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+ - Student rejected for "India's rape problem". Professor reprimanded->

Submitted by vigmeister
vigmeister (1112659) writes "A professor at the University of Leipzig is in hot water for rejecting a student's internship application citing "India's rape problem". While this led to a strongly worded reprimand from the German ambassador to India, the University seems to be backing the professor. However, the story of a second student to whom this happened previously may throw the "out of context" theory to rest. What is, of course, alarming is the overtly racist tone of the professor and the apparent lack of consequences (other than a reprimand). In an occupation rife with dishonesty , bullying and "a pressure cooker culture", is racism (and tolerance to it) yet another plague that seems to permeate academia in an entirely different way compared to other professions?"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:STEM has no future (Score 1) 43

With outsourcing, you get what you pay for. Most outsourcing programs are cost-cutting measures. Companies go to the cheapest vendor available and expect comparable results. And when that does not happen, they feel comfortable and safe in the fact that "Indian IT personnel are less competent".

When you have a large number of IT graduates, you can expect a lot more incompetent graduates as well. And that is exactly what you get when you go to "IT sweatshops". Successful outsourcing programs would be found amongst the companies that pay the best salaries and rely on the PPP differences to bring the cost advantage. If you can get a selection of the top 10% of the talent in the US for $200,000, I would assume you can get comparable talent (top 1% in India) for $120,000. But this is not a common way to go about outsourcing. Ask those that do and you would be surprised at what is possible.

The issue is not about racial or genetic advantages. It is a question of comparative advantages and available resources between the two countries.


Comment: Seamless fallback (Score 4, Insightful) 126

by vigmeister (#47076933) Attached to: US Wireless Carriers Shifting To Voice Over LTE

Blindingly obvious to me is the fact that voice calls and SMS reaches me even without a high bandwidth 3G or faster data connection. If this leads to better network coverage for high speed data, I will be the first to celebrate, but until then I will stick to a split data/voice provider ... or one that can transition relatively seamlessly between the two types of networks...


Comment: Crowdsourced solution? (Score 1) 552

by vigmeister (#47075769) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

This product was on display at CeBIT and I tried it out. The calibration takes about 45 minutes, but after that period, each letter took about 10 seconds and I was rapidly improving. In principle, I would also assume that they could extend the technology to words rather than letters and combine it with some kind of predictive text input.

I really hope you find a solution that works and I think the community at large would appreciate if you could document the experience and the successes I hope you have in such a situation.

I would also ask if you could make this some kind of a collaborative project over the interwebs. There must be more people in this situation and countless people like myself who would be motivated to work on this challenge...

Let's get to it!

+ - Tractable acoustic tractor beams->

Submitted by vigmeister
vigmeister (1112659) writes "Structured acoustic fields can pull macroscopic objects towards the source by means of nonconservative forces.
In order to generate the tailored acoustic field, the team used a square matrix array of about 1000 transducers, operating at ultrasound frequency (550 kilohertz), placed at the bottom of a water-filled chamber. Each one can be individually addressed, not only with on-off states, but also by programming up to eight discrete phase values. This device allows the researchers to imprint a spatial modulation on the emitted acoustic field. In this case, the generated patterns behave, in the region of interest, as a pair of plane waves whose wave vectors are symmetrically inclined towards the array centerline, where the target was suspended from a force balance. The two waves intersect at a certain height over the array plane, having a hollow core underneath; the height of the intersection point can be readjusted by changing the emission pattern from the array.

By varying the vertical position of the target, the researchers were able to obtain a detailed map of the acoustic force as a function of the distance from the object to the source plane, which was measured in terms of changes in weight of the target. Based on a theoretical analysis, two contributions of the force were clearly identified; a negative (pulling) force due to the reflection in the walls of the prisms, and a positive (pushing) one, owed to the absorbed radiation at the base. The qualitative behavior of the total force and its order of magnitude (millinewtons) agreed well with the experiments. The equilibrium position, where the two contributions of the force are exactly balanced, can be controlled by reconfiguring the acoustic field. All the measurements were done for different configurations of the acoustic pattern and for each of the two targets, whose volumes are of the order of tens of cubic centimeters.
Although the intensity gradients may play a role in the force towards the low-pressure regions, the careful design of the experiment for maximizing the forward scattering, the ability to control the equilibrium position, and the fair comparison with simulations guarantee that the main role is indeed played by the scattering force. Therefore, this is the first demonstration of a nonconservative pulling force in the acoustics realm, which complements previous demonstrations in optics.

In addition, the authors point out the potential impact that the control of acoustic forces and the generation of structured ultrasound fields may have in modern biomedical techniques. In therapeutic treatments involving focused high-intensity fields, for example, the precise control of energy deposition could be greatly improved with the use of complex beams.

Interaction between matter and waves always seems to surprise scientists in new ways. The more we advance in the study and generation of structured wave fields and novel materials, the higher the possibility of finding new effects and applications."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Game (Score 1) 374

by vigmeister (#43635203) Attached to: Why US Mileage Ratings Are So Inaccurate

Doesn't this translate into some kind of propaganda to influence what people care about when buying a car?

Have we collectively decided as a society that we are willing to compromise further on free speech to reduce emissions and fuel consumption (manufacturers should be free to decide how to advertise their cars)?

For the record: I do not deny climate change or its anthropogenic components - I just think the solution is to tax fuel, enforce truth in advertising (to prevent fraud) and wait for the technological breakthroughs that will make us look like luddites...

Comment: Re:Don't Bother (Score 1) 183

by vigmeister (#42827943) Attached to: Summer Programming Courses Before Heading Off To College?

This, but with a different conclusion. Learning programming meant I was able to do a different degree while working in the software industry and taking electives or doing a minor in CS. Eventually I ended up being competent in both areas which led to opportunities to dabble in an exponentially larger set of subjects...

Comment: Engineering student? (Score 1) 183

by vigmeister (#42827893) Attached to: Summer Programming Courses Before Heading Off To College?

For a student with a strong math/science background, MATLAB might be useful to learn especially if he decides to pursue engineering. It helps you to learn fundamental programming (at least procedural programming) concepts while not requiring too much time to get up an running. The symbolic toolbox along with more traditional capabilities will also give him a massive leg up in doing assignments and projects because he can focus on learning concepts in most of his classes rather than executing procedural mathematical techniques (matrix operations and PDEs, I am looking at you...).
P.S. I know a TI-xx can do some of this, but calculators are the slide rules of the 21st century...

You are lost in the Swamps of Despair.