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Comment Re:Bot! (Score 4, Insightful) 85

Pretty sure the article was auto-generated by a buzzwordifier:

Panguite (IMA 2010-057), (Ti4+,Sc,Al,Mg,Zr,Ca)1.8O3, is a new titania, occurring as fine-grained crystals with Ti-rich davisite in an ultra-refractory inclusion within an amoeboid olivine inclusion from the Allende CV3 carbonaceous chondrite.

Doesn't mainstream PC tech use the least abusive field-related babble when compared to medicine and legalese?

For once we have a line of scientific discussion and you are complaining ?

Comment Re:One of those little skills (Score 1) 321

There is a trick for soldering fine pitch cases like MSOP or TQFP: just soak it all nice in solder without worrying too much about bridges. You want to make sure that enough solder gets between the pins and pads. Then use copper braid to soak all the extra solder off. In a way, you are just giving your part a localized solder bath. Make sure to use large tip for your iron - at least a few mm or a knife.

My god! Why did I never think of that?

Heh :) I don't know who invented this first. I found this trick in a manual for Chinese workers after spending a few hours reading all about making reliable SMT connections. Most manuals describe "ball of solder" technique where you use a small iron tip to carry a ball of solder to each pin and then make sure that pin and pad wick the solder in. Rather tedious, and I had to retouch connections often.

Comment Re:One of those little skills (Score 4, Informative) 321

There is a trick for soldering fine pitch cases like MSOP or TQFP: just soak it all nice in solder without worrying too much about bridges. You want to make sure that enough solder gets between the pins and pads. Then use copper braid to soak all the extra solder off. In a way, you are just giving your part a localized solder bath. Make sure to use large tip for your iron - at least a few mm or a knife.

Comment Re:thoughtful recs that all require more NIH fundi (Score 2) 226

While this is also true, the current system is completely unsustainable unless the funding basically increases exponentially, which is never going to happen. The problem is that for each faculty (each lab), you typically have ~4 postdocs and ~4 PhD students at a time... so after 5 years, you've gone from needing 1 faculty position to 5. If they each get jobs, after another 5 years you're up to 25 positions... unless funding (and, equally as importantly, university positions/space) is going to increase exponentially, it eventually falls apart.

It's exactly the same training problem as other fields (law, medicine) in that you're constantly training more people than there are current positions... except that in those fields if you really can't find a position, you can go open your own practice. In biomedicine, that's nearly impossible - any serious research lab is going to require a significant amount of funding and resources that you basically can't get outside the university/grant system, and it's very difficult to do a biomedical startup without having a prototype already existing (since it's biology, and the failure rate is high simply because we don't understand enough about most systems yet to know what will work and what won't without actually testing it).

There is a flaw in your argument - the population of United States is growing much more slowly. So at some point everyone will be trained. Wouldn't that be nice ?

Comment Re:Geiger (Score 3, Informative) 133

Why don't they call a 'radiation detector' by its name? It's a Geiger Counter. Way to make a name for something fall out of common usage...

There is not much description in the article, but I don't think it is a Geiger tube, as that requires high voltages and is fairly bulky. This is probably some sort of silicon detector.

Comment Re:Did I seriously miss something? (Score 1) 61

And what he has is flawed as well. For example, he marked R as having issue with big data which is quite wrong - I routinely analyze multi-GB datasets in memory, and my databases go into TB.

Dude. That's not what people mean when they say big data. HP and Dell will both quite happily sell you machines with 2TB of main memory, and SGI will go to 16TB, and anything which can fit in memory on a single machine without custom hardware isn't big data. It's only big data once you get up to a few hundred terabytes.

Heh ! I am sure I can use R on such hardware, as long as I have access to it ;)

Comment Re:Did I seriously miss something? (Score 1) 61

I think the difference is when you use file formats that are flatter than databases and certain GUIs. In those cases, rather than taking the data as it needs it, it attempts to load all of it into memory and can max out the memory allowed to the process in 32 bit systems. But even then, there are ways around that through smart planning, variable use, and multiple data files for different variables so not all are in memory at once (of course databases implements all three at once internally).

This only happens if you issue a call like read.table("mytable.txt") - you can read the file piece by piece if you want to. Granted, this requires some work (unlike SAS), but in return you can do loops ;)

Comment Re:Ridiculous patent system (Score 3, Interesting) 255

Keep in mind that Universities, one of the biggest centers of innovation (often government funded), tend to have massive patent portfolios. They license them out to companies and that in turn funds more fundamental research^W^W^W bigger stadium. So if we killed the system completely we would also have to restructure how basic research is done... which would probably be a good, thing.. just pointing out that corporations are not the only ones utilizing this system.

FTFY. Sorry..

Comment Re:Ridiculous patent system (Score 1) 255

Edison's lightbulb is a really bad example. Edison took something which was already working in a lab (wire emitting light when you send electricity through it) and made it actually useful. Before Edison it was a scientific curiousity.

That is not fundamental research, it is directed product development.

Since we are on the topic, I once chanced on an issue of "Review of Scientific Instruments" from around 1900s. I was amazed by lots of articles on many ingenious devices based on transformers, vacuum bulbs and many unlike anything I heard before. Nowadays we look back and think "Lightbulb, Fleming valve, Multiphase motor" but there was a lot of research..

Comment Re:Did I seriously miss something? (Score 4, Interesting) 61

The whole article was not much more than a high level review. The graphic naturally draws attention to the parameters the writer wanted to cover but he did not back up his graphic with any sort of serious textual review of what he felt were the weaknesses or advantages of the different programming language at least not in any detail.

And what he has is flawed as well. For example, he marked R as having issue with big data which is quite wrong - I routinely analyze multi-GB datasets in memory, and my databases go into TB. Of all the three languages R is the only one to have a native format (data.frame) that interfaces easily to database queries. Both Octave (Matlab) or Python have to use compound types which make addressing difficult.

Also, I found R easier to master than either Octave or Python, but this is probably because I am familiar with Lisp.

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