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Comment Re:Wikipedia (Score 1) 40

The president of Megadodo Publications is Zarniwoop, who is always too cool to see visitors. Megadodo was criticized by its customers for setting up an artificial universe in order to allow its editors and contributors to collect book information without leaving their offices. Notably secretive (or destructive) about their financial and historical records, the entire company was later (in the novel Mostly Harmless) bought out by Infinidim Enterprises, which stopped selling the Guide to hitchhikers entirely and eliminated all of what Megadodo had once stood for, much to the disapproval of employee Ford Prefect. The takeover was, in fact, part of a new plan by the Vogons to destroy Earth in all possible parallel dimensions - a plan that eventually succeeded.

Wales? Zarniwoop? :)

Comment Engineering isn't a profession anymore, it's a job (Score 1) 419


Maybe it's time for engineers to start their own small side companies or, maybe it's time to encourage a tradesman program where experienced EE's show new EE's how things are done, and train the skills needed to do the job.

Engineering was once upon a time a profession, like Law, or Medicine. Then engineers sold their souls to the business folk, watered down their legal protections and right to certifiy work - specifically applicable to software and electrical engineers, who never really had that right codified in law. Oops.

From there, the MBAs do what MBAs do, and the skill has been commoditized. There is nothing special about what has been done to engineers; it could be done to Law or Medicine; both are under pressure, but both fields manage their legal and legislative footing and credentialling much more effectively.

My advice to anyone who is an engineer; you're obviously smart, learn how business works very, very fast, use your skills to start or move up the corporate ladder, or frankly, get out. Leverage your skills to get into the medical space.

If you're in the top tier you will never have a problem finding work. This is true of the top tier in ANY profession, though! Maintaining that top tier is something you do because of an overwhelming passion or working very, very hard. There is no shortage of firms who will hire people with solid FPGA and embedded skills. I am not sure why TFA broke that out; being able to code is critical to hardware design, even just for scripting synthesis, and you just can't do embedded design without C. If you want to learn, the tools are all there, and cheap, cheap, cheap.

You need to network. You need to hustle. If nobody will give you experience, go work at McDonalds and buy a GNU Radio setup and a FPGA kit and make something cool.

The easy days are over, and sadly, IMO, engineers have nobody to blame but themselves.

Disclaimer: I am an EE with ~15 or so years of experience, most of it hands on, in the trenches.

Comment Re:you're wrong (Score 1) 130

[quote]
To appropriately assess and make the right medical judgement during surgery when someone's life is on the line is not something that will be done autonomously by robots.
[/quote]

You see, there's what you dont understand.

Stupid robots, yes. Ones with expert systems, no. Expert systems have been demonstrated to be superior in a number of clinical settings, and they're only going to get better as machines get faster.

Ultimately there will be surgeries that can only be performed automatically as they'll be beyond the capabilities of humans to execute. This brings to mind the recent advances in laser vision correction, but that's just the start.

The medical business fights automation of any sort kicking and screaming here; not so in other countries, so that is where the technology will be proven.

Comment Doctors will fight automation hard.. (Score 3, Interesting) 130

The same robots that can assemble iphones will be able to do open heart surgery.. except many, many times faster. The same cameras that provide high speed film will be able to drive high speed image recognition of what needs fixing, in multiple spectrums, in real-time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KxjVlaLBmk

That is one lab in Japan, and it's several years old. The state of the art in this technology is nothing short of breathtaking. It's being driven by cheap processing time. 50 years of computer science (real computer science) on vision systems is now all coming to life.

What's the problem? Well.. it will render advanced surgeries a commodity. Doctors have egos worse than fighter pilots, and you just wait until drones and computer piloted autonomous planes start shooting down the real deal. It's over then. Doctors are not stupid people, and the smarter ones are realizing this now.

Robotic surgeries will dramatically improve life for millions of people, and while there is a development curve, they will ultimately be superior in every way, as sure as hand-milling was replaced by CNC equipment.

Exciting times we live in.

Comment Re:Magical Black Boxes (Score 1) 233

I'm not a mathematician but I do have an Electrical Engineering degree, and have done a lot of very advanced math - and over all those courses in university, I did not use a single calculator on an exam given by the math department. Paper, pencil and an eraser. That's it; that's enough to learn all the mathematics we know. Interestingly also, it was not until my first year of University that I properly seperated in my brain that the concepts and tools math teaches are fundamentally different from math "problems", or puzzles - the most common application of those skills used on tests.

This point is lost on teachers who by and large don't understand and are not qualified to each math. It is a similarly absurd situation to trying to teach Shakespeare in a language you don't understand. It's not going to work.

Computers should be used to turn sets, matricies and functions into pretty pictures that can be visually explored and tweaked.That's what they're really good at.

Just make the numbers work out; use symbols for relationships and functions; there's lots of fun to be had there!

For physics and such, sure, you need something to plug in numbers. Physics uses math. It isn't math.

The elephant in the room - the real "secret" is that taught properly by people who understand and appreciate what math is, math is very simple, very easy, and those who don't understand it are often quite intimidated by those who do.

Math is not solving puzzles. That's what high school math classes are, and it should be a source of national shame.

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