Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:How about learning some statistics? (Score 1) 332

Yes, and biology majors tend to take 2 years of chemistry, a year of physics (watered down, yes, but it's still a year of courses), plus a year of applied statistics. Many times they even take an elective like experimental design or biochemistry. In other words, different degrees have different requirements. Some of the math/cs you describe is most definitely valuable to biology people, but at the graduate level. Undergraduates in biology have chosen to specialize, and thus it takes time and additional study (i.e., graduate work) to be able to delve into more detailed or peripheral topics.

Comment Re:How about learning some statistics? (Score 1) 332

That's all well and good, but your curriculum has left no room for the chemistry that will also be needed to understand the biology. Not to mention a complete course covering the range of biological topics. The fact is, most undergraduate level biology types will not be using math or statistics very much, but they will need to understand basic chemistry, and they certainly should have an understanding of ecology, evolution, genetics, and microbiology at a basic level (whatever their specialization). So which do we choose? Something that would be undeniably helpful in dealing with the world, but that wouldn't be all that useful in a biology career, or something that is critical to a well-rounded understanding of the field. It's like saying a CS major should have a good understanding of economics because it's a major application of their field, and then cutting a year out of the math curriculum to fit it in.

Comment Re:Now compare (Score 1) 249

True, but you lose repeatability in a spreadsheet. In R (or something similar), if you save every step of every analysis in a script, then you have never changed the original data. You can repeat the analysis exactly every time, or copy it with new data. You also know exactly what was done at every step. Now look at a spreadsheet with 100,000 cells and 500 formulas. At a glance, which cells have the formulas? Which cells have data that were pasted in as results from another analysis? What if you need to do the same analysis on a new dataset? What if you need to transform data in place? Where are those steps saved? There are workarounds for all of these issues, but they are more error prone and less transparent than the scripting approach. Furthermore, it is very dangerous to conflate data with analytical steps, which is exactly what spreadsheets do. Using a scripting language, the data and the steps to analyze it are completely separate and transparent.

Comment Re:keeping engineers (Score 3, Insightful) 732

Here's a thought. Why not add a stick to that carrot? When Wall Street screws the rest of us, find the people responsible, throw them in prison, and seize their assets to pay back the taxpayers. If current law doesn't allow this, then the law should be changed. This will have 2 outcomes. Fewer people will go after the really lucrative positions (those that involve stealing from the rest of us) if there is an actual real risk of punishment. Second, possibly we might see a Wall Street evolve that actually does some good, rather than the greedy parasite we have now.

Comment Re:Apple totally sucks. (Score 2) 311

Um, isn't that the definition of innovation? Company A invents a product; prices are naturally higher because of the cost of innovation, branding, and because the company markets itself as a premium products. As soon as the ink is dry on the new idea, everyone else does it, just as you said, a year or two later.

Slashdot Top Deals

Riches cover a multitude of woes. -- Menander