to make something dangerous sound safer can be pretty problematic.

That, of course, is getting away from the point that the techniques don't really have much to do with each other. (Really, they are more families of techniques, especially arm bars - there isn't just one way to do it.) You (generic you, not aimed at OP) might go to good images and look up "arm bar" and then look up "choke hold".

Comment: Re:Surprise level: 0 (Score 3, Insightful) 135

by tylikcat (#49255669) Attached to: Wikipedia Entries On NYPD Violence Get Some Edits From Headquarters

It's certainly not about evidence tampering.

But there are two issues here, and conflating them with press releases is misleading. One is a failure to uphold Wikipedia's conflict of interest standards. That's an internal to the community manner, to some extent (I value wikipedia, and it matters a lot to me). This is the same kind of shennanigans that has had IPs of congressional staffers banned after making politically motivated edits. Yo, this isn't supposed to be your platform for spin doctoring, and if you're too close to the subject, step away a bit.

The other is propaganda. Look, if they are sending out press releases, one hopes they will be clearly marked as such.* But this is why the conflict of interest problem should matter to the rest of us - because this is a way of retelling the story from a particular point of view without marking clearly whose point of view it is. There's certainly plenty to wrestle with, trying to come up with a reasonable unbiased account. And people who are police officers, and people who are sympathetic to the pressures police officers are under should be part of the conversation - just people who are a step removed from the specific subjects being discussed.

* Yes, it's not unheard of for press releases to get printed as straight news. Stinks to high heaven, but there you are.

Comment: Re:c++ (Score 1) 407

"Nowadays, you can write C++ and be assured that you'll rarely have to even think about explicit memory management or leaks."

Crazy talk.

I am not saying this isn't true - I am just remembering that at one point a huge part of my job was auditing other people's server code for, well performance, scalability, reliability and disaster failover recovery. And "Okay, we're going on the magical mystery tour and find all the memory leaks you swore up and down did not exist," was a thing. A really common thing. Ugh.

Seriously, working as a performance analyst for very high traffic highly distributed internet applications... is kind of what brought to biology, really, via non linear dynamics systems theory. As the systems got complex, sometimes their behavior got really weird - and that was so much more interesting than the rest of my job, by that point. (And now, in a rather impoverished ivory tower, I mostly use Python. Heck, half of my rig code is written using PyGame, because I was in a hurry and it got the job done, and it continues to get the job done well enough that I keep modifying rather than replacing it.)

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 392

Yes, exactly. One important practical check is something taking actual effort and manpower. Which is why ubiquitous surveilance is not equivlant to things that you can legally do by sending someone out to watch someone - because people are few and expensive and picking targets takes time and work.

Really, this sounds like they're threatening to... turn back the clock on surveillance. Is that really a threat?

Comment: Re:If ubuntu installed (Score 4, Informative) 210

by tylikcat (#48728755) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Linux Distro For Hybrid Laptop?

My housemate is running a Thinkpad Helix - a somewhat similar hybrid - with Kubuntu, and the plasma desktop appears to work fairly well (we were discussing this recently in some depth, as I'm in the pre-contemplation phase of the next laptop). I would at least look into it - it appears to be functional, and avoids the Unity issues.

(I'm currently on vacation, so cannot easily consult with said housemate.)

Comment: Re:Ph.D. Program? (Score 1) 280

by tylikcat (#48612829) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

If you're looking at going this route I can make a few suggestions. I did something similar.*

First, off, the breakdown is something like: just take classes as a post-baccalaureate, either towards a degree or not / go to grad school (and if you do go to grad school a PhD program is more likely to be funded, even if you leave early with a masters. Do not pay for a stem PhD yourself. It's wrong.)

So, when I started looking into heading back, possibly to grad school, I did two things: First, I contacted a few potential programs, and talked to their admins, and got an idea what they were looking for. I thought I'd be a hard sell, they were mostly all "You can code? You should apply right now. Or really soon." But I still got them to give me a list of useful classes to take - I had a bunch of money from stock options and wasn't I liked research. And I started taking a few classes.

Next, I started looking for a lab where I could volunteer and get research experience. There are also paid positions, obviously I was in a super privileged place here. Again, I expected this to be hard, and instead something like 3/4 of the PIs I met were all "And if you come work for me, this is the desk I'd like to chain you to." Generally, paid work is, well, paid. Volunteer work is easier to get and more likely to be entertaining. I ended up spending a couple of years in that lab I picked, ended up running a project with grad students and post docs reporting to me, and got my first first-name publication out of it. Oh, and wrote and got my first grant funded. (Okay, I'm told this whole experience is a little non-standard. But hey, things like this do happen.)

Eventually I got around to applying for grad school. And by then, getting in was super easy. (Okay, I was wait listed at one place :-( ) But, y'know grad school is all about having serious research experience, far more than it is about having the right classes. So good letters of recommendation from people who knew me as a researcher and a publication history was just golden. Also, by that time I'd acquired a lot of the right classes. (Enough so that I got excused from the required first semester classes for my grad program.)

So... okay, I realize not all of this is replicable, but a lot of the parts are. It is easy to get research experience. (I spend a lot of time helping folks find labs to volunteer in - the ones who aren't working for me already, I mean.) I mean, it takes persistance, but it's not like it takes talent. I recommend contacting PI and asking if you can sit in on lab meetings - this is a pretty much no commitment thing for them, so they're a lot less likely to blow you off.

Similarly, you can just call grad programs, and the people there will be happy to talk to you, and you can start figuring out what you need to do to make yourself a viable candidate. (Of course, once you get research experience, you'll also get the inside scoop, which is often substantially different from the outside scoop.)

Finding research related jobs - again, more persistance than talent. Check out the online boards, but also show up on campus in person, as some things just get announced via a piece of paper. Talk to folks. Ask around. Think about how you can use the skills you already have.

And if you can't code already? Go up to and start working through their tutorials. Really. Python loves you and wants you to be happy (this was more or less the motto of the summer python club a few of my students twisted my arm in to running. Well... really, they ran it, I just showed up and had skills.)

(and if you want to talk about any of this, happy to chat)

* Sort of. I did my undergrad work in Chinese and PoliEcon, then worked as a software engineer. Then I went back to see if I liked research - hey, guess what? Research is awesome, at least if you're broken in the specific ways I am. So, substantially different goals, but some overlap of potential approach.

Comment: Re:Going back (Score 1) 280

by tylikcat (#48612631) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

I'm actually betting on better jobs - and maybe better skillsets to get those better jobs. Disappointment breeds bitterness.

(Of course, the question would be whether it's mostly folks who have stem jobs but just lousy ones, who have lousy non stem jobs... or are highschoolers hanging out here griping as a way to blow off steam. And for the latter group, well, on the one hand, better manners would be nice, but from what I remember of my teenager years* you really do need to blow off steam.)

* I didn't really go to highschool, I gather that's even worse.

Comment: Re:Just let them test out! (Score 1) 307

My favorite set of interactions was in third year - right before the heritage students all dropped out - when we had debates. The heritage students were far more fluent... but had lousy logic skills and their arguments tended to be along the lines of "I'm against abortion... because it's wrong! Because god said so!" The non heritage students might have been stumbling a little more in speech, but we cared! And we knew our subjects! And we were tenacious! And all of the shyness that was the biggest barrier or improving our verbal skills fell away, because we were not going to lose the damn argument.

Every week.

(If there's one thing I could tell my younger self, it would be to work on losing the shyness earlier. Doing Taiji and gossiping in Chinese every morning with an elderly Chinese gentleman at my old apartment building was the best thing that ever happened to my speaking skills. Hanging out with bored senior citizens would be right up there as well.)

"I got everybody to pay up front...then I blew up their planet." "Now why didn't I think of that?" -- Post Bros. Comics