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Comment Re:Change the funding cycles (Score 2) 79

There are also "taught" graduate degrees opposed to research degrees.

Yes, but you're talking about graduate degrees, not PhDs. A PhD is a research course. Some have a taught component, sometimes even a whole year, but that's to bring the student up to speed, and so is simply pass/fail with no further effect after a pass. I've examined/viva'd a couple of PhDs, and original research was a major part of the criteria for examination.

Comment Re:Peer Review (Score 1) 79

Ill informed?

Then what would you call it? Firstly you say this:

Clearly, peer review is working as intended in academia.

Now you say this:

Slashdot has had many stories on the horrendous failings of peer review in the past couple of years.

So which is it? Peer review working as intended or a failing of peer review?

I work in academia, thank you very much.

So, as an academic, you intend peer review to reward bad research? I'm not currently in academia, though I was for a while. I can't recall ever meeting anyone who was of the opinion that rewarding bad research was the intent of peer review.

Trust me, I could bend your ear for hours with the failings of peer review, including some astonishingly stupid reviews that I myself have received both directly and ones given to my students papers. however the intent of it is just where it should be.

Comment Might not be doable open source (Score 2, Informative) 146

There are a few application areas that are specialized and difficult enough that it they may not be doable within the Free Software paradigm. Richard Stallman himself, for instance, was not able to explain to me how you could get the right specialized engineers together to develop a free equivalent to Synopsys design compiler. Enthusiasts in this area don’t tend to be interested in writing software as a hobby, so you’d have to hire engineers, which means you have to pay for all the development.

With automatic speech recognition, it’s not just an AI problem. You need massive labeled datasets that cost money to acquire, and the experts who really know this stuff are moving to on to their next research project. So how are you going to get engineers to learn and implement the esoteric techniques used here? You’d have to pay them. Most people who would be interested in writing free software to do this just don’t know the subject area well enough.

Comment Re:Curly braces = good. Indents = bad. (Score 1) 164

Indentation is the strongest indicator of block structure to the people reading and writing the code,

Not entirely. Indentation tells you were the block is, but it doesn't tell you where the block ends. That's implied by seeing more stuff in the outer block. I spend plenty of time in non curly brace languages, but I find that the lack of an explicit end of block market in Python makes it harder for me to read. I can't scan the code visually nearly as early as I can in other languages. The form of the end maker, whether it's }, end, fi, esac or whatever doesn't really matter. I find that technically redundant visual cue very helpful.

Comment Re:Change the funding cycles (Score 2) 79

You're not quite on the mark there. PhD students are indeed learning how to become research scientists, and the way they practice and prove they have learned is by doing original research. A thesis has to have original research in it or it's not a thesis. In almost all cases that is published somewhere peer reviewed as well.

Comment Re:Peer Review (Score 1) 79

Well, I'll start by ignoring your idiotic glib comment at the beginning.

The government research labs have or had a great reputation. Naturally, though not enough people were getting rich, so the government decided to privatise the easy, potentially lucrative management part without exposing the pressure entities to the risk that the research might not yield anything useful.

That didn't help of course.

But that aside, apart from taking ill informed digs at academia (government researchers are peers to academics and take part in peer review as well), you haven't actually proposed anything that will make a difference. If you want to give money to better people, you have to have some way of making it. Currently that method is subject to gaming, but no one knows of a better one.

Comment Total bullshit, SEUs are fixable (Score 2) 132

There has been assloads of research on mitigating soft errors going back to the 1970’s. I’ve published some myself. There is no shortage of workable methods on masking transient errors in logic and bit flips in DRAMs. SEUs are a major problem for supercomputers, so their memory systems have sophisticated mechanisms for catching them.

If Cisco is blaming this on SEUs, that just proves their incompetence, since they obvious didn’t spend 5 minutes with Google Scholar looking at hundreds of GOOD papers (in the top conferences and journals) on this topic. Seriously.

PLUS, if something goes wrong, even if it IS a transient error, it’s FAR more likely to be a fixable bug than radiation. We had a weird bug in a DRAM controller whose state kept going invalid. We had to add another circuit to fix that. We *called* is a cosmic ray deflector, but the more likely causes, in order were (a) another bug we couldn’t find, (b) a timing violation caused perhaps by voltage or temperature fluctuation, or (c) crosstalk in the circuit. We would have kept looking, but this deflector circuit made it robust to hundreds of hours of slamming the memory system, so we let it go. (Also, it was graphics memory, so even if it did ultimately suffer a glitch some day, it would go unnoticed.)

Comment Re:Blacklisting again (Score 1) 611

What do you mean by blacklist? I will happily blacklist people I've had a bad experience with as an employer. It'd be stupid to do otherwise. It do you thinkI should just keep employing reprobates no matter how many times I've been burned?

And if you're talking about based on political views... No the hell way I'll employ someone who's political views included say killing me and my relatives, for example.

Comment Re:They didn't tolerate intolerance (Score 1) 611

The purpose of a business is to make money

No. You're simply ignorant, that's all. The purpose of a business is to limit liability. There are many structures of businesses, such as non profit, members club, member cooperative, worker cooperative and so on. You've also missed out the most common kind of businesses probably which is private limited liability company of some sort.

Very many are small and run by the majority owners. They exist to provide limited liability for the owners. They can make money if the owner wants, or the owner can spend any net income on whatever the owner wants a as long as it's not personal income without tax. If the owner decides the business should spend money on a lobby aquarium big enough to house a sunfish, then oh boy is that business going to have the coolest reception area ever.

Thing is, limited liability extends only to limited liability. It doesn't magically shield you from all consequences of your actions, up to and including people thinking you're an asshole and refusing to do business with you.

Comment Re:The U.S. ain't perfect, but... (Score 1) 523

Assad, not because he's winning but because he wants to survive. I doubt he thinks he'd survive long after a peaceful handover to anyone else and he knows America doesn't want him to stay. I've heard the theory that he released a bunch of Isis prisoners that he had (he did---before the war started) in order to start the war because his survival chances were much better if there was a common enemy in the region that absolutely everyone would like even less than him.

It's not a bad theory and I've not heard a better explanation as to why he released people who wanted to kill him and take over his country, when he could have had them executed with no trouble at all.

I'm not sure if the Turks do: they seem to dislike the Kurds even more than Isis (unwise IMO) and they're busy fighting them both on and off but are in the awkward position of not wanting to give one of the two a definitive advantage. I mean it's good for them that the Kurds and Isis are fighting each other, but gives then less opportunity to make decisive military moves against either.

Comment Re:Many things cause Methylation (Score 1) 175

What is it about "tobacco" smoke that causes this change in DNA, but maybe not caused by marijuana smoke? Or smog?

Probably nothing?

But lots of people smoke cigarettes, and, well, I've never known anyone with a 20 a day weed habit or worse), unlike cigarettes.

And smog does kill people, which is why the UK for example has had numerous clean air acts over the years. Though smog had some different properties with continuous but less concentrated exposure.

Basically smoke is bad for your lungs.

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